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[Sounding Bored] Appraisers Are NOT Enablers

Sounding Bored is my semi-regular column on the state of the appraisal profession. This week I refuse to paint and therefore am not enabled.

Like or not, when there is mortgage fraud involved, appraisers are somehow involved [Dayton Daily News] [1]. The appraisal profession, whether appraisers like it or not, is the connection between the property and the mortgage fraud being conducted.

A lot of appraisers, including myself, have pointed fingers at many in the lending business, but not enough of a critical eye on ourselves. On one hand, the lending process has encouraged self-dealing and exagerating through financial incentive, but on the other hand, many in our profession don’t have the backbone to say no and work to switch their client base or specialty, otherwise it wouldn’t be so widespread.

Lender pressure and wholesale lending irregularities didn’t happen overnight. The appraisal industry has always been underreprepresented because it is too fragmented and emphasis has always been placed on the commercial sector, because the dollars (value) are so much bigger.

The loss of our professional identity happened at about the same pace as the paint fading on a house (assuming it doesn’t have aluminum siding). Form-fillers are merely coloring an asset to meet the needs of the parties involved (no offense to house painters).

Whenever you read about someone arrested or indicted for mortgage fraud, there is always an appraiser involved.

But let get one thing straight: using the professional label of an “appraiser” for those walking down the “perp” walk is clearly inaccurate, because they didn’t appraise the property.

Those individuals are merely painters in appraiser’s clothing.