It’s a debate that was years in the making

And the buildup was intense—with agents and appraisers quick to share their horror stories about the ‘other side.’ 

So, when real estate broker and BAM co-founder Byron Lazine and vetted appraiser Mark “Skap” Skapinetz started the debate, it’s no surprise that over 450 people tuned in live—with thousands more viewing the recording throughout the evening.

Danny Deals O’neil had his work set out for him as moderator, reining in the two passionate industry professionals.  They answered five questions that explored why real estate agents and appraisers have always had it out for each other—and what can be done to make the transaction process better for all involved. 

We’re breaking down the questions and some key quotes from each side below, but trust us—this is one you’ll want to watch all the way through. 

Opening Statements

Danny Deals started with a brief history of the debate, followed by opening statements from Byron and Skap. 

Byron Lazine:  “I don’t think you should have the authority to disrupt a transaction how you do. I don’t believe appraisers should have the authority to completely stop a transaction in its tracks.”

Mark “Skap” Skapintez: “We do work for the lenders; they are our clients. Just like your clients are the buyers and the sellers. You do what’s in best interest of the buyers and sellers. I have to do my job very unbiasedly, neutral-party, and give that lender a very good idea of what that property is worth in the current market for collateral.”

1. We know there continues to be discrimination and bias in the housing industry. Where do you see these issues both on the appraisal side and agent side, and how can professionals work to combat this?

The first question dove into the headlines that continue to show up across national publications. 

 Start watching question one here

Byron Lazine:I’m not going to be one-sided here. There is discrimination on all sides of the industry…I think if I’m going to look at stories that keep bubbling to the top, they tend to be about appraisers.”

 Mark “Skap” Skapinetz: “There’s always two sides to every story. Every article…shows just one side—the owner’s side. Have we seen the appraisals? No. Has anyone reviewed the appraisals? No….Is it incompetency, or is it actual bias? If it is bias… I want them out of my profession.”

Having that much power over a contract—one that has already been figured out without you—is my beef. It’s how we got into 2008, and it’s how we’re getting into this situation now, where one person’s opinion is weighing too heavily on a transaction.

Byron Lazine

When asked how to combat bias and bring in new appraisers, Skap explained some of the regulations that have changed since the crash of 2008. 

 Prior to the crash, it was beneficial for appraisers to take on new trainees. But in 2009, Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) took over the process. Essentially, they bid out appraisal jobs to the lowest and fastest bid. With experienced appraisers being treated just like newbie appraisers, it’s no longer beneficial to take on a trainee.

Agents and appraisers need to work together to get some things changed out there; to stop allowing lenders to make up their own rules and regulations.

Mark "Skap" Skapinetz

2. What are some of the challenges in the appraisal industry—and how do these challenges affect buyers and sellers?

Next up, Byron and Skap discussed some of the biggest challenges in the industry. 

Start watching question two here.

Mark “Skap” Skapinetz: “The process… with the AMC is a huge disadvantage. They’ll charge you $700 and bid it out to appraisers within the area, so you may not be getting the most experienced appraiser…And the rest of that money goes to the AMC. It doesn’t go to your borrower.”

Byron Lazine: “The biggest challenge is the process takes too long…It’s a whole other issue the industry needs to solve—the ease of moving….If we could just reduce the timeline of the mortgage process, the appraisal process, the inspection process from 45-60 days down to 20-30 days.”

3. Skap—what do you wish agents understood about the appraisal process?

Question three went to Skap, giving him the opportunity to share what he wants agents to know about the appraisal process. 

Start watching question three here

Most agents just see a number. They look at that appraisal and look at that number…If you’re not reading a report, if you don’t understand it, maybe you should learn how to actually understand it, read it, and see what the appraiser says in there. As appraisers, we have to explain what we did, how we did it, and why we did it within that report.

Mark "Skap" Skapinetz

4. Byron—what do you wish appraisers understood about the real estate transaction process?

Next, Byron discussed what he wished appraisers understood about real estate transactions. 

Start watching question four here.

Many appraisers don’t take into consideration how much time, energy, and effort has gone into getting a deal to come together….These are big assets; these are the biggest financial purchases that somebody is ever going to make. And on both side of the transaction, there has been…a lot of research, education, investment (for buyers and sellers)…and they’ve now both committed.

Byron Lazine

5. How can appraisers and agents work together to do what is best for the consumer?

The final question went to both Byron and Mark to discuss how agents and appraisers can start to get over communication issues to work together. 

 Start watching question five here.

Byron Lazine: “What you (Skap) were saying, is a dream scenario for a lot of agents…I’d love for an appraiser to communicate with me at a high level. To not make me feel like I’m the bad guy for showing up to the appraisal for information….What’s best for the consumer is for the appraiser to be the thumbs up that doesn’t kill a deal. That either approves the deal, or we rewrite the book where we can have a pause…if the deal’s about to go south.”

Mark “Skap” Skapinetz: “I’ll be honest, when I first started my career, I was one of those guys. That’s what I was taught….as I grew my business, as I got more into private work, I started to meet agents who really knew their stuff. I realized it was much more beneficial to me to actually work with them and listen to them. That gives me more information, more drive, more stuff to work with.”

Wrapping up: Incredible News for the Industry

Wrapping up the debate, it became clear that Byron and Skap agree on two things: 

  1. The discrimination issue in the industry needs to be solved.
  2. There’s a major communication issue between appraisers and agents.

How can these issues be addressed? Opening up space for conversations—like this BAM debate did—is a start.

But more needs to be done in order to eliminate the stuffiness that has been suffocating the industry for decades.

BAM is committed to bringing more awareness to issues in the industry with debates, webinars, and more. So stay tuned—because there’s a lot more coming!