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Boston was home to REALTORS® by the thousands this weekend, gathered for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, where 150 experts and leaders presented on a range of REALTOR®-related topics.

Two sessions, the Appraisal Forum and the Regulatory Issues Forum, addressed two dynamic issues: agent-appraiser cooperation, and regulation—the latter as it pertains to preparedness.

At the Appraisal Forum, Lynn Madison, owner of Madison Seminars in Schaumburg, Ill.; John Torvi, vice president of Marketing and Sales at the Herbert H. Landy Insurance Agency in Needham, Mass.; Melanie McLane, owner of Jackson Real Estate in Jersey Shore, Pa.; and Charlie Lee, associate counsel with NAR, discussed the agent-appraiser relationship.

“Real estate professionals (brokers, agents) have a responsibility to serve their clients, while appraisers are brought into this process exclusively to develop the best appraisal they can,” said Lee. “Still, real estate professionals are encouraged to communicate with appraisers in a professional and productive manner, as relevant information from real estate professionals may help an appraiser independently arrive at an opinion of value.

“However, and most importantly, a real estate professional should never communicate with the intent of trying to influence an appraiser’s appraisal,” Lee said.

“Just because an appraised value doesn’t meet the agent’s expectations, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad appraisal,” said Torvi. “As someone who works with both appraisers and agents, I hear both sides of the story. This panel discussion allowed for a better understanding of the valuation process to benefit appraiser, agents, sellers and buyers.”

Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), addressed attendees of the Regulatory Issues Forum, discussing the future of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is up for reauthorization. For NAR, the NFIP is an important priority. During the Forum, Long and NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Natural Disaster Preparedness—a collaborative effort to help the nation prepare for storms, and allow REALTORS® to continue supporting the REALTOR® Disaster Relief Fund.

“Insurance is the first line of defense for disaster recovery,” said Long. “It is the best way for homeowners, renters and businesses to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods, fires and other disasters.”

“We’re so excited and honored to be here today to sign this agreement,” said Mendenhall. “Flooding is the most common disaster in the United States, one that affects Americans in communities both coastal and inland every year. Being able to serve as a conduit of information between federal agencies, local governments, REALTORS® and the public will help ensure critical resources like disaster preparedness, insurance and assistance reach those who need it most.”

U.S. Treasury Counselor to the Secretary Craig Phillips and Executive Vice President of Ginnie Mae Maren Kasper followed with their own remarks.

Continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to come.

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