Appraisal News and Business Tips

Blog

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. 

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Appraisal fees

8-16-19 Newz: Refi Mania – Paper vs. Google Maps – GLA Split/Bi-level homes

Refis Way Up: Almost 20 Million Homeowners Could See A Mortgage Rate Drop

According to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinances have doubled since late. They’re now at their highest point since mid-2016.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage application volume, rose 21.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended August 9.

Freddie Mac shows the average rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage is just 3.6% — a 15-point decrease from one week prior.

To read more, click here

My comment: Don’t work for cheap fees! Make money while you can!!

See below for the full MBA report on the refi boom.

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, AVMS, evaluations, square footage, zillow

8-9-19 Newz: Evaluations and USPAP – Zoning Codes – Inspection Standards?

9 Very Funny Quotes for the Self-Employed Appraiser

Just For Fun!!

Some great, very funny, animated gifs ;>

Here are a few comments:

“The crappy thing about being self-employed is I never believe myself when I call in sick.”

“Things people say: ‘It’s Friday!’ Things self-employed people say: ‘It’s Friday?’”

To read more, click here

My comment: We all need some appraiser humor! Something for everyone in this blog post!! Unfortunately, animated gifs usually don’t work well in these email newsletters. You Just Gotta See Them!!

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal how to, appraisal regulations, Appraisal Standards Board, bifurcated appraisals, evaluations, FHA, Google, Mortgage applications, USPAP

8-2-19 Newz: Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer- Spreadsheet Shackles – Homes under $100,000

Spreadsheets: A Shackle to the Appraisal Profession? 

Excerpts: How can spreadsheet software hinder the profession? A Wall Street Journal article, and a presentation at the Appraisal Institute National Conference have similar stories. One addresses accountants, the other is about appraisers.

The 2015 AI meetings presentation: Will Appraisers Have to Learn to Use Real Analytics Software? was given by George Dell. The main point was that accountant’s software was primarily developed for record-keeping, mimicking paper columns and rows, with analysis a later goal. Other points are:

  • Validating and tracking data is difficult.
  • No built-in audit trails, nor tracking of changes.
  • Regulatory compliance is difficult to accomplish.
  • Susceptible to trivial human errors ETC.

To read more, click here

My comment: Read this article. I totally agree. I started using spreadsheets in 1981 for financial analysis. When I started my appraisal business in 1986, commercial appraisers were using spreadsheets for Discounted Cash Flow. I knew the many problems with spreadsheets’ reliability.

They are particularly unsuitable for statistics as they are not statistics programs. In my MBA program in 1979, I used SPSS for multiple regression analysis, connecting to a large computer.

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, george dell, Mortgage applications, real estate market, statistics, unusual homes, weird homes, weird properties

7-26-19 Newsletter 25th Anniversary! – Appraiser vs. Zillow – $11 Million View

25th Anniversary of These Weekly Free Email Newsletters!!

On June 17, 1994, I sent out my first weekly email update to Tracy Taplin, Bruce Hahn, Tom Cryer, and John Warr. Bruce Hahn still subscribes. The topic was FIRREA/deminimus. I missed a few weeks (computer problems, traveling) but subscribers became “hooked” on their weekly news, jokes, rumors, and tidbits! The distribution list is over 17,000 appraisers now, and growing every day.

This newsletter started with my Compuserve account, then shifted to my personal email (Eudora) after the first web browser made the internet email much easier to use. I mostly had people write down their names and email addresses when I was teaching, speaking or doing my annual conference. It is very hard to figure out hand written email addresses!

I set up my website in 1998 and had an email form to fill out to subscribe. It took a lot of time to manually enter the names and email addresses. Keeping track of email changes was a nightmare. In 2003 I started using Sparklist to help manage the addresses but it was klunky to use and was getting very expensive. I got up to about 3,500 subscribers. In 2008 I started using Constant Contact, which is very affordable and easy to use. I put a signup form on my website home page. The number of subscribers increased rapidly and is now at over 17,000.

In the early years it had just a few paragraphs. By 2003 it was up to about 3-4 pages long. Since 2008 it has been about 4-5 pages, but was formatted to be much easier to read.

The topics have changed over the years, starting with FIRREA in 1994. Mortgage loans and appraisal orders have gone up and down significantly over the years. Significant mortgage broker pressures from about 1995 to the mortgage crash in 2008, AMC takover, Fannie’s CU in 2015, etc. etc.

I started my paid newsletter in June, 1992. In 2008, I switched to PDF-only and quit printing it. Lots more flexibility in length, plus a lot less expensive! Started with 12 pages. Now typically well over 12 pages, up to about 18 pages.

Note: I somehow forgot about it last month ;>

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, AVMS, deminimus, FHA, forecast, future, Mortgage applications, real estate market, weird properties, zillow

7-19-19 Newz: Rates Going Down?- Appraiser Boards – AVMs Misunderstood?

AVMs Are Not Understood By A Large Swath of Non-Appraisers

Source: Jonathan Miller
Here are some recent survey results that show more than half of the respondents indicated, it is either NEVER appropriate or NOT SURE if it is appropriate for a non-appraiser to perform a valuation on a home.
So the jury is still out for a third of respondents but a third are absolutely sure it is inappropriate. One can infer that appraisers have an opportunity to convey what AVMs really are to the public.
Link to NAR AVM survey results click here
My comment: Good graphics and easy to read. Lots of topics including AVMs, desktops, bifurcated, etc. Results of a survey of NAR members. Lots of topics. Scroll down to AVMs, etc.
=============================================

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal classes, AVMS, bifurcated appraisals, Mortgage applications, state appraiser regulators, statistics, weird homes

7-12-19 ASC Approves ND Waiver – Neighborhood Names – 27 Inspiring Bridges

How much is a neighborhood name worth?

Excerpt: Despite some anecdotal examples, there’s little statistical evidence supporting the notion that a neighborhood’s brand or name contributes to a higher sales volume or a premium on price, according to Jonathan Miller, chief executive of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

“You’ll see buildings trying to hook into adjacent, better-known neighborhoods as a marketing ploy, but we don’t see that translate into a premium or more sales for doing that,” Mr. Miller said.

To read more, click here

My comment: Some interesting stories. I’m not sure if “renaming” works, but I do know that in some older established neighborhoods in the Bay Area, including my city, the name does make a difference in value.

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal how to, appraisal regulations, appraisal waivers, computers, rental market, weird properties

7-5-19 Newz: Zillow Past and Future – Coester- Lots More Info – North Dakota Waivers

Zillow – the past and the future

Zillow’s new photo algorithm

Zillow’s New algorithm uses photos of your home to check quality and curb appeal plus a look back at when Zillow started, and info on their ibuyer service

Excerpt: “We’ve taught the Zestimate to discern quality by training convolutional neural networks with millions of photos of homes on Zillow, and asking them to learn the visual cues that signal a home feature’s quality,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief analytics officer & chief economist, said in a Medium post announcing the new algorithm. “For instance, if a kitchen has granite countertops, the Zestimate now knows — based on the granite countertop’s pixels in the home photo — that the home is likely going to sell for a little more.”

To read more, click here

My comment: I am trying not to think about this…… Maybe North Dakota can try using Zillow on their rural properties….

——————————–

Zillow – tales from when it started plus ibuyer

Excerpt: Every night for five months before the launch of Zillow’s website in February 2006, employees gathered their Dell desktops on Ping-Pong tables, connected them to harness their combined processing power, and strung together extension cords to get them all running. To avoid overloading the circuits, they unplugged the office refrigerator and banned Christmas lights. Then, while most of them slept, this jury-rigged supercomputer analyzed a decade of property records and American housing market data in order to spit out price estimates for 43 million homes.

To read more, click here

My comment: Published in Forbes. Well written and researched. I liked Zillow’s history plus a good analysis of their ibuyer service – the new wave of purchasing homes and selling them later.

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal how to, appraisal waivers, appraiser shortage, real estate market, state appraiser regulators, weird properties, zillow

6-28-19 Newz: Coester Loses Lawsuit – Fannie Appraiser Update – Secret Stairways

What I think about bifurcated appraisals

Have you ever done a comp check for a mortgage broker or lender in the past? They are appraisals. You only have public records and maybe MLS. You may have driven by the property, but probably not.

What about drivebys? You drove by the outside, but never saw the rear or interior.

With bifurcated appraisals, at least you have photos, measurements of the exterior, descriptions of what the exterior and interior rooms look like, etc.

What about having trainees do them, under your supervision? A great way to get new appraisers started. I spoke with one appraiser who is doing this.

All appraisers rely on public records, MLS photos and descriptions, etc. We don’t know how accurate this data is.

Check out the company doing bifurcated appraisals and their forms software data handling. Do not work for one that requires that you manually fill in a 1004P, for example. How long have they been in business? Are there appraisers in management?

Whether or not you do them is a business decision. They are less risky than comp checks and drivebys. You have more information, assuming they do not make up the photos, sketch, etc.

The Bottom Line: appraisers don’t like change, just like most people. Some adapt, some decide not to change.

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal how to, appraisal management company, bad appraisers, bifurcated appraisals, Fannie, hybrid appraisals, Mortgage applications, real estate market, weird properties

6-21-19 Newz: MLS Cyber Attack – McMansions – FHA and Risky Loans

Valuation Is Not A Guessing Game, It’s a Development Process

Excerpts: If you’ve ever had an appraisal of your home completed, perhaps you can relate to the following scenario: insert image

The appraiser arrives at your home. You know that they have probably done a little research on what potentially comparable sales in the neighborhood are selling for.

The appraiser views each room in your home, taking photos and notes as they go. The appraiser asks you about any improvements you have made to your home in recent years.

At the end of the inspection, you assume that the appraiser has to have some idea about what the value is likely to be. You ask the appraiser, “Well…What do ya think?” What you’re probably really wanting to know is what the appraiser thinks your home is worth. At this point the appraiser is likely to give an evasive reply that doesn’t answer your question. Why?

To read more and see the funny animated fotos and gifs click here

My comment: written for homeowners, but some good ideas for appraisers. You can use for ideas for speaking to real estate agents, for example. Or, can give (or send) the owner a link to this article.

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal regulations, bifurcated appraisals, Fannie, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home

6-14-19 Newz: Refis up 47% – Appraisal Hearing – Suburb Definition

Lender Overlays and FHA Appraisal Requirements

Excerpt: FHA requirements re: approaches to value

Regarding the approaches to value, the HUD Handbook states, “The Appraiser must consider and attempt all approaches to value and must develop and reconcile each approach that is relevant.”

Translation: If the appraiser determines an approach is necessary for credible assignment results, the appraiser must develop that approach. When appraising new construction or a dwelling that is one year old or less, it is likely that the appraiser will need to develop the cost approach. As in any appraisal, if the appraiser decides not to develop one or more of the approaches, he or she will need to support that decision.

For info on site requirements, etc click here

My comment: AMCs and lenders can have some strange requirements. It’s always good to know what FHA says.

=============================================

How Should We Define the Suburbs?

Excerpt: The problem (lack of a definition) stems from the fact that U.S. statistical agencies (the Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget) do not provide a systematic definition for suburbs. They offer classifications for metropolitan areas and micropolitan areas, a classification of urban and rural areas, and a category of principal cities, but nothing of the sort for suburbs.

Very interesting with a good table To read more, click here

My comment: Appraisers have to identify on forms if a property is urban/suburban/rural. Also percent built up. Rural can affect loans sometimes. I have never seen any clear definitions. Now I know why!

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal regulations, Fannie, FHA, forecast, lender appraisals, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, weird properties