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CoesterVMS Appraiser Terms and Conditions

Network Benefits

At CoesterVMS we attract and retain the best appraisers in the nation. Our approach is to provide our appraisers with the benefits and support they need to focus on completing the highest quality appraisals. Please keep in mind the following as you consider joining our team.

Receive Orders at No Cost

CoesterVMS allows you to receive appraisal orders without marketing costs or membership fees. CoesterVMS assigns orders accordingly based on geographic competence and the professional performance of the appraisers in our network. You accept only the assignments that your schedule allows.

We Manage the Process

Assignments are handled with a combination of our automation and knowledge of historical performance. Appraisers have no direct contact with Loan Officers so there is no pressure to compromise professional standards. CoesterVMS was founded by appraisers, and we treat our appraiser partners fairly and with the respect they deserve. We expect exactly what you want to provide – a fair and accurate appraisal.

We Manage the Problems

We also ask all clients for their lender specific guidelines up front to mitigate multiple follow up requests for changes and revisions. Most issues can be resolved internally with little or no involvement from the appraiser.

No Collection Hassles

You no longer need to waste valuable time chasing clients who fail to pay for the services ordered. You provide high quality appraisals in a timely and professional manner and we pay you for those services. Unless otherwise required by your licensing state, payment cycles average 45 days from initial transmission (upload to CoesterVMS systems), but shall not exceed 60 days.

Support Staff

CoesterVMS assigns experienced account managers to all accounts. These individuals maintain detailed knowledge of appraisal processes and requirements, in addition to associated clients’ special instructions. Account Managers will serve as the primary contact on specific orders.

CoesterVMS also maintains a Vendor Relations department whose primary role is to assist vendors with managing their profile and addressing escalated issues.

Reference the “Contact Us” page in Cloud Control for current contact information for all departments.

Powered by Cloud Control

CoesterVMS proprietary software production system provides you with a user friendly interface to track your order inventory and manage your system profile.

Appraiser Application Checklist

CoesterVMS offers interested appraisers a succinct, user friendly online registration portal. Complete the pages below to receive consideration for network approval.

Application Requirements

Click Here to access the online portal and provide the following:
  • Basic Appraiser Information
  • Licensure Information
  • State and County Coverage Area
  • Product Fee Schedule
  • Copy of Current State License
  • Proof of Appraiser E&O Insurance
  • Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification Form W-9
  • To obtain a copy of the form go to http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/formpub.html
Review the following sections of this document:
  • Appraiser Qualifications
  • Production Requirements
  • Appraiser Compensation Policy
  • Code of Conduct
  • Unacceptable Appraisal Practice
 

Appraiser Qualifications

A professional appraiser network is the backbone of our business. At CoesterVMS we attract and retain the best appraisers in the nation. Our approach is to provide our appraisers with the benefits and support they need to focus on completing the highest quality appraisals.

To be eligible for inclusion in the CoesterVMS Appraiser Network, an appraiser must meet the following minimum experience and licensure requirements.

The applicant must have a minimum of two (2) full year’s residential appraisal experience and be licensed or certified by each State included in the applicant’s service area with NO pending litigation.

By completing the appraiser engagement package, the appraiser hereby represents and warrants the following:
  • that they have and shall maintain any necessary licenses to perform the appraisal work required in accordance with state/local regulations and requirements,
  • that they shall immediately inform CoesterVMS in the event they no longer maintain such licenses,
  • that they will, at all times, conduct the appraisal within requirements as set forth by local, state, and/or federal authorities,
  • that they shall carry sufficient E&O insurance to meet lender/investor requirements.
The following types of appraisers do not meet CoesterVMS minimum requirements and should not submit an application:

Trainee | Associate | Registered | Assistant

Production Requirements

Order Assignment

CoesterVMS assigns orders utilizing a methodology which considers each point detailed in the sections below.

Appraiser Proximity

CoesterVMS average geo-coded distance from appraiser to subject property is under 10 miles in suburban and urban areas and less than 15 miles in rural areas.

Quality

CoesterVMS review and score appraisals by employing a two stage process. Upon transmission by the appraiser, systems analyze the report utilizing an automated checklist based on general guidelines and minimum formatting requirements. CoesterVMS Quality Control staff manages the checklist logic around avoiding client or investor revisions based on previous order data. Additionally, QC staff monitors regulatory guidelines to ensure the checklist proactively analyzes based on any updates.

Following completion of the automated checklist review, QC staff review appraisal report verbiage which cannot be accounted for systematically. This manual review accounts for regulatory guidelines and clients’ special instructions, as well as administrative and valuation construct/logic. Each appraiser’s historical performance is averaged and weighted in assignment algorithms then displayed to the associate assigning the order.

Service

CoesterVMS tracks and logs appraiser performance metrics on each stage of the appraisal process including acceptance, scheduling, submission, communication response and average revision requests. The data is compiled and included in assignment algorithms and displayed to the associate assigning the order.

Capacity

CoesterVMS tracks capacity level metering on each appraiser. Appraisers that have reached their predetermined capacity will not be considered for an assignment unless a management exception is granted.

Fee

If all else is equal, CoesterVMS will consider the reasonability of the individual appraiser’s requested fee, utilizing internal market data and objective third party fee schedules. CoesterVMS systems average fees entered in the appraiser profile with market data, or state sponsored fee schedules if no data is available, to objectively determine assignment fees. See CoesterVMS’ Customary and Reasonable Fee Policy in the Resource Center for further information on fee determination.

Order Acceptance

Appraisers will be contacted by phone, email and/or text message (SMS) with an appraisal order and given the location, due date, product type, specific underwriting criteria, additional service terms and product fee for the order.

Orders may be accepted under the following methods:
  • Email
    • Appraisers will receive an email message containing assignment details and links which allow for acceptance directly from the message
  • SMS
    • Appraisers who choose to provide their mobile number will also receive text (SMS) messages containing unique accept/decline codes for use in response to the original message. The message also includes the property address, product type, fee and due date. Standard text message rates do apply and are not covered by CoesterVMS.
  • Cloud Control System
    • Appraisers may log into the Cloud Control System and accept orders from the Unaccepted Orders queue on the main page
  • Verbal
    • Appraisers may verbally accept orders with a CoesterVMS associate. CoesterVMS staff will record and attach verbal acceptance to the order notes for future reference.

Special Instructions

In addition to the standard product specific scope of work, assignments may contain a set of special instructions pertaining to that order. In order to comply with specific lender’s underwriting guidelines, these special instructions are conditions of your engagement contract for that order. It is imperative that appraisers read and adhere to the performance and reporting standards detailed in the special instructions section of each order. Failure to adhere to any special instructions will result in a rejected report and will require corrections.

Special instructions be displayed in the General Client Specific Requirements and Client Product Specific Requirements sections as pictured below, and/or in PDF format as an attachment to the assignment

Questions regarding order instructions can be directed to any CoesterVMS associate via telephone or through the Request Help or Comment option on any order.

Service Levels and Communication Standards

Communication is critical to the relationship between CoesterVMS and our network appraisers. Unless otherwise agreed upon by CoesterVMS at or prior to acceptance, appraisers are expected to adhere with the following timelines at each milestone in the valuation process:

Process Milestone Service Timeline

  • Inspection Scheduling Attempt to schedule inspection scheduling within 24 hours of acceptance
  • Inspection Confirmation Confirm inspection occurred as scheduled within 12 hours of the scheduled date and time
  • Initial Report Transmission Upload appraisal report and associated documents to Cloud Control within 48 hours of inspection or by accepted due date, whichever occurs first
  • Revised Report Transmission Upload revised appraisal reports within 24 hours of revision request date and time
  • Appraisal Rebuttal Response Respond to Appraisal Rebuttals, by uploading revised report or providing commentary in Cloud Control, within 48 hours of rebuttal request.
Appraisers are required to contact CoesterVMS, either via telephone or through the Request Help or Comment option, at any point in your appraisal process if issues arise regarding the following:
  • Delays
  • Cancellations
  • Problems with entry contact
  • Missed Appointments
  • Report delivery deadline
  • Property Type Variances
  • Property Eligibility Concerns
Appraisers are expected to utilize Cloud Control as the primary source of communication.

Do not communicate directly with loan officers or any other person directly associated with the client (with exception of the DE Underwriter for FHA assignments) in order to protect the lender from potential coercion liability and to ensure accurate and unbiased valuations. Immediately report communication attempts by any such person to the CoesterVMS Independence Hotline listed below.

Report Delivery

Appraisal reports must be uploaded to Cloud Control in PDF format. Specific products, as indicated in Cloud Control, will also require upload of a MISMO XML version of the report.
CoesterVMS will specify the client to be named in the report in the Name on Appraisal field on the engagement message

Validations

Cloud Control will automatically review the appraisal report against order data to ensure the accuracy of key fields. CoesterVMS encourages appraisers to address these variances to avoid unnecessary revision requests. The following fields will be validated upon the initial upload*:
  • Field Name
  • Appraisal Form
  • Appraiser Name
  • Borrower Name
  • Concessions Amount
  • Name on Appraisal
  • Property Appraised Value
  • Property County
  • Property Postal Code
  • Property Street Address
  • Purchase Price
  • Transaction/Assignment Type

*NOTE: CoesterVMS reserves the right to amend field validations without prior notice.

Post Completion Requests

In the event that the client expresses concerns in regards to the appraisal report or specifically requests additional reporting requirements, CoesterVMS may contact you to comply with such requests assuming they are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures act (RESPA), the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), and/or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Mandatory Reporting

In the event the Appraiser is or has been pressured by any person or affiliate of the Client or CoesterVMS Associate to obtain a predetermined value or engage in any form of unethical behavior, Appraiser shall communicate the behavior to the CoesterVMS through the methods below :
  • Hotline: (888) 485-1999 Ext. 5
  • Email: mandatoryreporting@coestervms.com

USPAP Update

The newest iteration of the USPAP includes several new requirements, the most notable of which pertains to the disclosure of prior services. New guidelines have been added to the general scope of work for each appraisal order including the appropriate procedure for meeting the new guidelines as they relate to CoesterVMS orders. A brief description of the new USPAP requirement and CoesterVMS’ procedure is as follows:

Effective January 1st, 2010, the Ethics Rule now requires an appraiser to disclose any prior services provided regarding the subject property within the three years preceding the new request / assignment. Ideally, this disclosure should be made to the client prior to acceptance of the new assignment, or as soon as the appraiser realizes that a prior service was performed, so that the client can determine if the prior service provided by the appraiser constitutes a potential conflict of interest. Once the disclosure has been made, the client will then determine if it is acceptable for the appraiser to proceed with the new assignment, or if they would prefer to make a request from a different appraiser who has had no association with the subject property in the recent past.

The appraiser should attempt to provide sufficient information for the client to make an informed decision, while being careful not to disclose any information pertaining to the original assignment results or other confidential information. CoesterVMS would recommend providing a detailed description of the type of service provided (i.e. appraisal for a mortgage finance transaction, CMA for a potential listing, etc…) and the date of the service provided. CoesterVMS requires the disclosure to be posted to our website communication log.

If you do not recognize that you have performed a prior service on the subject property until your arrival at the property, please proceed with your scheduled inspection and notify us immediately thereafter. Under all circumstances, once the disclosure is made, CoesterVMS will place the file on hold within our system while awaiting proper directives from the client.

If the prior service that you provided for the subject property included a requirement that you not disclose any details about the assignment, including that a service was even performed, then in order to comply with USPAP, you must reject the new assignment because the necessary disclosure cannot be made. Finally, when the initial disclosure is made and the lender gives consent to the appraiser to proceed with the assignment, the appraiser must also include a written disclosure within the appraisal report narrative indicating that a prior service was performed for the subject property within the past three years and that the lender has been made aware of said service. 

CoesterVMS Appraiser Compensation Policy

CoesterVMS guarantees payment to all fee panel appraisers who complete appraisal assignments on its behalf in a fair, professional, and timely manner. This document details the methods and stipulations by which CoesterVMS distributes compensation to approved fee panel appraisers.

Payment Policies

CoesterVMS is subject to federal and state law regarding the payment of appraisers. It is CoesterVMS' policy to follow applicable law in the payment of appraisers.

Fees and Invoices

Panel appraisers accept fees for assignments based on the engagement letter provided at the request for acceptance. Appraisers may request additional fees prior scheduling the inspection if their research indicates additional travel or investigation beyond the original scope will be required to complete the assignment.

Appraisers are encouraged to provide an invoice upon uploading completed reports. However, CoesterVMS does not acknowledge additional fees not agreed upon by both parties. CoesterVMS does not impose fees under appraisers in order for the appraiser to be able to upload information or invoices via CoesterVMS' portal or Electronic Data Interchange.

Under no circumstances are you to accept any form of payment from the property owner, borrower, or any Realtor. If a homeowner has questions regarding payment, please provide them CoesterVMS’ phone number and direct them to contact us. Invoice CoesterVMS directly for any and all services rendered as a result of a CoesterVMS order.

Cancellation Policy

If an order is cancelled prior to the scheduled inspection, the order will be cancelled with the appraiser and no fee will be paid. CoesterVMS staff will notify the assigned appraiser if an order is cancelled on or after inspection to determine a reasonable fee for the research and travel conducted on the assignment at the point of cancellation.

Payment Methods

CoesterVMS offers appraisers two (2) options to receive payment for assignments:
  • Check delivered via USPS
  • Direct Deposit (ACH)
Appraiser accounts will default to the check option unless they complete the “Direct Deposit Sign-Up Portal” section of their profile to register for ACH payments.

Appraisers who successfully register for direct deposit will receive notifications via email indicating the orders including in a payment batch, as well as the comprehensive disbursement amount. Receipt of ACH payments is dependent upon the policies appraiser’s preferred financial institution.

Appraisers may delete their direct deposit information, returning their account to the default payment option, at any time by selecting the “Clear” option within the “Direct Deposit Sign-Up Portal” section of their profile.

Payment Cycles

Unless otherwise required by state appraisal management regulations, CoesterVMS compensates appraisers on an average forty five (45) day rolling payment cycle from initial transmission (upload) of the appraisal report, with no payment exceeding sixty (60) days from initial transmission. CoesterVMS accounting staff shall disburse payment batches every Tuesday and Thursday. In the event a holiday falls on a scheduled payment date, or an impending natural occurrence appears imminent, accounting staff shall expand the batch prior to the event to ensure maintenance of payment cycles.

Example:
  • If New Year’s Day falls on Tuesday, January 1st, the batch prepared Thursday, December 27th will contain all payments scheduled for the 1st.

Cancellation Policy

If an order is cancelled prior to the scheduled inspection, the order will be cancelled with the appraiser and no fee will be paid. CoesterVMS staff will notify the assigned appraiser if an order is cancelled on or after inspection to determine a reasonable fee for the research and travel conducted on the assignment at the point of cancellation. Trip fees shall be paid in accordance with applicable state regulations.

Withholding Payment

CoesterVMS understands that appraisal and valuation services are based on measurable market data combined with appraiser judgment and payment will not be withheld due to conflicts of that judgment that are not of a serious material difference. However, if there is reasonable basis to believe an appraiser acted in an illegal or unethical manner, CoesterVMS reserves the right to withhold payment pending investigation of any allegations of such behavior. It is the policy of CoesterVMS to follow state and federal requirements, where applicable, to notify an appraiser within the time specified, and by the method and means specified, indicating with specificity and detail the reasons for delayed payment, and the conditions and timing on when payments will be made whole.

The Vendor Relations Department will research any allegations and document all findings in an associated Appraiser Disciplinary Case (ADC). Upon completion of their investigation, Vendor Relations shall notify management if the documentation supports withholding of payment. Management shall review the case with applicable legal resources to determine whether withholding payment complies with state and federal regulations.

It is generally the policy of CoesterVMS not to withhold payment from an appraiser except in extreme and egregious circumstances. If it is determined that payment shall be permanently withheld for any egregious action, CoesterVMS shall provide the appraiser written notice of the action via certified mail and afford a rebuttal period as set forth in applicable state requirements.

W-9

Appraisers are encouraged to upload a W-9 during initial completion of their profile; however, failure to do so does not inhibit payment cycles. If an appraiser’s profile contains a missing, expired or incomplete W-9, accounting staff shall contact the appraiser via phone and e-mail to obtain current documentation.

Appraisal Company Payments

Payment for assignments completed by fee panel appraisers employed by appraisal companies shall be disbursed to the company’s preferred account(s) or mailing addresses, depending on payment type.

Returned or Failed Payments

Check

In the event a check is returned the vendor shall be contacted via phone and e-mail within 2 business day of receipt. If change of address is needed, a new W-9 as well as updated appraiser profile should be completed and the check should be resent with this information. If appraiser is unresponsive after 4 attempts a certified letter should be sent in which they are given 30 days to respond. If no response is received, please see management for next steps to ensure compliance with state regulations.

Direct Deposit

If an ACH transaction fails to process due to invalid account information, CoesterVMS shall clear the current entries and notify the appraiser of the occurrence. Payments will be disbursed as checks until the appraiser provides valid account information.

Appraiser Code of Conduct

CoesterVMS expects its appraiser network to operate in a professional, consumer-oriented manner. Panel appraisers should conduct themselves in accordance with the points below at all times.

Appointments/Introductions

Set appointments via phone by first formally introducing yourself with first and last name, identify your firm’s name, and identify why you are calling
At inspection, identify yourself (first and last name) and any assistants. Supplement your formal introduction by handing your business card to the client.
If you will be late or need to cancel an inspection, call the client immediately upon your knowledge of this

Appearance/Attire

  • Always present yourself in appropriate professional attire (with consideration to the seasonal/daily weather)
  • Avoid: Jeans with holes or embellishments, athletic pants or shorts, sandals, t-shirts, or hats (other than those officially issued from your firm with business logo)
  • Preferred attire: Polo/golf shirts, button dress shirts, clean jeans or slacks, appropriate foot wear
  • No smoking

Inappropriate Conversation Topics with Homeowners

In order to maintain objectivity in the assignment, avoid discussing the following topics with homeowners and/or property contacts:
  • Comparable Selection
  • Your driving distance to the subject
  • Value
  • Interest Rates
  • Mortgage Rates
  • Mortgage Terms
If a homeowner, real estate agent, or borrower attempts to engage you in conversation regarding any of these topics, please politely explain that you are contractually prohibited from discussing such topics with anyone other than CoesterVMS.

Miscellaneous

With respect to the homeowners, please remove your footwear upon entrance of any residence or place clean “booties” over your footwear before entering the residence
Avoid having other persons accompany you to your inspections other than formally introduced trainees/assistants
Never give the impression that you are in a rush
Always walk the entire interior and exterior of the residence

Unacceptable Appraisal Practices

In addition to the Client Specific Review Criteria contained in this document, all appraisal reports are for compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), FHA, and finally, the Client Specific Guidelines. The completed and approved appraisal should lead the reader of the report to the same conclusions regarding estimated value and property condition as those derived by the appraiser. The following is a brief list of unacceptable appraisal practices published by Fannie Mae and supported by CoesterVMS.

  • Development of and/or reporting an opinion of market value that is not supportable by market data or that is misleading
  • Development of a valuation conclusion that is based—either partially or completely—on the sex, race, color, religion, handicap, national origin, or familial status of either the prospective owners or occupants of the subject property or the present owners or occupants of the properties in the vicinity of the subject property; or that is based on any other factor that local, state, or federal law designates as being discriminatory, and thus, prohibited
  • Misrepresentation of the physical characteristics of the subject property, improvements, or comparable sales
  • Failure to comment on negative factors with respect to the subject neighborhood, subject property, or proximity of the subject property to adverse influences
  • Failure to adequately analyze and report any current contract of sale, option, offering, or listing of the subject property and the prior sales of the subject property and the comparable sales;
  • Selection and use of inappropriate comparable sales or the failure to use comparable sales that are regionally and physically the most similar to the subject property
  • Creation of comparable sales by combining vacant land sales with the contract purchase price of a home that has been built or will be built on the land
  • Use of comparable sales in the valuation process even though the appraiser has not personally inspected the exterior of the comparable properties by, at least, driving by them
  • Use of adjustments to the comparable sales that do not reflect the market’s reaction to the differences between the subject property and the comparable sales, not supporting the adjustments in the sales comparison approach, or the failure to make adjustments when they are clearly indicated
  • Use of data—particularly comparable sales data—that was provided by parties who have a financial interest in the sale or financing of the subject property without the appraiser’s verification of the information from a disinterested source (for example, it would be inappropriate for an appraiser to use comparable sales provided by the real estate broker who is handling the sale of the subject property, unless the appraiser verifies the accuracy of the data provided with another source and makes an independent investigation to determine that the comparable sales provided were the best ones available.
For further insight on unacceptable practices, click here to reference applicable sections of Fannie Mae’s selling guide.