Majority of Appraisers Have Been Pressured to Hit Target Values: Study
A large percent of appraisers are being asked to inflate home values, and they fear losing repeat business, according to a survey released Wednesday by ValuFinders, Inc., a provider of valuation services to national lenders and government agencies, and developer a Web-based appraisal ordering system. "Our findings show that almost all appraisers have experienced some form of appraiser pressure," said Joe Williams, president and CEO at ValuFinders. "This data is in concert to what we have heard from appraisers and experienced as former appraisers." According to the ValuFinders study, 91 percent of appraisers surveyed indicated that they were asked to inflate the value of a home; eighty-one percent feared losing repeat business based on not providing requested values. According to one of the appraisers surveyed, "We've all been pressured to inflate values and loan officers are often 'fishing for value' with their 'comp check' requests." Despite widespread allegations of appraiser pressuring, the survey also found that there were some appraisers who said they didn't bow to it. One appraiser in particular mentioned that he takes an impartial approach when valuing a home, ValuFinders said. "I'm paid to develop and report my own opinion," the appraiser, who was not named, said. "I don't have a problem telling any client what I think a property is worth." Appraisal management companies have been rushing to promote their services and their platforms as a viable alternative for appraisers and lender alike, in light of the so-called Home Valuation Code of Conduct agreed to earlier this year by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. ValuFinders says its platform offers appraisers a chance at fair, unencumbered business and helps lenders ensure that loan officers aren't interfering with the valuation process. For more information, visit http://www.valufinders.com.