Appraisers Put Final Touches on Standardization Rules

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There is a real estate angle to just about every story, so we must ask: Did you really turn to this space looking for more coverage of the Persian Gulf and United Airlines?

As the flow of information, analysis, commentary and gossip on those topics reaches a fever pitch elsewhere, we'll press on with an issue of interest to the people who tell us how much our real estate is worth: the appraisers.

In Oklahoma, where anybody with an opinion can hang out a shingle and proclaim himself an appraiser, the process of establishing a state certification and licensing program quietly continued this week. The Oklahoma Real Estate Appraisal Board spent three hours on it and now is poised to put the finishing touches on proposed rules and laws aimed at standardizing the state's appraisal industry.

The board, whose meetings normally are scheduled after noon, voted to start its next session bright and early 9 a.m., Feb. 1.

The agenda will include final adjustments and approval of "emergency rules" to govern the appraiser certification process during the coming year, while legislation is considered at the State Capitol and permanent rules are written to enact the new state law.

The board also will fine tune that legislation before forwarding a proposed bill to state lawmakers.

All of this stems from Title XI of federal law, requiring appraiser certification in any state where "federally related" appraisals are performed. We're included, and work actually began last year to bring Oklahoma into compliance.

Out of the 1990 legislative session came the Oklahoma Certified Real Estate Appraisers Act, our state's first response to the federal requirements.

In November, the Real Estate Appraisal Board was notified that Oklahoma will have to try again. A letter from the Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the Title XI enforcer, outlined suggested changes in the Oklahoma Certified Real Estate Appraisers Act.

Those changes have been woven into the new bill which will get its last fine tuning Feb. 1 before it makes its way to the Legislature.

Naturally, when rules and regulations are written for a previously unregulated industry, there will be resistance - maybe even controversy.

The biggest source of friction in the establishment of a licensing and certificatin process for Oklahoma appraisers seems to be proof of experience.

Oklahoma Real Estate Appraisal Board member Travis Parsons put it this way:

"How can we judge the past performance of our fellow appraisers? This law is for setting a standard for the future."

Orval R. Dill, vice chairman of the board and chairman of its subcommittee on "standards and experience," said he has received input from appraisers across the state.

"We hear mostly from opponents to certain provisions, of course, but that's human nature," Dill said.

Most of those provisions are complex and wordy and say things like an appraiser must be able to prove that the two most recent years of his or her appraising experience have occurred during the past five years.

That provision, by the way, will probably be axed.

Other questions include the board's jurisdiction in judgment of violations and disciplinary matters once a licensing and certification process is established and how to regulate part-time or temporary appraisers' licenses.

The emergency rules and proposed legislation are in the hands of the Real Estate Appraisal Board's seven members, who have a lot of study before the big day Feb. 1 at the state insurance building, 1901 N. Walnut Ave.

"I would strongly recommend that this board be prepared with what it will recommend Feb. 1," said Terry Van Tuyl, chairman of the board. …