NAR Weighs in on Appraisal Waivers

The Appraisal Buzz is thrilled that Bill Brown found time in his busy day for an interview. As President of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), Bill has written to the Federal Housing Finance Agency to voice NAR’s thoughts on pending appraisal waivers planned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs).

BUZZ: Bill, thank you so much for your time today. Can you start off by telling our readers about how you got started in this industry and how you ended up at NAR?

BILL: Absolutely. I’m a second-generation REALTOR® and have been active in organized real estate for more than 35 years.  Before becoming President at NAR I served on numerous positions at the local, state, and national level. I’ve actually been an NAR Director since 1991 and was Chairman of the RPAC Trustees in 2004.  I also served twice as a Committee Liaison and as a Regional Vice President.

BUZZ: Can you explain further your current role at NAR?

BILL: Being president means I serve on NAR’s Executive Committee, on the Board of Directors, and Leadership Team. It’s a tremendous opportunity to speak on behalf of 1.2 million fellow Realtors® and help shape the industry we work in.

BUZZ: What is NAR’s position on the GSE’s forthcoming appraisal waivers?

BILL: At this time we’re still examining the possible effects. We are working closely with leaders at the Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA and within the industry to look at the potential impact while keeping our membership up to speed on the issue.

BUZZ: What does NAR see at the unintended consequences of the waivers?

BILL: Appraisals are an important part of the home buying and selling process. They give consumers an expert opinion on the value of what they’re purchasing and a level of certainty that they’re making a sound financial decision. We understand the GSEs are moving to eliminate appraisals in some limited circumstances, but the key there is the word “limited.”

We need to make sure that whatever changes occur still allow for an appraisal process that protects consumers with good information and sound financial markets.

BUZZ: What does NAR believe is the short-term and long-term impact of the waivers?

BILL: At this point it’s hard to say, but we’re urging caution as FHFA moves forward. There are a lot of unanswered questions, particularly about the quality of the GSEs valuation methods. More to the point, we still don’t know how many homes will not have a traditional appraisal or which metro areas and regions of the country will be affected most. It’s concerning that we don’t have answers to these questions.

BUZZ: What would NAR like to see to regarding appraisals and mortgage regulation that would reduce credit risk and a repeat of the last real estate recession?

BILL: There are a few things FHFA could do that would get us going in the right direction again. First, it’s important that lenders make their customers aware when a given transaction doesn’t include a traditional appraisal. NAR is also urging FHFA and the GSEs to develop appropriate disclosure parameters for lenders to share with borrowers regarding GSE valuation methods.

That’s not a complete list, but it would be a good start towards arming consumers with better information while preserving the safety and soundness of markets.

BUZZ: Anything else you would like to add?

BILL: This was great, thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to raise this issue.


About William Brown

William Brown
William E. Brown, a REALTOR® from Alamo, Calif., is the 2017 President of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR, The Voice for Real Estate®, is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1 million REALTORS® involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Bill is a second-generation REALTOR®, who has been active in organized real estate for more than 35 years. He is the founder of Oakland-based Investment Properties, a division of the family real estate business founded in 1964 by his father, William H. Brown, which focuses on the sale of existing apartment buildings to both institutional and private capital investors. Bill is also cofounder of Springhill Real Estate Partners, a privately owned multi-family investment company. Bill has served in numerous positions at the local, state, and national levels. He currently serves on NAR’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Leadership Team. He has been an NAR Director since 1991 and was Chairman of the RPAC Trustees in 2004. He has been a Committee Liaison twice (2006 and 2011) and was the 2012 Regional Vice President for Region 13; comprised of California, Hawaii, and Guam. He is a Golden R, member of the President's Circle and in 2010 was inducted into the RPAC Hall of Fame. In 2013, Bill served as an NAR Vice President. At the state level, Bill served as California Association of REALTORS® President and was honored as REALTOR® of the Year in 2008, and served on the Executive Committee six times. At the local level, Bill served as president of the Oakland Association of REALTORS® in 1984 and served on numerous local association committees. He chaired successful campaigns to fight two rent control initiatives in Oakland, California – No on E and No on EE. Bill also was selected by then-Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson to serve as the first landlord representative on the City of Oakland's Residential Rent Arbitration Board. Bill and his wife, Heather, are proud parents of their son, Cole.

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