Looking at 2018 from the rear view mirror - by Rocco Quaresima

January 11, 2019 - Appraisal & Consulting
Rocco Quaresima

As we enter the new year filled with new (or some of the same old) resolutions, it is important that these resolutions do not go unfilled. Looking back as the outgoing 2018 president of the Connecticut Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, 2018 was filled with many successes and challenges. The chapter was able to increase its educational offerings fueled by the continuing education cycle and was able to capture a higher market share for mandatory seminars in comparison to the last cycle. The education and program committees do and must continue to work hard to provide timely offerings on current and relevant topics. For example, the November 13 seminar entitled “Walgreen v. West Hartford: Prescription for Appraisers” was well attended by a diverse audience not simply looking to fulfill continuing education requirements. The attendees were genuinely interested in the topic, which led to lively discussions. The challenge is to continue to build on the success of the educational offerings into 2019, which is not a continuing education year. The chapter is off to a good start with the offering of Going Green in CT- Energy Efficiency and Valuation on January 18, at the New England Expo being held at Mohegan Sun. The seminar will provide case studies and an overview of programs that are available in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Chapter remains vigilant in protecting the mandatory appraiser licensing in the state, which is constantly under attack. Historically, the Connecticut Association of Realtors have unsuccessfully attempted to introduce legislation that would allow for sales agents to perform broker’s price opinions without any formal training in appraisal. Although 2018 was quiet on this front, our government relations committee continues to monitor the situation and is prepared to continue fighting to preserve the current licensing laws.

2018 did bring a new challenge to the industry when the federal regulatory agencies agreed to raise the appraisal threshold requirement level from $250,000 to $500,000 for commercial properties. Commercial real estate appraisals performed by state certified appraisers are no longer required for loans under $500,000. Rather, evaluations performed by non-licensed appraisers can be used. Real estate appraiser’s in the state of Connecticut are not permitted to provide an opinion of value without meeting the minimum requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Therefore, despite being the most qualified, Connecticut appraisers are not permitted to perform evaluations. Rather, a Restricted Use Appraisal that meets the minimum requirements of USPAP can be performed by a certified appraiser. Many area lenders do recognize the need for reliable valuations even for low risk properties and have opted to obtain Restricted Use appraisal reports rather than evaluations. The impact of the increase in threshold remains to be seen in 2019.

On a national level, the leaders at the Appraisal Institute continue to work tirelessly to update existing courses and seminars as well as introduce new relevant courses and seminars. 

New seminars released in 2018 include “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss: Understanding an Investigation by a State Regulatory Board Agency” and “Evaluating Commercial Leases: The Tenant and the Terms Both Matter.” 

New seminars to be released in 2019 include “Rural Valuation Basics” and “How Tenants Create or Destroy Value.” 

The Appraisal Institute is also evaluating the current structure of the organization led by the Governance Structure Project Team which is expected to make recommendations in 2019. The leaders at the organization recognize the need to maintain a structure that serves the current needs of all the membership. Although change is sometimes difficult, it is necessary to ensure that the Appraisal Institute remains a leader in the industry for years to come.

Rocco Quaresima, MAI, AI-GRS is the president of Elm Realty Advisors, LLC, Hartford, Conn.

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