On May 1, a sweeping change took effect that was meant to reduce the conflicts of interest in home appraisals while safeguarding the independence of the people who do them.Brokers and real estate agents can no longer order appraisals. Lenders now control the entire process.The Home Valuation Code of Conduct is setting off a bitter battle. Mortgage brokers, lenders, real estate agents, regulators and appraisers are all arguing over whether an effort to fix one problem has created many new ones.The agents, maintaining that the changes are effectively blocking home sales by encouraging the use of inexperienced appraisers, are asking Washington to suspend the code until 2011. For their part, appraisers acknowledge that the change may have been well intentioned but contend that it has no teeth and is undermining the economics of their profession.
By David Streitfield, August 19, 2009, NYT

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