Saturday, March 25, 2023 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

2018 Valuation Visionary

We are pleased to announce the Valuation Visionary award winner for 2018 is Ernie Durbin, Chief Valuation Officer for Clarocity Corporation.

Each year, the Collateral Risk Network presents the award in recognition of the person who demonstrates leadership, innovation, professionalism, and one who strives to better the industry for their peers. We will be presenting the award at Valuation Expo in Charleston in March.

Ernie Durbin is renowned for creativity with technology advancements and industry-wide involvement. Ernie is widely recognized as an innovative leader with vision and foresight. Ernie was nominated by his peers and we are honored to recognize him as the 8th recipient of Valuation Visionary.

Buzz: Give us a little background on your career as a valuation professional?

Durbin: I started in this business in 1982 after graduating from college. Actually, I guess you could say I started in 1976, doing courthouse research for my father and mother. Both my parents were appraisers, designated by the Appraisal Institute. My parents retired, and I took over the appraisal company in the late 80s and the company grew to be a large regional appraisal firm in Southwest Ohio. Durbin and Associates Inc. had over 150 direct engagement clients by 2005.

At Durbin we developed our own proprietary software to determine market conditions and populate our appraisal software with this data as well as comparable selected by the appraiser. All was going very well until 2006. Early in 2006, our models began to indicate oversupply and by the beginning of 2007 we were indicating declining values in most of our markets. That didn’t go over so well with many of our mortgage clients including some major banks in the Greater Cincinnati area. Suddenly a large portion of our business evaporated because we were checking “the wrong boxes” and narrating on negative market conditions in our reports.

There was a silver lining to that storm cloud. In 2008, I began to develop a web-based software applying the same technology and methodology we used in Cincinnati on a national basis. Since then I have worked at several national valuation companies, providing direction on valuation policy and software development. I am now Chief Valuation Officer at Clarocity Corporation filling that same role of providing policy guidance and creating new software for appraisers and the valuation industry.

Buzz: How did you feel once you heard you received the Valuation Visionary award?

Durbin: Humbled. I am friends with all of the previous Valuation Visionary awardees. To be acknowledged with the same group of people is a real honor. The Valuation Visionary award is recognition from a very influential group of valuation professionals, the Collateral Risk Network. It is truly an honor to be selected and recognized by this group, the leaders in the valuation space.

Buzz:Tell us a bit about your participation in CRN

Durbin: I’ve been a part of the CRN since its inception. In the beginning, primarily as a presenter but soon after a member. Over the past 10 years, I have maybe missed 1 or 2 meetings and then only because it was unavoidable. I have moderated and been a speaker at CRN multiple times. When I schedule for the year, in terms of professional meetings and engagements, CRN always has taken the 1st position on my calendar.

Buzz: How has CRN helped you grow as a professional?

Durbin: CRN is composed of chief appraisers, regulators, collateral risk officers, appraisers and other professionals from the valuation industry. These professionals come together to discuss and find solutions to current problems in the valuation industry. They also anticipate future issues that could arise from market conditions and/or policy changes. During CRN sessions, there certainly are differences of opinion and the occasional lively argument, however, there is consensus on a desire to find what’s best for the industry as a whole.

The dialogue that occurs during CRN is invaluable. CRN has broadened my horizons and help me understand the challenges that others face whether they are competitors, clients, regulators or appraisers. Hearing varying perspectives from different stakeholders is a genesis for new ideas and opportunities in the valuation business.

Buzz: Tell us about your involvement in the greater appraisal community?

Durbin: I hold the SRA and AI-RRS designations from the Appraisal Institute. With the Institute I have served on several special projects as well as a residential experience screener and candidate guidance counselor. At the national level, I am a former member of the Appraisal Practices Board of The Appraisal Foundation. I currently serve on the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) of the Appraisal Foundation.   I am on the Board of Directors of Relocation Appraisers and Consultants (RAC) and also a member of the Real Property Valuation Committee of the National Association of Realtors.

I am a regular speaker at appraisal conferences nationwide and also regularly write articles on valuation for different publications.

Buzz: What do you see on the horizon for appraisers in 2018?

Durbin: Appraisers will see more and more “desktop” assignment opportunities. These may involve no inspection of the subject property or an inspection made by a third-party. Appraisers will complete the most important part of the process, the analysis, and reconciliation of value, but will remain at their desk and use extraordinary assumptions.

These products are not new but are in greater demand as a result of increasing home equity lending and clients moving away from Broker Price Opinions (BPOs). Right now, this Scope of Work is limited to equity lending as well as default and servicing. In these areas, clients have relied upon BPOs, evaluations and other non-appraisal products in the past. This provides a new opportunity to appraisers in these areas. Most likely, origination lending will move in this direction in the future. Not all origination lending will involve a desktop Scope of Work however a good portion of it may.

Buzz: Can you give the younger generation of appraisers a helpful tip for their career?

Durbin: Understand Scope of Work. Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice allow for (and encourage) a broad Scope of Work to solve valuation problems. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to ensure that the Scope of Work is sufficient to provide credible results for individual assignments. The Scope of Work for one assignment may be excessive or insufficient for another. Appraisers should fine-tune the Scope of Work to the client’s intended use. As a result, we appraisers need to think beyond the “typical form” to products that provide credible results and solve the valuation problem of our clients.

Changes in technology will change the role of the appraiser and the Scope of Work they determine. As technology unceasingly advances, the impact on the valuation profession will only accelerate. Appraisers that understand Scope of Work and appreciate technology will be the most successful in the future.

Buzz: What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

Durbin: Training new appraisers. During my 25 years in practice, I had the opportunity to introduce a number of people to our industry, all of which remain as successful appraisers or in the valuation space. We spent a lot of time together during the training, both in the field and reviewing completed reports. Many of these appraisers are my close friends today, although we may no longer work together. They, like myself, love this business and feel fortunate to be a part of it.

On the national level, it has been very rewarding to befriend and work with leaders in the valuation profession. By far, the vast majority of these professionals want to advance the valuation industry and agree that the future is bright for appraisers.

Buzz: What is next for you as a valuation professional?

Durbin: Who knows? One thing I’ve learned over the past several decades in this business is that things change! I am excited about the future of our industry. I believe that the role of the appraiser will change but they will always be essential to the valuation process. I hope to continue to contribute to emerging technologies and methodologies that will provide new and different opportunities for professional appraisers.