January 2016 - Out of the Woods

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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TH E M R EP O RT | 23 FEATURE Mounting Challenges for Today's Appraisers T here are good reasons to be optimistic about the hous- ing industry's future. First-time homeownership is on the rise, bolstered by low rates and an im- proving economy. The origination landscape has become increasingly diverse, which is good news for consumers. Independent mortgage bankers in particular are growing in strength by placing a strong focus on speed, quality, and cus- tomer service. Of course, an improving pur- chase market is generally good news for appraisers, too. However, the appraisers of 2016 face a busi- ness climate that is much more demanding than the last time the market was this healthy. Three key issues in particular are hav- ing a direct impact on valuation professionals and how they do business. Yet they also represent opportunities for both appraisers and the industry as a whole to do better, and to help restore public trust in the appraisal process. Tighter Margins T he majority of appraisers are committed to providing the best service they can. However, the increasing demands placed on them, such as requests for additional client-specific scope of work, has substantially added to their workload and decreased productivity. No doubt today's mortgage lenders are under extraordinary pressure to comply with mul - tiple regulatory requirements and shifting investor guidelines. Yet the increasing level of client requirements far exceeds normal expectations. Many credit and risk professionals are interpret - ing recent mandates that apply to valuations very narrowly. The result has led to extra work for appraisers, which inevitably cre - ates greater expense. And even though the average cost of a residential appraisal is climbing, it has not been rising commensurate with the level of detail expected of appraisers. Many appraisers earn less today after factoring in the additional time, effort, and ex - pense it takes to meet the unique needs of their clients. For example, a growing num- ber of lenders require certified appraisers not only to oversee the work of licensed apprais- ers and sign their reports, but also to view subject properties personally. The vast majority of appraisers work independently or in small groups in order to share expenses. As such, it's not economically feasible for them to send two appraisers out to view the same property. Another example involves FHA purchase loans. Appraisers on FHA mortgages are required to not only determine a home's value, but also assess its overall condition, such as the home's electrical and plumbing systems. The Valuation Conundrum As Big Data and new technologies change the face of the housing industry, appraisers are working hard to adapt to greater demands and shorter timelines. By William Fall W hile appraisers were once a revered source of information in the housing industry, a changing industry alongside Big Data and an influx of new technology, have drastically changed the appraiser's world. No longer the keeper of covert information, some even say the appraiser today is at an informational disadvantage compared with his counterparts. At the same time, appraisers face increasing pressure to complete valuations with increased detail and accuracy all the while doing so in the shortest time possible. The solutions to the vast challenges appraisers face today seem to lie in technology. Appraisers are crying out for technology that pro- vides them greater access to information, streamlines their workflow, helps them keep an eye on compliance, and importantly that has the ability to change as the industry continues to transform. In this comprehensive valuation update, take a closer look at the chal- lenges facing the appraisal profession and the resilience of a few seasoned appraisal experts who have a vision for the future of the profession. * * * * * * * * * * * *

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