REAA Visits Congressman Dan Lungren
On Monday, July 7, 2008, Vicki Keeler, Tinna Morlatt, Janice McNally, Cynthia Sulamo, and I, all of the REAA were joined by Paul Smith, REALTOR, on an informational visit to 3rd District Congressman Dan Lungren’s office in Gold River.
While we waited in his conference room, everyone present commenced lively conversation about the issues that we are facing today, so by the time Lungren entered, we were fully warmed up.
We started by explaining to him the dangers of the HVCC, which he appeared to know about in a rudimentary sense believing that if Fannie and Freddie enacted it, that was the end. We let him know that there is much opposition to the HVCC including some of the most powerful Federal Agencies and Banks. Tinna Morlatt explained that painting any single part of the industry with a broad brush of blame is wrong and made the point that the laws and regulations are already in place to take care of the transgressors who created the current housing crisis. Creating a whole new layer of bureaucracy is unnecessary if enforcement of current laws and regulations could be stepped up, which should prevent the problems from occurring again.
Once we made our point that the HVCC was probably anything but a done deal, we moved on to AMC’s. We spent quite a bit of time there explaining what they are, why they are dangerous and how they need to be regulated. Cynthia Sulamo gave some great anecdotal evidence about AMC mis-practices and Janice McNally added projected losses of $700M+ should business from independent California appraisers be lost to out of state AMCs.
Next we discussed bills that include appraiser bonding, and I think he understands that it is unnecessary to bond appraisers, who are already insured. I explained that the cost of bonding, estimated at $8,000 to $15,000 per year would drive honest appraisers out of the business. Tinna and Paul Smith added that the unscrupulous appraisers would find a way to play the numbers game and consider purchasing a bond as a “free ticket” to continue to misbehave and a cost of doing business.
While discussing the intricacies of appraising Lungren asked how the dollar for dollar benefits were of adding pools and remodeling kitchens were calculated and Vicki Keeler brought up the point that if the wife wants it, her happiness is what creates the value.
It should be noted that Lungren, as a Republican is against a housing bailout specifically and generally is against more government and against more laws and regulations. But he is also a homeowner and is outside of the Real Estate industry, so his introduction to the world of appraising by ethical, responsible, intelligent and passionate appraisers must have been an eye-opener for him. I think he understood our point that if bills do get passed during this session we want to make sure that they do the least harm possible. Even if we didn’t sway him to our side, I feel that we opened the door and the next time an issue comes across his desk that affects appraisers, he or his office might very well call one of us for our interpretation. At the very least, he is aware of appraisers and the REAA now.
And his aide offered that he might come to speak at one of our dinners some day.