When reviewing insurance appraisal reports for condo associations my colleagues and I often find reports authored and signed by companies or individuals who are not licensed appraisers in the State of Florida. When appraising buildings for condo associations an appraiser must be a State-Certified General Appraiser; residential appraisers are not allowed to appraise residential buildings over four units or a commercial building. Fulfilling the requirements to become a commercial appraiser (see bullet points below) takes between three and four years.

State-Certified General Appraisers Requirements:

  • 4-year bachelors degree or higher, or a total of 30 semester hours consisting of: English Composition; Micro Economics, Macro Economics; Finance; Algebra; Geometry or higher mathematics; Statistics; Computer Science; and either Business Law or Real Estate Law.
  • 300 classroom hours of board-approved courses (with passing exams) including fifteen hours of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
  • Provide evidence of 3,000 hours of real property appraisal experience obtained over a minimum of a 30-month period. 1,500 hours of the claimed experience must be in commercial appraisal work. Upon request, the applicant must provide the appraisal board, for its examination, copies of appraisal reports to support the claim for experience.
  • Pass the General National Exam and the Florida Supplemental Exam.
  • State-Certified General (Commercial) Appraiser may appraise both, residential and commercial properties.

So we spend a good amount of time in the field and in the classroom, study as much as we can to pass the grueling state exam to find that others take the easy road. We have seen “appraisal reports” from home inspectors, insurance adjusters, contractors, engineers and others.

Some of these providers argue that they are providing a cost estimate and not an appraisal. Unfortunately this argument is copied by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and trying to turn these unlicensed providers in, appears to be futile in most cases.

I discussed this wrong decision by the DBPR with many of my peers and we all have the same opinion that unlicensed providers should not perform a commercial appraisal.

FL Flag

When examining Florida law, we find the following:

Florida Statute 718.111.11 (a) states the following:

“Adequate property insurance, regardless of any requirement in the declaration of condominium for coverage by the association for full insurable value, replacement cost, or similar coverage, must be based on the replacement cost of the property to be insured as determined by an independent insurance appraisal or update of a prior appraisal. The replacement cost must be determined at least once every 36 months.”

This passage in the Florida Statutes makes the insurance appraisal a requirement by law, which in turn will require every appraiser to comply with the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), see the following excerpt from USPAP:

“An appraiser must comply with USPAP, when either the service or the appraiser is required by law, regulation, or agreement with the client or intended user.”

USPAP further states, that if one acts as an appraiser, one has to comply with USPAP.

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Therefore, an individual or company signing reports with “senior appraiser”, “regional appraiser”, “insurance appraiser” and alike is violating law and USPAP.

A commercial appraisal report, regardless if for market or insurable value, must be signed by a State-Certified General Appraiser with full name, license number and rank. Fantasy titles as listed above are not sufficient to sign an appraisal report. Furthermore, State-Registered Trainees cannot sign an appraisal report without the accompanying signature of their supervisor who must be a State-Certified General Appraiser.

So why is unlicensed work potentially dangerous? An insurance appraisal will establish the replacement value of your commercial or multifamily building, which in turn will be the basis for your insurance policy. If the value is not right, your policy will not be right and you might risk being under- or over insured. Especially CAMs and board members want to do their due diligence when selecting an appraiser to avoid liability issues with the community they are serving.

The next time you are comparing bids for your next appraisal report, make sure all bidders are licensed commercial appraisers with the title as stated above. You can check an individual’s license following by going to DBPR License Search.

One more thought: After all these years of education and continuing education a true appraiser will proudly display his/her title as required by law. Because we love what we do!!

As always call or email with questions; thank you for reading my blog.

Patricia Staebler, SRA
State-Certified General Appraiser RZ2980
(yes, that’s the way it should be done)

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About 60% of our work portfolio of reserve studies turns out to be underfunded, about 50% of that is severely underfunded with an average funding of 15% and less. One of our least favorite duties is to explain the community members how they got to that sad point.

After the truth sinks in, the first question is usually: Whose fault is it? Well, certainly not the current board or the just recently hired new property manager. In severely underfunded associations the culprit is usually a succession of wrong decisions, lack of knowledge, and foremost unwillingness to face higher monthly assessments.

Not only that past boards continuously voted to not increase the contributions to the reserves, but in most cases the maintenance schedules for major building components was extended.

For example, we see more than once that exterior painting was extended from a 7-year schedule to an “8-year and beyond schedule”. Paint is the first protection barrier against water intrusion. If not maintained properly this first barrier will fail and let water enter to penetrate the stucco. And this is just the beginning of more major problems to come.

After failing paint comes failing stucco

We see this deferred replacement of major building components on exterior paint, roofs, roadways, parking lots, etc. Neglected building components threaten the integrity of the building and are usually last on the list of deferring repair and replacement. High up on the list are roadways, sport surfaces, fences, walls and landscape. While these assets are not vital for the health of the buildings, they are vital to the wellbeing of the community. An association which does not have well maintained landscape, roads and common elements will experience difficulties with moving property. Sellers will stay away and owners who want to sell are stuck in a community no longer desirable for them to live in. This is usually the beginning of the end.

 

Reserves shrink – Property Values decrease

Catching up with deferred maintenance and replacement is a difficult task and not only requires a willing board and a knowledgeable property manager but a well researched and executed reserve study.

Besides the tools we have to improve the financial situation of an association step by step, the newly established replacement schedule should be followed every year. With diligence and hard work it is possible to turn an association around.

For questions how we can help your association, email us at info@ce2.616.myftpupload.com

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5 Reasons Why Real Estate Appraisers and Agents Need to Engage in Social Media

October 17, 2013

The digital age has launched the real estate business world into more than just an understanding of market analysis reports and insurance replacement valuations. Today’s real estate appraisers need to understand website landing pages, white papers and social media platforms. To give an adequate example of the importance of social media; it is reported that […]

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Reserve Study Season is here!

August 5, 2013

Recently our books filled up with reserve studies quicker than ever, mostly because budget season is upon us with most condo associations starting their budget sessions in October. While the bulk of appraisal work happens between January and May, reserve studies are a hot commodity between June and October. Here is a list of items […]

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The unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank

June 7, 2013

This article was published by Gulf Coast Business Review – Friday, May 31, 2013 The Author is Kevin F. Jursinski, a Florida Bar board-certified real estate and business litigation attorney in Fort Myers. I found this report in the Gulf Coast Business Review too important not to share in its original form with my clients. This is […]

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How Condominium Associations should select an Insurance Agent

May 28, 2013

Many of my clients still believe they should get as many bids as possible from insurance agents for their flood and wind coverage. During my site visits and inspections I hear this discussion over and over again. Therefore it is time to set the record straight and explain how the “bid process” really works. Here […]

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Buyer Beware – Or Why Condominium Insurance Purchase Is Not The Same Any Longer

May 20, 2013

The recent decision in the 4th District Court of Appeals case “Citizens Property Insurance Corporation vs. River Manor Condominium Association Inc.” sheds new light on F.S. 718.111(11)(f). Condominium association from now on should take extra care to know what property assets are included in their standard insurance policy and which are not. The River Manor […]

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Does your building need an ISO inspection?

May 5, 2013

First, let me clarify what ISO stands for: The Insurance Services Office (ISO) http://www.isopropertyresources.com/About-ISO/About-ISO-Root/ISO-Overveiw.html is a leading source of information for risk management in the insurance industry. ISO provides information for many professions and industry sectors like insurance carriers, finance sector, health services, and real estate in general. Their products help their customers to measure, […]

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Three Reasons the Housing Recovery may not last (a CNN Money Report)

April 22, 2013

This is the second time I am reading a report where economists are worried about cash buyers. The first report was about cash buyers in the Fort Myers area with a leading Realtor voicing concerns that cash buyers, who in most cases are investors and absentee owners, will bring change to the micro market and […]

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Citizens Extends the 2009 FIGA Assessment

March 29, 2013
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