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  • Writer's pictureKrystal Schware, PA CREA

The Homeowners Who Cried Wolf

I awoke today to see more so-called appraiser bias in the headlines. It’s hard to miss these days. Everyone who is of a different ethnicity than their appraiser has started a trend of claiming bias if their home doesn’t appraise as high as their personal (untrained guess) opinion of value.

I’ve been following these cases for some time. What I’ve found to date is that not one appraiser has been definitively charged with bias. That bears repeating; not one appraiser was found guilty as of this time. Based on all the headlines, you would never know that. The media lies to make it sound rampant and factual. It’s a shame that in the media, lies sell headlines better than truth.

Imagine how much easier and more reliable all the bias cases could be handled if the accused appraisers were given an actual fair trial by a jury of their actual peers. I'm not of a mind to understand how someone can be judged guilty of something by accusers and juries that have no working knowledge of what they are judging. As you may well know, there are countless reasons an appraisal can be less than what other (untrained) parties personally GUESS the value to be. Isn't a trained professional typically the one in the know? An opinion of value being lower than a SWAG (silly wild-ass guess) does not mean incorrect, bias, or fraud. These appraisers are treated as guilty until proven innocent. How do you get a fair trial under those conditions?

Appraising is a highly skilled, highly trained mix of art and science. I often paraphrase a line from the movie ‘A Few Good Men.’ In the end, “It’s not just what I think, it’s what I can prove.” We perform the full scope of work and our final opinion of value comes from the analysis of all of the data. Appraisers do not make up the data or assign a random, arbitrary value; the data already exists, and that data is what it is.

If someone feels that they have truly been a victim of discrimination, by all means act accordingly. But these acts of people crying wolf and stomping their feet like petulant children for not getting their own way, it is time for that to be brought to a halt. I won’t hold my breath waiting but I hope to see regulations put in place so that those who cry wolf are harshly reprimanded for their unfounded attacks.

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