Social media has been nuts the last couple of weeks with some appraisers seemingly clamoring for more information on multiple regression analysis (MRA). So what is the big deal? Fannie Mae has decided to implement a new analytics application, Collateral Underwriter (CU), available to assist lenders in making sure that appraisal quality is maintained by the lenders . You cannot scroll through some of the groups without seeing some new post asking for copies of regression spreadsheets or long threads debating the topic. There have been many of us touting the benefits of using it for years. It can be a very useful tool. I very much believe it is a tool that every residential appraiser needs to know about and be able to utilize at some competent level. But there is always a catch to anything worth doing, and MRA is no exception. Learning regression is a process and is not something one should tread into lightly.
This is the first part of a series that will briefly compare and contrast real estate assessment and standard fee practice. There are lots of similarities as well as differences between the two disciplines. There are both superior and inferior aspects to both sides, with both sides producing appraisers and analysts that are unique to their respective sides. Having worked both sides at staff and management levels, I can see how a combination of both disciplines could very well produce valuation professionals that are, to borrow one of my favorite band’s lyrics, “Some Kind of Monster”.
It is with a good deal of lament that I am writing this post. I opened my email this morning to see an announcement from Appraisal Advisor (AA) stating that they that would be ceasing operation as of February 1, 2014. For those that did not know about them, they were, to my knowledge, the only source for appraisers to post reviews about working with Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs). AA also developed credit ratings based on appraiser reviews of working with each rated AMC.
Competition, in a free market, is a fierce catalyst: one that can effectively sort out the bad apples from the bunch. Capitalism works, it is simple when left unfettered and when all parties are ethical in their approach to business. It works until politicians, however well meaning they try to be, step in with a”solution”. Through the Dodd-Frank reform and the Andrew Cuomo created Home Valuation Code of Conduct that predates Dodd-Frank, congress effectively went anti-small business again.
I get it, appraising, especially residential-mortgage-use appraising, can be a thankless job. If you understand all that goes into properly developed reporting, it is hard to compete with the appraisers that perform poor due diligence and in turn, charge much less than the rest of us. They are great at checking boxes and making minimal commentary. They are rewarded for cutting corners, and appraisers that do the quality work are left at the margins. The new Fannie Mae Lender Letter may be a step in changing this.