This is getting interesting.

Vanderbilt Appraisal Company LLC, the second of our two major competitors, was subpoenaed last week into the widening probe over mortgage brokers pressuring appraisers by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The news coverage has been particularly heavy, likely because the firms being subpoened cover the most expensive real estate market in the US. The irony here is the fact that this investigation stemmed from subprime lending practices, of which there is a limited amount in New York City. And of course, a subpoena doesn’t infer guilt.

Appraisal pressure is a key ingredient in the problem with the mortgage industry being uncovered today and I am glad it is getting the attention it deserves. Just talking about it helps bring the problem to the forefront. There’s been a lot of news on the topic in the past week:

And in Ohio…
The Ohio Attorney General filed suit against seven mortgage brokers, 2 lenders and an appraiser last week:

A related aside (is there such a thing?)
I was struck by a specific number in the Bloomberg story that was so over the top, I wanted to mention it. Bloomberg reported that the two principals have personally done over 20,000 appraisals. However, their web site actually says that number applies to one of the principals who has personally performed more than 20,000 appraisals since 1991. The site also reports that the other principal has done about 15,000 reports over what I assume to be the same period.

If I do the math with the first principal, that is the equivalent of one person doing 20,000+ appraisals/16 years/50 weeks per year (assume a vacation)/5 days per week (assume time with family on weekends) equals 5 full appraisals from start to finish per day while owning, running and growing a regional appraisal business that includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida.

Thats about 4x the number I have personally appraised since 1986 (in 5 more years).

Now thats time management!

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “Another Appraisal Firm Enters Pressure Realm + 20,000 Reports”

  1. In the wish to be fair, I posted feedback from Vanderbilt.

    ====== As the arbiter of all things appraisal – I would expect your facts to be more accurate. I do not claim to have performed 15k appraisal reports. My bio clearly states

    “Mr. Vargas has performed and/or reviewed in excess of 15,000 appraisal assignments” I think Drew’s bio is meant to convey the same.

    A good portion of our appraisal assignments were completed in a Supervisory Appraiser capacity with a great deal of assistance from our appraisal staff.


    Michael Vargas Principal/Co-Founder

    Vanderbilt Appraisal Company LLC

    NY NJ CT FL 212-546-1070

  2. Point taken. Thanks.

    However, here’s why your explanation makes it more confusing to me and why I didn’t draw the conclusion that you originally suggested I should have. I don’t have an ax to grind here at all, its just that the number 20,000 jumped out at me because it seems like an unusually high volume appraisal level for an individual, but yet a very small volume level for a firm of your size. I was reading your web site after all the media coverage on this issue.

    So I did the math based on the new perspective you just provided.

    Drew’s resume says 20,000 (appraisals) and you say 15,000 (appraisal/review). Based on what you said in your email, lets combine them, so now its 35,000 appraisals completed (20k + 15k) by both of you (appraisals/review) in your 3 markets where you guys have licenses (per your site (NY, NJ and CT)) and include since 1991. I am also assuming, as principals, you review all the reports generated by your company except in Florida.

    The math goes like this= 35,000 appraisals (all reviewed, inclusive of the appraisals))/16 years/50 weeks/5 days/3 markets = 3 appraisals per day in each of the tri-state markets. However, that does not make sense given the size of your firm so this, plus the wording in your web site, left a distinct impression that the volume applied to Drew personally and by extension you.

    However, if you say that is not accurate, then I will take you at your word. I just wanted you to understand what impression your web site gave me when I read it after reading all the media coverage. You might want to clarify each of your bios.

  3. appraiser says:

    how can anyone supervise that much volume and claim they were never pressured? when I first read that I doubled over laughing. and what about the box ‘did inspect’? a little frightening actually. see what happened to Julie O’Gorman running a similar mill in Colorado.