MBREA is a class act! And also very busy. - by Allan Cohen

November 10, 2017 - Appraisal & Consulting
Allan Cohen
City of Newton

MBREA is a class act! And also very busy. The organization combines appraisal education with service to the appraisal profession. Far beyond the classroom, MBREA represents appraisers on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.

The biggest issues stem from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s push for fewer residential appraisals. We are not letting this go unheeded. MBREA executive leadership and Government Affairs Committee are fighting for appraisers in recent face to face meetings at local offices of congressman Michael Capuano and senator Elizabeth Warren. Medford real estate appraiser John Antonelli, a long-time friend of congressman Capuano, helped MBREA gain an appointment October 30 with his congressman, who serves on the financial services committee. Rep. Capuano was receptive, aware of the issues given his years of service in the house banking committee. Steve Sousa, Marcus Johnson and Deb Olken presented appraisers’ viewpoints with their focus on deterring Big Data from controlling and eliminating residential appraisal practices. Rep. Capuano recognizes Freddie and Fannie’s goals, the immediate risks of lending without appraisals, and the consequences for millions of unsuspecting homeowners. He said he would keep in mind MBREA’s points when financial services meets with the two GSE’s to discuss appraisal waivers. Rep. Capuano is now better informed!

Senator Warren’s staff welcomed MBREA on September 27. Our senator returned to Washington that morning, but her chief of staff met with us to discuss the fate of home buyers obtaining mortgages from lenders that bypassed the use of appraisers. Marcus Johnson, Marie Wentling, Steve Sousa, and I had the privilege of speaking with Sen. Warren’s team. 

Challenges on Beacon Hill are tough but advancing our legislation is not insurmountable. We re-shaped our message on valuation services to be a consumer protection argument: House Bill (H.) 1975 defines intended users of appraisal services in hopes of heading off issues appraisers often have with other readers of our reports and people who get hold of the reported value but were not the intended user. Someone said there ought to be a law! So we thought one up and are trying to get it approved.

MBREA also supports limitations on who can call their work an appraisal. Senate Bill 104 proposes real property valuation services be done by qualified appraisers. To call your work product an appraisal, get a license like other well-trained professionals. S. 104 received favorable comments and votes in Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and is being debated in the Senate Ways and Means. 

We are closing in on AMC registration with H. 577, which follows the federal mandate to establish this panel. The bill was re-heard this past June and awaits another round of voting. Just this past week, Steve Sousa communicated with leadership in the Division of Professional Licensure, to remind them we face a Dodd-Frank deadline. Another bill in the pipeline, H. 2000, defines the timeframe inquiries and complaints can be made. We see this as another consumer protection measure. The bill forces the property owner, state, and appraiser to be on the same five-year timeline. 

Word of the day is “relevant.” MBREA must remain relevant by sustaining its reputation of serving well-trained, dedicated appraisers and valuation experts. MBREA’s Government Affairs Committee is right there too with follow through on support for all appraisers.

Allan Cohen is a certified general real estate appraiser and Newton Assessor, Newton, Mass.

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