*Reconciling Appraisal Outcomes*
**By William E. King**
***It is common for lenders to get several valuations for a single property to ensure an accurate determination of value. These valuations need to be reconciled into a single, overall property valuation that will become the basis for the lending decision. Reconciliation is a method by which an appraiser or reviewer concludes a final, well-supported valuation of the property.
****In today’s environment of The Dodd-Frank Act, UCDP, and CFPB, managing appraisal outcomes can be challenging. Chief appraisers need to “see through” appraisal reports and challenge or dismiss valuations that aren’t well supported. In light of the highly regulated landscape, this requires greater objectivity than ever before.
****Key challenges that tend occur in reconciling estimations of property value include:
****>> Appraisal Reconsideration: If the property value is deemed unjustified by the owners or loan officer, an appraiser can be approached to reevaluate the value to determine if something was inadvertently excluded from the appraisal. Although rare, third parties will sometimes claim the property was over-valued given the comparables in the neighborhood.
****>> Avoiding Undue Influence: By definition, an appraisal is an unbiased opinion of value. USPAP requires that 1) an appraiser have no bias to the property; 2) appraisal results not be contingent on a predetermined result; and 3) the appraiser’s compensation not have any bearing on the outcome. Dodd-Frank has helped reduce undue influence on an appraiser, however, pressure does still exist.
****>> Mitigating Rep & Warrant Issues: When faced with a buy-back situation, one of the first areas of focus is the appraisal to ensure that it conformed to GSE appraisal requirements. If not, lenders may be faced with repurchasing a loan and dealing with the foreclosed property directly. Due diligence in appraisal review at loan origination, including reconciling multiple valuations can go a long way in preventing Rep & Warrant related buybacks.
****>> Managing Loss Severity: It is important that a property be correctly valued to minimize loss severity in short sale and REO situations. Multiple valuations and a thorough reconciliation of those values can save lenders from more significant losses with defaulted/foreclosed properties.
****Many tools and practices are available to help ensure a higher level of accuracy and gap management in arriving at a property valuation conclusion. Thorough appraisal reconciliations must be supplemented with appropriate analytic tools. It is incumbent on lenders, whether through an AMC or direct panel management, to ensure the quality of the vendors utilized. AMCs derive their value through quality reviews and it is important for them to focus on the factors that really drive support for the value opinion. This topic will be discussed by a variety of industry experts in more detail during a panel at the 2012 Predictive Methods Conference June 4-6 in Southern California.