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Digital Signature Question

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Jennifer Boggs

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
I work for a valuation company, and we would like to try a new product with our appraisers. This desktop product would be sent to our appraisers in a Word document. How difficult would it be for the appraisers to add a digital signature to the bottom of the document?

Is specific software required to add the digital signature? If so, is this software something that most appraisers have?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Jennifer:

Many of us do have the ability to affix a signature to a document...

Many do not have the specific knowlege as to how to do that...

Further: if your 'valuation product' is so limited as to cause us to have concern for our license/certification... the odds of your receiveing a warm welcome is pretty slim.

Most appraisers are being innundated with requests to perform services that our E&O companies or State Boards will not approve.

Please insure that your product meets not only your client and companies needs but also our ability to legally and ethically comply with the request for service.
 

Tom McDowell

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
North Carolina
That's easy to do. All a digital signature is, is some type of picture file. IE: JPG, PCX, GIF etc. The problem with a work document is the security. That is why we use PDF. You could have your appraisers print the word document to a PDF file set to the proper security mode and that should meet state requirements for security. I have a program that prints a file to a self executing file. Impossible to lift any data.
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Tom,

Are you saying you have a doc that OCR will not work on?

Ed in Arkansas
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
How difficult would it be for the appraisers to add a digital signature to the bottom of the document?

scan the signature, save as a graphic file Word recognizes (like .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, etc.) That can be imported as a graphic box filler. Easy...the security issue? Who is controlling the file? I use digital signature and digital stamp on my documents but I control the documents, the digital signature and stamp are in my possession not in a company or client posession. Again, I export the file electronically only in a .pdf format - it can be scanned, but it cannot be lifted. P. S. - I change my digital signature occasionally, date specific. if an old sig is on a new document I would recognize the fraud.[/quote]
 

Jennifer Boggs

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
Thanks so much for all of your help with this. I really appreciate the responses.

It sounds like the signature would not be difficult to apply to our word doc. I also like the idea of the appraiser turning the doc into a PDF. Not only does this lock the doc so that it cannot be edited after delivery, but PDF is the most compatible type of file for our system.

Lee Ann's response concerns me because we do not want to put any appraiser in a situation that is illegal or unethical as far as license/certification goes. I know that our client is having these desktop valuations performed by other valation companies at this time.

Are you guys doing any desktop valuations that do not require an actual inspection of the property? There would be a disclaimer on the report stating that an inspection was not completed.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Are you guys doing any desktop valuations that do not require an actual inspection of the property? There would be a disclaimer on the report stating that an inspection was not completed

No.

I have a legalistic approach to appraising. We are professionals. failing to avail ourselves of all the data that is available and could be discovered under "due diligence", in my opinion, exposes us should a legal problem occur.

i do not believe the typical judge would regard a desktop valuation as being "due diligence" regarding the estimates of value. This does not mean that it cannot conform to USPAP or be acceptable product to lenders and state regulators..it is just my opinion that a judge could and likely would regard the absence of all three approaches to value and the lack of personal inspection of the property as evidence that "due diligence" was not performed. It is not going to be a problem until someone sues you. And sooner or later they will.
ter
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
I consider a drive by extremely lacking and they scare me. Attempting to do an appraisal without getting out and at least walking through the interior and viewing it from the back yard, etc. is flat out dangerous. Might as well put on a blind fold and throw a dart.

USPAP compliant?
Yes, with a lot of disclaimers.

Will it pass a Judge in a law suite?
Extremely doubtful!

Will I ever put my signature on a desk top 'appraisal'? Will I ever put my signature on an AVM saying that I agree with it?
NO! I'd rather quit appraising!!!

Why are appraiser's being asked to do these things?
I do believe it's called passing the LIABILITY.

My opinion of any appraiser doing these?
If you ask me, I will answer. Those that want these done, will not like my answer!

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
 

Jennifer Boggs

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
Would you say that an appraiser would feel more comfortable with this product if they were in control of the upgrade process? If they did not feel comfortable providing the value based on knowledge of the market and MLS comps, they would have the ability to upgrade the order to a drive-by appraisal.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Jennifer,

I think you will find many to resist this type of report. Any type of report that has less than a full inspection is not reliable, subject to many disclaimers and can come back to haunt an appraiser and his E & O Insurance Company. The liability is too great and the fee is too low. If you have appraiser's willing to to this type of report, then more power to you. However, you get what you pay for. Remember the appraisal process for mortgages is based on collateral value for the mortgage company. If a mortgage company is so interested in cutting "costs" then why bother to get an appraisal or some type of valuation at all? The desktop valuation is a form of appraisal 'russian roulette" sooner of later the bullet is going to be in the chamber and somebody will suffer. I personally will never perform any type of desktop valuation. First, the fee is too low to outweigh the risk. And second, we are professionals, I consider my opinion to be worth far more than such a company is willing to pay. Upgrading a desktop to an "exterior only" does not diminish any liability or margin for error.

As far as your first question, a digital signature is available for any kind or computer word document.

Lastly, I continue to hear that the appraisal process slows down the mortgage process, but I never see proof. Most of my clients have their appraisal reports far before they are physically able to close their loans and usually they are waiting for the survey, title company or documents from the borrower, not me.

I hope you did not consider my post as an attack, I just felt you should hear an appraiser's opinion of the desktop valuation in today's world.
 
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