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Appraisal vs Zillow vs AVM which is best

Appraiser vs. AVM vs. Zestimate… Ten Properties

Excerpt: On a regular basis, my opinion of value of a property I am appraising, is frighteningly similar to an AVM’s value. While that is the case, as you will see in this article, that is not always the case. You might be wondering what an AVM is? AVM stands for Automated Valuation Model. It is a computer program that uses mathematical modeling to derive a value based upon the data it is provided.
In this article I differentiate the typical AVM from Zillow’s Zestimate because Zillow claims to be more accurate than other AVM’s, due to the technology they use. Zillow’s Zestimate is an AVM.
To read more, click here
My comment: Try this on appraisals you have recently done and see the accuracy in your market. Read the article comments and leave your comment.

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

Appraising the White House

18 Historic Homes that Would Be Fascinating to Appraise

Excerpt: Historic homes make for complex and interesting appraisal subjects. As one appraiser said, “I love unusual properties, and the challenge they present to appraise. I have always loved appraising large, older properties. They take us back to another world back in time.” We recently asked our appraisal community, “What famous historic home would you want to appraise?” Here’s what they said.
A few of the homes:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
The White House
Norman Bates “Psycho” House
Graceland
To read the full list plus many comments click here
My comment: For me, none of the above ;> Too difficult!

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

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

Neighborhood Names and Appraisals

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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Appraisal Neighborhood Analysis

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

Zillow uses home photos for “appraisals”

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….

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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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

Practical real estate appraisal writing tips for AMC questions

Write Like A Professional – Very Practical Writing Tips for AMC/underwriter questions

By Tim Andersen

Excerpt: QUESTION: I like to use the term, “in my professional opinion” as part of my reports. After all, I am a professional paid to express opinions. Recently, the reviewer for an AMC requested I remove that term from my report since, in her words, “…it has nothing to do with value”. Is the reviewer overreaching on this? The reviewer has the right to tell me if there is an error in my report, but not to criticize the language I use in my report. What should I do?

ANSWER: As Gertrude Stein was supposed to have said upon seeing Oakland, California for the first time: “There’s no there there!” For good or ill, the same may be said about many real estate appraisal reports and the convoluted language they insist on using…..

Excellent and practical. To read more click here

My comment: this is the best article I have ever seen for practical tips on how to reply to AMC/underwriter questions with lots of examples.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

Appraiser values are developed and are not guesses

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. Appraiser values are developed and are not guesses.

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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Zillow CEO sold his home for 60 percent of the Zestimate

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

Suburb not well defined for appraisals

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. But, suburb not well defined for appraisals.

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!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

Price per square foot not very reliable for appraisals

Why price per square foot is not the appraisers choice

By Rachel Massey

Excerpt: Often, buyers and sellers are under the impression that it is simple to price a house by its square footage. Nothing is further from the truth, unless of course, all the comparable properties considered are within a couple square feet of each other and have the same quality and condition and are in the same immediate neighborhood with no variation in the value of the site.

Underneath all is the land. This means that a house that sits on a hypothetical 60×120 sqft site should have the same underlying value if the house were 1,000 sqft or 2,000 sqft. If land is selling for $50,000 for this 7,200 sqft lot, then the value of the land does not change in value because it has a larger or a smaller house on it.

For more information and to check out the graphs click here

My comment: Good explanation and graphs. Written for buyers and sellers but a good explanation when you are trying to explain why Price per sq.ft. often is not reliable. Also, a very good blog post marketing to buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal(Opens in a new browser tab)

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Posted in: Fannie, hybrid appraisals, lender appraisals, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, square footage, Strange homes, unusual home

Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

By George Dell

Excerpt: A recent study includes a graph which shows that some 90% of appraisals hit the sale price exactly, or were higher, while only some 10% were below the sale price (when the sale price is known).

Is this a bias on the part of appraisers, or is the bias the cause of the system? What could possibly cause this strong upside skew?

First, ignore the ongoing pressures from the entire ‘loan industry’ to make the loan, make the commission, make the quota, make the bonus, and look successful. Ignore the claimed purpose of the public trust (of our quasi-governmental standards and licensing quagmire).

The goal of protecting the public trust failed, and will fail again— this time with different excuses and blaming— but it will fail again.

Let’s look at some underlying economic truths and social/governmental policy. What economics and public policies come into play here? Three come to mind immediately:

To read the full, very interesting post click here

My comment: When I started my appraisal business in 1986, I was told by local very experienced appraisers to appraise at the sales price or I may be kicked off a lender’s approved list. Of course, since I was trained at an assessor’s office, I was shocked and refused to do this… There was always another lender client I could get.

Dell’s blog has very short posts. My June paid newsletter will have a much longer article written by him: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” It has a brief look into the past, including a photo of an acoustic coupler for connecting to remote sites. Plus, of course, comments on the future! I remember 30 baud transmission rates in the early 1980s connecting from my home PC to my company’s servers;>

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Posted in: adjustments, bifurcated appraisals, commercial appraisal, humor, hybrid appraisals, Mortgage applications, real estate market, state appraiser regulators, Uncategorized, weird properties

Don’t pick appraisal comps the old way

Are you violating USPAP every day?

If you pick comps the old way, you may be violating USPAP every day!

Excerpts: (In the past) Data was hard to get. I was taught it was only necessary to use only three or four comps. And only a few comps were available. I did learn the importance of bracketing from my trainers (it was nowhere in my appraiser education). I was diligent, and of course, I picked my necessary and available comps carefully. Don’t pick appraisal comps the old way.

Then things changed. No one noticed. MLS came on line. Income properties came online. Public records came online.  All relevant sales became available. Instantly. Without thinking, I ignored the “as available” rule. But stuck to the ‘as necessary’ rule. And heck, everybody used just three comps. In fact, USPAP says I should do what my peers would do. And they all used just three or four.

So, what changed?

Today in most areas, all the sales are available. But are they necessary? Well no. All my peers use just three or four, so it is ok. But what if I want to do more than achieve credible results?

To read more, click here

My comment: I love George’s Most Excellent headlines plus his writings!! His blog posts are short, as they should be. But, sometimes we want to read more. The June issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have his 6-page article: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” about the past, current and future in appraisal analysis. Very interesting!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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Posted in: appraisal business, hybrid appraisals, unusual home, unusual homes, va