I hope all my readers (and everyone else) are staying safe and healthy during this crisis – now let’s get to business.
With New York State on lockdown, real estate brokers/agents can’t sell real estate right now because they are not considered an essential business (yet they are in nearby Connecticut!) This declaration determines whether you can or cannot remain in business during a crisis like this.
Are real estate appraisers considered an essential business in New York? Yes. They are in New York State and they are stated as such in the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. But the fact that real estate appraisers are an “essential business” is not consistent in the federal language, especially now when many states are, or will be going on lockdown.
My good friend and appraiser/regulator Pete Fontana and I wrote a letter nicknamed: Fontana/Miller Essential Letter of March 24, 2020 . This letter combines the scattered references to address this issue in very specific terms using key language in the public record that illustrates the fact that appraisers are an “essential business” now and going forward.
This letter  is the first to address this important issue. It was just sent to Congress, state officials, trade groups, agencies, and other groups related to our industry today and went viral industrywide. The feedback from these groups has been immediate and overwhelmingly encouraging and positive.
Please share the Fontana/Miller Essential Letter of March 24, 2020  with your colleagues in the industry, trade groups, state governments, on forums, and with anyone or in any place you think is relevant to our industry.
Real estate appraisers are an essential business in our country, always have been.