Byline: KEVIN TURNER
Since May, it's been a lot harder to be a real estate appraiser, according to Paul Jarnutowski.
The problem hasn't been the recession, as much as a controversial new code of conduct adopted by the appraisal industry on May 1. Many real estate agents and mortgage brokers don't like the new code either. Many even claim the code has resulted in slowed-down appraisals to the point of constraining the housing market.
"My labor has gone from myself and three appraisers to myself and one other," said Jarnutowski, who owns Appraisers Plus on Beach Boulevard.
The Home Valuation Code of Conduct was intended to protect the consumer. It's a change in standards for mortgages that government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will accept. It came about in reaction to widespread reports of collusion between realtors, mortgage brokers and appraisers that inflated house sales prices to astronomical levels during the real estate boom. Those inflated prices left many homeowners owing more on their mortgage than their home's worth, a condition known as being "under water." …