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All Should Have Their Licenses Revoked !

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Joe Birrell (NY)

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Jan 16, 2002
I just returned from a NY State Administrative Hearing (as a witness against an appraiser). He caved in and pleaded guilty to all counts (mortgage fraud - contract flip scam), and state is revoking his license. State attorney told me that the "investor" is currently under investigation as part of this particuliar scam and possible others (he cleared a cool $95,000 on this one flip alone). I asked attorney if state was also going after the listing broker, and her sales agent, but couldn't get a straight answer. I got the feeling that the attorney didn't want to get involved with this issue.

The re broker listed the subject at $175,000. It was sold to the investor for $135,000 and flipped for $225,000. The market value was +-$130,000. Of course the listing over-exaggerated the property with the usual remarks "many upgrades" "good condition", an exaggerated room count, etc. Subject was a wreck and needed extensive repairs. The contract was flipped at the same closing table with all present to see it happen (re agent, investor, attorney, lender). From my persepective everybody at that closing table is guilty of fraud. At this point the problem seems that indivdual complaints need to be filed by the victim. We were also told that victim now needs to go to civil court and file complaint against appraiser to recoup $$.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
We need more of this, but I am afraid it would cause a feeding frenzy against all appraisers. Thus causing frivolous lawsuits against honest appraisers who would rather settle than fight. I would fight any lawsuit, but I bet my lawyer would not.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
The real shame is that that it can be cheaper to settle than go to court when your not guilty.

I got a fist hand taste of court battles a few years ago. It was a real eye opener. I had to sue an insurance company to get a setlement I was entitled too. Took 1.5 years and it never went to court. Just the lawyers appearing before the judge 2 or 3 times. Now when someone say "I will sue " I just laugh and say you don't have a clue what you just said.

But I have a stubborn streak and if I am right I will fight. I will not settle and look guilty unless it is a really bad financial choice. But being involved in one changes you attitude.
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
8)

Joe,

I recently attended a mandatory training session with a Realtor Association in my neighboring state of North Carolina so i could have access to their MLS. We covered the "Realtors Code of Ethics. A head fred from the state association taught the ethics portion. I asked him about the situation below:

A local real estate agent listed a house at the beginning of the street my house in on. The house is the same model as mine. We are both on a water tributary leading to a river, not deep water access. The only difference is that the owner of the property before he died, added a detached garage and a detached 2 story boat and car garage. The same model in the neighborhood, on the water, just sold within the past year at $159,900. Homes in the neighborhood seel in 30 days or less on average. The agent listed the property for $499,900.00 and stated it has deep water access, which it does not. It has been listed now for several months. The agent dropped the price by $20,000. recently. My question to Mr. Ethics Expert was,,,,"Is this not a violation based on the Realtors Code of Ethics"? His response....No. However, we do have a very similar case in virginia, my home state, that went to the regulatory board(not Realtor Board), and the agent paid a heavy fine. So........don't expect much from the average agent on the street if Mr. Ethics Expert is telling them this is OK. BTW< several agents in attendance seemed shocked at what he said. They had been taught that this was unethical.

Don Clark, IFA
 

Stephen J. Vertin MAI

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Illinois
Don:

On the same note this was in the paper this morning.

Bad data bludgeons brokers

Buyers trust the Web, but homes aren't always as advertised
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

By Bridget McCrea
Inman News Features

The home buyers wanted a 2,000-plus-square-foot home with air-conditioning throughout all the rooms.

The listing agent knew the home was 2,700 square feet and roughly half of it had air-conditioning, but the rest of the home was below-grade basement space sans air-conditioning.

The buyer and seller struck a deal, but a trip to West Virginia, contract negotiations and numerous meetings ultimately were for naught. The deal unraveled when the buyers discovered the information they'd read on a listings data Web site didn't match the home's true specifications.

"The homeowner let the buyers move in furniture before closing and when they went downstairs to flip on the air-conditioning, there wasn't any," said Jim Miller, broker for Coldwell Banker Premier Homes, a five-office, 100-agent firm in Berkely Springs, W.VA.

But one third-party Web site had stated: "2,700-square-foot home with central air" and hadn't made any distinction between the above-grade and below-grade sections of the home.

Instances like this one are the bane of real estate brokers like Miller who are getting an increasing number of sales leads from the Web. Accuracy is crucial.

Miller believes such errors occur because the people who make up the fields and forms for online listings Web sites rarely are well-versed in real estate terminology.

"We put the time into making sure the data is accurate for the MLS, but after that it's displayed in so many places and we don't have the staff to check them all," he said.

Particularly problematic in Miller's experience are Web sites that pull information from print homes-for-sale magazines to populate online listing databases. He said such information oftentimes is not only inaccurate, but also outdated, which raises license law implications for brokers.

Mike Rahmn, director of information services for Windermere Real Estate in Seattle, noted that a real estate licensee isn't allowed to advertise for sale a home that's not on the market.

"So where does that (outdated data) leave the Realtor?" he asked.

Rahmn said the closer the agent is to the listing, the more likely it is that the data will be accurate. When agents manually edit their own listings, there's a good chance the info will be correct and current.

But the further the listing data gets from the agent, the greater the chances are the information will be wrong. And the fallout generally falls on the agent, not the aggregator.

"No one blames (the Web site), they blame the agents. And to even get ahold of anyone close to where the process takes place is impossible. We hear all the time from our agents that they don't feel like they're in control when it comes to the aggregators," Rahmn said.

Rahmn's department sweeps about a dozen MLS systems every day and feeds the listings information into Windermere's own Web site. Even that is a huge task.

"It's hard enough to deal with 12 MLSs," said Rahmn. "I can't imagine 200, unless you really have your act together."

Thaddeus Wong, co-founder of Chicago-based @properties, predicted that online data accuracy will become less of an issue when brokers and developers become more Internet-savvy and turn to pulling information from a single source.

"Whether it's the MLS or an individual Web site, they'll spend more time updating it," he said. "It's getting better already because of broker reciprocity, which helps brokers pull data from the MLS that's 24 hours old at the most."

But meanwhile, home builders and developers also at times are guilt of leaving out-dated data online.

Wong said he's seen the look on buyers' faces when they find out the data isn't accurate and those faces aren't a pretty sight.

"They've looked online at the floor plan and specifications and decided it was the right price and property for them. Then they get to the sales center and find out there have been three price increases since that information was posted," said Wong, whose company has one office and 60 agents.

Buyers usually will insist on getting the stated price, in which case Wong reaches into a drawer and pulls out an official price sheet that states: "We reserve the right to increase prices."

"We just can't do it," said Wong. "It's a big disappointment for them that quickly turns to frustration and a need to post blame. Usually, it's the listing agent who feels the brunt of it."
 

Terry Russell

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Montana
Joe Birrell (NY) said:
problem seems that indivdual complaints need to be filed by the victim. We were also told that victim now needs to go to civil court and file complaint against appraiser to recoup $$.

When speaking of "victim" to whom are you refering?

And do you know who the 'whistleblower' is in this case?

terry
 

Joe Birrell (NY)

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
problem seems that indivdual complaints need to be filed by the victim. We were also told that victim now needs to go to civil court and file complaint against appraiser to recoup $$.

When speaking of "victim" to whom are you refering?

And do you know who the 'whistleblower' is in this case?

terry

I was hired by the "victim", i.e. the current owner who was scammed as the buyer. The "whistleblower" was my client (I assisted them). She filed complaint with NY State Attorney General for mortgage fraud, who in turn referred case to NY State Department of State (licensing authority for appraisers). My complaint is why does "victim" now need to take on all
parties at the closing. Appraiser got his licensed revoked on 9/10/02. My client was told by state attorney to file in civil court for $$$ damages.
What about the other scum at the closing table ? I'm still checking into this, and if needed I will make it my life's mission to help "victim" go after Realtor, lender, attorney, and investor. Why isn't state already doing this ?
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
:roll: Maybe the Gobment can't (or won't) "cross lines" by picking up a phone and calling someone in the other department to say: hey, look at this mess. I would send in a complant to the Bar Assoc., Realtors Ethics Board, Mtg. Brokers Assoc, etc, etc, etc. Go get'em Joe :!:
 
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