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Support for Licensing

May 06, 1990

A "Speaking Out" column (April 15) featured Vernon Martin, an appraiser for a major financial institution, questioning the value of pending legislation that would license and/or certify real estate appraisers. The appraisal profession is unique in that until now, there have been no requirements for entry into the profession. A number of appraisal organizations exist, some more reputable than others, but membership is purely voluntary. The most recognized and prestigious appraisal organizations represent only a small fraction of practicing appraisers.

With this in mind, I can't imagine why anyone in the industry would oppose licensing-certification of real estate appraisers. Not only is state licensing required by Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (S&L bail-out), but will also regulate the activities of the large number of practicing appraisers who are not affiliated with any recognized appraisal organization.

Mr. Martin believes that legal action against errant appraisers is a better solution, apparently not realizing the cost of such litigation; who needs more lawsuits anyway? Is fear of legal action any greater deterrent to appraisal abuse than the possible loss of license and livelihood? I think not.

The writer's fear that licensing will be administered by the Department of Real Estate is also unfounded. This is contrary to the intent of the federal legislation, noting that both licensing bills under consideration in the California Legislature (AB 527 and SB 2380) propose regulation of appraisers within the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

Licensing of real estate appraisers isn't a panacea. But with proper enforcement, it is better than the current system, which allows unqualified and/or dishonest appraisers to do their thing with little fear of retribution.

MICHAEL V. SANDERS

Santa Ana

Sanders is a real estate appraiser .

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