Brokers: We’ll appraise, but not for free

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With commercial real estate in bad shape, beleaguered property owners, loan servicers and institutional investors are now soliciting broker opinions as valuations push toward a bottom. Brokers are in a bind, since they don’t want to work for free, and other parties in transactions say their involvement can skew valuations. These more casual opinions can differ dramatically from formal appraisals, which take longer to complete, cost thousands of dollars and must meet certain statutory standards. Appraisers take courses to earn industry trade group designations and certifications. Federal legislation that would define a qualified appraiser and appraisal is pending.

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