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Appraiser Licensing: A 'Diamond Lane'?

February 09, 1986

Another bill proposing state licensing of real estate appraisers is before us--and not a moment too soon. Let's take regulation out of the hands of designation-conferring appraisal societies and hand it over to the state.

In place of the diverse experience, judgment and hands-on concern of professionals who've spent their lives in appraising and in manning the various societies, we can have the fantasy of "Perfect Government Regulation" from the same folks who brought you the "diamond lane," "appointments only" at the Department of Motor Vehicles and other assorted administrative triumphs.

While we're going to the government to solve problems of human imperfection (the occasional rotten apple in every professional barrel), let's make the bill even more comprehensive: Wipe out the historic mortgage-lender commission structure and license all lending institution employees above the rank of floor sweeper.

And add the requirement that a legal opinion be rendered on the liability implications relative to each loan in process, including a geneology of the buyer, seller, real estate broker and escrow officer. Call it the Joint and Several Liability and Geneology Clause of the Appraisers, Financial Institutions and Attorneys Licensing (let's license them too) Act. Has a nice ring to it. Gets all the professionals involved early on, and gives future plaintiffs a wider range of targets: more scapegoats in the soup whenever the real estate market moves in an unprofitable direction.

I think that ought to do it. I mean, a single legislative panacea for all the ills of the marketplace. Think of it: commissions, malfeasance, rush jobs, deadlines, greed. All struck dead with a single bill.

DAVID M. CALLAHAN

Los Angeles

Callahan is past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. of Independent Fee Appraisers.

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