It’s my youngest son’s birthday tomorrow and it’s also the one-year anniversary of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. People ask me all the time what I think about HVCC, so I figured on the eve of twelve months of HVCC, it would be appropriate to have a little discussion. In short, I think the Home Valuation Code of Conduct has been difficult for the appraisal industry, the consumer, and the real estate industry.
Appraisers definitely make less money now for loan work. I know, who cares, right? But listen between the lines because what if the government stepped into your industry and said you could no longer do business with clients you’ve had a relationship with for years. Many appraisers have gone out of business because their client-base was swept under the rug last year when HVCC was implemented.
Secondly, the consumer pays more for a real estate appraisal now. Under the direction of HVCC, appraisals geared toward Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac cannot be ordered directly by a lender or broker, but must be ordered from a neutral third-party (often times an AMC – Appraisal Management Company). These companies charge the consumer more than what an appraiser would typically charge, and many times pay the appraiser quite a bit less than what is customary in the market. There are some upstanding AMCs out there that I am thankful to do business with, but on the other hand it’s too bad to see some companies really taking advantage of the situation at hand. For example, I received an email yesterday from an AMC offering appraisers $125 for an appraisal order, while their website shows fees at nearly $500.
Lastly, HVCC has definitely impacted the real estate market. Since appraisers cannot be chosen directly by lenders, loan officers or brokers, the best appraiser for the job may no longer be hired. One might make the case therefore that there is a serious issue right now with the quality of real estate appraisals because of less experienced appraisers being hired to complete appraisals they are not as qualified to do. That’s definitely the case, but on the other hand I also think HVCC has been a bit of a microscope to the appraisal industry in some regards because it has illuminuated some shoddy work in the appraisal field.
Ultimately, I’m thankful that HVCC only applies to loans geared toward Fannie & Freddie (HUD/FHA has something similar in place now too). I still do many appraisals for investors, Realtors, and home owners, and these types of valuations are NOT affected at all by HVCC. Of course I’m not immune to some of the consequences of HVCC as I mentioned above, and the whole thing upsets me, but I’m choosing to focus on other things. I may be limited in business right now with what I can do for loan appraisals, but I can still chase other avenues of appraisal work such as bankruptcy, divorce, estate settlement, investor valuations, and assignments from local governmental agencies. In fact, just yesterday I had another Sacramento estate settlement retrospective appraisal come my way.
I know this almost sounds like a positive spin, but there is something philosophical here for me because it’s about focus. HVCC has been a sincere difficulty, but focusing all my attention on it and being negative won’t do me any good (and it won’t pay the bills either). Therefore HVCC won’t define me today, and it won’t be fuel on the fire tomorrow either on the one-year anniversary. Tomorrow I’ll be burning some hot dogs on a grill, enjoying the company of family as we celebrate my youngest son’s birthday, and intentionally not focusing on HVCC.
I’d like to hear from you as a real estate agent, consumer, or appraiser. How have you seen HVCC impact the real estate market over this past year?