Friday, April 30, 2010

Washington State Politics

Correction on tax initiatives. Initiative sponsor par excellance and alert reader Tim Eyman points out an inaccuracy in last Saturday's item about the tax increases Gov. Chris Gregoire signed. He and other tax foes in his camp have filed initiatives to repeal six of the taxes passed by the Legislature in its special session. The story said they had filed initiatives to repeal most of the taxes, and that's numerically incorrect. The Legislature raised 17 taxes, so their initiatives only cover about a third of them. Spokesman-Review. -- 4.29.10

Priest will run for Federal Way mayor, leaving the Legislature. Rep. Skip Priest has decided to enter the race to become Federal Way's first elected mayor. Priest, R-Federal Way, said he made the decision Monday and won't be running for a fifth consecutive term as a representative from the 30th Legislative District. STEVE MAYNARD in the News Tribune. -- 4.29.10

Lack of endorsement could signal trouble. The Olympia-based Washington Federation of State Employees has snubbed all of the incumbent Democratic lawmakers running for re-election this fall. The union, one of the largest state worker unions in the state, withheld endorsements for many majority Democrats in the House, too, sending a message that state workers are angry with the way Democrats have dealt with state budget and state worker issues over the last two years. Olympian opinion -- 4.29.10

Other Legislators dropping out:

State Senator Dale Brandland, a Republican who represents the 42nd District, has announced his decision to retire from the Senate. He has held the seat since being elected in 2002. The 42nd Legislative District encompasses most of Whatcom County. It includes northern Bellingham plus all of Whatcom's other incorporated cities: Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Sumas, Deming, and Nooksack. The district's two Representatives are Doug Ericksen and Kelli Linville. Linville is a senior member of the House Democratic caucus; she currently chairs the House Appropriations Committee. She now has the option of running for the position Brandland is vacating; but if she does, House Speaker Frank Chopp would need to find a viable candidate who can hold the chairman’s seat. Rep. Ericksen, a sixth-term Republican, has indicated he will be seeking the Senate seat.

Sen. Bob McCaslin’s return to the Senate following heart surgery is uncertain. McCaslin, R-4, Spokane Valley, had hoped to make it through session before the operation; however, he was experiencing difficulties and had to be hospitalized during the session. McCaslin has been ranking minority member on Judiciary and a member of the Economy Trade Committee.

Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-32 Lake Forest Park, Chair of Government Operations and Elections has decided to step down after 16 years saying it’s no longer fun.

In a surprise announcement at Sine Die, Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-24, Majority Leader in the House said she is retiring and will not seek a 10th term. She has served as Speaker Frank Chopp’s second in command for many years.

Rep. Mark Ericks, D-1 representative since 2005, will be appointed to a U.S. Marshal position and leave the Legislature. He was previously Bothell Police Chief for 12 years. He has been serving on House Finance and is vice chair of Ways & Means Committee. District 1, northeast King County and south Snohomish County, which includes Bothell, Maltby, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of Lynnwood and Edmonds, will be losing both its Representatives.

Rep. Al O'Brien, D-1, also will be leaving the legislature after 14 years. He is a retired Seattle Police sergeant and served five years on the Mountlake Terrace City Council. He is vice chair of the Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Rep. Dave Quall, D-40. Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties will be retiring after 18 years. A retired teacher, counselor and coach, he is chairman of the House Education Committee. Mount Vernon Democrat Thomas Boucher, a member of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen’s district staff, has announced he is seeking the 40th Legislative District seat being vacated by Quall.

Rep. Alex Wood, D-3 Spokane, a former broadcast journalist and radio and television talk show host, will retire after his seventh term in the House of Representatives. He has served as vice chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

Rep. Deb Wallace, D-17 in Clark County, former Director of Business Expansion for the Columbia River Economic Development Council and current Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, has stated her intent to not run for re-election after eight years in the Legislature.

Also leaving office is Rep. Brendan Williams, D-22 Olympia, Lacy and Tumwater, who is vice chair of the Audit Review and Oversight Committee as well as a member of Commerce & Labor. Williams is one of only five legislators with a 100% scorecard from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. An attorney, business consultant in private practice and past executive director of the Washington Health Care Association, he says he’s considering a run for the state Supreme Court.

Rep. Dan Roach, R-31 Bonney Lake, will be leaving the House to run for Pierce County Council. Replacing him as ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee will be 12th District Rep. Mike Armstrong. Armstrong spent 21 years with WSDOT and has been in the Legislature for ten years…eight on the Transportation Committee.

At the Federal level, Congressman Brian Baird, 3rd Congressional District Representative for six terms, will be retiring and has endorsed former Democratic legislator and State Capitol figure Denny Heck to take his place. State Rep. Jaime Herrera, R-18, has stated her intent to vie for the congressional seat, as well as Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-49 Vancouver.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No May ACOW Board Meeting

At this time, I have decided to NOT hold a May ACOW Board meeting, as I do not feel we have anything of significance that the board needs to address immediately.

We are still planning for the August Summit, and I have been in touch with Dave Towne who is working on the membership drive. I recently spoke with Ralph Birkedahl of DOL about the rulemaking process for the AMC bill, but there is nothing that has to be done on this at the moment. I am watching and monitoring issues nationwide in terms of BPOs, other AMC laws and issues, and the possible “financial reform” from Congress, but nothing for us to act on now. If anyone has any issues that they feel we need to address, please let me know.


Stan Sidor
President ACOW

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Down Market Drives Up Lawsuits Against Appraisers

by Kate Moser, from The Recorder

As it did the last time the real estate market tanked, the downturn has triggered an uptick in lawsuits against appraisers.

But what's a little different this time is that many of the lawsuits are generated by borrowers rather than lenders, lawyers who represent appraisers say.

"They're really coming out of the woodwork," said Peter Catalanotti, an associate at Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez in San Francisco. "We're seeing borrowers suing, saying, 'We never would have bought that house if we'd known it wasn't worth that.'"

...Still, overall the amount of litigation against appraisers is relatively small potatoes, Peter Christensen added -- annually about 1,200 lawsuits for professional liability before the mortgage crisis, and now around 2,000, representing about $100 million a year in damages nationwide. "It's a very small world," said Christensen, who is also the author of a blog about legal defense of real estate appraisers.

...In one case Catalanotti is defending in Santa Clara County, Calif., Superior Court, a borrower is suing the appraisers of two residential income properties, accusing the appraisers of trying to get a commission by inflating rental income.

With property values down around the San Francisco Bay Area, many of the suits against appraisers are "buyer's remorse cases," Catalanotti said.

But the lawyer for the borrower in that case said his client relied on the appraisers' information, and that they should be held accountable for violating rules to ensure that information is accurate...

Steven Dollar, managing partner of Ericksen Arbuthnot's San Jose, Calif., office, has been defending appraisers for 25 years and said he's seen more borrowers suing recently than during the savings-and-loan crisis. This time around, he said, borrowers were frequently getting 100 percent financing and approval for loans they couldn't afford...

Julia Wei, a real estate lawyer in Palo Alto, Calif., is already seeing more lawsuits by lenders in the "surge" she's seen in appraiser cases in the last two years. "I would say that it went from a lot of work defending [all real estate] professionals to pretty much exclusively defending appraisers," she said. "It was that dramatic of a shift in a focus."


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Appraisers Being Sued

Fellow appraisers, Appraisal Scoop sent out a very good article today about appraiser liability which appears to come from the LIA Law Blog. THIS IS A MUST READ! While reading, take note of the last paragraph and note this statement:

"What can appraisers do? In my lawyer, non-appraiser opinion, it comes down again to appraisers supporting professional associations such as the Appraisal Institute and NAIFA to apply organized political pressure. It's not just 'bad apple' appraisers who are being affected by the FDIC's actions -- good appraisers are being entangled too and, if unrestrained, the FDIC will have a negative impact on the profession as a whole."

It is not just the NAIFA and AI, but your local organizations also, like ACOW. If we don’t step up and be involved (pay dues) then these support organizations are going to go away and we will be all alone out here and at the mercy of regulators, lawyers and others. See the [article and link] below.


Michael A Imes

The Single Biggest Liability Threat to Appraisers: the FDIC

By Peter Christensen

The single biggest liability threat to both residential and commercial appraisers is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC held a conference last week in Chicago for law firms interested in representing the FDIC. What came out of that conference made me very anxious for appraisers, but it's much more than just a threat to individual appraisers. What the FDIC is doing hampers the ability of the appraisal profession to deliver accurate valuations going forward. The reason is: if you're an appraiser doing work for a lender (which may or may not be one of the 700+ troubled banks on the FDIC's watch list), you know your risk of being sued by the FDIC for overvaluation in hindsight is eliminated by "coming in low" on the appraisal. That means more loans don't get made.

The FDIC has taken over more than 200 banks since the beginning of the mortgage crisis. When the FDIC takes over a failed bank, it usually sells off the banking assets to an existing lender but retains all of the potential legal claims against the failed lender's directors, officers, mortgage brokers, accountants, lawyers, appraisers, AMCs, etc. The FDIC is now in the business of suing these parties, blaming them for its failed banks' bad lending practices.

The entire article is here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

AMCs/Reasonable and Customary Fees/Turnaround Time FAQs

I think (hope) that this recent FAQ from the FHA (which can pertain to any type of assignment) clarifies one thing for appraisers: if you do not like the fees and/or other terms being offered you for an assignment by an AMC (or, for that matter, a lender or any other party), REFUSE THE ASSIGNMENT if you cannot negotiate a higher fee or modify other terms!

This is purely a “business decision,” as noted in the FAQ, and appraisers are still responsible for producing a credible, USPAP-compliant report, no matter these contractual terms if the appraiser accepts the assignment.


Stan Sidor,
President ACOW

[That is exactly what I did with a recent assignment from Norman Hubbard Associates, who wanted me to do an FHA 1004 for $260. I told them that I was not going to work that hard for so little money. They were very unhappy with me. :-( - Michael Tabor]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Green" Retrofit Requirement - Myth vs. Reality

There is an alarmist email circulating titled "A License Required for your HOUSE?" or, "Homeowner's Heads Up..."

Much of it is completely fabricated, and it contains some of the following text:

"A License will be required for your longer just for cars and mobile homes....Thinking about selling your house? Take a look at H.R. 2454 (Cap and Trade bill). This is unbelievable! Home owners take note and tell your friends and relatives who are home owners!

Beginning one year after enactment of the Cap and Trade Act, you won't be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this 'Cap & Trade' bill, passed by the House of Representatives. If it is also passed by the Senate, it will be the largest tax increase any of us has ever experienced."

Now, for the truth:

Myth: The bill contains a new federal policy that requires residential and commercial buildings to be retrofitted to federal "green" standards prior to time of sale.

Reality: Section 202 (building retrofit program) does not contain point-of-sale retrofit requirements. The bill does: Provide states with the funding for financial incentives to property owners who voluntarily decide to make energy efficiency improvements. Provide that financial incentives may include grants, loans, loan guarantees, and/or mortgage interest rate buy-downs.

Establish a sliding scale for incentives -- i.e., if a home owner makes improvements that result in a 10% reduction in energy consumption, the owner would be eligible for an award of $1,000; a 20% reduction would be eligible for a $2,000 award, etc. up to a maximum award of 50% of the retrofit cost for each building.

Require state voluntary retrofit incentives programs that use federal funding for incentives to meet federal guidelines for certifying private contractor training, equipment and practices for energy audit/retrofit services eligible for federal funding.


Brian A. Rodgers
Manager of Federal Affairs
Appraisal Institute

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AMC Information: Solidifi, et al.

A local appraiser recently sent me the following:

“I got a notice from Solidifi that we are to no longer lock and password protect our appraisals!!

Also, from another appraiser site, I was informed that each lender only has to have two appraisers on their list. This is not what they presented HVCC as being, but the lenders have found a way around it.

Of course, it is good for you if you are one of the two, but since they didn't say that was the way it would work last year, contacts have been lost and it would take ALOT of work to reestablish.”

Stan Sidor
President ACOW

See also this post.


They've been trying that approach for a year or so all across the US. So, I've been warning all appraisers TO LOCK their appraisals. Seems to be hitting home.

Richard Hagar

Monday, April 12, 2010

Appraisal Report Quality Improvements

From Dave Towne:

"An AMC who has me on their list sent a message to their appraiser vendor panel today. This is their forewarning of report expectations that some appraisers may not currently be doing. It also means this probably will become the ‘new normal’ from now on across the industry...

“If there is an overriding theme in these items, it is the idea that we all must document our work in a way which was neither asked for, nor sometimes appreciated, in years past.

The GSEs (FannieMae and FreddieMac) and FHA have made it clear to lenders that the old benchmark for documentation and commentary – including that for appraisals – is no longer good enough.

In short, the days of being able to assume you had a knowledgeable local reader and therefore didn't need to fully describe the appraisal thought process no longer exists. As outlined in USPAP and the various guidelines, complete commentary on the subject, comp select process, grid adjustments, and a thorough reconciliation is a must.

You will likely note that some of these items are not currently identified in the lenders’ stated guidelines, but nonetheless are emerging issues where underwriters are requiring corrections or clarification.

We will work with the lenders to update their written guidelines, and codify as many of these items as possible. However, in the meantime we need your immediate and complete cooperation.”

AARO Spring 2010 Conference

Just as an informational item, note below those states that either have, or are working to establish, an “appraiser’s coalition.”

It would have been great for ACOW to send a rep to this conference, but at present we cannot afford to do so, unless someone is already planning on attending the AARO conference and would like to sit in on this and report back to the ACOW Board…?


Stan Sidor
President ACOW

Good Morning to everyone,

I am wondering if other groups are planning on attending the AARO 2010 Spring Conference? We are contemplating the event, and feel that it would only be worthwhile if enough other coalitions are present.

I don’t know the best way to go about this, but if you want to all email me whether you plan to attend or not, I can email that list to everyone once it is compiled. That way we can all know which other groups will be there.

These are the groups we know about. Please indicate if you will be attending:

· Arizona
· California
· Illinois
· Maryland
· Michigan
· Minnesota
· Mississippi
· Nevada
· New Mexico
· Ohio
· Oregon
· South Dakota
· Tennessee
· Texas
· Utah (contemplating)
· Virginia
· Washington

Thank you everyone.

Joel Frost
Secretary – United Appraisers of Utah

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Last Call - ACOW Summit Topic Ideas

I am making a “last call” for ACOW At The Summit (August 20 – 21, 2010) topic ideas. If nothing new comes in, we will go with the schedule suggested so far, which is as follows:


A.M. – Quarterly REAC Meeting (2 – 3 CE hrs typical) - come meet your state Real Estate Appraiser Commission members, and see what they do!

P.M. – “Understanding and Using the New WA State AMC Law” ) – what does the new AMC law do, what does it not do, and how can appraisers best employ it for their practice (3 hr course to be created; presenters could include myself, and/or others as interested; would need WA DOL approval for CE. Will pertain to and affect BOTH single family residential AND commercial appraisers.


A.M. – “Dealing with AMCs - How They Operate, The Federal Laws That Regulate, And How Appraisers Can Protect Themselves” (Richard Hagar, instructor) - 3 hr CE: pertains mostly to single family residential appraisers at this time, buy will also have applicability to commercial appraisers, in particular in the future.

Lunch – annual membership meeting, and also a presentation/overview by TK Bentler, our lobbyist, assuming he is available to attend

P.M. – “Beyond USPAP: Requirements over and above minimum USPAP requirements when completing appraisals for Federal Banks – aka Interagency Guidelines.” (Richard Hagar, instructor) – 3 hr CE: applies to mostly commercial appraisals, but also has applicability to single family residential appraisals.

Thank you.

Stan Sidor
President ACOW

Friday, April 9, 2010

May ACOW Meeting Date?

Please advise which of these dates would be best for you for the next ACOW Board meeting: May 5, or May 12?


Stan Sidor,
President ACOW

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ACOW Summit Proposal

For this year’s ACOW Summit, to be held at Snoqualmie Summit Inn on August 20 – 21, 2010, I am proposing, though open to other ideas, the following topics/instructors for the Board’s consideration:


A.M. – Quarterly REAC Meeting (2 – 3 CE hrs typical)

P.M. – “Understanding and Using the New WA State AMC Law” ) – what does the new AMC law do, what does it not do, and how can appraisers best employ it for their practice (3 hr course to be created; presenters could include myself, and/or others as interested; would need WA DOL approval for CE.


A.M. – “Dealing with AMCs - How They Operate, The Federal Laws That Regulate, And How Appraisers Can Protect Themselves” (Richard Hagar, instructor) - 3 hr CE

Lunch – annual membership meeting, and also a presentation/overview by TK Bentler, our lobbyist, assuming he is available to attend

P.M. – “Beyond USPAP: Requirements over and above minimum USPAP requirements when completing appraisals for Federal Banks – aka Interagency Guidelines.” (Richard Hagar, instructor) – 3 hr CE

As we discussed at last month’s meeting, fees to be the same as last year’s Summit.

Poolside BBQ dinner still planned for Friday eve, same as usual.

I also propose that, except for perhaps Richard Hagar, ACOW spend NO $$ on rooms, meals, or otherwise for any other person/party… ACOW Board members and anyone else “volunteering” to help can write off any Summit-related expenses as a business expense from their taxes….


Stan Sidor
President, ACOW

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NAR Calls for Implementation of IVPI

by Jerome Nagy

On April 6, 2010, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR)® President Vicki Cox Golder sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Interim Director Edward J. DeMarco asking that the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, implement the Independent Valuation Protection Institute (IVPI).

Stating that the IVPI is a critical part of the HVCC, NAR said that it would complement already existing appraisal regulatory bodies at the state and federal levels. The IVPI should be implemented to fulfill the implementation of HVCC and to help address unintended consequences created by the Code. Further, the IVPI will be positioned to work with appraisal organizations and state regulatory agencies to ensure the independence of appraisers and the integrity of the appraisal process.

In 2009 Fannie Mae published the IVPI Interim Complaint Form. According to the Fannie Mae announcement, the form would be found on an interim IVPI complaint Web site until the IVPI could be fully implemented. The Web site was to be operational by November 2009. At the latest meeting of the Appraisal Foundation Advisory Committee (TAFAC) meeting in March, Fannie Mae stated that the IVPI Interim Complaint form had been withdrawn at the request of their regulator.


Editorial: I don't believe for a minute that there was ever any intent to create a way to deal with appraiser complaints. HVCC was created to enable Andrew Cuomo's powerful buddies at the GSEs to escape the public scrutiny that investigation or a trial would bring, and enabled the wave of press propaganda blaming appraisers and mortgage brokers for the subprime debacle.

Monday, April 5, 2010

All Residential, All Day - Appraisal Institute

All Residential, All Day: The Latest on Laws, Liability, Forms and Fraud

April 16, 2010

Course Description
Do you know what is happening with appraiser issues in our region? Listen and ask questions as an all-star lineup converges at the Seattle Chapter's All Day--All Residential seminar! Seven great speakers will present on appraisal issues impacting our profession.

It’s a fast paced and changing marketplace. Learn about emerging trends from these professionals at the front line.


Jim Park – Executive Director of the Appraisal Subcommittee from Washington, DC will brief us on current regulation at the national level.

Stan Sidor – President of ACOW will discuss recent legislative issues affecting appraisers; he works to enact or quell Washington legislation for the benefit of all appraisers.

Hillary Sallee – Special Agent with the Seattle Field Office of the FBI will discuss fraud in the local mortgage industry.

Cheri Kelley Farivar - The Immediate Past Chair of the Real Estate Appraiser Commission will discuss REAC functions, licensing enforcement in Washington State and possible effects of The Appraisal Foundation's new Consistent Enforcement matrix.

Peter Christensen – General Counsel for Liability Insurance Administrators (LIA) from Southern California will discuss E&O issues, including fraud, and how appraisers can protect themselves.

David Huey – Assistant Attorney General in Washington State's Attorney's General office will discuss enforcement against mortgage fraud and ridding the system of “bad actors”. He will update us on their efforts and emerging trends.

Bill King – Director of Valuation Initiatives, Veros Corporation, will address the new data standard required for all Fannie Mae appraisals beginning in July 2010. You will need to comply with these new standards if you work in the secondary mortgage arena. Veros has been awarded the FNMA contract to develop this new standard.

The complete flyer is here:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Repair of 'Chinese drywall' dwellings

For those of you following this issue, on 4/02/2010, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission released information about their recommendations for the repair of dwellings with suspected ‘problem drywall’ … commonly known as "Chinese Drywall."

In simple terms, the recommendation is to totally gut-to-studs the interior of affected dwellings including drywall, electrical and plumbing, and re-build.

The web site below has more information, including symptoms and history of the issue:

(Via email from Dave Towne)

Board of Directors Meeting – Preliminary Agenda

Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 6:00 p.m. – Please Plan to Begin Promptly

GVA Kidder Mathews’ Office – Tacoma Lamb Hanson Lamb Office – Seattle
1201 Pacific Avenue, Suite 1400 and 4025 Delridge Way SW, Suite 530
Tacoma, WA 98402 (253.722.1445) Seattle, WA 98106 (206.903.1500)

For the GVA Office, the building elevators close at 6pm; for the Lamb Hanson Lamb offices at 5:30pm.

If attending at either location and planning to arrive after these times, please call ahead of time to arrange for access

(For directions, go to:
To attend the meeting via phone conference: -dial 1.218.339.4300 -when prompted dial access code: 872158#

Call to Order
1. Establish Quorum: Stan Sidor, President
2. Approval of Agenda: Stan Sidor, President
3. Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes: Stan Sidor, President, Filling in For Secretary

Officer Reports
1. President’s Report: Stan Sidor, President
2. Treasurer’s Report: Joe Creech, Treasurer
a. Monthly and Current YTD Status
b. Seaops payment requests – March (pending)

Committee Reports

Ad Hoc Committee on Appraiser Discipline
Ad Hoc Membership Committee

Old Business:
1. Legislative/Regulatory Issues:
a. AMC Bill – signed by Governor Gregoire
b. Proposal to create an “inactive” license status for appraisers

2. Administrative Topics:
a. ACOW At The Summit
i. Decide on topic(s)
1. Panel(s)
2. Instructor(s)

New Business:
1. Legislative/Regulatory Issues

2. Administrative Topics:

1. Proposed ACOW Meeting Date Schedule, 2010: May 5 or 12, June 9, September 8, October 6 or 13, November 3 or 10, December -?

Adjournment: Stan Sidor, President

- - - - - -

For more on ACOW, click:


Stan Sidor, President
Mark Noble, Vice President
Joe Creech, Treasurer
Michael Imes, Secretary
Jodi Standaert, Director
Barry Wilson, Director
George Nervik, Director

- - - -


6351 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle WA 98107-2664
Voice: 206.622.8425 Fax: 206.623.4474


Jim Irish
10508 Palatine Ave N
Seattle WA 98133-8725
Voice: 206.355.1226 Fax: 206.235.6235


Stan Sidor
1201 Pacific Ave., Suite 1400
Tacoma, WA 98402
Voice: 253.722.1445 Fax: 253.722.1409

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bill Signing - ESHB 3040


Left to Right:

Bob Mitchell, Washington Realtors Lobbyist; Nathan Gorton, Washington Realtors Director of Government Affairs; Rep. Steve Conway (D – 29th Dist), primary bill sponsor in the House; Stan Sidor, President, Appraisers’ Coalition of Washington; Governor Gregoire; Ralph Birkedahl, Real Estate Appraiser Program Manager, WA State Dept. of Licensing (DOL); Jim Irish, past-President, Appraisers’ Coalition of Washington; and T. K. Bentler, Lobbyist, Appraisers’ Coalition of Washington.