GUEST POST: Lisa Alvarez, The American Guild of Appraisers 800-660-1835 ext 2. The American Guild of Appraisers Weekly Conference Call When: Every Tuesdays 2pm – 2:30pm Eastern Time Where: 559-546-1000, Password 382795.
As a result of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), and the current Financial Reform Act of 2010 (aka Dodd-Frank), appraisers have had to work under difficult circumstances. According to recent statistics, upwards of 80% of lending appraisal assignments are being funneled through Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs). These AMC’s are enforcing unreasonable working conditions on appraisers by unrealistically reducing the completion time for appraisal assignments, adding exhaustive addenda requirements, while reducing in half the typical fee paid to the appraiser.
Appraisers are now faced with big banks (aided by misguided government interpretation of Dodd-Frank) determining what should be a reasonable and customary fee. Since April 1, 2011, AMCs have been telling appraisers to expect yet lower fees for their services. AMC’s continue to rack up huge profits on the backs of consumers and appraisers. To add insult to injury, the transparency of appraisal service fees to the consumer has become a joke.
From my experience over the past few years as the legislative liaison for two appraisal organizations, I have come to realize: “The very thing we value, our independence, has been detrimental to our profession.” During the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a multitude of appraisal organizations, state coalitions, AI chapters, as well as individual appraisers. The one constant I hear from leaders of these organizations is that they have a difficult time getting appraisers involved. To quote myself “We are too independent for our own good.”
National appraisal organizations have been working on the behalf of appraisers for many years. With members spread out between a collective of different organizations, the appraisal industry has had minimal success protecting our profession. We lack the necessary funding to influence legislature at both the state and federal levels. Up to now, other lobbying organizations (lenders and AMCs) have been the Goliath to our David.
So what can we do? “With so many small organizations representing appraisers, we don’t have a strong and collective voice,” said Coleen Morrison, Standing President of the MD Chapter of AGA. “We needed a voice that we haven’t had for the past 25 years. A voice that allows us to come together so we can be more powerful and better able to represent the interests of appraisers.”
The American Guild of Appraiser (AGA) /Guild 44 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)/AFL-CIO, based in Maryland, near Washington, DC, could be our answer.
The AGA is a non-traditional union that represents independent professionals. The AGA does not engage in collective bargaining, strikes, and does not enforce closed shops. The AGA does not negotiate contracts, does not have shop stewards, and does not have any oversight regarding its member’s work products. What we have is the backing of over 10 million members within the AFL-CIO and 110,000 within the OPEIU. With these numbers, we have a collective voice. AGA will encourage professionalism and communication between all professional appraisal organizations. With the backing of the AFL-CIO we continue to play a vital role in fighting legislation and regulation that supplants and marginalizes the professional appraiser. We are practicing real estate appraisers who are giving up our time and talents for the appraising profession, for you.
The American Guild of Appraisers is working to further legislation at the state and federal level to better regulate AMC activities and to secure the independent role and compensation of the professional appraiser.
“We have to fight for the integrity of the appraisal process, as well as to preserve our industry, to stop it from being swallowed up and lost,” said Colleen Johansen, AGA vice president. “We are not going to let that happen, we will fight for our members.”
Peter Vidi, Guild 44 president states “It’s our mission is to ensure that professionals have a collective voice, whether it’s negotiating a contract or representation on the legislative front. That’s what AGA is all about, and that’s the kind of strong collective voice that the appraisers have as part of Guild 44. The credo of the American Guild of Appraisers is, ‘We Value America’s Future.’
Appraisers take the first step and join us on our weekly conference call. Let’s start working together with one strong collective voice. If you don’t get involved now, than yes, “we are too independent for our own good.”
The American Guild of Appraisers Weekly Conference Call is every Tuesday from 2:00pm – 2:30pm Eastern Time. Call 559-546-1000. The password is 382795 - For more information email: email@example.com , or call 800-660-1835.