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Overhauling the Current HVCC System Across the Board



NAMB Immediate Past President and full-time HVCC opponent Marc Savitt met with members of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s staff this week presenting them with thousands of petitions from real estate professionals complaining about the aforementioned whatever it is (it’s not law, btw).cuomo

The Cuomoiams did say that the AG is open to renegotiating the current system.  That’s the good news, but the more important thing is to ask how the AG of NY will be able to re-influence all those that need to implement any changes that are agreed upon.

I do believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can act independently of the NYAG’s office and change HVCC on the fly.

Also, the lenders themselves can eliminate the  layer  of appraisal management and go to a system where they approve the appraiser and a blind system assigns the appraisal based on the location and what location the appraiser is familiar with.

Sound familiar?  Yes, that’s the way VA does it now and the way that FHA used to do it.

Yea, we have/had some issues with those systems, but it is 1000 times better than what we have now, would save money for the client and it would make the appraisal transportable to other companies.

Wow!  It’s 1988 all over again.  Sweet!

Have a good holiday all.  Try not to overload on turkey, football and wine!

Realty Reality! That describes Fred, a sharp witted and outspoken realist for the mortgage and real estate world who has appeared on CNBC and NPR's Marketplace along with being quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Fred is the CEO of U S Spaces, Inc/Arrivva (a real estate brokerage firm in PA, NJ, DE and CA) and U S Loans Mortgage Inc (mortgage brokerage in PA, CA, FL and VA), and serves on the Board of Directors and is the Federal Legislative Director for the UpFront Mortgage Brokers. Fred is also the co-creator of real estate startup, a mathematically driven rental search engine. See everything Fred at

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  1. Missy Caulk

    November 22, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Fred, in my area, it has been a problem. Appraisers assigned outside of Ann Arbor have no clue most of the time. A busy street in downtown Ann Arbor does not devalue the property, people pay high prices to live within walking distance. But, a non local appraiser doesn’t know that.
    Yes, I do believe it could be done in house.

  2. Ken Montville

    November 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    The HVCC and agreement with Cuomo is nothing more than a) Cuomo making a name for himself (let’s hope he doesn’t screw up and become “Client #10” after Spitzer) and b) a huge over-reaction to the mortgage fraud that took place in the early 2000s. There just has to be a way for Cuomo to save face and allow the agreement to disappear. That’s the tricky part.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    November 23, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Missy – You bring up a point that has always bothered me about appraisals in general. That busy street is horrible to some, but the greatest selling point to another. I don’t want a busy street outside my window, but I know people who live for that sound. And I don’t think we’re talking about math vs. emotion here, although the buyer’s emotions need removed from the appraisal equation to get a true value, I think there is some consideration to the buyer that should be given.

    I know there’s no way we can take into account the worth of a home from each individual buyer’s perspective, but it does matter. The appraisal process removes all human thoughts about the property from the process and goes for facts and figures, but what if those facts and figures don’t apply to that person. I can’t see how it would ever be possible to change that, but it’s an interesting thought.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    November 23, 2009 at 6:17 am

    PS Yes, I do realize this was Fred’s post, but Missy’s comment is what prompted me. (Don’t want anyone thinking I thought Missy wrote the article.)

  5. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 24, 2009 at 1:57 am

    @rerockstar: I disagree with your statement that appraisers take the emotional factor away from the equation – that’s what Zillow is for. It’s not nearly at the level a Realtor has, but it is considered.

    Fred – Good to see another AG write following appraisal news closely. I’m not for the HVCC, as it has severely damaged my bank account. But I’m not entirely sure this petition will have much effect. I’m guessing the bank-owned AMCs have a powerful voice.

    By far the best HVCC compliant appraisal ordering service I’ve seen is Appraisal Firewall.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    November 24, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Ben – I probably shouldn’t have said “all human thoughts” (ie, emotion). What I mean is, when you do an appraisal, are you taking into account that buyers emotions about the house? Are you looking at a busy street and seeing a negative impact, when actually that buyer wants this house for that particular reason?

    I just don’t think that it’s probable/possible for an appraiser to take a look at each buyer’s need for a particular home. Your job is more based in the numbers and yes, too much emotional-sided thinking probably would run up the market in a heartbeat, but I wonder how much is possible for the appraisal side without compromising your core goal of finding a fair value for the home.

  7. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Matt – I can only think of a couple busy streets here in the Twin Cities where a buyer would actually want to live, compared to a quiet one. When I appraise a home on Summit Avenue I know any buyer is more emotional about the street’s history and character rather than the traffic. Or an investment property on a busy street is often preferred because the ‘for rent’ sign will be seen by more people.

    Yes it’s true, I am a number crunching machine. But I’m also human so it’s impossible for me to take all emotional factors out of the equation.

    I’ll flip your last paragraph around at you – it’s not probable/possible for a Realtor to take a look at each buyer’s needs for a particular home. As much as we try to profile a buyer for each listing, sometimes it ends up being a person who we least expected.

  8. Matt Stigliano

    November 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    @bgoheen Your “booooooooyah” was well deserved after I read the last paragraph. You’re right, we can try to profile and get into a buyer’s head all we want, but sometimes it will fall short. When I moved to San Antonio I insisted on two things – two story homes had to have the master bedroom upstairs (it’s very common to have the master down here). Guess where my master bedroom is?

    I guess I can see how you do have to take more human factors into account than I may have thought about previously. What would you do in a scenario where you did your homework, came up with a price and gave xyz as a reason why it wasn’t worth what it was listed for. What if the buyer said to you – but I like xyz, in fact I love xyz and it’s the whole reason I want to buy this house.

    Would that change your report? Just curious.

    P.S. Thanks for the friendly “war” – I’m actually enjoying it as appraisals aren’t my strong suit, so I’m learning a lot more from your comments.

  9. Marion

    November 28, 2009 at 1:43 am

    The HVCC is a joke.
    It is a smoke screen.
    Lenders made ridiculous loans, to people who could not afford them, some of those loans reset the interest rate every 6 months, The banking system collasped and the consequence of it is is the HVCC? Appraiser Independance?

    Baloney! No appraiser set a list price or wrote an agreement of sale or originiated a mortgage. Home prices went up because many more people were given credit to buy houses. It was a release of pent up demand. Prices went down because the banks stopped lending unless the government is insuring the loans, and the minimum criteria to get a loan has got so strick that it is near impossible for most people who would buy one to qualify for a mortgage. So, less buyers means sellers have to lower their prices to attract the few buyers out there. Couple that with the first round of foreclosures due to stupid no doc 110% mortgages, closely followed by foreclosures casused by loss of income or pay reduction from employment and this is how we arrive at today’s market.

    So in order to fix the problem, or scape goat someone, the appraisers are now made to work for unregulated management companies for up to half their previous fees in an economy with ever rising prices and ever rising educational requirements are forcing them out of the industry. Will the HVCC correct all the wrongs that were done to the housing industry? No. Will the HVCC prevent a future occuance of the subprime lending market explosion? No. Will the HVCC create a new profit center for the lenders? Yes. Will the HVCC drastically reduce the number of appraisers? Yes. Will the HVCC impact the market value of homes? No.

    So what does the HVCC accomplish for the industry? Well, it injects money into banks that own AMCs. It gives control of the Appraiser to AMC and banks. it removes many appraisers from the industry and opens the door to greater use of automated valuation models, (another profit center for the bank). If consumers are not happy with appraisers valuation, wait until computers that have never been to the home to see the upgrades, condition of the property or visited the neighborhood starts spitting out values.

  10. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 28, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Marion – has any lender given a loan based solely on an AVM? I doubt it, you’ll never be able to remove a human being from the appraisal process.

  11. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Matt: I appraised a house last year where the buyer insisted that the property was a great deal and that it should appraise for at least the contract price. However, the comps supported a value about $20k less. All agents were furious (even the buyers agent) and kept trying to send me comps to use that were 5-10 miles away, where all the ones I used were much closer. The home was actually listed for $15k less than the contract price, but the higher price was meant to avoid a short sale situation. The buyer pleaded her case with me and the loan officer, and we told her that if she wanted to proceed at the contract price then she just needs to come up with the extra $20k. Needless to say that deal fell through.

    Glad I can help you (and hopefully others) understand the appraisals. I don’t have a problem explaining to people the process to people who want to learn. Too often lately I just see agents spew hateful comments and make generalizations based upon their dealings with a bad appraiser.

  12. Dana

    December 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    HVCC: six months later Boston Globe 11/30/09

    A recent report by a loss mitigation company known as Interthinx, revealed valuation fraud actually increased by 46% in the 3rd Q of 2009, as compared to the same period in 2008. It’s clear mortgage brokers played no role in this increase or the fraud itself, because they were and are prohibited from any participation in the ordering of appraisals. Mr. Cuomo’s HVCC has now narrowed down the list of bad actors with the elimination of brokers from that list.

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The House Judiciary antitrust investigation holds big techs’ feet to the fire

(POLITICS) CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon set to testify in House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation hearing today.



house investigation

The House Judiciary Committee is closing in on the end of a year-long investigation into tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, to evaluate possible antitrust abuses. CEOs from all four companies were set to testify on Monday, July 27, 2020. The hearing has been pushed back to Wednesday, July 29, to allow members of Congress to pay respects to civil rights leader Representative John Lewis (D-GA) who died of pancreatic cancer on July 17.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have all agreed to testify. This will be Bezos’ first time in front of Congress, whereas all the others have testified before on different matters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was invited to testify by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), but is expected to not attend.

The Antitrust Subcommittee began the investigation in June 2019. Each business has been the subject of scrutiny for their roles in dominating their respective industries and playing an outsized role in market competition for smaller businesses. The Committee is interested in evaluating current antitrust laws and whether they apply to, or should be updated for, these mega corporations. They have already heard testimonies from smaller companies like Sonos and Tile about these companies’ alleged monopolistic practices.

The focus of the investigation for Apple is on the App Store, and whether it has implemented policies that are harmful for app developers. Google has a tight hold on the online advertising market. Amazon – which during a five-week period early in the pandemic saw an increase in value equivalent to the total value of Walmart, the world’s largest firm – has been criticized for its treatment of brands that sell on its e-commerce platform. Facebook is being investigated for its acquisition practices, cornering the social media market with purchases like Instagram.

Amazon is expected to face additional scrutiny for its treatment of warehouse workers during the pandemic. Facebook and YouTube (a subsidiary of Google) have been the subject of regular criticism about monitoring hate speech on their platforms, and their treatment of the workers responsible for doing so (Facebook in particular).

The hearing is set to occur virtually in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Watch the hearing live at 12:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, July 29 on the House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube channel. Please do note the hilarious irony of streaming a Congressional antitrust hearing on YouTube, which is owned by Google, which is owned by Alphabet, which is testifying at said hearing. God Bless America.

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Additional unemployment benefits outside of the CARES Act

(POLITICS) Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States and individuals need to be aware of reapplying for additional benefits.



unemployment broke

June saw some additional jobs in the US and unemployment fell as of early July, but CNBC advised pausing on any celebration just yet, saying that “The employment crisis is still worse than any time since the Great Depression, the country’s worst economic downturn in its industrial history.”

The unemployment statistics in our country right now are really scary – especially for individuals and families that see a looming deadline of July 31 for the supplemental $600/week provided by the Federal Government through the CARES Act put in place in March. There are discussions on extending these benefits as many families have not been able to replace their incomes or find new employment opportunities, but it doesn’t seem like anything has been finalized there yet. Congress is in the middle of a variety of options:

  • Discontinue the additional $600/week but allow those on unemployment to continue to file and receive their state benefits (usually up to 26 weeks or possibly extended up to 39 weeks by The CARES act)
  • Send out additional stimulus checks (Congress is currently exploring a $X Trillion stimulus package)
  • Extend the additional funding (on top of the weekly amount allotted by state) but cut it from $600 to $200
  • It’s also been put on the table in the House of Representatives “The Heroes Act” to extend the additional $600/week until January 2021 ($3 trillion).

There are some additional benefits that are available (different than the funds by the CARES Act), but you may have to reapply for them. So, make sure to check your state’s unemployment pages and your filing status. Some states do not require you to reapply and you can continue on with extended benefits.

According to CNBC, “The additional aid expires after the end of the year. (This is a different program than the one paying an extra $600 a week through July 31.) For some reason, the [Department of Labor] has taken the position that people have to file for the additional PEUC benefits,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.”

No doubt that this can cause additional stress and uncertainty especially when you have questions about your filing and are unable to get through to someone on the phone. With the way that the unemployment cycle is setup, technically July 25 is considered the last date for that cycle (and July 26 for New York), so be sure to check and see what the next steps are for you if you are currently filing.

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How will pausing the reopening of states impact the recovery of the economy?

(POLITICS) The resurgence of COVID-19 has left Americans with a lot of questions about our nation’s economic future. That ambiguity is seemingly a feature, not a bug.



COVID-19 reopening economy

The rest of the world watched as the United States dramatically reopened “the economy” last month. Now, it seems we’ve changed our minds about that.

The White House has repeatedly said that it will be up to individual states to form their own pandemic response plans moving forward. But letting local governments devise their own solutions has produced large gaps in their preparedness, as well as profound confusion around the best practices for balancing the country’s public and economic health.

California, which represents the largest economy in the US and the fifth largest in the world, was one of the first states to put serious quarantine restrictions in place. The decision to relax those orders only came after anti-lockdown protestors demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom reopen the state’s beaches, businesses and churches. Newsom may now regret this capitulation as California just called for a second round of statewide lockdowns.

Other state legislators are slowly following their lead, as the threat is becoming very dire in some places. Florida, for instance, is now a global hotspot for COVID-19 and Miami is being called “the new Wuhan”. The state is also currently struggling against another wave of unemployment, partly because their economy is heavily dependent on summer tourism (which has persisted despite the spike in cases, but not nearly at pre-pandemic levels).

Florida, California and Texas are altogether responsible for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases globally.

Every state is fighting two battles here. Coronavirus relief efforts in the US are still seriously underfunded, and most health organizations here lack the resources to effectively test and treat their communities. But the problems that have emerged for workers and small business owners, like evictions and layoffs, have also been devastating in their own right.

In essence, the United States reopened in an effort to curb the nation’s financial freefall and ballooning unemployment. Economists predicted at the beginning of July that reopening would allow the US to avoid a recession, and all would go smoothly. These projections likely did not account for a spike in cases that would halt this economic rebound.

That’s not to say the circumstances here haven’t improved at all over the past months; currently there is no acute shortage of ventilators, and doctors have had some time to refine their strategies for treating the virus. Overall, the national unemployment rate is slightly declining, while working from home is going so well for companies like Twitter and Facebook that they will be permanently switching much of their staff to remote work.

By comparison, though, New Zealand took the pandemic much more seriously than the US did, and they are objectively in a better position now in all respects. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cracked down hard and early, closing the country’s borders completely, and instituting rent freezes nationwide. As a result they have virtually eradicated COVID-19 within their borders. A report from S&P Global also expects New Zealand’s economy to recover quickly compared to the rest of the world.

While this tradeoff seems like a zero sum game – as if we have to pick either our health, or our wealth – it is not. In fact, we could very well end up with neither if our lawmakers don’t proceed with caution.

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