TAF Counting on Appraisers to Foot the Bill

TAF Turns Down Free Grant Money, Counts on Appraisers to Foot the BillFrom October 30, 2020 TAFAC meeting, TAF president Dave Bunton said:

“Earlier this week the Foundation notified the ASC that it would not be seeking any grant funds for 2021”

Turning down “free” grant money means that TAF is counting heavily on appraisers to foot the bill when ethically, TAF should be making USPAP free. They are not taking the money because they are trying to avoid the “strings attached” from ASC (translation: avoiding oversight from ASC).

The Cosmic Cobra Guy Jeremy Bagott Asks Us To See TAF As A Disney-like Rights Management Operation

From Buzzcast: Junkets, Petitions, and the Need for Clawbacks with Jeremy Bagott
It’s a great listen and everyone needs to buy Jeremy’s book: Dispatches from the Cosmic Cobra Breeding Farm

From the show:

Buzz: I don’t think, as some have accused you, of vilifying Appraisal Foundation chief, Dave Bunton, in your book. Can you comment on that?

Bagott: I actually salute him for his technical bravura. The regulatory organism he’s created is a masterful system, and it’s doing everything the current arrangement incentivizes it to do – harvest government money; travel internationally; copyright and continually revise a growing number of proprietary products – standards, criteria, test questions, teaching materials. It teaches and credentials the teachers; teaches and credentials the enforcers; hosts foreign delegations; and charges what it can get for the standards. Rinse and repeat. He has mastered the art form.

A TAF Disney-Like Fable: TAF Didn’t Refuse The ASC Grant Because They Saved So Much Travel Money From The COVID Lockdown

As Jeremy mentioned in his excellent Buzzcast interview I mentioned earlier, he is also representative of the larger uninformed buy-in of the oft-repeated TAF narrative of why they refused to accept the $3M ASC grant this year. It’s not Jeremy’s fault – its the public spin TAF has narrated repeatedly during COVID.

Here’s the reality: TAF used the COVID shutdown to tell a “fable” that TAF declined the ASC grant because of cost savings due to less travel – because of COVID. That is completely false because TAF had already planned to decline the grant before COVID ever hit, as they were afraid the ASC would publish USPAP for free if they helped fund it. TAF was terrified of the “strings attached” aspect of accepting grant money as they ratcheted up their defiance to “oversight” by ASC. This was also illustrated in TAF’s “bat-shit crazy” letter to ASC.

Jonathan Miller
Image credit flickr - Ivan Radic
Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts.

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4 Responses

  1. Baggins Baggins says:

    What a great letter to have read and video to have watched. How interesting. One may dare to imagine the finger waving and interruption was colonial-esque. ‘This repeated tax upon another tax, monetization and monopolization, relentlessly reselling our own code of ethic back to us for profit, will not stand!’

  2. Tom Molinari on Twitter Tom Molinari on Twitter says:

    Its a racket! I have to pay $75 or $125 or whatever every two years for very minor revisions to USPAP. They could easily publish the minor revisions at no cost in a pdf every year with perhaps a full revision every 5 or 6 years. Appraisers need to let TAF know how they feel.

  3. ASC could easily remedy the situation.

    Simply return to a USPAP version (any version) that actually protected the Public Trust. That would be any version PRIOR to the revision of the terms appraisers and appraisals to “valuation & evaluators” ( a term used only or at least primarily by the accounting profession historically).

    Then dissolve the TAF. They effectively achieved the congressional objective mandated in ’89 long ago. Everything since has been the administrative equivalent of ‘word smithing’ without good cause. Aside from trying to justify their existence.

    Since (circa) 2009, TAF has made it ‘easier for regulators’; and created unnecessary bars to new appraisers joining the profession. Mainly so they could create a shortage and then cry “Whoa is me, we must do something to bring new people in.” Hence PAREA.

    They missed the problem by 180 degrees. Its the ridiculous degree requirement blocking entry. Not the experience requirements and training. Some elitists contend we cannot be a ‘profession’ unless we are all degreed.

    If that is the only concern, then let’s end the pretense right now. I contend we are professionals because of our extensive experience, subject matter education specific to our professions, ongoing educational requirements, and our commitment to ethical professional practices.

    Some of the best appraisers (trainees and long time appraisers) I ever encountered lacked college degrees. Some of the highest credentialled appraisers (both designated and those undesignated but with advanced degrees) were among the worst appraisers I’ve ever encountered. Many engineers for example have a terrible time dealing with the ‘art’ side of real estate appraisal.

    That’s aside from some degreed individuals being ethically challenged as well when enough money is involved. Those student loans won’t pay for themselves…yet, anyway.

    I’m non-degreed, but the federal government in its infinite wisdom saw fit to certify me qualified at GS grades ranging from GS 12 to GS 14; & hired me (’09) at the GS 13 “Engineer” level (a grade above that divisions own attorneys). It was based on skill, experience primarily, and education secondarily. Experience in the profession was counted as two years is equal to one year of advanced education. That particular department was The Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, Large Business & International Division, as a Senior Real Estate Appraiser.

    It wasn’t a fluke. HUD certified me (GS14); VA (GS12) GSA (GS13), Dept of the Navy (GS 12 & 13) & Army Corps of Engineers (GS 12-real estate management-not appraising)

    My point isn’t to be boastful. It’s that ALL experienced appraisers have the ability to become top professionals in our field.

    As long as they adhere to professional principles and ethics; continue to learn, earn and retain a high level of public trust (real trust-not the TAF or states lip service “Trust) and have the ability to pass such appraisal tests as currently exist across the country.

    Every five to ten years, representatives from Professional Peer Associations; Guilds, Unions, & State Coalitions could meet to decide IF and WHAT changes to USPAP may be required. We could do it a lot cheaper than TAF does too!

    There would NOT be any ‘stakeholders’ or lobbyists represented at such meetings. Appraisal PRINCIPLES are foundational. They don’t change. Permissible practices MAY change based upon the collective wisdom of the profession. NOT the dictates of one (albeit large) segment of appraiser users.

    Too many of our “Rules” are outgrowths of convenience for non users of appraisals (like regulators); or responses to pleas for cheaper and faster products dressed up like real appraisals that can be performed in 1/10th the time required for a good appraisal. Or, done for three peanuts and a banana in lieu of a reasonable fee commensurate with the professional work being requested.

    Mortgage Companies and banks are not the only users of appraisals. Individual investors that DO care how their money is invested because they have no government backing; or attorneys and courts, or state and federal agencies (unrelated to finance) all use appraisals. As do consumers in order to protect themselves from predation by unscrupulous loan officers and banks.

    As TAF obtains more and more of its gravy, er operating capital, from vested parties that USPAP was intended to protect the public from, the public trust is eroded more each day. So too is the trust appraisers once held in TAF and our own standards.

    Terminate TAFs ‘authority’. Let ASC establish a minimalist framework for education and enforcement that is consistent across the country in the form of federal rather than state appraisal laws.

    End the constant ‘busy work’ USPAP updates. End the catering to lenders or ‘advisory’ councils. Appraisers are NOT supposed to be any of the things being demanded of us today EXCEPT good appraisers!

    The technology-fixes-everything whores that keep popping up and interfering with real appraisal can stick with election ballot counting or polling or other forms of marketing that they are so esteemed for. They have no business telling appraisers OR the public that their new whizzbang product is “just as good” as a real appraisal.

    ASC, End the foolishness now. Federalize appraisal regulation and enforcement.


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TAF Counting on Appraisers to Foot the Bill

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 2 min