Category Archives: Reviewer Thoughts & Tips

The main attempt of this blog is for me to give back to the real property valuation industry. I can’t take my knowledge with me when I leave this world. So, my goal is to share everything I know through writing articles, teaching classes and seminars, and this blog.

I usually receive several questions a week from fee appraisers, appraisal reviewers, and chief appraisers regarding appraisal reports, FIRREA, or USPAP. Hopefully, these will provide most of the content for this blog. In this way, we can all learn from the same issue under discussion. Obviously, items will be redacted as needed to maintain confidentiality.

If I hit a lull in inquiries, I have a huge treasure trove of topics to draw on. I will try to discuss interesting topics I have encountered in international reports. It is a neat world out there and us American valuers should be amazed at how the rest of the world handles various items.

Yes, I will give my interpretation of FIRREA and USPAP. Everyone knows I am not shy. However, to CYA, I need to give the standard verbiage that my interpretations are not legal interpretations….they have not and cannot be approved by examiners and regulators. Each Bank should contact their specific examiner and/or the appropriate regulator in Washington DC that interprets FIRREA.

REVISIONS MADE TO TITLE XI OF FIRREA

April 2, 2018 (UPDATED) – The Agencies have finally released ‘The Final Rule’ for updates to FIRREA.  A copy of the document can be found at:

https://www.fdic.gov/news/board/2018/2018-03-20-notice-sum-c-fr.pdf

The main change is increasing the de minimus level for commercial real estate transactions from $250,000 to $500,000.  Although this might seem significant, it is basically an adjustment for inflation from the last change to $250,000 in 1994.

Also, the definition of ‘commercial real estate transaction’ has been updated.

The changes are not in effect until published in the Federal Register,  I will update this post when this occurs.  UPDATE – This document is now live as it is in the Federal Register.

Financial institutions should update their appraisal/evaluation policies accordingly.

 

AGENCIES PROPOSE TO INCREASE ONLY ONE THRESHOLD A SMALL AMOUNT

July 24, 2017 – The Federal Agencies published the following on July 19th:

The FDIC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the Agencies) are jointly issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking titled Real Estate Appraisals (Appraisal NPR) that will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. The Appraisal NPR proposes to increase the current appraisal threshold for commercial real estate (CRE) transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. The Appraisal NPR addresses comments received during the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA) review process, which requires that, not less than once every ten years, the Agencies, along with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, conduct a review of the Agencies’ regulations to identify outdated or otherwise unnecessary or burdensome regulatory requirements.

You can get their full 60-page report at:

https://www.fdic.gov/news/board/2017/2017-07-18-notice-dis-a-fr.pdf

The one thing I found amusing was their statement that it takes about 40 minutes to review an appraisal.  Who did they survey?

I have reviewed over 4,000 commercial appraisal reports for the past 25 years.  I consider myself extremely fast.  Plus, many times I am reviewing reports of the same appraisers I have seen 10 or 20 or 50 times before.  That helps to speed up reviews as we know where everything is in a report.

In all of the time studies I have been part of or heard about for the past 25 years, the average time to perform a Compliance Checklist is 2 hours and to perform a Technical Review is 4-8 hours.

But, that is not an important issue.  The only suggestion being made is to increase the $250,000 threshold for all commercial loans up to $400,000.  The business loan exemption will stay at $1,000,000 and the residential (1-4 units) loan exemption will stay at $250,000.

These are minor changes and quite surprising to me.  Based on inflation alone (which they present in their report), I would increase the $250,000 to $500,000 and the $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.  Based on the stats they present, this would keep appraisal volume at 1994 levels (appraisal volume has increased steadily over the past 23 years).

If I really had my way, I would eliminate appraisals for all business loans and residential loans.  Appraisers know that the value when a new loan is made is meaningless.  These type of loans are based on credit not real estate.  The banks only need to know the real estate value years in the future when a foreclosure might occur.

Which, of course, always brings us back to my call for America to adopt Mortgage Lending Value/Long-Term Sustainable Value…..but, I digress.

Remember, you have the opportunity to send in your opinion to the Agencies.  This is probably the first time in 23 years that your opinion has been asked for in regard to FIRREA.  And, it will be the last time for another 10 years.  Speak up…this is the time to do such.

UP TO 6 STATES NOW, WELCOME TO THE CLUB FLORIDA

May 25, 2017 – Six states now permit licensed appraisers to perform non-USPAP Evaluations.  In those six states, licensed appraisers are finally on a level playing field.  44 states to go.  We might already have another state in the group, but some legal confirmation is needed.  And Virginia is actually delayed a year as they need to change the definition of Evaluation.  But, we are headed in the right direction.  The following is from the Appraisal Institute (but, it omits Indiana which does have this law):

Florida Makes Significant Changes to Appraiser Licensing Law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on May 23 signed HB 927, legislation that makes significant changes to the state’s appraiser licensing law and requires appraisal management companies to comply with federal minimum requirements for registration and oversight. The law takes effect Oct. 1.

The Appraisal Institute and the Region X Government Relations Committee advocated for two key improvements to the state’s appraiser licensing law, and those provisions were incorporated into the bill.

The first provision defines an “evaluation” as a “valuation permitted by any federal financial institutions regulatory agency for transactions that do not require an appraisal” and clarifies that a state-licensed appraiser may perform an evaluation. Currently, appraisers in Florida are prevented from providing evaluations that are not in full compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice even though federal requirements only call for compliance with the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines.

Evaluation services in the state have been provided by non-appraisers, such as brokers and salespersons, accountants, architects, financial analysts and data providers, all of whom do not have to meet the same licensing and standards compliance requirements as appraisers. State-licensed appraisers will now be able to perform services on these same terms in compliance with federal requirements. Florida joins Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia in allowing appraisers to perform evaluations.

The second provision clarifies that the Florida Real Estate Appraiser Board has the authority to adopt rules allowing for the use of standards of professional practice other than USPAP for “nonfederally related transactions.” Such transactions include appraisal assignments for portfolio monitoring, financial reporting, litigation, tax and consulting, among other areas. The law requires appraisers using development and reporting standards other than those contained in USPAP to comply with USPAP Ethics and Competency Rules and other requirements adopted by the Board by rule. The law clarifies that any valuation work performed per standards other than USPAP cannot be used to satisfy the experience requirements for any Florida appraiser credential.

In 2015 and 2016, the FREAB undertook a rulemaking proceeding that would have allowed the use of standards other than USPAP if additional standards “meet or exceed” USPAP. The provisions in HB 927 remove that arbitrary threshold and grant much broader authority to FREAB to consider standards other than USPAP. Further rulemaking proceedings will need to be undertaken by FREAB to fully implement this new provision.

The Region X Government Relations Committee, under the leadership of Chair Wesley Sanders, MAI, advocated for this legislation, meeting with the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation about these two provisions. Additionally, AI professionals in Florida participated in Region X’s ValuEvent on Feb. 14 in Tallahassee, meeting with many legislators to urge support for the provisions.

View a copy of HB 927.

5 STATES DOWN, 45 TO GO

May 19, 2017 – I was notified this week that Illinois has had a law on their books that allows licensed appraisers to perform non-USPAP Evaluations.  I have no clue how long it has been there.  Maybe someone from Illinois knows and can tell me.  So, we are actually at 5 states now, albeit Virginia has a technical glitch that will delay the law for a year.  Following is an excerpt from the law (I will add emphasis to the key words) and additional explanation I have received from my ‘sources.’  (oh geez I sound like the Fake News Media!)

225 ILCS 458/5-5a – “It is unlawful for a person to …. (ii) develop a
real estate appraisal, (iii) practice as a real estate appraiser… without a license issued under this Act.”
225 ILCS 458/5-5g – “This act does not apply to”….
[1] an employee, officer, director, or member of a credit or loan
committee of a financial institution or any other person engaged by a financial institution when performing an evaluation of real property for the sole use of the financial institution in a transaction for which the financial institution would not be required to use the services of a State licensed or State certified appraiser pursuant to federal regulations adopted under Title XI of the federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989… (emphasis added)
The state board has confirmed to several people that state-certified appraisers are permitted to perform non-USPAP compliant evaluations when engaged by an institution.  The only caveat is that the appraiser cannot sign as an appraiser, reference their state credential or any appraisal related designations.

MLV TRAINING COMING TO AMERICA – FIRST TIME EVER

May 17, 2017 – As most of you know, I have been promoting Mortgage Lending Value (MLV) in America since back around 2009.  For the first time ever, HypZert is going to offer the course in America.

Information about the course is below.  The cost is $3300, which is a lot cheaper than the $20,000+ I spent on courses, travel (to Berlin), and the exam.  This is a great opportunity to learn new appraisal theory as it is introduced to America.  It is spreading in Europe and I believe it will be commonplace in America within 10 years.  I encourage you to go for it!

Training Course „Mortgage Lending Valuation“, Sep and Nov 2017 in New York – Please Register before 30 June 2017

 German Pfandbrief banks have recently intensified their activities in the U.S. real estate markets. This results in an increasing demand for real estate valuers with local market expertise who are qualified in Mortgage Lending Valuation (MLV) according to the German regulation (BelWertV).

 The vdpPfandbriefAkademie offers a compact training unit covering the methodology of MLV. The training consists of 4 seminar days in New York City including extensive study material and prepares for the corresponding certification as a HypZert Real Estate Valuer for Mortgage Lending Valuation.

The CIS HypZert (MLV) certification guarantees that its holders fulfil, without restrictions, the legal requirements for valuers according to § 6 of the German Regulation on the Determination of the Mortgage Lending Value (BelWertV).

 HypZert is Germany’s leading recognized institution in the area of certification of real estate valuers. HypZert certified experts are appreciated by clients and employers in the finance and real estate industry.

 For more information on the Seminar and Certification, please contact Nadine Roggendorf at roggendorf@pfandbriefakademie.de

 

CORRECTING THE APPRAISAL FOUNDATION’S FAKE NEWS

May 18, 2017 – Today The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) gave a webinar on using Restricted Appraisal Reports (RARs) to meet the need of Evaluations.  As TAF is no longer an unbiased entity, I will correct the Fake News they put out today.  My perspective is based on 23+ years of writing true Evaluations (i.e. non-USPAP) and 23 years of ordering RARs.  I have seen both type of reports all across the nation.  So, here goes…

  1.  FAKE NEWS – Evaluation requirements are more than Appraisal requirements.  Misleading.  TAF listed the 5 appraisal requirements listed in FIRREA.  Then compared that to the 14 bullet points for Evaluations listed in the IAEG.  Of course, one of the 5 appraisal requirements is mandatory compliance with USPAP – which has 12 bullet points in SR 2-2.  A few of those requirements require multiple items.  FACT – As I will explain below, A RESTRICTED APPRAISAL REPORT MUST ALWAYS CONTAIN MORE INFO THAN AN EVALUATION!

2.  Remember USPAP has NOTHING to do with Evaluations.  Only the December 2010 IAEG applies to Evaluations.  Thus, this webinar and the next webinar about writing an USPAP Evaluation (an oxymoron – USPAP has an A for Appraisal in it, not an E for Evaluation! Evaluation requirements are in the IAEG) are not relevant.

3.  IMPORTANT EXPLANATION FROM GEORGE MANN:

A.  Evaluations CAN omit many items that are required and/or reported in the typical appraisal report (I will list many below).

B.  RARs CANNOT omit any items required by the IAEG for Evaluations.

C.  Therefore, RARs MUST ALWAYS CONTAIN MORE INFO THAN AN EVALUATION!

4.  FAKE NEWS – It was insinuated in the webinar that a RAR could have less content than an Evaluation.  A single statement near the end said RARs do need to be beefed up and that will be explained in the next webinar.  That should have been emphasized more.  The sample RAR presented would NOT meet Evaluation requirements.  The IAEG says ‘sufficient information’ is needed.  Simply stating a value is not sufficient information.

5.  Here is a list of items that are typically included in a RAR, but are NOT included in an Evaluation:

2 very important items are Evaluations do NOT require the SR 2-3 Certification, nor do you have a work file requirement.  Those are yuge and bigly!

Reporting-wise Evaluations typically will NOT contain an executive summary, limiting conditions, extraordinary assumptions and hypothetical conditions, intended use, intended user, zoning, tax assessment info, flood zone, detailed property descriptions, prominent use restriction statement (RARs), or listing and sales history.  That is not to say every RAR needs all of those items (many are mandatory though) nor that every Evaluation will omit all of those items (most of them will be omitted though).  Therefore, it is FAKE NEWS for anyone to ever say or insinuate that a RAR contains less or equal detail to an Evaluation.

Remember, Mann’s Law of Evaluations – A RESTRICTED APPRAISAL REPORT MUST ALWAYS CONTAIN MORE INFO THAN AN EVALUATION!

Lastly, not that TAF suggested a bank would use an Evaluation on a $34 Million property, the IAEG makes it clear that as the loan and/or property become more complex, banks need to move towards appraisals.  Nearly all Evaluations will be on properties valued around $1 Million or less.  Some exceptions will exist, especially for the largest banks.  But, not too often will a bank use an Evaluation on properties over $1 Million.  Yes, technically, they make their decision based on loan amount.  But, us appraisers deal with property value.

TAF made a great point that an RAR can be done on any size property.  The amount of work doesn’t change between a RAR and an Appraisal Report.  But, the amount of reporting is less (in a RAR) and that saves a little bit of writing time.

Agencies Finalize EGRPRA Review with Joint Report to Congress

March 22, 2017 – After about 2 years, FFIEC has finally published their report that includes dealing with appraisal issues.

The link is below.   Pages 28 to 40 deal with appraisal issues.  Albeit, appraisals are discussed a bit in a few other places.  As noted, these are NOT final and official changes.

In general, if the proposal does not change, this is a big win for appraisers.  The small increase in a single threshold will not have a major affect on appraisal volume.

https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2017/nr-ia-2017-33a.pdf?utm_campaign=ABA-Newsbytes-032217-HTML&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

USPAP CHANGES FOR 2018-2019

February 24, 2017 – The ASB has posted a summary of changes at the following link:

https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/share?#/view/s305094efde84bbda

For those performing appraisal review, you will want to read about the changes and plan ahead if there will be changes needed for your review documents.

The definition changes are also worth noting.  We have 10 months to get ready for the changes.

TRANSACTION VALUE

February 17, 2017 – I received the following question:

QUESTION:  I had an appraisal/FDIC interpretation question in regards to the $250,000 transaction value from fil10082a and thought I’d reach out and see if you could provide any input.

Example:  An individual identified a situation where there’s an existing $1,300,000 loan and a borrower is requesting another $200,000 for improvements.  Is the “transaction value” (as defined in FDIC fil10082a) $200,000, which is the new subsequent request OR is it equal to the new exposure of $1,500,000?  All else equal (market values have held, no material property deterioration, etc.), no new appraisal would be required if the transaction value is under $250,000.

Any input you could provide would be appreciated.

ANSWER:  The transaction amount is the total $1.5 Million.

Assuming no change in market conditions or collateral protection, an evaluation is permitted and an appraisal is not required.

However, you should consider getting an appraisal if there were potential credit risk management concerns.

Also, regulators want banks to have a policy on when to obtain appraisals even though an evaluation is permitted.

ADDITIONAL NOTE – There is no dollar threshold for loan renewals, refinancings, or subsequent transactions.  The $250,000 and $1,000,000 thresholds only apply to New Loans.

 

HAWAII

January 28, 2017 – The fun part of reviewing is seeing how things are done in different markets.  I ran into two items I have not seen before.

The subject is not within a tsunami evacuation zone.

Well, I guess that is something to worry about over there.  I have not seen such for properties along the West Coast of the mainland though.  Maybe, just not a big issue for the mainland versus Hawaii.

Zone D is defined as areas where there are possible but undetermined flood hazards, as no analysis of flood hazards has been conducted. Not within a Special Flood Hazards Area but within 250 feet of Zone
AE.

I have not encountered Flood Zone D before.  This particular property is in Honolulu.  It doesn’t seem like it would be a tough place to determine a flood zone for.

As they say, you learn something every day.  I learned two things:)