The MTA Advantage is a publication of MTA Benefits, a subsidiary of the Massachusetts Teachers Association
After almost a decade of lax lending standards that led to the collapse of the housing market, the mortgage
industry underwent major changes in 2010
with passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street
Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
“A speculative frenzy from 2004 to 2007
had inflated housing values, and appraisals
were written to accommodate the higher
prices,” said Paul Gershkowitz, president
of Greenpark Mortgage, a division of
Berkshire Bank and partner in the MTA
Mortgage Program. “With our current strict
regulations, we can be confident that
today’s appraisals are realistic and reliable.”
Greenpark’s long-term commitment
“We use an appraisal management
company that hires the individual appraiser.
This results in an independent evaluation
in which Greenpark has no role,” said
Gershkowitz. “We are – and always have
been – committed to integrity and quality.
MTA members know they can trust us.”
Although an art more than a science,
today’s appraisal process uses guidelines
that are set to make an intelligent estimate.
The first part of the process is to make a
physical inspection of the home reflecting
factors such as square footage, number of
rooms (not including basements and attics),
renovations, additions and needed repairs.
The second is finding out what similar
homes within a one-mile radius have
sold for in the past six months, including
short sales and foreclosures. Using all this
information, together with general
economic trends and other factors, the
appraiser can accurately evaluate the
home’s worth at that point in time.
“The appraisal is scrutinized by government
lending agencies such as Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac, so a valid evaluation
is paramount to the mortgage process,”
Advantages of the MTA-endorsed
MTA members who get their financing
through Greenpark can take advantage of
a reliable appraisal at a reduced fee, capped
legal fees, free mortgage seminars, free
approval letters within 24 hours for new
purchases, and other benefits.
Appraisal myths and facts
Myth: If the appraisal is lower than the
purchase price, the buyer won’t be able to
get a mortgage.
Fact: It is possible that the sale can
still happen if the buyer makes a larger
Myth: The main purpose of an appraisal
is to make sure the buyer doesn't pay too
much for the house.
Fact: An appraisal provides valuable
information for the buyer, but the primary
mission is to protect the lender against
taking ownership of overpriced property.
Myth: A specific formula, such as square
footage, is used when appraising a home.
Fact: Appraisers weigh many factors to
make an intelligent estimate, including
home size, location, quality, lot size,
proximity to desirable schools and other
public facilities, and recent sales prices
of comparable properties.
What you should know about the appraisal process
BE INFORMED BEFORE YOU BUY
The following is the first in a series
of articles designed to help you
understand the complexities of the
mortgage process. You will also
discover how you can save money
and enjoy extraordinary service when
you finance your home through MTA
Benefits-endorsed Greenpark Mortgage.
For more information, call
the home mortgage specialists at
Greenpark Mortgage at
866.475.HOME (4663) or