Highest and Best Use

In todays marketplace, I am left wondering exactly what the highest and best use of a residential real estate appraisal really is. It would seem that I have finally reached a point in my life where I have lost my Mojo for the profession.

Intellectually I can say that the use of the real estate appraisal is as valuable today as it was back when lenders were actually lending their own money and really cared about receiving an honest opinion of value.

At that loans were sought, but only in situations of need because someone needed to buy a home or a building for a very specific reason. Entire generations of people were content to stay out of debt and save for their dream home. In a large percentage of cases, lives would be spent saving money only to have to roll to the next generation. People who were finally able to buy their homes took pride in the actual unencumbered ownership.

If an appraisal was required for tax, insurance, mortgage, estate or “God forbid” divorce purposes there was not a tendency to pressure the outcome because people genuinely wanted to know the value of the home.

In contrast today, people do not save for anything. If they do not have cash they find a way to afford the payments for what they want from clothes, to toasters, to cars, to houses. We live in an instant and disposable society and if an honest appraisal is conducted that does not meet the whim of the consumer then, the appraiser is labeled as “bad” or barraged with reconsiderations until such time as they cave in or flip off the client.   Of course when the loan goes bad, the lender is not judged, the borrower is not prosecuted. The appraiser is labeled as “bad” and if they are lucky they only lose future work. If the make too many deals, the FBI gets involved.

Am I suggesting that America has made its own brand of criminal “the appraiser” and the prosecuting them for following the pressure that was imposed upon them? Actually, yes that is exactly what I am suggesting.

For the record, I have fired more clients than I can remember and because of my sense of honor and ethics my wife and children have been deprived some of the finer things in life so that I could hold my head up without shame when I look myself in the mirror each morning.

But as I pour over file after file after file, I can not help but ask myself what exactly did all of my folderol accomplish in fighting the good fight and standing firm for my sense of right and wrong?

Lenders simply found other appraisers to make the deals. When I changed my practice to fraud investigations, all I really did was find myself surrounded by literally tens of thousands of appraisal reports that presented appraisal opinions that were gladly accepted by the lenders until things got challenged and then the “bad” appraiser caused the bank to fail.

I would like to think that this just burn out talking, but it seems to me that for the purpose of mortgage lending the highest and best use of the appraisal is to line the bottom of the loan file until they need someone to blame.

See you around the water cooler!

UncleZev

Stand for What is Right

The days of right and wrong seem to have been replaced with reasonable and customary.  In a world where we are afraid to stand for what is right, for fear that someone else may disagree or feel judged, we have lost our footing. If you don’t believe me, just open your eyes and watch the world losing its mind. Am I someone who believes a religious right should rule? No.

I am someone who believes that there are fundamentals in life that should not be abandoned for fear that we may upset another culture or way of life. The reality is simple: respect, courtesy, honesty, integrity, fairness these are all attributes that people appreciate from others, but it seems that they are sorely lacking in what is quickly becoming the social norm.

What does that have to do with the appraisal of real estate? Perhaps nothing, perhaps more than anyone of us realize. If the men and women of earlier generations would or could speak to us, they would remind us that the foundational ways of behaving should be the base of all activities in life. How we present ourselves and treat others is so much more important than I can possible hope to convey in this short rant.

But I will leave you with this thought: only a truly immoral society feels the need to try to legislate morality, for if we were all acting as we should, there would be no need to impose laws to encourage correct behavior.

See you around the water cooler!

UncleZev

By the way kudos to https://mamasweekly.wordpress.com which is written by my wife. Without her looking over my posts, you would have to suffer with my continued misspellings and grammatical anomalies. Thank you sweetheart (and you know you are (winking)).