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Appraisal in Changing Markets

Sellers Chasing the ball down the road in real estate

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: Commentary from a (Ryan) appraisal: Here is a bit of commentary in one of my recent appraisal reports. This is only part of what I say because I’m a man who needs a few paragraphs. One box just isn’t enough.

“At the least we ought to describe the market as showing a downward seasonal shift, though it’s possible we can call this a downward cycle if the trend persists over time. For now, it is most reasonable to categorize the market as having growing uncertainty and blatantly inflamed downward seasonal price declines compared to a normal seasonal trend. At the least, properties are clearly selling for less than they did several months ago. The regional median price has ticked down about 7% since May, which is $45,000. This doesn’t mean every property is worth $45,000 less, but it’s been clear buyers have been resisting paying higher prices.”

Okay, one last thing about size: During the beginning of the pandemic there was a blatant spike in home size due to a greater focus on larger homes at higher prices. This spike basically peaked one year ago as size has started to normalize. Now let’s keep watching to see what happens to size. Will we see smaller homes more often as first-time buyers flood the market? Will we see fewer sales at the highest prices? To be determined.

To read more, click here

My comments: Scroll down the page for more comments from Ryan. Markets are changing in many areas, but are complicated by price range, size, etc. I remember the easy days of market condition adjustments 1% per month up or down, for example, to apply to all detached home appraisals. Ryan has been writing about the ups and downs of his market for a long time. Maybe you can use some of his ideas, graphs, and/or explanations in your appraisals.

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Navigating a Changing Market

by Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpts: … senior leaders at AMCs, lenders and the GSEs have noted that slower appraisal volume will favor those appraisers who can stay in communication with their clients and provide faster turn times. “During the heyday of 3 percent interest rates, it was acceptable for appraisers to take three to four weeks to complete an appraisal and forget to update the client. Now that volume has declined to normal levels, those appraisers who aren’t providing good customer service may see their businesses suffer,” remarked a senior executive at a major bank.

At the end of the day, (Ryan) Lundquist says his goal is to report what is happening in the market right now—accurately and without sensationalism. “I’m constantly changing what I say in my appraisals, and I’m very careful of boilerplate and canned statements. A quick change in interest rates has led to a quick change in the market. My appraisals talk about more stable prices in my area but also about uncertainty regarding the future. Pending volume is softening, available listings are skyrocketing, and it is taking longer to sell—but there are still stats that suggest there is heavy competition for certain homes. It changes by the week. There’s no easy way to quickly do this, it takes effort. There’s no such thing as being a market expert without putting in the time to be an expert,” argues Lundquist.

To read more, click here  

My comments:  This article uses AEI data, graphs, and reports from June. Some are out of date in September. I follow AEI (American Enterprise Institute), which has excellent data and reports. For more info on AEI, click here 

The MBA data, loan application volume (see below) is the future of appraisal volume. Using recent September data, loan applications are below the levels in 2019 and still dropping. I have a graph of this every month in my paid monthly newsletter. Loan applications went up this week but are still below 2019 levels.

The upcoming October issue of the monthly Appraisal Today has an article, “Which are your best current and former AMC/lender clients? What do they want?” The Big Three: Turn Time/Quality/Fee. I discuss what lenders want and how to provide better service and get more business. Number 1 for lenders (AMCs’ clients) has always been turn time.

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on VA changes, Driving vs. office time, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

 

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Posted in: appraisal business, non-lender appraisals, va

Appraisers: What should you have in your car?

Appraisers: What should you have in your car?

Excerpt: Here are a few items:

  • Screwdriver: A screwdriver has many uses. You can use it to take the cover off a crawl space entry panel, check wooden structural members for rot or insect damage, remove an electrical outlet cover to check for insulation in the walls, etc.
  • Voltage detector: To determine whether wires are live.
  • Ice pick: To check for termites or wood rot.
  • Magnet: To determine whether old pipes are made of iron or lead.
  • Mace or pepper spray: To defend yourself, especially if you’re appraising REO and foreclosure properties.
  • Bug spray: To protect yourself from mosquito bites, ticks, etc.
  • Spare clothes and footwear: Including an extra coat or jacket, hat, and boots—especially if you work in rural areas.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good tips! I definitely need to add some of the items to my car, especially dog repellent, which is not on the list. I have been bitten by dogs. I left the homes and contacted the lender. Don’t know if they got their loan and did not care. Once two large Dobermann dogs broke down a trailer door. I barely got into my car in time.

This was originally posted on McKissock’s Appraisal Blog, but that link was not working.

Appraisers – The Past and The Future

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal management company, non-lender appraisals, real estate market

Reconsideration of Value and Appraisers

How to Respond to ROV Requests: Updated Guidance

By Greg Stephens, SRA, AI-RRS

Excerpts: Suggested protocols for responding to Reconsideration of Value requests

When you receive an ROV request, some recommended steps to take include:

1. Maintain USPAP compliance – Confirm the ROV request came from your client, either directly or through the client’s AMC, acting as an agent for the client, or other party designated as an agent by the client. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Appraisers are still required to comply with USPAP when responding to an ROV request, including the confidential nature of assignment results.

2. Identify ROV content to determine next steps – take the time to analyze the content of the ROV to determine what specifically is being requested of you (the appraiser) and what level of information will be needed to respond to the requestor of the ROV. This is an opportune time to maintain a professional demeanor and not react to an ROV request as if it is an affront to your competency or experience. After receiving an ROV request, send an acknowledgement of receipt and advise the client that the ROV request will be analyzed and responded to in a timely manner.

To read more, click here

Click here to listen to Tim Andersen, MAI’s podcast, “Reconsiderations of Value: Satan’s Own Seed, Right?” (Podcast 9.5 minutes) on ROVs, included in a 12-21 issue of this newsletter, so it may look familiar to you.

My comments: ROVs are a PITA for many appraisers. Very well written and practical. Greg Stephens is a very experienced appraiser and reviewer. He worked in management positions for several large AMCs.

Reconsideration of Appraised Value

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Value Reconciliation, non-lender appraisals, liabililty, USPAP, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal Foundation, appraisal how to, liability, USPAP

Appraiser Pressure – What To Do?

How to Handle Appraisal Pressure and Stay Ethical?

Excerpts: There’s no simple and easy way to deal with appraisal pressure. A major source of frustration for appraisers is the realization that clients do not have to follow USPAP. The ethical and performance requirements of USPAP apply only to appraisers, not to clients. In other words, USPAP doesn’t prohibit a mortgage broker from calling and asking you to develop an appraisal based on a predetermined value, but USPAP does prohibit you from accepting that assignment.

When you are faced with appraisal pressure, here are some strategies to manage the situation and still maintain your reputation as an ethical, unbiased appraiser.

1. Educate your appraisal clients

A lot of what appraisers consider pressure from clients is merely a result of the client’s lack of knowledge about appraisal standards and ethics. A lender might ask an appraiser to guarantee values beforehand simply because he or she is unaware that it is unethical for an appraiser to do so.

Avoid this by explaining why you cannot guarantee a value or remove that deferred maintenance photo from your report. You might be surprised at your client’s response if you take the time to educate him or her.

For 8 more reasons, click here

My comments: Appraiser Pressure – What To Do? Can you learn to be an ethical appraiser (or person)? Do you try to be ethical in whatever you are doing? Does it depend on who trained you? Or, do you learn from your parents when growing up? A Very controversial topic!

The Good Appraiser (for anyone who wants their number) Always gives us what we need: – Unethical Appraiser. The Bad Appraiser: A deal killer – Ethical Appraiser.

I was trained at an assessor’s office with no pressure to appraise high or low, fail to disclose defects, etc. I was very lucky. Fee appraisers are under lots of pressure. You learn that people are always looking for a value. for example, when doing an appraisal for a divorce, I always say, “If neither spouse likes my value, it must be okay.” For new clients, I make it very clear that I will not be unethical by giving them what they want upfront. I have lost many clients over the years because I was ethical.

Working with difficult appraisal clients

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: ADUs, AMCs, real estate market

Cost Approach – When to Use in Appraisals

Fannie Mae and the Cost Approach

Excerpt: We often receive questions from appraisers regarding Fannie Mae and the cost approach. For example: “I’m appraising a property and have been instructed to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines. I understand that Fannie Mae requires the sales comparison approach, but what if there aren’t enough good comps? Can I use the cost approach as the primary method of valuation?”

Answer: No!

In order to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines, the sales comparison approach must be the primary method used to determine the value. In fact, Fannie Mae will not purchase a mortgage on a property if the cost approach is the primary or only method of valuation used.

Quite simply, if there isn’t enough data for the appraiser to develop a reliable opinion of value by the sales comparison approach, the mortgage will not be marketable to Fannie Mae.

However…

To read more, click here

My comment: I included this article plus the one below, which both address the Cost Approach’s common appraisal questions.

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The Cost Approach: An Underutilized Approach to Value

Excerpt: In residential appraising, the cost approach and the income approach have in many cases become less utilized in favor of sole reliance on the sales comparison approach.

There are occasions when the income approach can be the primary indicator of value for residential properties, such as developments with a high percentage of homes owned by investors.

The fact that Fannie Mae won’t accept reports that rely solely on the cost approach, with a few rare exceptions, doesn’t mean that approach can’t be the primary indicator of value. It just means Fannie Mae won’t buy that loan.

To read more, click here 

My comments: I started with an assessor’s office in the 1970s. At that time, my county was changing from only using the Cost Approach for decades to a sales-based approach. I never liked to use only the Cost Approach when I started doing fee appraisals.

In my area, there are very few land sales. There has not been one for over 20 years in my city. Depreciation is always iffy when appraising Victorian homes built before 1915.

But, I always use the Cost Approach for new construction to determine the financial feasibility of custom homes. I use a few land sales from other cities. If the new proposed home is on a vacant parcel, I go back to when the parcel was purchased, sometimes many years ago, and do a market condition adjustment.

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So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal how to, bias, cost approach, Fannie, george dell, non-lender appraisals

Appraisal Reviews – The Good and The Bad

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review

Excerpt: Topics:

  • Remember that reviewers are on your side
  • Look out for these common points of contention
  • “The number one mistake is that the appraiser did not include the lender’s specific report requirements,” Nakashima confirms. “Often, the appraiser will not read the lender’s requirements—and if those requirements are not in the report, it cannot be delivered, or the lender will send it back.
  •  Avoid future revision requests

“You can’t avoid the report being reviewed, but you can avoid revision requests,” he says. “Check your report for common mistakes. Review the specific lender requirements and make sure you covered all the bases. When you can’t meet a requirement, include a comment that explains why not.”

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading if you do lender appraisals. Some good tips for reviewing your non-lender appraisals. I have never had any reviews for my non-lender appraisals similar to the reviews above. When I did lender res appraisals for direct lenders before 2005, I was usually only contacted if I had a typo: address, no value, etc.

Review appraiser liability

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal business, Mortgage applications, real estate market

Appraisers: How to Spend Less Time on Email

Appraisers: How to spend less time on Email

Excerpts: Many appraisers report that they’d like to spend less time on email. The task of providing status emails eats up time in the workday and tends to be more complex and time-consuming than typing a quick email reply. Status requests from AMCs typically require you to log in to their system and go through the process of updating the order status on their website. Simple enough, but if you are doing this several times a day for multiple orders, it interrupts your workflow and decreases your productivity.

2. Only check email twice a day, at designated times

Set aside two short time windows for email (15 or 30 minutes each). Do not read or reply to emails outside of those time windows. For the rest of the day, turn off email notifications on your phone, etc., so that incoming emails won’t interrupt your work. You can add a note to your email signature letting people know that they can reach you by phone if they need to get in touch on an urgent matter.

To read all 7 ways, click here

My comments: I regularly write about managing your emails in my monthly newsletter, including getting to Inbox Zero. This blog post is the best I have ever read, as it is specifically for practicing appraisers.

How to Manage Your Email

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal business, bias, new appraisers, non-lender appraisals, real estate market

VA Approves Desktops and Exterior-Only Appraisals

VA Approves Desktops and Exterior-Only Appraisals

Excerpts from the Summary: On August 1, 2022, the Veterans Affairs released Circular 26-22-13 announcing new procedures for alternative valuation methods, effective immediately.

“The use of a Desktop Appraisal may allow an appraiser from outside the market area, but with appropriate credentials for the jurisdiction of the property, to complete the assignment when no local VA fee panel appraiser is available.”

“Appraisal Assignment Waterfall. With consideration for the high demand for appraisal services and limited availability of appraisers in certain local market areas, VA is providing lenders, servicers, and appraisers with a procedural waterfall that clarifies acceptable valuation methods when certain conditions exist. Lenders and appraisers can also refer to Exhibit A for more information. VA continues to explore opportunities for expanding the use of Exterior-only Appraisals and Desktop Appraisals and will update this procedural waterfall, as appropriate.”

To read the full blog post, click here

The summary and Circular are in the blog post.

To read more about the May 2022 proposal to eliminate the fee panel, click here 

I wrote about the VA in my July 8 email newsletter. To read it, click here

My comments: The big push to cut down on appraisal turn times because of the appraisal shortage is Very Old News since mortgage volume has plummeted. I always recommend VA as the best lender client for appraisers. I wrote about it in the past and interviewed VA employees, appraisers on the VA panel, and appraisers who did not want to do VA appraisals in my paid monthly newsletter.

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Where VA loans are soaring. Are you doing VA appraisals?

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: desktop appraisals, Fannie, hybrid appraisals, non-lender appraisals, real estate market, va

Weird Real Estate Agent Photos for Appraisers

 

57 Weird Real Estate Agent Photos

Excerpt: Yes, many great real estate photos really capture the house. This post though is a tribute to the other kind that we’ve all seen – hilariously terrible MLS photos.

From horror movie-esque semi-abandoned homes for rent to home decor that overshot “unique”, the owners and agents behind these funny ads thought things were perfect just as they were for their photos and open houses.

Caption for Photo Above: That way, you can still work on the garden even if it’s raining!

To read more, click here

My comment: We all love these photos! If used in the MLS on a comp, makes you wonder how it sold ;> Or an expired listing that didn’t sell. Data for those fixer homes (contractor specials).

More Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos for Appraisers

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Posted in: appraisal business, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, USPAP

Fannie’s New ANSI FAQS July 2022

Fannie’s New ANSI FAQS July 2022

Standardized Property Measuring Guidelines

Excerpts: Updated guidance, including some new and substantively revised FAQs

In response to your feedback, we’ve updated the Standardized Property Measuring Guidelines with some new and substantively revised FAQs, including clarifications on the terms “declaration” and “statement of finished sq ft.”

A few of the Q&As

Q5. When common practice in the local market differs from the ANSI standard, can the appraiser modify the subject’s GLA to conform to local custom?

Q6. The standard mentions a “statement of finished sq ft”; does Fannie Mae require appraisal reports to make an affirmative statement that the standard was followed?

Q7. The standard describes three scenarios in which a “declaration” is required. What is the difference between the statement of finished sq ft and the declarations?

Q19. Will appraiser adherence to the ANSI standard cause confusion when the subject GLA differs from other sources such as MLS or public record?

Q20. The GLA of comparables available to appraisers may not be based on the ANSI standard. How should appraisers manage this issue?

To Read this 5-page Update click here

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Bryan Reynolds speaks with Fannie Mae representative about the new ANSI FAQ. 37-minute podcast. Listen to this podcast!!

The Appraisal Update – Episode 109 | Fannie Mae’s New ANSI FAQ

Speaker: Bryan Swartwood III, Fannie Mae Credit Risk Senior Manager – Single Family Collateral Policy

Topics: The two Bryans discuss below grade, subject GLA different from MLS, comps not measured using ANSI, what happens to appraisers not following ANSI, ceiling height below 7 ft., manufactured homes, using exception code, and many more from the FAQs.

To listen to the podcast, click here

It is on the top of the web page now. scroll down the page looking for Episode 109. If possible, a copy of the ANSI Standards and the new FAQs makes it easier to follow the speakers. I subscribe to The Appraisal Update Podcast from Appraisal eLearning.

My comments: I listened to the podcast. The speaker was very good with practical advice. Reading the 5-page FAQs was okay, but the speaker helped me remember and understand what was written.

I received the Fannie email notice on July 19, 2022, at 10:30 Pacific time. The Appraiser eLearning podcast was available on July 19 at 2 PM. Whether or not FAQs were original, revised, or new is not indicated in the document. I did not compare it to the original Fannie FAQs.

When Fannie first announced in December 2021 that ANSI would be required on April 1, 2022, there was lots of confusion among appraisers who had never used ANSI or were not using it properly. ANSI was designed by home builders, not appraisers or lenders. Also, what Fannie wanted was not clear.

ANSI standards and Fannie requirements sometimes appeared to conflict. The forms were not designed to accommodate ANSI, such as where to put the different square footages on the form. Owners, reviewers, underwriters, real estate agents, and many others who read the appraisals are sometimes confused. These FAQs help to answer some of the questions.

ANSI Z765-2021 Resources for Appraisers

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Posted in: ANSI, appraisal business, Fannie Forms, lender appraisals, liability