Imagine Running the Lawn Mower Industry Like the Appraisal Industry
I’m on about lawn mowing lately. It’s my new full time passion. The appraisal industry should be as straight forward as lawn mowing, but due to the special interests pressures within the value industry, it has become convoluted and dysfunctional.
Can you imagine if they ran the lawn mower industry like they try to run the appraisal industry? Like, we don’t care if that lawn is on slope or not, you can only use this mower and you’re not allowed to be versatile and use anything else. And you can’t request the lawn mowing servicer you want to use, you have to use the lowest bidder lawn mowing company ordered from our lawn mowing management company, who outsources that task again, and you still pay full fee for that discounted lawn mowing service. Then, when the mowing crew comes over they’re not allowed to talk to you about your own lawn.
Lots of people know who I am on these boards. Just not those people who would buck up to personal attacks because of disagreement. And we’ve all seen how vindictive the AMC industry can be; Coester did hack Skapinetz accounts, Pam Crowley did get death threats, and other appraisers within the past few months are dealing with similar nightmares all over again. We all observed those long, long blacklists and do not use lists, with associated articles back in the day, lenders knew was illegal and tried to keep secret. It’s an open secret now with tech companies, they can just add you to that list via the tech relay company and nobody on the appraisal side ever knows. The blacklist approach is alive and well. It evolved into new less transparent forms via tech integration.
That’s why I use a pen name. It’s not to conceal my identity from my colleagues but rather the industry at large. I’m a vocal spokesperson for consumer safety and fair dealings. I’m not all knowing and I learn so much here, as well as freely share what I know about valuation services in the hopes of a better future for this flailing valuation services industry.
I do care about my career and other appraisers’ careers in this industry I’ve resided for 20 years. I care about regular citizens, and consumer protection is also one of my passions. I learned a long time ago how rife real estate is with pitfalls and hazards, and how difficult it may be for people to manage. With increasing automation, sometimes the appraiser is the only human being a home borrower sees in person, before that day of closing. Which is why it is also essential that only licensed appraisers be presented in front of home borrowers, otherwise they could get run down the rails without any actually effective safeguards. Fannie Mae can’t control the inevitable volume of hucksters participating in the lending and technical services community. That is an impossible expectation. So I argue against third party inspectors, increased automation, and outsourced services too.
The market crashed immediately after I upgraded to certified, and I spent the next 5 years doing nothing but default management. It’s great work which builds a lot of skills, once one learns to deal with the fact every defaulted home comes with broken dreams and financial ruin. I like to think my occasional informational relay during conversations with people about what can happen and how even those minor things can lead to structural or economic disasters and such, has helped people along the way.
It’s saddening and interesting, to see what people leave behind. The hardest one I ever dealt with was what I called the broken house heart. All the photos, apologies written on letters posted on the wall, a family disrupted through tragedy. That one was tough. But others were easier to manage. People simply did not pay their bills and got repossessed, hoarders let pets ruin properties, DIY hot tubs right there in the middle of the living room, mold, dangerous electric, surprisingly rather common.
Thankfully the 50 state AG effort to reign in default managers like Ocwen did bring about many industry corrections, and billions in fines. We’re setting up to a similar event right now with these reckless new policies and proposals being thrust upon the valuation industry. Appraisers should seriously consider why the valuation services industry is being guided and formed by everyone except appraisers, and why our requests and objections are consistently ignored. This speaks volumes regarding the actual state of consumer protection.
Now it’s time to reign in the destructive force which is AMCs, AVMs, and their tech company partners from destroying what’s left of this industry right as we have a real chance to finally save it. Without the independent checks and balances, there will be no real consumer protection. You can equate these ideals to fighting the man or being paranoid or whatever makes you feel good about it. It’s not over yet, not while I am gripping this cold steel handle of this high powered lawn mower.