Does anybody miss the good old days of having to deal with the mortgage broker? After spending about 53 minutes on the phone with an appraisal management company, who will remain nameless, I am almost missing the good old days myself.
I originally called, because the appraisal management company called to see if I would take a forensic retrospective review for a new client they just acquired. This of course is a Fannie Mae client, and any of us who have dealt with Fannie we know there is a specific format, guideline and style in which they want their reviews worded.
Despite my better judgment I agreed to take the assignment. Having working in the fraud investigation department for Fannie Mae for the better part of eighteen months, and having had more than twenty years in experience in residential review I felt adequately up to the challenge.
The problem I encountered was that the property was a hypothetical appraisal. That is to say the report was conducted on 5 acres out of 214 acres. The property was never taxed separately and never subdivided. This lack of subdivision makes the appraisal hypothetical and the property was ineligible for residential lending standards.
I called the appraisal management company to let them know of my findings and asked to speak to their chief appraiser. This is where it got interesting. After several minutes of hesitation and asking questions so why I could not just give them a value on the 214 acre farm in Ellis County, Texas; I was finally given the phone number for “one of their appraisers”. It turned out this appraiser was an independent fee appraiser like myself, working in Michigan. He was of course very nice and professional but what bothers me is working for an appraisal management company who have no appraisers in the company structure.
Once upon a time, my father told me the appraisal industry was “going to hell” because it was filling up with women and children. Of course this was a tongue in cheek comment, because I was working for him the “children” as was his wife the “women”. But I can only imagine what he would have to say about the appraisal management company that has no appraisers and no has no idea why it is a problem to review a hypothetical appraisal for residential lending purposes.