Thursday , 3 December 2020

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss: Understanding an Investigation by a State Appraiser Regulatory Board or Agency

As we gear up for Valuation Expo, October 1st-3rd, we are excited to welcome many new continuing education courses. One being a premier course, Ignorance Isn’t Bliss: Understanding an Investigation by a State Appraiser Regulatory Board or Agency by the Appraisal Institute, developed and instructed by Craig Steinley SRA, AI-RRS, of Steinley Real Estate Appraisals.

This 4-hour seminar (CE approved) provides attendees with an opportunity to better understand the regulatory process surrounding complaints filed against real estate appraisers and the resulting investigations completed by state regulators.

Touching on matters such as disciplinary actions, limitations in statute and rule, federal mandates, the course even outlines the appeal options that are available to professional appraisers – so, we are certain Craig and AI will have a full room.

Buzz: Craig, thank you for joining us today. The Appraisal Institute is offering a premier of their new seminar for attendees on Monday the 1st of October. Can you tell us a bit about the seminar?

Craig: The Appraisal Institute wanted to provide practitioners across the country with a view of the complaint and investigation process from the perspective of the state regulatory agency. This new course is an opportunity for participants to peek behind the regulatory curtain and is unlike others before it. There have been courses and seminars summarizing specific disciplinary cases, certainly, along with the actions of a board and the final outcomes. But, the AI noticed a void in terms of education that would allow appraisers to truly understand how the state regulatory process works and place them at the greatest advantage in resolving such matters.

Since many regulators and board members are appraisers themselves, their insights and knowledge have been incorporated into the course content. It includes topics such as the source of complaints – who files them and why, due process, and the steps to take when an appraiser is notified of a complaint against them. The Institute hopes the presentation will help provide appraisers with a more thorough understanding of why state boards make the decisions that they do, and also allow them to channel that energy to a better outcome.

Buzz: The course will be offered for the first time at Valuation Expo. Why did AI choose to launch the course at Expo?

Craig: There is a lot of excitement about bringing the course to Valuation Expo. AI has long been known to provide the highest quality education, and it starts with a very thorough process for vetting new offerings including an extensive peer review process. Couple that with Valuation Expo, which has a great target audience and gives us the opportunity to receive feedback from a large variety of industry partners. Importantly, the event caters to actual real estate practitioners who are affected by these issues; it is personal to those in attendance. So all of these elements combined seem to predict a great outcome from the decision to premiere this new Appraisal Institute course  at Valuation Expo.

Buzz: This seems like a very passionate topic for you, why is that?

Craig: A portion of my practice has long been geared toward the work of appraiser regulators, so I am excited to bring this topic to the forefront. Serving this year as the President of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials (AARO) has been extremely rewarding and has afforded me a deeper understanding of the way in which states across the country have implemented Title XI of FIRREA. This 1989 federal law required the states to formally oversee the credentials and actions of appraiser practitioners. It also imposed responsibilities and requirements on state boards and agencies that very few appraisers understand; I hope this AI seminar will change that for everyone’s benefit.

Buzz: Will the course benefit other professionals in the valuation industry?

Craig: Absolutely! For example, AMCs are also regulated at the state level. When an AMC has a complaint filed against them, the investigation typically is conducted by the same agency, and in generally the same manner, as if it was filed against an appraiser. So, the material in the course is equally applicable to both audiences and gives these professionals the opportunity to understand, for the first time, the regulatory perspective. They will be putting themselves in the shoes of the state regulator and trying to navigate through an investigation and its findings within the boundaries of the federal government mandates. The old adage is true here – the more you know, the better off you are. This is especially valid in a profession that involves state licensing.

Buzz: We really appreciate your time and giving us a better insight into the course. Before we conclude this Q&A is there anything you would like to add?

Craig: Yes, the states were required to put a regulatory structure in place for appraisers in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. Because states are independent, and sometimes fiercely so, each one utilized their own past experiences with professional licensing to decide how best to implement this federal mandate. The resulting diversity in the complaint, investigation, and disciplinary processes is highlighted in the course, to the benefit of those who attend. Appraiser practitioners and regulators will learn how the individualized structures in other states operate, and some may see value in modifying or updating the process in their own state.

This is not unlike getting a new vehicle. If you drive the same make and model all the time, you probably like its features and think it is a perfect match for your needs. However, if you get to looking around, you may find there are more efficient and desirable features that are available in another model.

Fundamentally, the purpose of the appraiser regulatory board or agency is to protect the public. My experience has been that state regulators are open to change as long as it better serves the public and the regulated professionals. This new Appraisal Institute course will likely be a catalyst for some of those discussions, and that would be a good outcome from a 4-hour commitment.

Buzz: Thank you Craig, we really appreciate it. For more information on Valuation Expo and the course, please visit our website.

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About Craig Steinley

Craig Steinley
Craig Steinley, SRA, AI-RRS, is a State-Certified General Appraiser and AQB-Certified USPAP Instructor from Rapid City, SD. He primarily provides litigation support services in his practice – typically involving review for Standards compliance, various regulatory matters, and in the appraisal of complex properties. Craig is the Chair of Region II of the Appraisal Institute (AI), comprised of Chapters in eight states, and serves on the AI’s national Board of Directors through 2019. He was also elected by the Board to serve on AI’s Strategic Planning, Audit, and Professional Liability Insurance Program Committees. Craig was appointed to its Governance Structure Project Team, and is also an approved AI instructor. He was elected as the 2017-2018 President of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials (AARO) and leads its policy-making Board of Directors with additional service on its Executive, Policy and Planning, and Program Committees. He is an instructor for AARO/TAF’s Investigator Training courses and was recently part of the update team for its Level 3 offering. Closer to home, he has twice been elected as the state-wide President of the Professional Appraisers Association of SD (PAASD) and currently is fulfilling another 3-year term on its Board of Directors.

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