What clients and Real Estate Agents Don’t Understand about Appraiser Independence

What clients and Real Estate Agents Don’t Understand About Appraiser Independence

Minneapolis, MN:  Real Estate Agents constantly call our mortgage office to ask if an Appraisal was ordered, or if it is completed yet.

appThe first question is pretty silly…  Of course it was.  The second question is tougher to answer until the completed appraisal physically shows up on the lenders desk.

Recent lender rules require what is known as “Appraiser Independence”.  This is a double down on the old rules that no one is allowed to influence or pressure the appraiser to obtain any pre-determined value on the home. The rules also means that no one who will be compensated on the file can have anything to do with picking the appraiser.  It has to be totally blind and randomly assigned.  This is very different from years past where the client or the Loan Officer could pick any appraiser they wanted.

Once the appraisal has been ordered, there are varying degrees of what the Loan Officer may or may not know about the status of the appraisal.  Most mortgage companies use a middle company, known as an AMC, or Appraisal Management Company, to handle all aspects of the appraisal. This easily means the lender will meet the “independence” guidelines. Some AMC’s are better than others in letting the lender know the status, giving them the expected date the appraiser will visit the property, and the expected appraisal completion date. With many others, the lender is completely in the blind. In the vast majority of cases, I don’t even know who the appraiser is until the appraisal is completed.

To further complicate the issue, while it is technically possible for a Loan Officer to speak to an appraiser on a very limited number of questions, the vast majority of lenders completely forbid this contact to avoid even the remote likelihood of influence complicity.  It is much easier to respond to regulators that “our loan officers are forbidden”, then to claim they didn’t do anything wrong.

As a mortgage lender, it is very frustrating when real estate agents constantly bombard me with appraisal question.  If I know, I will tell you.  Do not yell at the Loan Officer if they don’t know the answer or say they can not talk to the appraiser.

What is the value of my home?

What’s the value of your home? (MN & WI Only)

St Paul, MN: Many homeowners are curious about the appraised value of their home in today’s market. An actual appraisal is expensive, and county tax records do NOT always reflect true market value. As you may be aware, home values are constantly fluctuating, and with the decline in average values, it is important to have an accurate idea of what your home is worth.

There are many sites that claim to give you are idea, including Zillow, Trulia, and more.

The problem is, where is the data coming from and how accurate is it?

We have a different tool to answer the estimated appraised value of your home question. Our application uses the Freddie Mac Home Price Index ( FMHPI ). FMHPI is calculated using a repeat-transactions methodology. Repeat transactions indexes measure price appreciation while holding constant property type and location, by comparing the price of the same property over two or more transactions. The change in price of a given property measures the underlying rate of appreciation because basic factors such as physical location, climate, housing type, etc., are constant between transactions. Averages of appreciation rates for different geographic areas and time periods are calculated using statistical regressions and the index values are derived from these averages

While the estimate may not be the actual or appraised value of your property, it can be a useful tool to gauge fluctuations and trends in your market which affect your home’s value.

Check your homes value? (MN and WI homes only)

For best results, contact us. I can help with purchasing a new home, or refinancing your existing MN or WI home, get you pre-approved for a new home, or put you in touch with a GOOD Real Estate Agent to help determine the best asking price for your home. We know the particulars of your neighborhood, the value of homes, and can help you discover what your home may really be worth.