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Happy New Year! It’s January and 2018 promises to be filled with important activity. First, our federal oversight agency, the Appraisal Subcommittee will visit us in early February to complete their biennial audit. Their last two visits have resulted in a clean audit with no findings and we expect the same this year as well. Also, even-numbered years are always a time when the agency must update our 5-Year Strategic Plan and so that means we will have some significant opportunities for additional targeted input from our license holders and the public on general topics and specific areas of current interest.  Look for a list of topics and a schedule of Listening Tour events to be published in February. 2018 is also the year for our quadrennial rule review so we will be looking for opportunities to cut additional “red tape” from our regulations during this period. And lastly, the agency will be undergoing review by the Sunset Commission in preparation for the 2019 legislative session.  This happens only once every 12 years and involves a careful look at the agency’s fundamental policy justifications and implementation processes. This represents another great opportunity for our stakeholders to help shape the future direction of the agency. We look forward to an exciting evolutionary journey as changing market and regulatory forces drive us to ensure Texas consumers remain very well served.

Recent federal rules regarding the collection of a fee to support the National Registry of Appraisal Management Companies will take effect in August of 2018, so we are working hard to ensure our processes are well defined and as limited in scope as possible to achieve only the intended result. While this may sound easy, coordinating with multiple states to devise “best practice” recommendations can be challenging.  In addition, the Board is considering an increase in the number of appraisers who can be trained by an experienced supervising appraiser under certain conditions. This represents a potential business model expansion for certain highly qualified appraisers and firms. We are always looking for ways to reduce barriers by regulating more effectively.  Stay tuned for the details.