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Comment on Financial Reform Implementation

September 10, 2010

Hello Jeff Shurman, executive director of TAVMA, and all legislators regarding AMC’s:

The solution to the appraisal industry's problem is here: How about this solution Jeff: AMC's can't quote or collect any appraisal fees period. You should charge for the services you provide and you should only be able to charge the lender who hired you an appraisal referral fee. Appraisers should be able to collect our fees directly from the homeowner or the bank and the appraisal fees should NEVER be in the bank account of an AMC. Florida law already clearly states that only certified appraisers may collect appraisal fees! This a law that somehow AMC’s have not been held accountable for violating! Your crooked TAVMA organization has promulgated the theft of appraisal fees from the consumers and appraisers and caused irreparable damage to appraisers and the industry. You have diminished the public’s trust in appraisers. You have proven that the only solution is to keep AMC's from collecting any appraisal fees. TAVMA is solely responsible for putting thousands of qualified appraisers out of business. This must be corrected now. I urge all parties to consider allowing the appraisers to once again collect our own fees that we have earned the qualifications to collect. AMC's should never touch an appraisal fee again as far as I'm concerned. AMC's have proven over the past few years that they simply cannot be trusted to not steal as much of the appraisal fee as possible by having the ability to charge homeowners as much as they want while playing appraisers against each other and blacklisting appraisers to get their costs down as much as possible. It takes 3 years to become an appraiser…that is almost like going to law school! Why would any appraiser choose to devote that much of their lives to learning the trade if they can no longer even collect their own professional fee? They will not, so the profession is doomed until you allow the appraisers to quote and collect the appraisal fees based on the amount of work that will be required to complete the job properly. No more AMC's asking appraisers to do a waterfront appraisal on a $1,000,000 house for $200…..that's not fair to the homeowner or the appraiser! How about if you AMC's refer the job to the appraiser, who calls the homeowner, and, after finding out the details of the job and determining the scope of work, notifies the AMC of the required fee and turn time and the AMC may notify the lender of the appraiser's fee (that they will be collecting from the homeowner) and turntime. The appraisers should be able to quote and collect our own professional fees again from the homeowner or directly get paid from the lender. You AMC's can then make up a nice statement to the bank and let them know who to write appraisal fee checks to and the amount. AMC's should not care about what the appraiser charges the homeowner, because they should not be collecting appraisal fees. AMC's do not perform appraisal assignments. AMC's should not collect appraisal fees thereby getting the right to steal as much of the fee as possible. End the racquet now. The fee that a lender pays an AMC will then be determined by the market for that service instead of what has been going on, which is that the AMC gets to offer an almost free service to the lender because they are stealing their money from the consumers (who pay a higher appraisal fee) and the appraisers. Even worse, the AMC's all tell the appraisers to "not discuss fees with the homeowner" or we will put you on the blacklist. No doubt they have actually asked appraisers to conspire to steal money from consumers by doing that, which is unethical, and also the homeowner who is paying a high appraisal fee is looking at the appraiser the whole time thinking "wow, you sure are expensive! why are you so expensive? Last appraisal I had was only $375. As far as your weak attempt to say there are no references to what a reasonable and customary fee is….that's a joke! Let me tell you what fees were, and have been, since 2002, eight years ago: We were charging $400 for a regular appraisal and $450 for FHA's in 2002 and getting it from the homeowner all day long. The internet had the same information, so don't think that the appraiser's costs have declined on that end over the same period. If you want a survey just act like you are an attorney doing a divorce case in that city and call a few appraisers for fee quotes. Amazingly you will probably get a fee quote of around $375 for a basic appraisal and $425 for an FHA appraisal in most cities in the US. These fees are BEFORE you add the MC 1004 form and the extra listings and the REO addendums, etc…….which should be added to these fees. I personally have left the industry partially until this is resolved. Until the appraisers can quote fees and turntimes and collect their own fees again, the industry is not profitable, considering the amount of work required to perform an appraisal. In my opinion, trying to regulate HOW MUCH OF THE APPRAISAL FEE CAN BE STOLEN BY THE AMC by using these third party surveys is the wrong solution, when just allowing the appraisers to collect their own fees from the homeowner again, like it used to be before AMC's got in between and started stealing money from everyone for basically operating a referral service, is a better route. Legislators please realize that there is one thing that has never been proven to be a cause of fraud and that is WHO pays the appraiser. You cannot name one instance I'll bet where appraisal fraud could be related to the homeowner paying the appraiser directly! So why may I ask do AMC's get to collect our professional fee in the first place if it has nothing to do with protecting anyone from anything. AMC's have no business collecting professional fees or brokering the services of professional appraisers and collecting their fees "for" them as a convenience, so that they can conveniently keep half of the money. Appraisers have spent years of their lives to be able to collect appraisal fees….please allow them once again to compete with each other by collecting their own fees once again….regardless of which AMC sent them the referral for the job. AMC's need to be completely cut out of the appraisal fee collection business, because they DO NOT PERFORM APPRAISALS and because they have proven that they only care about turntimes and stealing as much money as possible from consumers and appraisers under the guise of "protecting" everyone from fraud. It should be ONLY the state's appraisal boards that determine who gets to do appraisals in that state or who needs to have their licenses removed for breaking the rules. Trusting AMC's to act as quasi legislative entities in attempting to prevent fraudulent appraisals is a joke….they do not care about fraud…only the bottom line. I'm sick of this racquet that used to be an industry. Please restore the integrity of the system by cutting AMC's completely out of the appraisal fee collection business since they have proven to be the real "fraudulent" link in the chain….lying to homeowners and appraisers alike and asking appraisers to lie on their behalf to the homeowner about the fees. When I can collect my appraisal fee again…I will consider returning to the industry…but until then…the AMC's being able to collect our fees has made the industry unprofitable and uncompetitive. How will third party surveys ever allow appraisers to increase their fees to keep pace with the CPI? This is a major problem that needs to be considered because otherwise appraisers will be forced to earn less in terms of real adjusted dollars every year they are in business!! The AMC's and TAVMA in particular should be investigated on the highest level for anti-trust behaviour, collusion, price fixing, and tortious interference and a class action suit should be brought against all the AMC's who have stolen appraisal fees on a massive scale over the past few years, and especially since TAVMA got Andrew Cuomo to ignore the fraudulent activities of eAppraiseIT and pass the HVCC instead….which gave AMC's a license to steal from all parties and the HVCC itself was a contract that violated the Administrative Procedures Act and was entered into under duress by the parties that signed it, under threats by Andrew Cuomo himself. TAVMA convinced Andrew Cuomo to allow AMC's to steal money from consumers while putting almost all appraisers out of business by allowing AMC's to steal the appraiser's entire profit margins for themselves. Flat fees do not work and are unfair to all parties except the AMC. AMC's have proven that they should not in any way be allowed to act as a financial intermediary between the lenders and the appraisers as it relates to the appraisal fees. Jeff, it is a shame that you continue to blow smoke up the asses of legislators in another attempt to preserve your ability to steal money from appraisers across the country. If Obama knew how many jobs you and Andrew Cuomo were eliminating while he was doing everything in his power to create new jobs in our economy, I think he would declare the entire TAVMA organization a detriment to the appraisal industry and mandate that AMC's cannot collect any more appraisal fees….period…which is the best solution of them all in my book. Appraisers have earned the right to collect our own professional fees. Please, legislators, fix the problem this time and bring the ethics and fairness that the thieving AMC's stole back to the industry.


H. Dante Kahn, III
Appraisal Group of Pensacola, Inc.

Last Updated 9/23/2010

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