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So, just how accurate is the Zillow “Zestimate” anyway?

Thanks to appraiser Tom Horn for this Most Interesting video!

Have you ever wondered how accurate the Zillow “Zestimate” really is? Whenever I am doing appraisals I have homeowners tell me what their Zillow “Zestimate” is. I am sure they are hoping that my appraisal is similar to that number (if it is high), however the two could be close, but more times that not they are pretty far apart.

I actually just found out recently how you can determine the accuracy of Zillow in your area. Take a look at the video to learn how.

click here to see the original blog posting

1-1 GOOD AT final rev newslet

Posted in: appraisal

Leaf House Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Leaf House Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Leaf House was inspired by Brazil’s Indian architecture, perfectly suited for the hot and humid climate of Angra dos Reis, which is just one hour south of Rio de Janeiro. The roof  in form of  big leaves protects all the enclosed spaces of the house from the sun – verandas and the in-between open spaces. All the open spaces are the main living areas, the essence of the design. They allow trade winds from the ocean to pass trough the building, providing natural ventilation and passive cooling. The architects see this as low-tech ecoefficiency where it has the greatest impact; as the concept of the architectural design.

There are no corridors, with the interior and exterior spaces being almost fused. Rainwater is taken from the roof for re-use. With its natural finishes, organic aesthetics and richness of details, the house is in harmony with the brazilian nature.

Links to arrticles and photos:
http://travellingthroughsouthamerica.blogspot.com/2010/04/leaf-house-of-rio-de-janeiro.html

http://freshome.com/2011/06/04/inspired-by-nature-stunning-leaf-house-in-brazil/

Posted in: unusual homes

Is the appraisal system broken?

Speakers – John Brenan, Director of Appraisal Issues – Appraisal Foundation and Melissa Cohn, President of The Manhattan Mortgage Company

junkyardNothing new, but at least they have an experienced appraiser (over 30 years) speaking. Of course, the mortgage person says the usual stuff about deal killer appraisers – out of area, QC delays, get rid of HVCC, loosen rules up, etc.

4:42 min long video, after relatively short commercial. Sorry, I was unable to “imbed” the video in this message. Click below to view.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000144447 

1-1 GOOD AT final rev newslet

Posted in: appraisal, lender appraisals

The 20 Loneliest Outposts At the End of the World

When humanity’s not trying to destroy itself, its steadily redefining its boundaries. Every passing year, we create further-flung outposts in places nature never intended to us to inhabit. Here are the loneliest places mankind has made its bed in search of the unknown, the overwhelming, and the great.

The Tektite I habitat, an underwater laboratory, located in Great Lameshur Bay, Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1969

The Monte Rosa Hut, at an altitude of 2,795 metres, owned by the Swiss Alpine Club

The recently opened Halley VI Modular Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, in northwest Antarctica

Link to all the outpost fotos:
http://gizmodo.com/5982570/the-20-loneliest-outposts-at-the-end-of-the-world

Posted in: unusual homes

AMC Declares Bankruptcy: What Appraisers Need To Know About Bankruptcy

By Ramir Rodriguez

You received a letter in the mail informing you that your client has filed for .  It is this moment you realize that this bad news just became your problem.

Many of us are familiar with the recent bankruptcy filings of and its  bankruptcysubsidiary .  Peter Christensen, attorney and general counsel to LIA Administrators & Insurance Services, shared in his blog that the total unpaid fees to , agents, and brokers as listed in bankruptcy documents is $11,048,411.97!  This is a remarkable amount.  Evaluation Solutions’ bankruptcy documents accounted for $9,349,612.97 of the total amount and a separate filing of its subsidiary was for $1,698,799.

I Received A Notice… Now What?

If you received a notice regarding Evaluation Solutions/ES ’ (I will refer to them as ES) bankruptcy you may be wondering what the next step is to try and recover money owed to you.  Yes, a client’s bankruptcy can be costly for you, but most importantly, not adhering to the rules of the bankruptcy process can cost you significantly more.

Knowing the types of bankruptcy, how to play by the rules, and what you can (or can’t do) will help you understand the scope of your problem and ensure you don’t get in trouble.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are lots of information you can gather from the bankruptcy notice from ES to help you understand the nature of this problem.  But first you must recognize the type of bankruptcy ES is filing.

Chapter 7 – This type of bankruptcy is the liquidation of remaining assets to distribute among its creditors.

Chapter 11 – This a financial reorganization of a business, which allows your client to function while they follow court ordered debt repayment plans.

Chapter 13 – Similar to Chapter 11, but rather than a business filing bankruptcy it is the individual reorganizing and following a debt repayment plan.

Ideally, it’s more favorable on your end if your client files for either Chapter 11 or 13.  These types of bankruptcy give your client a breather until they figure out how to repay.

If your client however files for Chapter 7, which is what ES filed, not only will your chances of getting paid be reduced, but also you may be waiting a long time (even years) for this type of case to be completed.

Take A Number

At this point you are probably frustrated and would like to call someone to attempt to collect your money.  Stop right there!  Your actions can get you in deep waters.  If you attempt to make phone calls to ES’s accounting department, send nasty letters, or try to file a lien (which some appraisers have done in other instances and is not recommended), you will face penalties.

Assuming you do get some money owed to you, you will have to wait in line.  This is the second item you must understand.  Here’s the payment order:

  1. Lawyers, administrative expenses, and other professional services that are involved pulling hairwith the work of filing the bankruptcy.
  2. Secured claims, including mortgage holders.
  3. Priority claims, including wages and taxes.
  4. Unsecured claims, which is where you as an may be categorized.
  5. Equity claims, including stockholders.

So curb your frustration because all you can do at this point is wait.

What Can You Do While You Wait

Sure you have to wait for ES’s bankruptcy process to take its course, but there are some things you can do in the interim.  Since this case can drag for a long period of time, you can do the following:

  1. Consult with your CPA about taking a deduction on your taxes for the bad debt.  If you manage to receive some money owed to you after the bankruptcy case is settled you can claim it as income at that time.  See your accountant for more details.
  2. It does not apply in this case, but if you have a future instance where your client files for Chapter 11 or 13 and wants to continue a working relationship, it may be to your advantage.  Of course your immediate reaction is to quickly say “no way!”, but understand that Chapter 11 and 13 require debtors to stay current on all accounts moving forward.  This means you can add a fee to your to recover what was lost, stricter payment time frames, and maybe exclusivity as other appraisers may not take another chance.  Keep in mind that the best way to reduce or eliminate risks is to get paid up front.

 Improve And Move On

Now that you’re somewhat familiar with the types of bankruptcy, payment pecking order, and what you may be able to do as the bankruptcy takes its course, it is important prepare for the future.  This means assessing your and how to prevent this problem from happening again.

First, create a process on how to screen new clients by knowing their payment history.  There are many tools and resources you can use online that are free or for a small fee.  Second, improve your accounts receivable aging management procedures.  Just because they are still “current” doesn’t mean it does not require all of your attention.  Current receivables can quickly turn into problems if you don’t pay attention.  Last but not least, be persistent and tough but professional with your collections.

If you have an AMC bill in your state, read it and educate yourself on how it can help your appraisal business.  There are sections in most AMC bills that require AMCs to pay by a certain time frame.  For example, Texas AMC bill requires AMCs to pay appraisers within 60 days.

Also consider resources available to you such as your receivables where the risk of non-payment is transferred to the company.  In this case, you can get paid quickly without the responsibility of collecting and liability of non-payments.

No small business is immune to the unexpected, but you can certainly minimize you risks as work towards a successful 2013.

Guest blogger:  Ramir Rodriguez  represents Treasure  Valley Factors
in Fruitland, Idaho. He has  helped real estate  appraisers
understand how factoring can can help their business since 2009.
For more questions about factoring ,
please  email him at rrodriguez@treasurevalleyfactors.com
or visit his blog Factoring Helps or
website www.treasurevalleyfactors.com.
Twitter: @RamirRodriguez
"Like" Treasure Valley Factors on Facebook!
Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, lender appraisals

How old are appraisers and when do they plan to retire?

Appraisalport poll – 1/7/13

If you are licensed or certified, what is your age range?
21 to 30 (2%) 138 votes
31 to 40 (15%) 1,027 votes
41 to 50 (30%) 2,095 votes
51 to 60 (42%) 2,284 votes
61 to 70 (16%) 1,113 votes
Over 70 (3%) 228 votes

Total Votes: 6,885

My comments:
I keep hearing about the “aging” of the appraisal profession. The latest average I heard was 62 (I think). The person did not know the source of the number. When I started my business in 1985, the average age (AIREA members) was 52. The poll above shows that active appraisers are not as old as everyone is speculating. I assume that users of AppraisalPort are active residential appraisers.

Like every other type of work, the baby boomer bulge is increasing the average age for many types of workers, not just appraisers. Another significant factor is that many, if notold woman driving most, workers approaching 65 plan to keep working, for various reasons. Mandatory retirement at 65 is gone for almost all workers. Retirement savings investment yields are low. Few people, except teachers, government employees, and some union workers have defined benefit pensions.

Appraisers tend to be older as appraising is a second career for many of us. (It is my third career.) The number between 41 and 61 is 72%. There are fewer newer appraisers as many left the business during the recent downturn. This is what happens in the inevitable residential lending downcycles.

The over 70 number seems relatively low, probably because the first Baby Boomers are now 66 years old. Many people I know between 66 and early 70s are still working and plan to continue. However, we are cutting back on work hours. No more 60-80 hour work weeks for us!! (I will be 70 this year.) Yes, there are a few licensed appraisers over the age of 90!!

Personally, I don’t care about the problems of lenders finding armies of trainees for the next upcycle. There will always be experienced residential appraisers needed. Lenders have been wanting to get rid of unnecessary deal-killer appraisers since they first started using them during the Great Depression.

—————————-

AppraisalPort poll – 1/21/13
I plan to retire or leave the appraisal business within the next:
5 years (22%) 1,304 votes
6-10 years (17%) 1,056 votes
11-15 years (15%) 938 votes
16-20 years (14%) 825 votes
21 or more years (15%) 938 votes
Not sure at this point (16%) 991 votes

Total Votes: 6,052

yes no maybeMy comments: Very interesting and not as definite as the age poll above, which had 19% over the age of 61. I would have also expected more “not sures” than 16%. I am not sure myself when I will retire, meaning giving up my appraisal license and designations. In California, you only have a one year grace period to reinstate your license, then you go back to a trainee and do everything all over again.

I strongly recommend that appraisers keep your license if you possible can. It is not that difficult to get a few non-lender appraisals a month, which can keep you somewhat active and give you few extra bucks. Also, if you really need more money, you can do more appraisals. It is a lot easier and you make a lot more money than taking a part time WalMart job.

Posted in: unusual homes

30+ of the most beautiful abandoned places and modern ruins

St Etienne by Jurg Roessen

Click here to go to the original blog post.

Stunning NYC Subway Station Hidden in Plain Sight, Until Now

 

 

Posted in: unusual homes

Luna Parc – strange home and other stuff in New Jersey!!

Excerpt from article:
Upon entering the gates to Luna Parc, you are awestruck at the immensity of the project Boscarino has been building in the woods for all these years. The front yard is awash in brilliantly colored sculptures, walls and spires. Everything is encrusted with swirling mosaics of tile, glass, concrete and painted metal. The house itself sits above the terraced yard looking like a technicolor gingerbread chalet in a psychedelic fantasy land.

Ricky, the proud creator of this unique home, is friendly and easy-going and always willing to give us a tour of the newest additions he has made to his one-of-a-kind-eastate in progress. We asked him how he first found the property.

“I grew up in Piscataway and I used to go to summer camp at Stokes, so I kinda knew the area a little. I started a jewelry business in 1986 and I was looking for a place of my own. I really just stumbled upon this place after pounding the pavement for about two years. It was an old hunting lodge, and the family that owned it hadn’t even been here for about ten years.”

Posted in: unusual homes

Appraiser comedian at the Punchline

Appraiser David Cash at the Punchline Comedy Club.
An oldie from 2008 but a goodie!! A blast from the past, pre-HVCC!!

I searched online but could not find any more videos. Also, there are lots of David Cash appraisers and I was not sure which one did this. I did find some other David Cash’s such as a hip-hop musician!!

If you know anything, please leave a comment!!

1-1 GOOD AT final rev newslet

Posted in: appraisal, humor

The conic "Trulli" dwellings in (Apulia / Italy)

Excerpt:
Trulli (trullo in singular) are round or square dwellings or storebuildings with cone shaped roofs found in the Itria valley in the Apulian region of southern Italy. They are traditionally built completely without mortar – to avoid taxation, it’s been said. Allthough some foundations can be traced back to the Neolithic period, really ancient trulli don’t exist, because people used to tear them down when they became rickety and rebuild them or build new ones using the material from the ones they tore down. New trulli are still being constructed the traditional way.

Traditional symbols of good luck and protection against the evil eye are painted on the roofs. They can be pagan, Jewish, Christain, Hellenic, magical – some are so old nobody remembers their origin or exactly what they mean.

Click here to see more fotos

Posted in: Strange homes, unusual homes
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