C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Altered Reports and Other Real Estate Mischief


"Industry’s Dirty Little Secret: Altered Reports" By David Brauner, WRE Editor is a must read.

I was saddened to discover that the intellectual property rights of appraisers are being mangled this way. If I created a PDF Report, I would not be pleased to discover that the work that I was paid for was disassembled and reassembled by corporations to help facilitate a deal by adding their spin on the facts. Is this a lie by omission to a client? I don't know...

Why don't they do their own work from scratch like appraisers do? Appraisers go out into the field and physically stand in specific geographical locations and get their photographs. They comb through the public records, professional databases like the multiple listing service and research very hard to put their valuation reports together. Each report created is unique and born with a copyright. I wonder what the small independents are going to do about this...

What do you think should be done?

Personally, I'd be pissed off if I discovered that I wasn't getting paid for my Broker Price Opinion Reports because a firm decided to disassemble and reassemble my work to save money or make another deal go through...


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Comment balloon 12 commentsC Tann-Starr • November 19 2008 08:37AM


C- this really stinks, I am sorry to hear things like this!  It is just not cool!

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 12 years ago

Wow! That is crazy!

Posted by Raylene Lewis (Century 21 Beal, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Jeremy, I'm with you. This market is touch enough without people resorting to this type of behavior. Appraisers and Inspectors and Realtors are closing down firms or getting out of the industry because they can no longer make a decent living in their chosen professions. To find out that large corporations may be putting more screws in the coffins of small firms is very disheartening.

Should we be starting a letter writing campaign to the President Elect to investigate this, protect our copyright interests in our created reports and alter the laws accordingly? I love photography. I'd be pissed off if someone started collecting my tour of home photos to use in their neighborhood reports because they thought I would never find out... It would be war when or if I did. I'd call Lenn Harley and ask for an introduction to her fabulous lawyer.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Raylene, I agree. Something needs to be done, but the people altering the reports are going to be hard to catch. Can you imagine the massive audit involved? Remember all of that shredding taking place at Enron (LOL). I hope the few individuals who do have proof of this bring a class action if it is feasible. I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea how the victims may proceed. I also have no idea what their independent contracts state.

As a human being trying to make a living in a tough market, my lay opinion is doing this seems wrong... Dare I say unethical?

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Lenn does seem to have a really good attorney.  Better yet, just have her represent you :)

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 12 years ago

Haaaaaa! Jeremy, too funny! Lovely idea, but the Queen of Awesome is a very busy BIC and I am sure this talented lady has no interest in being fined for the unauthorized practice of law (LMAO). However, I'm sure she will appreciate the compliment. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

That is unbelievalbe - but I think there are those who change information to spin it in a certain direction.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) almost 12 years ago

Sharon, I believe you are correct in your assessment. It should be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Very interesting since I used to write appraisals.  I hated that job!

Posted by Melody Botting, You Deserve The Best (Broker Associate PenFed Realty) almost 12 years ago

Melodious, sometimes we take on jobs that we don't like because we have to pay our bills. That job made you work hard, so I know you understand what this may mean for the mom and pop boutiques out there and other small firms that are already struggling to make ends meet and keep their businesses afloat. My Notary Signing Agent work is at a stand still. I may not go back to it with all of the new rules and low balling from large firms. I have already requested that several firms remove me from their independent contractor data bases. I barely sign into Notary Rotary anymore, which is a shame... its a great site for Notaries. So is the National Notary Association, which I am a member of.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

C - I think it is waaaayyy too easy for cut and paste.  Lazy people, using someone's work in such a way! Huh!

Posted by April Hayden-Munson, Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate almost 12 years ago

April, according to the article someone took the time to unlock a PDF file. That takes time... it isn't as instant as a cut and paste, but I get exactly what you are saying. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

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