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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 over 15,000 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!!

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Appraisal fees

7-20-17 Newz// Fannie data, USPS gyrocopters, Costar data

When the U.S. Postal Service Used Gyrocopters to Deliver the Mail The flying machines hopped from roof to roof of post offices.

Excerpt: Sensing opportunity, the United States Postal Service-then the U.S. Post Office Department-decided to invest in the new technology. In 1937, Congress appropriated money to fund a series of experiments on autogyro mail delivery, and within a year the first flight-from Bethesda, Maryland to Washington, D.C.-was made.

My comment: Check out the photos (no videos in 1937). Very interesting!!

Why Fannie Mae Shouldn’t Keep Data Secret

Excerpt: Today’s lenders have access to massive amounts of data. According to (Richard) Hagar, government lenders have access to every recorded sale in most every county across the U.S. via information providers like CoreLogic. He believes appraisal adjustments should be cross-checked against sales metrics of the five million home sales that occur each year.
However, appraisers typically use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for residential appraising. Data provided by MLS may vary from information shown by providers like CoreLogic. MLS has more detailed information that county records don’t contain. Oftentimes, though, MLS contains errors or missing data. In other words, both types of systems have errors, but not necessarily the same errors.
My comment: Controversial topic!! Fannie says that they want appraisers to be objective, not using Fannie’s data. For example, appraisers changing their building sketches to match public records sq.ft. to avoid underwriter/review hassles. I remember CMDC books (in california) back in the 1980s where appraisers submitted the first pages of their appraisals to go into a shared appraiser database. Before appraisers could get MLS access. Seems like that was okay…

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Posted in: appraisal business, Collateral Underwriter, data, E&O, Fannie, mortgage loan volume, state appraiser regulators, Strange homes, unusual homes, weird homes, weird properties

7-13-17 Newz// FTC vs. NC Fees, Zillow misestimates,Turbo-Charged Appraiser

FTC targets North Carolina Fee Survey

North Carolina currently considering establishing set fees for appraisals
 
Excerpt: According to the FTC, North Carolina’s proposed legislation carries many of the same issues as the laws in Louisiana.
In its comment, the FTC states that the bill’s method for establishing appraisal fees “is not mandated by – and, in fact, may be inconsistent with – federal law.”
The FTC also suggests that the bill “may have the effect of displacing competition for the setting of appraisal fees and ultimately harming consumers in the form of higher prices.”
More info here, including text of the bill, etc. and where to file a complaint.
Louisiana’s reply to previous FTC hassles here:
My comment:I have no idea why the FTC is going after states setting AMC fees. Seems like there are a lot of much bigger problems…

The Next Job Humans Lose to Robots: Real Estate Appraiser

Advances in big data at Zillow and elsewhere are helping automation creep into knowledge-based professions.

 

Excerpt: Twenty-five years ago, Brian Weaver was told at a seminar that the real estate appraisal profession would be killed off by technology in five years. It didn’t happen. But he now thinks the forecast wasn’t exactly wrong-just early.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-11/the-next-job-humans-lose-to-robots-real-estate-appraiser 

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The Turbo Charged Appraiser – “Progress Slow on Robot Takeover” – A Blast From the Past by George Dell

Except: This is the headline from an article in the San Diego Union Tribune this morning.  The article went on to say, “Data complexities, trust issues, and the persistent need for human input restrain scaled-up automation.”
As a brand-new appraiser trainee, I was in awe of the office and the people.  And in particular, the backroom.  The backroom was the library and data room.  As large as some small homes.  It contained data.  Lots of data…
Read more at:
My comment: I love these two very different topics!! One is maybe the future and the other looks at data way back in the past from George Dell, stats and data guru!!

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Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal fees, appraisal management company, mortgage loan volume, zillow

7-6-17 Newz: Tech Trends in 1776 .Arms-length transactions .Zillow vs. McMansions

8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

Just For Fun!! Take a break from writing up those darn reports. Is there any appraiser who likes writing reports. Not me ;>

Excerpt: At that time, the “best” technology available was the printing press and the “best” social network required the use of “word of mouth” in Public Houses… But while all this was going on, there were a bunch of entrepreneurs and a few startups that changed the world.
  1. Underwater warfare
  2. Telling accurate time
  3. Underwater exploration
  4. Indoor plumbing
  5. Kitchen stove
  6. Electricity
  7. Mechanical motion
  8. Multitasking
My comment: check out this great article!! It is only 2 days after July 4, so I decided to include this very interesting article by Shelly Palmer one of my favorite tech writers!

Arm’s-Length Transactions, Market Value and Related Parties, Part 2 By Richard Heyn, SRA

Excerpt: So while a non-arm’s length transaction may be a red flag that can point to an above or below market value transaction, the bottom line is that ALTs may or may not take place at market value.
Another area of misconception among appraisers regarding ALTs involves the application of the term “related parties.” Unfortunately, the term “related parties” is not defined in any authoritative appraisal-related literature that I am aware. The term is, however, defined in accounting standards and by the Internal Revenue Service, most notably in the IRS guidelines for exchanges of like-kind properties.

My comment: the excerpt above is from part 2, above is the link for part 1. I have read several long threads online about this topic. Lots of confusion. Rich’s articles are Most Excellent. Read These Articles!

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Posted in: appraisal, Strange homes, unusual homes

6-28-17 Newz// Octagon house craze, Reproducibility Crisis, AMC Technology Efficient?

Octagon House Craze in the 1800s

Excerpt: If you were a forward-thinking individualist in 1800s America, building an eight-sided abode was a great way to show it. The octagon house was a cutting-edge design at the time, believed to be a more efficient use of space, energy, and cost than the conventional square.

… Thousands of these geometric oddities were built by the time the trend hit its peak in the 1860s.

My comment: Wow!! I have never appraised an octagon house, but have seen a few from the outside. Have measured octagon turrets on Victorians.

Top cities where the number of million dollar homes is skyrocketing

Excerpt: In large swaths of the country, a cool million has mostly come to represent the new standard for good, upper-middle-class housing. “In more markets than ever before, the million-dollar mark is the new benchmark for that green lawn and white picket fence,” says Javier Vivas, manager of the realtor.com® economic research team.
  1. Denver CO
  2. Santa Rosa CA
  3. Boulder CO
  4. Truckee CA
Click here get the full list and read the comments on the cities – very interesting!!

My comment: In my small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a median price of around $850,000, many properties are listed just under $1,000,000 and sell over list. Starter homes are $750,000 to $800,000 (2 bedroom/1 bath, built before 1940, maybe updated kitchen and bath, 1000 sq.ft.) No, we did not get on the list. Already have too many over $1,000,000.. I am soo glad I bought my  house in 1985 for $135,000!!

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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal, appraisal management company, Mortgage applications, Strange homes, unusual homes

6-22-17 Newz//McMansions .Credit Risk Increasing .Freddie – No Appraisals

What If McMansions Ruled the World?

Excerpt: Whether on the gleefully snarky blog McMansion Hell or in haunting photos of cul-de-sacs abandoned during the recession, McMansions-those ersatz chateaux of modern suburbia-are frequent targets of urbanists’ ire, derided as symbols of the wastefulness and isolation of suburban sprawl.
But what if the McMansion could be put in the service of urbanism instead?
My comment: Fascinating!!
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Appraiserville

Housingwire Gave Appraisers A Long Overdue Win

By Jonathan Miller
Excerpt: After a snarky trying-to-be-coy blog post that tried to win on a technicality that there was an appraiser shortage, many appraisers, including myself, took to the streets (the comments section) to voice our outrage. It was based on an amazingly misinformed Urban Institute post that doesn’t understand the appraiser role in mortgage lending, which was even more infuriating.
Housing Wire’s editor reached out to Jonathan Miller for the appraisers’ side of the story – He handed our long besieged industry a rare “win, include” and I am grateful for his honesty and for the opportunity to voice my view on their platform.

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Posted in: AMCs, Appraisal fees, appraisal management company, mortgage loan volume, unusual homes

6-15-17 Newz// Appraisers Replaced by Data Analysis, Very Unusual Hotels

8 of the Most Unusual Hotels in the Netherlands

Proof the Dutch can convert nearly anything into a place to stay the night.

Excerpt: n industrial crane or wooden wine barrel would be unremarkable objects anywhere else. But in Holland, these unexpected structures have been transformed into one-of a-kind hotels, made habitable and even luxurious with some loving restoration and redesign. Prefer to spend the night in a tilted cube house or the rumored birthplace of a secret shadow government? The Dutch have got you covered there, too. Here are eight hotels in the Netherlands that offer visitors a unique place to stay.

My comment: Very Interesting. Good for a quick break from writing up appraisals. I love appraising but hate writing up the those darn reports ;>
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The Highest Home Price Increases Around the World

Excerpt: When it comes to the world’s fastest-rising prices for luxury residential real estate, don’t look to the United States.

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Posted in: appraisal management company, data, forecast, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, statistics, Strange homes, unusual homes, weird properties

6-8-17 Newz// Appraisal Waivers, Blue Bathrooms, Corelogic buys Mercury Network

 The Sunken World Hiding Under the Water’s Surface

27 drowned places that used to be above ground.
Excerpt: here is an entire submerged world hidden just below sea level, largely out of sight to terrestrial beings today. The Earth’s shores are lined with sunken cities, flooded crypts, drowned forests, and submerged structures that have been lost underwater over the millennia, overtaken by nature or human development.

Rising sea levels and flooding caused by earthquakes, landslides, changing tides, melting glaciers, or manmade dams have wiped entire villages off the map. And sometimes, when the water recedes, these submerged cities and landscapes reemerge from the depths, an eerie glimpse at the invisible sunken world.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/sunken-cities-flooded-drowned 

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Appraiser shortage = appraisal waivers??

Excerpt:
Key government agencies finally addressed the critically growing appraisal shortage crisis that’s hampering the mortgage process, highlighting two alternative options to help areas that are facing a shortage.
Particularly, the alternative options are aimed at helping rural areas that are struggling with the availability of state certified and licensed appraisers.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal fees, appraisal management company, appraiser shortage, forecast, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, state appraiser regulators, Strange homes, unusual homes, weird properties, zillow

6-1-17 Newz .Our 25th Anniversary! .Zillow Class Action Lawsuit, FTC Says No to LA Setting AMC Fees

FTC Challenges Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Regulations that Restrict Competition

Restrictions on fee setting violate federal antitrust rules, agency alleges

Excerpt from FTC: The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, alleging that the group is unreasonably restraining price competition for appraisal services in Louisiana, contrary to federal antitrust law. The complaint will be submitted to adjudication before an Administrative Law Judge, who will review it and render an initial decision.
In the administrative complaint, the FTC alleges that the Louisiana appraisers board limits the freedom of individual appraisers and their customers to engage in bona fide negotiations to set appraisal fees for real estate appraisals in Louisiana.
Excerpt from LA appraisal board comments:
In a statement, the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board denies the FTC claims, adding that it is operating well within its rights and any accusations beyond that are “ludicrous” and without merit.
“Respectfully, the FTC is just plain wrong. By issuing this legally faulty and factually incorrect complaint, the FTC is seeking to punish a Louisiana state agency for following federal regulatory mandates,” Bruce Unangst, executive director of the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, said in a statement.
Read the details here from the FTC:
More info, including comments from LA appraisal board
My comment: Very interesting angle… I always wondered if it was ok for states to set AMC appraisal fees. I wondered who complained????
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When Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight

Play real-life Chutes and Ladders at these obscure thruways.

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal, data, fees, mortgage loan volume, state appraiser regulators, weird properties, zillow

5-25-17 Newz: Lenders’ AMC problems, Arms-length Transactions, Incredible Private Islands

3 incredible private islands

Just for Fun – very short video
A few tidbits
– Locations: Key Largo  (FL), Washington state and Long Island NY
– Space for 110 ft. yacht
– Lowest price: $11 million
– Tennis court that doubles as a helicopter pad

http://www.realtor.com/videos/video-the-ultimate-getaway-you-can-own-one-of-these-3-incredible-private-islands/ac74f30c-de71-43ba-bae1-e54d8336a7ae 

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Analyzing the subject’s sales history

By Josh Wailitt
Short video. Worth watching. Check out some of the other videos in his USPAP errors series at www.appraiserelearning.com
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Arm’s-Length Transactions, Part 1

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Posted in: adjustments, AMCs, appraisal business, Fannie, lender appraisals, mortgage loan volume, unusual home, unusual homes, USPAP, zillow

5-18-17// Newz, AVM/BPO Problems, Castles in America, Cherry Picking Comps

Castles in America

Excerpts:
Roger Declements likes to build his castles the medieval way.
He starts with stone – up to 1,000 tons of it – and then constructs two parallel walls. After years of work, sometimes an entire decade, these walls add up to what he considers “the most advanced, strongest and most comfortable” abode a person can have.
In the United States, where there are no authentic medieval castles, imitation ones are few and far between. But interest in them has grown, in part because of the popularity of books and shows like “Vikings,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones” and the Harry Potter series.

My comment: Very interesting article with good photos plus some info on castles in Europe for comparison. FYI – article is in the New York Times, which only allows a few free articles before requiring a subscription.

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Cherry-picking comps & being connected to the neighborhood

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpts: On paper it looked like value was going to be so much higher. Why? Because comps to the north were easily 10-20% higher, and even Zillow came in $100,000 above the appraisal (ahem). The big cause of such a legitimately lower appraisal boiled down to one thing. Location. Today I want to show a situation where a small section of the neighborhood was blocked off from the rest, and it was a big deal for value. Have a look below and let me know what you think. Anything to add?
Methodology when only 5 sales in 5 years: When appraising something in this section, there were zero sales over the past 2 years and otherwise only 5 sales in the previous 5 years. This means I had to really study older sales to understand how value works…

My comments: Lots of good ideas. Very well written with good analysis and excellent use of graphs and annotated maps. I regularly go back in the past for comps and analysis. Making market conditions adjustments is very easy. I also use percent adjustments, which tend to be stable over time.

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Posted in: adjustments, AMCs, unusual home, unusual homes, USPAP, weird homes, zillow
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