Appraisal News and Business Tips

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About this blog

This blog has recent full FREE email newsletters (that start with the date and Newz) plus excerpts from the email newsletters where you can post comments. This newsletter has been sent out almost every week since June, 1994. I started with 6 subscribers on Compuserve. Now it is up to 17,000 subscribers!! To subscribe to the free email newsletters and get them them when they first come out, go to www.appraisaltoday.com and sign up in the big Yellow Box!!

Looking for a topic? Use Search box on the right side. There are hundreds of posts on this blog, starting in 2012. 

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Appraisal fees

8-7-20 Newz: What type of clients do you have? – Rotating Dome Home – Fannie Solar Panel Update

Survey: Which Appraisal Clients Make Up the Majority of Your Client Base?

Excerpt: What types of clients do property appraisers serve? Do most of their assignments come from lenders vs. non-lenders? To help answer these questions, we recently asked our real estate appraisal community, “What type of appraisal client makes up the majority of your client base?”

While most appraisers said that the majority of their work comes from lenders (most often through AMCs), some said the bulk of their client base is made up of other types of appraisal clients, such as attorneys or private individuals.

To read the results and appraiser comments click here

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal how to, Coronavirus, COVID, Fannie, Mortgage applications, unusual home

8-7-20 COVID Risk When Appraising 2+ Unit Apartments and Non-Residential Properties

Primary Risk Rules for All Types of Properties

  • Outside is Good. Inside is Bad.
  • Vacant rooms are Good. Crowded rooms (and outdoor spaces) are Bad.
  • Assume you, and everyone else, is infected.
  • You get infected by breathing another person’s breath, primarily.
  • Wearing a face mask is Good. No face mask is Bad.
  • Air flow is good. Poor (or no) ventilation is bad.
  • Time you spend in a risky space: as little as necessary.
  • You decide your own risk level.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Coronavirus, COVID

8-3-20 Covid-19 and Appraisers FREE Newsletter

In the August Issue of the monthly paid Appraisal Today Newsletter

  • How to keep safe from COVID-19, including tips for appraisers
  • The Vaccine Race
  • Grammerly can fix your grammatical errors By Wayne Pugh, MAI
Click here to download the 1 column version, easy to read on your computer, laptop or tablet.
You can scroll through the article sections with titles, looking for the topics that you want. I have done lots of research and give you short summaries with where to get more information, similar to these email newsletters.
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Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested. It focuses on appraisers who go inside homes, but much of it is relevant to anyone.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Coronavirus, COVID

7-31-20 Newz: New Fannie Forms – 10 Most Expensive Homes – Appraisers and Epidemiologists

Interview with The “Millionaire Appraiser”, Terrence Bilodeau

Excerpt: How does one reach such a milestone? Terrence dropped out of school at what age? What advice can he offer to appraisers? These questions and much more will be answered by Terrence Bilodeau as he shares about his life’s journey and how he runs his business.

23 minute interview including a 2 minute introductory comments and a brief ad. Very good interview.

Read the appraiser comments below the video on the Vimeo website. (not many comments on Buzz web site).

I wrote about him in the June 19 issue of this email newsletter, using a recently published CNBC article. He was grossing $280,000 per year. It was very popular with my subscribers. Link to the article I used click here:

To read more, click here

My comment: This guy works way too hard!!

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Posted in: appraisal business, Fannie, humor, hybrid appraisals, Mortgage applications, unusual homes

7-24-20 Newz: Difficult Clients – ANSI sq.ft. Standards Changing – 10 Private Islands

Advice for Working with Difficult Clients

Excerpt: Even if the bulk of your appraisals are fairly cut and dried, and require minimal interaction with a human client, any appraiser will occasionally have to work with a difficult client. The assignment might require you to work with a specialty property that is hard to appraise, or with a client who is personally disagreeable, or exceptionally exacting, or who has an agenda that you don’t understand or can’t go along with. Here are some tips for working with difficult clients. Three of the topics:

– Working with AMCs and banks: Time management

– Working with non-lenders: Expectations management

– Deal with complaints immediately

To read the tips, click here

My comment: Some great, practical tips!! Maybe I will try some of them instead of Firing clients, my most popular option ;>

My motto: Appraising would be great except for the darn clients!!

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Will Big Data Put Appraisers Out of Business?

By Dustin Harris

Although Zillow (and other similar companies) keep their algorithms proprietary, they do give us enough information that we can get a pretty good idea as to where the data comes from. For example, according to Zillow’s own website, “we use public and user-provided data for house attributes, and some areas report more data than others.”

As an appraiser for over two decades, I see a blaring problem here. Very few areas have accurate public information for size, quality, condition, and other important features of houses. As you know, these are features that can dramatically affect an accurate value. This is especially true in non-disclosure states where I work such as Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. As for user-provided data? This is information coming from places like the home owner themselves. Nothing biased there. If Zillow depends on good data to provide good estimates, the phrase “garbage in – garbage out” comes to mind.

To read more, click here

My comment: Real estate data is overall poor, except for a maybe conforming newer subdivisions. No standardization for public records. MLS data provided by real estate agents. Most data not standardized. That means human appraisers will be needed.

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Posted in: ADUs, appraisal business, Coronavirus, george dell, Mortgage applications, square footage, unusual homes, zillow

7-17-20 Newz: Basement Rooms in GLA? – Toilet House – COVID Humor

What’s your favorite part of the appraisal process?

Excerpt:

Number 1. Data collection and property description (38%)

“The best part is the property review. I enjoy seeing what people have done to their properties and talking to them about their homes.”

“I enjoy viewing/observing the subject home.”

“Detective work”

“Each dwelling is different, and not every appraiser takes the time to clarify the differences in the dwellings. The quality, the construction, the egresses, and especially the correct way to calculate GLA or measure a dwelling.”

Number 2. Data analysis (27%)…

To read more about favorites, click here

My comment: I love working in the field, so my choice is Number 1. But, my very best choice is getting paid ;>

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, Coronavirus, humor, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, square footage, Strange homes

6-10-20 Newz: Another New Fannie Update; Suburban Definition?

How to Tell If You Live in the Suburbs

Excerpts: The U.S. hasn’t had a formal definition for what constitutes a suburb. A new data analysis comes closer to defining America’s most popular neighborhood type.

The United States is a land of suburbs, with just one problem: No one’s quite clear what a “suburb” is.

It’s a question of semantics with real-world implications, as government programs, political campaigns and developers try to spend money in the “suburbs,” where a majority of Americans say they live despite the category having no formal definition.

For some people, it’s obvious: A suburb is a smaller city on the periphery of a larger city. Or it’s a sprawling neighborhood filled with vast swathes of single-family homes. Still other more dated conceptions of suburbia in the popular mind involve the people who live there: allegedly white, middle class and socially homogenous.

Now a new team of researchers believe they’ve cracked the code…

To read more, click here

My comments: Of course, if you do residential lender appraisals this is a Very Big Issue due to lender “requirements” such as no rural properties. Lots and lots of online discussion about this for a long time. Post this topic on your favorite Internet chat site or email list… and wait for the wide variety of opinions!!

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My Favorite Definitions

(This has been floating around for many years…)

Rural  Suburban  Urban

  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors can’t see you… it’s rural.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors call the cops on you… it’s suburban.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors ignore you… it’s urban.

There are other variations, of course, that are not suitable for this newsletter ;>

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, Appraisal Foundation, Coronavirus, Fannie, forecast, george dell, Mortgage applications, real estate market, USPAP, weird properties

7-3-20 Newz: New Fannie Update – Street Name Values – Converted Church

Fannie Mae Appraisal Update June 2020

Excerpts from Section on Impact of COVID-19 on appraisals

Through mid-May, about 15% of Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®) appraisals completed after our announcement used the flexibilities, either desktop or exterior-only. As you know, circumstances vary widely across the country, and the uptake of the flexibilities reflects this. The highest percentages of appraisals using the flexibilities are around 40% in some northeastern states, while the lowest percentages are around 10% in some of the less impacted states…

We found that appraisers have used the flexibilities correctly about 90% of the time. Appraisers have done a great job identifying external obsolescence for desktops and exterior-only appraisals, as well as leveraging their local knowledge, maps, aerial photos, and other data sources. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that, although not required, about 35% of nontraditional reports include a sketch pulled from prior reports,

assessors records, or other sources. Also, the supporting comments in the nontraditional reports have been even better on average than those in traditional reports.

Worth reading. 5 pages and well written. Also includes comments on “one mile rule” and flood zones. To read more, click here

My comments: There are very few of these done in the Bay Area. 10% sounds about right. However, now we are now in a major virus surge in some states – opened too soon and people in some areas did not do social distancing, hand washing and wear face coverings. Use of the alternative reports may increase in some states, and decrease in the northeast.

These appraisals are not easy to learn how to do, and are very different than doing full 1004 with interior inspections. In the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today I have lots of information on them, including useful references. See the ad below.

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Posted in: adjustments, Coronavirus, Fannie, liability, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home

6-26-20 Newz: Lot Size Mistakes – Reconsideration of Value- Unusual Mailboxes

Lot size mistakes 

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: I’ve seen it happen twice lately where Tax Records lists the lot size, but it’s actually incorrect. In one instance Realist showed the lot was five acres when in fact it was only two acres. In another example it said two acres when it was less than one. Yikes.

My advice? Thankfully most of the time we can trust the lot size in Tax Records, but it’s still a good idea to quickly double-check just to be sure. After all, listing the wrong lot size in MLS or an appraisal could lead to litigation, right? What we can do is view the plat map to see if there is anything abnormal as well as try to piece together the lot size (easy to do if it’s a rectangle)…

To read more, click here

Short with good map illustrations. Plus many, many appraiser comments. I guess it is a hot topic!!

My comments: Also check out Ryan’s local recent market video for some good ideas on how to show market conditions. Plus, all his graphs illustrating his local market.

When I want to know the lot dimensions to determine lot size, I always get a copy of the legal description (usually from the recorded deed). Assessor’s office maps are for assessment purposes and do not always match the legal description. Google Maps is a good way to determine parcel size if the site boundaries are clear.

When an owner asks about lot dimensions and lot line locations (usually a dispute with a neighbor), I always give the same answer: “I Always Assume the Fences Are Not on the Property Line. Hire A Surveyor! ”

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Posted in: adjustments, AMCs, appraisal business, Mortgage applications, real estate market, unusual homes, weird properties

6-19-20 Newz: Strange Appraisal Terms – Appraiser Makes $280k Per Year – Mosaic Homes

Appraisal Terms That Are Out of This World

Just for Lotsa Fun!!

Excerpts: Since space is the only place that is pandemic free, I thought it would be fun to try to apply space and science fiction terms to real estate. Let’s take a little break from the stressful atmosphere we are experiencing here on earth and have a little fun. Perhaps you can think of more.

Here are two:

Orbit– The path homeowners take whilst following the appraiser around the home, trying not to follow too closely by maintaining at least six feet of distance. (Probably taking pictures of the appraiser in the PPE)

Black hole – The place where Zestimates go after being debunked by reality.

To read and see lots more, click here

My comment: I love Jamie Owens’ blog posts! Unbelievably creative!! Plus, outstanding/strange videos, animated gifs, etc. etc. I have been a big scifi fan since high school and used space videos in my experimental music band for many years.

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Posted in: appraisal business, bifurcated appraisals, Coronavirus, humor, liability, va, weird homes