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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Real Estate Appraiser Board
Guidance Document Change: Providing guidance to real estate appraisers and AMCs on the use of hybrid appraisals
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6/23/19  11:36 pm
Commenter: Thomas W Baldwin

"Hybrid Appraisal"

I have been a residential appraiser in the metro Richmond area for over 35 years. I have earned professional designations in both residential appraising and in IT. In my personal life I have collaborated on non appraisal projects with individuals more or less unknown to each other from all over the world. I have assisted others to do similar.

I feel I have a pretty good handle on shared project completion in the information age from an appraisers point of view with respect to credibility of the final product and public trust.

When I first heard of the concept of a hybrid appraisal I thought it was some fly by night situation that would pass more or less unnoticed. Evidently not so.

What I do know is that the public is still about 80% in the dark regarding appraisals. A real appraisal that is. So now the powers that be want to produce a document where the players involved have no real knowledge of each other and the licensed appraiser is supposed seal the deal. No thank you. If the public truly understood what scheme was on the table behind their backs this would be front page news.

I have a story I tell people occasionally about a condo association decision. This is true. The Condo complex had a pond. The pond was maybe ten feet below the lowest parking lot and there were green belts off the pond. Geese would fly in every day. At times their presence on the greenbelts was an issue. At least until a good rain. So the board of directors brought in a fence company. I know... that's the same thought I had when I heard about "hybrid appraisals"... At any rate. The fence company had a solution to keep the geese off the greenbelts. A four foot tall fence around the pond. The board of directors were in the process of moving forward. That is very hard to believe, I know, but it is true. I wrote a letter then as I am doing now. Geese fly. They fly in over the seventy foot tall trees, land ten feet below grade on the pond and when they want to eat some green grass they pop up off the pond and over the fence and land in the greenbelts.

Once the public is forced to buy into the "hybrid appraisal", which is more accurately a poorly reasoned collaboration of obfuscation, the landscape will still be the same. There will simply be more unknowns. So many in fact that not only will the public not know what they are paying for but the vendors will not be able to explain to anyone the process. The right hand will not know what the left hand is doing and not in a good way.

This is not how true appraising works. "hybrid appraisals" are a misnomer. They are four foot tall fences to keep the birds out. They are the "The Emperor's New Clothes".

For my time in the appraisal business, this is the most poorly thought out situation I could expect someone to present. Maybe it sounds good to someone somewhere but it sounds like and accident happening to me.

Many people may say, 'well the appraiser will not be paid'. Ok, neither will the buggy whip maker. I can fully accept that technology could possibly replace an appraiser, a real estate agent, a loan officer. I have no issue with that at all. It's just such a poorly thought out design. I will even accept that perhaps there are some cookie cutter market segments that this collaboration of obfuscation could transition into above board reality and once the public is educated on the matter it could possibly be acceptable in certain very special circumstances. As it stands though it is a concept beyond bizarre.

Call it what you want. It's not appraising. although I am not a lawyer it presents itself as a concept outside the spirit of professional licensing and perhaps even outside the most basics of the laws by when we appraisers were licensed for in the first place.

Some new ideas are really bad. In my experience that has always been the most difficult thing to have people accept. Ironically it's the easiest to cure. Just trash it.

Thank you.




CommentID: 72650