I heard something the other day through what I call the "broker vine" that was very interesting.
First, let me tell you what the "broker vine" is - it's a mortgage broker "huff & puff" fest that generally happens once or twice a month.
Here's how it works - some loan officer or broker hears some "news" from some inside or unknown source and begins having these "impromptu" meetings all over the office about some good or bad legislation or law that's coming down the road real soon (whether real or imagined).
These sessions are almost always followed by a series of hoots and hollers and high fives for good news, and a lot of fist clenching, teeth gnashing and swearing at the ceiling at bad news.
Huff & Puff. Get it ?
You want to know EXACTLY what I mean. Visit tbws.com. These guys are the huffiest, puffiest mortgage guys on the internet, period. Watch one of their daily videos. You'll see what I mean...
Alright - Back to the Point.
I was told the other day that the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, or HVCC, is going to be nixed within the next 90 days. Apparently, President Obama just signed The Death of HVCC with the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act. It must be true, because news sources all over are stating that is for real. But still - Like I said, it's "huff & puff".
The HVCC bill came about from an agreement New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on requiring new rules and standards over appraisals. It seems the New York Attorney General, in a short period of time, turned himself into a "real estate appraiser guru", and decided he knew what was best. For ALL of US. I like Andrew Cuomo. But. Dude. Bad Idea. Really.
Why HVCC Does Not, and Will Not Work
This is a true story. Borrowers are going to use Lender A to finance their new home purchase. Lender A orders appraisal for the property through Appraisal Management Company A. Appraisal cost equal $400, paid by borrower. Appraisal equals the sales price of the home on the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Lender A cannot close the loan for the borrowers. Per Lender A, borrowers do not qualify.
Borrowers leave Lender A and make a loan application with Lender B, while still under contract to purchase the home. Lender B approves loan. However, because of HVCC rules, Lender B cannot transfer the appraisal from Lender A. Lender B orders new appraisal from Appraisal Management Company B. Appraisal cost an additional $500 ($400 plus $100 "rush fee". Trying to still go to closing on time). Appraisal comes back from appraiser $20,000 short. And the appraisal was just completed by AMC A about 30 days ago. There are negotiations between the AMC and the appraiser, but he will not re-consider the value.
All of a sudden, the appraiser becomes GOD. All parties of the transaction are willing to do whatever it takes to get the deal done. BUT, the appraiser is NOW GOD, and GOD SAYS NO.
The appraiser unduly influences the transaction. And he is protected by HVCC. Not by his Appraisal Management Company mind you, because they opted to negotiate with the appraiser on behalf of the buyers. It did not work.
Lender B orders another appraisal through AMC B. This is appraisal number three. And that will be another $400 please. This appraisal comes in low as well. But it's $10,000 lower than the original appraisal - not $20,000. This number is much more reasonable, and it is negotiated between the buyer and seller. Deal Done. Transaction closes.
Here's the problem - Besides the borrower spending $1,300 on appraisals. Besides the HVCC rule that basically does not allow transference of appraisals from one AMC to another (in some cases it works, but from what I have seen and heard, it's rare). In the story above, Appraisal Management Company A & B are THE SAME COMPANY.
The AMC managed to bilk $1,300 from the borrower with 3 appraisals, and were not able to transfer the original appraisal so that the borrower could use it with the new lender. It seems that there is some rule that once you generate a transaction number for one appraisal, you cannot change it to another lender. And there is no way you can transfer a Conventional appraisal into an FHA appraisal. Before HVCC, the appraiser had to do some additional work, but as long as he was a Certified FHA Appraiser, he could definitely change a Conventional appraisal into a FHA appraisal. No Big Deal.
So, going back to the "old way" of doing business is going to be a welcome change to what we are currently muddling through. It's time to get the ball rolling again. I believe the real estate industry is the bedrock of the U.S. economy. If we can get all of the inventory sold, new housing starts rising, and real estate sales to begin to tick up again, maybe we can get America back to work and on it's feet. HVCC was as sure-fire way to make sure an economic recovery was going to be a long, drawn out ordeal, for sure.
The phasing out of HVCC couldn't come any sooner. Hopefully this barrier to the real estate industry will be put to bed forever, never to return...