Appraisal Fraud in Clackamas, Oregon? , by Brett Reichel, Brettreichel.com


Wowza…..pretty bold headline, isn’t it?

How can that claim be made or the question raised?

First – a quick note on technicalities on appraisals – Comparable Sales are compared to the Subject property to try to lead the appraiser to a supportable “opinion of value”.   Differences in properties are accounted for by “adjustments” to the comparable sale, which then leads to an “adjusted value” of the comparable.  The adjustments are supposed to equalize differences in properties.  Adjustments are supposed to be supported through market analysis, specifically “matched pair analysis“.

A simplified example of a “matched pair analysis” would be two houses that are identical in every way, with the exception of one of them having a fireplace.  House A, without the fireplace sells for $100,000, and House B, with the fireplace sells for $101,000.  What’s the value of the fireplace?  Since the houses are identical in every way, the value of the fireplace is clearly $1,000.  In that market area, in that price range, fireplaces are worth $1,000 and until proven differently, the appraiser is justified in adjusting comparable sales $1,000 for fireplaces (having them or not having them).

One of the things we’ve seen adjustments for lately, is the adjustment in “time”.  This adjustment is made for changes in the market between when a comparable sale is sold and when your subject sold.  If the market is dropping, then the adjustment to the comparable would be downward, and in a rising market, upward.

As you might suspect, appraisers have been making this adjustment…..a lot….lately.  The problem is, they have been skipping the “matched pair analysis” process and just using median prices to justify the adjustment.  This is NOT acceptable appraisal practice.  But, if it’s become the norm, if it’s become acceptable, it should apply when median prices escalate.

Thus the headline.  A recent market report indicates that median prices have been on a 90 day upswing in Clackamas, Oregon.  Have the appraisers reversed their course and adjusted upward for time?  No they haven’t.  Why?

Lender pressure is why.  The whole point of industry reform (HVCC and/or Dodd-Frank) was to eliminate lender pressure, but now the lenders have even greater methods of applying pressure with the new rules.  Really, the problem starts in two places, regulation and the GSE‘s.   The GSE’s are Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.  Their forms require the use of Median Prices.  Fannie/Freddie, Barney and Chris (a criminal “friend of Angelo”) are behind this lender fraud.  The rest of the market is captive and held to their criminal standards, including the poor appraiser.

Frankly, this only helps the banks, and it doesn’t do anything for the borrower, the seller.  It doesn’t help stabilize our markets or improve our economy.

What to do?  Well, don’t shoot the appraiser – he/she can’t do anything about what the lenders force them to do.  Complain to the lender, complain to your legislators, complain to regulators, call Elizabeth Warren, complain long, hard and loud….maybe if enough voices are heard we can get out from under the tyranny of the banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

New Features on the Stewart Group Realty Web Site


Just added a search engine for the local real estate multiple listing service to the web site.    http://www.sgrealty.us/

Important New Regulations Affecting Closing Dates!


From the Desk of Phil Querin, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLC, PMAR/OREF Legal Counsel

Although the initial annual percentage rate (APR) on a residential loan is disclosed in the Good Faith Estimate early in the purchase transaction, it can change before closing. Under the new rules enacted in the Truth in Lending Act, effective on July 30, 2009 (last Thursday), if the actual (i.e. the final) APR varies from that initially disclosed on the Good Faith Estimate by at least .125%, then there is a mandatory additional three (3) business day waiting period before the transaction can close. So if the final APR isn’t disclosed until late in the transaction, it could potentially force the three (3) business day period to extend beyond the closing date set forth in the Sale Agreement.

As you know, the Oregon Real Estate Forms (OREF) closing date is written in stone – there are no automatic extensions – so if it appears that the APR could be held up or there is any indication that the APR will change at closing, brokers would be well-advised to get seller and buyer to agree in advance to a written extension as a contingency if the final APR causes the three (3) business day period to extend beyond the scheduled closing date. OREF will be meeting shortly to consider some additional language for the new sale agreement form, although it won’t actually get printed and distributed until early next year. In the meantime, I have recommended to my clients that they may wish to consider adding an addendum to their sale agreements with language such as the following: ” In the event that Buyer’s final Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”) differs from the APR initially disclosed to the Buyer in the Good Faith Estimate by .125% or more, the Closing Deadline defined in the Real Estate Sale Agreement shall automatically be extended for three (3) additional business days in accordance with Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act ,as amended on July 30, 2008.”

This, of course, is subject to the review of the companies’ principal broker and legal counsel.