Tuesday , 26 January 2021

Industry Involvement Can Lead to Change

For many appraisers, they want to be a part of something bigger. They see the issues in the industry that need to be changed and seek ways to become more involved in their community. For Cristy Conolly, Senior Vice President of Quality Control and Compliance at Nationwide Appraisal Network – she saw the opportunity and jumped on it.

Buzz: Cristy, thank you for joining us today. Can you share with us how you became involved with the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board?

Cristy: Thank you for having me. I applied to be on the board when I saw there was an open seat for an AMC member. I’m passionate about the profession and wanted to get more involved. I wanted to be able to make a difference and be a part of positive change for my state.

I am originally from Pennsylvania which is where I started my career as a residential appraiser working in the field. Eventually I moved to Florida and began working for Nationwide Appraisal Network (NAN). At NAN, I work heavily on the compliance and regulatory side of the industry, specifically pertaining to AMCs. This gives me the perfect perspective, knowledge and experience to be a great fit for an AMC member of the FREAB.

Buzz: What kind of changes has the board implemented?

Cristy: Being part of the board has enabled me to really understand what has been happening specifically in Florida and what some of the challenges are. I’m fortunate to be able to work with a great group of people with various backgrounds and expertise. We spend a lot of time discussing the challenges appraisers and AMCs are facing to determine what, as a board, we can do to assist.

One change that I am proud to have been a part of involves appraiser trainee requirements. It is a current issue the entire profession is facing, and various organizations have been working tirelessly to make it more feasible for new appraisers to enter. NAN has been involved with initiatives for this. Florida’s requirement did require supervisors to personally inspect every property with the trainee for the first 12 months. This is above and beyond what the AQB minimum requirement is and we were hearing this created a challenge for appraisers wanting to supervise a trainee, as 12 months wasn’t really necessary in most cases. This resulted in many opting out of supervising altogether, thus preventing new appraisers from entering the profession. The board reviewed and discussed this at length, and we voted to lower this timeframe to 6 months.

Buzz: Has your involvement with CRN helped your contributions to the board?

Cristy: The CRN has been a great resource for me to further my understanding and knowledge of different aspects of the industry, particularly regarding regulations and compliance. It brings together executives from all walks in the industry to provide insights, updates, best practices and more. We learn about industry changes before they are typically active or implemented, which can help us prepare for what is coming in Florida.  The CRN is also helpful for NAN, keeping our finger on the pulse of the industry to remain ahead of the curve.

Buzz: How does the board manage putting new rules into place?

Cristy: The board is comprised of a talented group of people who work hard to serve the people of Florida. Our role is to protect the public and we all take that responsibility seriously. When there are proposed changes to rules, we all take this into consideration.  We have rules workshops, dedicated to discussing and voting on a specific rule.  This affords the board the time necessary to really dig into the matter to ensure the best decision is made for the citizens of Florida.

There are a couple of topics the board is currently reviewing to determine if any changes will be made.  One is the qualification criteria to become an appraiser in Florida. The AQB sets the minimum requirements and revised the qualification criteria earlier this year. Florida law is currently in line with the prior AQB requirements. We are working to align Florida’s requirements to align with the new AQB criteria, however the board can’t change the law.  We can only change the rules.  We may have to wait until the law is changed to be able to change the qualification criteria.

Another item currently being discussed by the board is evaluations. On October 1, 2017, Florida passed a law which allows appraisers to complete evaluations. The law doesn’t state appraisers must comply with USPAP when completing evaluations, however it does give the board the authority to prescribe other standards. So, the big question is, should appraisers have to comply with USPAP when performing evaluations? There are strong opinions supporting both sides of this. As a board, we have been struggling to determine the best way to protect the public.

FREAB meetings are open to the public and live streamed so anyone is welcome to join and participate. Industry professionals have attended from different organizations to voice their opinions and provide feedback on the topics at hand. People feel strongly about this wonderful profession and the board works hard to serve it well. I love being a part of it and am honored to have the opportunity.

Buzz: Thank you for joining us today, we really appreciate it.

Cristy: Thank you!

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About Cristy Conolly

Cristy Conolly
Cristy Conolly is the Senior Vice President of Quality Control & Compliance at Nationwide Appraisal Network (NAN), a national AMC. She is a certified residential appraiser and gained the experience for the industry-wide perspective by completing appraisals for wholesale and retail lenders, AMCs, servicing companies and attorneys in the Philadelphia metro area. Cristy relocated to Florida and joined the NAN team in 2011, where making compliance easier on everyone and understood by all is one of her core competencies. She works closely with NAN’s clients to ensure their appraisal requirements are within industry guidelines and met on every assignment. Cristy conducts regular trainings on appraisal/AMC requirements and regulations and industry updates. Cristy currently serves as Vice Chair of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB).

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