Call to Action
Board meeting about AMCs hiring staff appraisers, email blasting, non C&R fees, & background checks.
VaCAP understands you are busy with lots of orders, but it is important for you to attend the VREAB Board Meeting on Tuesday April 26th. There will be a public comment period during the meeting. Every independent fee appraiser needs to voice concerns about AMCs hiring staff appraisers to complete appraisals, email blasting, the continuation of non customary and reasonable fees, and background checks. The public is not protected with any of these practices.
The Virginia Real Estate Appraisers Board Meeting
April 26th,@ 10:00 AM
9960 Mayland Dr
Richmond, VA 23233
See the meeting agenda on the Townhall
VaCAP exists….to unite, promote and preserve the appraisal profession. We are a 100%, non-profit volunteer organization and we are working on your behalf!
- The weekly communication is done by volunteers.
- Website Design and maintenance is done by volunteers.
- The Appraiser Directory was created and is maintained by volunteers.
- Our Facebook page was created and maintained by volunteers.
- Lobbying to our legislators is done by volunteers.
- Letters to AMCs are done by volunteers.
- Correspondence with appraisers via email and phone is done by volunteers.
- Working with other professional organizations is done by volunteers.
- Participating on the The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council is done by volunteers.
- Attending Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials Conferences is done by volunteers.
VaCAP is a successful organization because of our volunteers. We are well known through out the United States. Appraisers and other professional organizations from all over the country reach out to us and promote our efforts and initiatives. We need more volunteers to continue to unite, preserve and promote the appraisal profession.
Thank you to all the volunteers members of VaCAP. We can not do it without you!
Join VaCAP Now or Renew Your Membership Now.
- We the People… - April 9, 2023
- Federal Valuation Agency Impact on Appraisers & the Public - July 22, 2022
- Is Georgia Going Rogue? - June 13, 2022
Just because I’m in the mood to pick a fight, why should appraisers concern themselves with the success your having in your state, when most states refuse to even begin the discussion (C&R fees / scope creep)? I understand the calling for a few, but why would appraisers put their blood, sweat, tears, time, etc. into your state, when there own state is the one who needs convincing? Not that we are a selfish group, but if some are eating day old mac & cheese, it may be a difficult task to ask others to cut your steak for you. Grrrrrrr.
LOL bill. I think this was a call to action for Virginia appraisers. VaCAP is short handed and needs more volunteers. However, I’m sure they’ll welcome help from out of state appraisers. They sure could use some of your fiery traits!
You should join your state coalition and volunteer if you can. The success we’ve had in Virginia so far is thanks to only a HANDFUL of volunteers.
Bill, VaCap has been prepared and willing to promote the interests of ALL appraisers where and when possible.
What they cannot do is to convince my state (California), or Minnesota, or New York, of Maryland, or New Jersey to pass legislation to assure and promote C&R fees, rather than completely ignoring USPAP when complaints are received, and then trying to coerce appraisers into signing consent decrees rather than determining if a real USPAP violation has occurred!
Only we can identify our states short comings, and take action to correct them. Once that’s done we can ask for help from AGA, and or VaCap, and or any of all of the other 21 state coalitions that aren’t also owned by AMCs.
Hello, I just left the Board meeting. We had about 25 Appraisers in attendance. Several Appraisers requested guidance, clarification and expressed concerns about Public Trust on handling C & R fee problems, the blasting of massive text messages, e-mails and telephone calls that does not give the Appraiser time to research the property prior to accepting the assignment. Several examples of these types of communications were presented to the Board.
The public speakers expressed concerns and clarification about Unlicensed AMC’s requesting Appraiser to accomplish reports and AMC’s hiring Appraisers since The Federal Register Rules and Regulations from June 9, 2015 # 32662 Final ruling states that AMC’s DO NOT PERFORM APPRAISALS. AMC’s “over sees a network or panel of more than 15 certified or licensed appraisers.” Appraisal Firms performs appraisals as a primary function directly through employees and do not over see a “network or panel ” of non-employee appraisers.
The Board stated there is a new document on the DPOR website for guidance for Appraisers and AMC’s.
Clarification was made on submitting a complaint. An Appraiser has to accomplish the appraisal order for a low fee then submit the complaint.
Final thoughts from this first time attendee to an Appraisal Board Meeting….
I was in awe of all the proceedings. The Board Members were open and actively took notes on everyone’s concerns, comments and requests for clarifications. The Board asked questions and made recommendation. The speakers were clear and concise about requesting clarification, needing guidance or additional guidance and expressing concerns of achieving Public Trust in a credible report by a compentent Appraiser.
I highly recommend that you take time out of your busy schedule to attend these meetings. Appraisers are the last line of defense for Public Trust due to our fees are NOT contingent on a commission fee.
Thanks for the update Susan!
Now, if only the remaining 49 states would pull their heads out from a deep, dark and dank place and start focusing on FIRREA and common sense problem areas instead of violating USPAP in their own review appraisals, and attempting to fund their departments by coercing appraisers into signing spurious settlement agreements.
Elimination of AARO might also be a good idea since it appears to be more of a clearing house for regulatory misinformation than meaningful educational association for the enforcement of FIRREA as it was originally intended by Congress.
Hi Mike!!!! I missed you. So glad to hear from you 🙂
AARO is valuable. Do not disparage it.
I don’t live in the state of VA and thus don’t directly have a dog in the fight (down Fido), however I have questions.
In part, the Dodd Frank bill states the following, “”Lenders and their agents shall compensate fee appraisers at a rate that is customary and reasonable for appraisal services performed in the market area of the property being appraised. Evidence for such fees may be established by objective third-party information, such as government agency fee schedules, academic studies, and independent private sector surveys. Fee studies shall exclude assignments ordered by known appraisal management companies.”
Although I believe there are issues with academic surveys (state of LA / Southeastern Louisiana University), and VA fees in general, I understand them and I’m sure most will accept them as independent offerings. However, my question is about objective third-party information, and or independent private sector surveys helping to set C&R appraisal fees.
In particular, I had a back and forth in the comment section with Joan Trice on her Appraisal Buzz site under the article heading “Let me tell you about Valuation Expo”. Within that discussion, she stated that “Clearbox is the ONLY independent private sector survey” that she is aware of. She also indicated “lender clients have established their fee schedules by using Clearbox”.
My questions are as follows.
(1) Does the state of VA (or federal government) have a set of requirements that need to be met to validate independent private sector surveys like what Clearbox has?
(2) If Joan is involved in hosting Valuation Expos, is she actually independent? If she also hosts the Collateral Risk Network, a members-only group of more than 500 dedicated chief appraisers, collateral risk managers, regulators, and valuation experts, is her sponsored survey truly independent?
(3) If her NATIONAL survey only includes around 2,000 industry professionals took the time to fill out the survey (less than 3% of licensed appraisers), is this enough data to call fact? If on average there are only 40 responses per state (2,000 / 50 states) would this hold up in comparison to the VA schedule?
Not that more regulation is the answer, but I think on a state and federal level there needs to be standards in place to establish the validity of C&R surveys. When the lawsuits come (and they will), will the lender be able to quote they have an independent study by way of such offerings like Clearbox? Could a small sample of appraisers in the state of VA (say 20 to 40) establish a fee of $350 while the adopted VA fee is $450?
More needs to be done.
Joan has no remote claim to being independent or impartial. Neither does she have any meaningful credibility among independent appraisers. If Clearbox is the only independent third party “study”, how come she was unable to produce that in support of her testimony regarding a purported study in support of a specific banks fees in the South?
All good questions! In a nut shell, Virginia Regulations mirror the Federal Regulations. The difference is the states are charged with the enforcement. Keep in mind the final rules have been out less than a year and the facts are the states needed to know what the rules were before they can attempt to enforce them. I suspect you will see more states enact regulations soon.
This is unchartered waters for Virginia appraisers and the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board, so there is naturally going to be some hiccups along the way. The Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board formed a committee to look at the best way to enforce C&R Fees. They compared the fee studies that other states conducted and compared it to the Veteran Affairs Fee Schedule in those states. The result was, in almost all the states analyzed, the VA Fee schedule was pretty darn close to the fee studies. Rather than go through all the expense of another fee study, they adopted the VA Fee Schedule as a presumption of compliance that can be used. If an AMC submits a fee study that has different results, the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board should look at that study to determine if the criteria used meets the minimum of compliance. The true answer to this will be if the fee study included AMC fees or not. An AMC can also use any presumption allowed in TILA and be considered in compliance. Regardless of which presumption the AMC uses, the burden of proof the criteria and data used is in compliance is on the AMC.
As Susan pointed out, there is a bit of confusion among appraisers and AMCs. As such the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board has posted the following on its website: DPOR Guidance Document
The Virginia Real Estate Board stated at the meeting today, they will send a copy of the guidance document and the procedures for filing a complaint against non payment of C& R fees, late payments as well as unlicensed AMC s doing business in Virginia. They are expecting a lot of complaints and want to ensure the complaint processing goes smoothly.
Although not every appraiser will benefit directly from the efforts of VaCAP and the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board, the ground work has been set making it easier for other states to follow. Of course other states have helped set the ground work for Virginia. If your state has a coalition, you should be a member and volunteer. VaCAP works closely with other coalitions and every appraiser benefits from the efforts of the coalitions.
Thank you for the response VaCap but in time my questions will need to be answered.
(1) If individuals or companies pander to chief appraisers, collateral risk managers, AMC’s, etc. are they truly INDEPENDENT? Is this an arm’s length transaction or are they giving a family member discount.
(2) If the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board is to look at the study to determine if the criteria meet the minimum of compliance, is the sole requirement to only show the survey did not include AMC fees?
(3) Is there a minimum number of responses needed to validate the survey? Should there be a minimum percentage of all licensed appraisers in the state to qualify as a valid survey?
(4) Are there requirements for the survey to in long from to specifically address what the survey taker is providing a fee for? Has it been made crystal clear that the opinion being provided should be that of only meeting USPAP requirements? The fee should NOT take into account that 4th or 5th closed sale requirement, 1 or 2 active or pending sales, the cost approach, MLS printouts of sales that were not used, additional pictures not required, FHA like inspections, utility system checks, due dates of less than 10 days or any other information or requirements that have become typical today of 15+ page engagement letters.
I think there needs to be more clarification and guidance as it relates to surveys and specifically the independent private sector surveys.
Bill, I totally agree there are a lot of unanswered questions and more guidance needs to be made. Like I stated before, this is unchartered waters. There will be some unintended consequences and as they start to show up, we will see additional guidance coming from the Board. Dodd Frank engaged the states to enforce, it did not instruct on how to enforce.
As far as independent fee studies are concerned, each study conducted should have the method outlined of how the data was collected, the filters used, number or respondents, etc. This will be telling of how credible the results are. I doubt a few “discounted” transactions included in the results will make any difference. Truth be told, if any AMC had to produce evidence of how they arrived at the fee paid to the appraiser, I doubt any of them could actually produce any documentation at all.
The Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board is diverse. There are representative seats of commercial appraisers, residential appraisers, bankers, citizens and AMCs. At every meeting, the administrative staff is present and participates as well as a representative from the Attorney General’s Office. When the time comes, I am confident a fair determination can be made of any non customary and reasonable fee complaints.
Joan and I are friends. Her survey was a start. It is not wide enough for Virginia or any other state, in my opinion. BUT it is a starting point. We are doing the best we can to be fair and rational….I wish the other side was as committed
Although I don’t think Joan understood my point of view in challenging and asking questions about her survey, she may not believe me, but in my opinion addressing the concerns today, could prevent issues in the future. If lenders and there hired AMC’s choose to take a single source (Clearbox survey) and run with it, will the state of VA validate her survey by giving it equal weight as compared to the adopted VA schedule? By not knowing what standards need to be met to qualify the survey, nor if its known if the state of VA will give it consideration, using the survey data could expose those lenders/AMC’s to huge financial fines or loss of a license.
Shall I link the Appraisers Forum threads pertaining to that matter? You know, the ones where we pulled teeth for the simple answer regarding if amc fees were included in the survey?
Bureaucrats and committees. Not surprising. The point of guidance regarding C&R is so simple. It is the consumer fee stated on the HUD 1 for appraisal services. If you don’t understand why that should be an absolute guidance point, I suggest you find the mortgage lending junk fee rules. Then dare to try and excuse away variable appraisal fee charges from one distributor to the next. Keeping in mind that cost savings are never returned to the borrowing consumer, lender charges to the consumer are generally consistent, and there is a high degree of inconsistency regarding operational charges from the amc and non amc distributor to the next. When you push hard on amc’s, the lenders will simply find clever work arounds to skirt the amc rules w/ quasi in house distribution. They will still rake off the top, which is why it’s essential to face the unearned fee and junk fee rules head on in relation to appraiser billing. If you’re mirroring the federal approach ‘you’re doing it wrong’. It was the CFPB whom willingly rejected the HUD1 disclosure form which separated the appraisers fee and the distributors fee into two different line items instead of one combined line item. If you’re making appraisers complete the order, before filing a complaint, that’s a problem. The running measurement point for C&R has been argued repeatedly that the acceptance of the order at said fee, is exactly what sets the C&R. That point is in the Safe Harbor statements from the CFPB’s RegZ w/ additional guidance point docs, if I recall correctly. / Bill, the reason why these issues are of national concern is because of precedence. These actions set precedence which effect the approaches of other states. The beat skips on. Wake me when anyone is brave enough to call it like it is, and take pro active action. Asking the appraiser to complete the unethical fee order before filing a complaint, is a point of ethical concern. Such a request puts the appraiser at obvious risk of retaliation. An appraiser should be able to complain anonymously about these issues. Lenders are too powerful and a wise appraiser would never go head on against a lender if they did not absolutely have to, already backed into a corner. The state should take action by forwarded emails or better yet, audit the whole group of amc and non amc distributors alike all at once for C&R and junk fee rule compliance. Those rules are not amc specific. Thank you for reading.
The reason the appraiser has to complete the assignment is simple;there has to an executed contract for the state to take any action. The burden of proof is on the AMC. If the AMC provides any data that conflicts with the requirements of law, the data will be invalid and will be thrown out. If an AMC uses a third party survey, they must provide the data, analysis and conclusions of that survey. This is really no different than an appraiser turning over the work file of an appraisal assignment to defend against any complaint they may receive.
Have they consulted with an ethics expert if that is allowable under ‘acceptable assignment conditions’? / Also specifically; Will the appraisers report which is the substance of the complaint be reviewed by the board? When did it become the appraisers job to take on personal risk in order to police the industry which the state board is tasked with policing in the first place? Blacklisting lives on and appraisers whom initiate these complaints risk black listing in one form or another. Word of mouth travels fast. Will a review appraiser be able to initiate a complaint after learning an origination appraiser failed to submit a complaint with a verifiable unacceptable fee schedule? Are VA appraisers required to disclose appraisal servicing billing notes in the reports? Defending against a complaint initiated by another is in fact entirely different than initiating a complaint. Has the board ever audited an amc or lender entity regarding these fees? This is confusing precedence to set for other states. I fail to understand why the appraiser is involved with the amc’s burden of proof requirement. Engagement is not an executed contract, it is an agreement of service terms. Any contractual obligation rests with the lender, their agents, and the borrowing consumer. The appraiser is just the independent value analyst and does nothing more than agree to provide a limited scope service for individual requests. Please correct me if I’m mistaken.
Didn’t read at all. Too difficult. Paragraphs Baggins!
Also, will everyone please stop capitalizing the ‘amc’ deal. It is not a proper which deserves capitalization. It is non specific and therefore should not be capitalized unless just the A is capitalized, at the beginning of a sentence.
” The Board Members were open and actively took notes on everyone’s concerns, comments and requests for clarifications.”
OH – IMPRESSIVE!
sounds like business as usual to me, and EXACTLY why so many appraisers have left the profession. so sad people cant understand that. the “system” sure is quick to make stupid decisions, but insanely slow to fix them. how many YEARS have C&R fees been a problem? job security for some i guess. in the meantime, the whole mortgage appraisal problem still continues to implode.
maybe some day the line will read: ” The Board Members TOOK ACTION on everyone’s concerns, comments and requests for clarifications.”
probably wont be in any of our life times though.
thank god none of these people are firefighters. “oh lookie! a huge fire! lets talk about it!” LOL!
the insanity continues . . . . .
The notion of having to accept a verifiably non C&R fee prior to being able to take action, seems more like deception than solution. Whom suggested this approach, and please name them specifically. Imagine that ethic applied to bribery. Does the state officer need to accept a bribe prior to filing charges? Must an appraiser violate AIR, before they are allowed to have a substantiated complaint regarding undue influence? Same concept, different application. Appraisers should not accept unethical engagement, nor should licensed entity amc’s or their lenders allow such promotion of unethical engagement. There are already rules in place that the lender must have sufficient oversight of the process. Lenders and their amc agents should not get special treatment regarding unethical behavior, or an additional layer of bureaucratic protection regarding that. This solution sounds like an attempt to stop an up and coming rule which might actually be the first rule nationally to provide some effective action regarding the C&R rule. Another lender think tank hail mary to stop C&R compliance. The consequences might tie directly to a 10k/20k daily per instance and possibly retroactive fine. Knowing your report will likely be held under scrutiny from the lender, the amc, and the state, is certainly a very strong deterrent. Enter the chilling effect. Will the state review the appraisers report prior to substantiating the complaint, or will they do that afterwards? Obviously the lenders will, since you would have completed a report for them, and then immediately filed a complaint. Enter personal liability. Has anyone consulted with the EO insurers regarding this? Consult with an ethics lawyer because something is not right in Denmark.
After having a back and forth with Joan Trice on Appraisal Buzz where I challenged the independence of her Clearbox survey, I have been blocked. Joan, if in our discussion you had said lenders and or amc’s have used your survey to set their pay policy, why is no one allowed to question you? If your national survey has 2,000+ responses (on average 50+ per state) and perhaps in lower population states as few as (10+ to 30+) I say good luck using that as a defense. I would think until such time as a state validates your survey via a lawsuit, board hearing, etc. that calling it the only known independent private sector survey, would be a stretch. Question those who don’t want to be questioned.
I just heard that I was banned from AppraisalBuzz as well for making a remarkably tame comment: “Joan Trice left appraising years ago for more profitable ventures”. Coming from me that’s as tame as it gets. Learning that I’ve been banned from their “AMC Propaganda Pumping Website” made my night to be honest.
I did quite alot of research on Princess Joan Trice and the shell companies that she runs. As it turns out each of her companies (that you would think are huge) are run from Postal Service Stores. I can’t blame her for a second for getting out of appraising when she did but at least I had the good sense to avoid AMCs. This witch EMBRACES AMCs for Christ sake. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that she is either a full or partial owner of an AMC.
I encourage you to write an article on Joan Trice and her many companies Bill. Your responses on the AppraisalBuzz.com website have been dead on every time. The fact that they can’t accept your honesty says it all. Tell us what you think of Ms. Trice and Appraisal Buzz. I’m all ears.
in 1973 I dealt cards, and roulette in Las Vegas. During slow periods it was customary for all dealers to act as shills, to attract customers that didn’t like to play at tables where no other players were. There were however strict rules of accepted conduct as a shill.
We could not do any of the dumb stuff that amateur gamblers often do that could screw up the game or affect the outcome. We were dressed in our uniform white shirts and black trousers, and if anyone asked if we were dealers or shills, had to identify that we were and offer to sit out hands played while they were playing.
If only Joan Trice would identify who and what she really is in the world of AMCs. It would be so much easier for the real players to tell the bad guys from the good guys.
Joan Trice testified before congress I believe, and therefore she should be subject to a lot of examination with respect to any conflict of interest when she speaks about the appraisal profession.
Apparently, she didn’t go very far up in the appraisal business, so she found a way to feed off other’s licenses, e & O, work and efforts, not to say her “cut” of their work. My gut says she owns an amc. who know about her “special” interests? I would say if she owns an amc then she is a special interest, sucking the blood of other appraisers. If she is not doing this I would also like someone here to come to her defense. Since she testified to congress regarding our profession, then I say it is fair game to criticize her, but I’d like to have the facts!
Deborah, Joan Trice owns several peripherally appraisal related companies and has long advocated for AMC interests…though to be fair so has the AI. If you dig though many of the older AppraisersBlogs articles you will find information on how many and what they are associated with.
Check Appraisers Expo in Vegas and you’ll find 1/3 to slightly less than half the companies sponsoring the event are either hers or associates through one of her networks. Its one of the reasons I don’t go to an Appraisers Expo
The most notable disclosures are present in the Appraisers Forum database. Just get a login, and search the archives. You cannot access the AF archives data with simple start page searches, or even google searches. You must log in to have adequate search access. So all that non stop disclosure about so many issues which used to follow industry participators like long shadows, disappeared with the simple action of denying bot crawlers access to those AF archives. Oh the miracles of modern technology. Turned the page and wiped that chalk board clean overnight. That disclosure and discourse is still there, for those whom know where the data is. But outsiders researching this industry are typically blind to all of that disclosure because they use google, and are not mind readers whom know they have to have an AF direct login, to access those droves of data. That’s why I like to rehash that data here on this site, because like the AF used to be, but no longer does, fresh and dated content from this site still appears all over google.
Can the intelligent and independent members of our industry ever move away from this silly C&R foolishness? This C&R crap was handed down to our “profession” by a group that earns a pay grade much higher than most of us will ever see.
Called a plumber on a Friday afternoon. Told him that my toilet is clogged and that I am having a house full of company this weekend. He says my fee is XXX for the service call, my fee is XXX for unclogging your sewer and my fee is XXX for doing this on the weekend. I SHOUT this is not customary and reasonable! He says for me to “bite him” and hangs up. What do you suppose he meant by that?
For my fellow appraisers that allow someone else to determine their fees, I really do not wish you the best! LOL
Yep. C&R was predicated on the assumption that clients ran orders through with equivalent terms and such. Those were the good old days. Flash forward; C&R is a client specific concern because one hooligan can ruin it for everyone else by asking too much, demanding too many changes, and being overly reliant on FNMA CU XML review systems. C&R can have some reasonable cross reference basis, but there are obvious variables to time management, workflow volume, reliability of that volume, and such similar concerns that simply cannot be over looked. C&R left the building at the exact same moment FNMA CU stepped in and half of the underwriting departments went automated. Here is a bright idea nobody has mentioned that I know of; C&R for ML should be based solely on non ML work…. Usually my bright ideas materialize with unintended consequences, so please don’t give that too much credit, but it’s the concept that will hopefully be meaningful. If I could log in to some platform and bill per hour for bonafide verifiable work effort, I’d charge twice as much as the rest of them. Elvis has left the building. Do not be alarmed. It had to happen sooner or later.
Baggs, the C&R fees originally proposed by AGA (appraisersguild.org) are derived from hourly equivalents.
Reasonable fees can be equated to hourly rates and experience. BUT…given the resistance to the much lower presumed C&R fees of Virginia there isn’t a chance that AMCs or lenders will voluntarily pay minimum C&R fees.
Worse, they are busy getting the TAF/AQB to revise the experience rules so that they can turn raw trainees and novices into ‘certified experts’ in just one year. Couple that with Institute promoted (lower) alternative valuation product lowered guidelines and its no wonder we see fees of from $49.00 to $90 being touted by the likes of First American under their various monopolistic umbrella and subsidiary companies.