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Appraisals: Using Comps Across a Freeway?

Pulling comps from the other side of the freeway

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: It can be a REALLY bad idea to pull comps from the other side of the freeway, but not always. Today I have some thoughts about location, comp selection, and lenders freaking out when schools are mentioned in appraisal reports.

I don’t normally pull comps across a highway

In so many cases it’s an awful idea to cross a major road or highway to pull comps because a highway sometimes separates markets that are far different in age, square footage, lot size, architecture, price point, school district, etc….

But, crossing the highway does work here

With that said, I want to show you an example of a local neighborhood where I have zero hesitation about pulling comps from both sides of the highway. The areas north and south of Highway 50 below represent the College-Glen area…

Why it’s no biggie to pull comps like this

A) Prices are similar: Prices are similar on each side of the highway. I’ve found this when pulling comps through the years, and I’ve also shown this when making graphs. I will say the north side tends to have a slightly larger square footage than the south side (same with west vs east), which is something to consider when we compare stats. But it’s still not a major difference.

B) Buyer Behavior …

C) School System …

To read lots more, plus maps and many appraiser comments, Click Here

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Why Comp Photos in Appraisals?

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on time saving tips, Waivers, Non-lender appraisals, Tax savings, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, non-lender appraisals, waivers

Appraisers Riding the Waves of Up and Down Mortgage Rates 

The Surfing Appraiser

Riding the Waves of Up and Down Mortgage Rates 

By Mark Buhler

Excerpts: Riding the waves of the appraisal profession can result in a range of outcomes and emotions over time. Appraisers, and surfers, have varying levels of experience, and experiences. Most appraisers have been through some extremely busy seasons that have been very positive. Those same appraisers have gone through droughts, where appraisal orders dried up.

Appraisers have been blessed to have the independence and autonomy to create whatever they want for themselves. Most workers in America do not have the same opportunities for success and advancement that appraisers have. Look at this lull as a time of opportunity. A time to finally work on and execute a plan for your business.

During the refinance boom of the early 2020’s, the majority of appraisers did not have time to come up for air. The waves of work kept them down, and every time they got a chance-they grabbed the next order (or wave) and maximized the opportunity while it was there. Appraisers were busy cranking out appraisal reports. Now appraisers are not busy, but they should be. Do not get out of the water and put your surfboard away. Stay out there, splash around in the calm ocean, there are waves coming.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: Read the full article! This article uses surfing as an excellent illustration. In my 20s, I lived in my van for a few years and parked it near my surfer friends’ house in Santa Cruz, CA. They surfed every morning when the waves were good (Steamer Lane), cold or raining. When the waves were low, they stayed home or went over to see if there were any changes. I watched and listened to them talk about it and learned a lot. A very good analogy to appraising.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on , , VA changes, State Appraisal Board problems, gratitude for appraisers, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal business, state appraiser regulators

Appraisers and Property Data Collectors

4 Myths About Property Data Collection

By McKissock

Excerpts:

Myth #1: PDC is the same thing as property appraisal

As a professional appraiser, you know very well that what a property data collector does is not the same as what you do — even if your clients don’t always understand the difference. While there is some overlap, being qualified to perform an appraisal requires much more training, education, and expertise, and the job goes far beyond gathering physical data.

Myth #2: Data collectors are going to replace appraisers

There’s a lot of buzz right now about PDC possibly replacing traditional property appraisal, but the intent of this service is to fill a gap in the lending process. The job assignments given to property data collectors are often the types of assignments that wouldn’t come across an appraiser’s desk. For example, property data collectors (PDCs) may be engaged by lenders for very low-risk loans where an appraisal is not required.

Myth #3: PDCs are not properly trained or qualified

While there isn’t a license, PDCs are still required to be trained and competent to do their job. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require that PDCs must be professionally trained and vetted. They must adhere to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s property data standards which set forth the minimum requirements for collection of the subject property data.

Myth #4: PDC is bad for appraisers

Probably the most prevalent myth is that PDC is bad for appraisers and bad for the profession in general. But in actuality, it may offer some significant upsides for appraisers. In particular, becoming a property data collector may be beneficial for:

  • Appraisal trainees in need of extra income
  • Busy appraisers who are looking to delegate tasks
  • Older appraisers who are looking to reduce physically demanding tasks or may be transitioning into retirement
  • Any appraisers wanting to grow their bifurcated and hybrid appraisal services

To read more, click here

My comments: We all know that appraisers would be the best PDCs. My article in the November issue of Appraisal Today has lots of information, including lists of which AMCs use PDCs. “Property Data Collectors (PDCs) Will Be Widely Used by Lenders in the GSEs Value Acceptance + Property Data Option”

This is an excellent diversification opportunity while business is slow. Trainees can do them.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Liability, Bias, reviewers with little experience, GSE modernization, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal business, bias, modernization

Freddie Advice: How to Avoid Using “Bad” Words

More Objective Appraisals: A Practical Guide for Appraisers

By Scott Reuter Single-Family Chief Appraisal Officer, Freddie Mac

Excerpts: Changing the Mindset – Facts First

What’s the number one thing appraisers should be doing when they develop an appraisal? Stick to the facts. Here are a few more best practices that can help appraisers achieve more objective appraisals.

  • Don’t think like a salesperson – avoid words that may be common in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and used to help sell a home.
  • Don’t use shorthand – both ‘123 Church Street’ and ‘123 Church’ could refer to an address but might come across differently in an appraisal.
  • Don’t copy and paste – avoid copying from Wikipedia or old appraisal reports or commonly used templates when providing neighborhood descriptions for similar communities.
  • Use pre-screening practices – while you can implement your own pre-screening process, some appraisal companies can implement them too.

To read more, click here 

My comments: Read this article! Not just a list of words and phrases. Excellent examples and analysis. The author started as a second-generation practicing residential appraiser. He knows what you want.

 

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on effect of low rates on existing home loans, Liability, Bias, FHA manufactured home changes, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: bias, FHA, liability, real estate market

2024 USPAP Changes Clarify Nondiscrimination

Changes to the 2024 USPAP Improve Clarity Surrounding Nondiscrimination

Excerpts:

Revising the ETHICS RULE with a Nondiscrimination section

To provide clarity and eliminate concerns, the ASB removed the previous ETHICS RULE language regarding supported and unsupported conclusions, and crafted a new Nondiscrimination section which clearly indicates to appraisers and stakeholders that discrimination is prohibited.

Advisory Opinions

For 2024, the ASB has retired Advisory Opinion 16 (AO-16) and replaced it with two new Advisory Opinions, AO-39 and AO-40.

How do the USPAP revisions to the Nondiscrimination section affect appraisers?

Appraisers were also always prohibited from performing assignments with bias. These requirements are carried forward in the 2024 edition of USPAP. The primary difference is that the new USPAP contains clear and concise language regarding an appraiser’s ethical obligation not to engage in discrimination.

To read more, click here 

My comments: Be sure to read this blog post. USPAP 2024 is effective January 1, 2024. You may, or may not, take the mandatory USPAP class prior to this date.

2024 USPAP for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Investigation of desktop appraisals, economic analysis, Bias, hybrid appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: bias, desktop appraisals, Economic analysis, hybrid appraisals

Strange Properties Appraisers Have Seen

Strange Encounters in Property Appraisal

By: McKissock

Excerpts: Property appraisal is not typically thought of as a “dangerous” profession per se. However, you may encounter some strange—or even spooky—properties from time to time. Recently we asked our appraisal community, “What’s the weirdest property you’ve appraised recently?” While some appraisers discussed atypical and challenging properties, others shared stories of strange encounters ranging from surprising to creepy to downright scary.

We’ve organized the strange and spooky properties described by our survey participants into the following categories:

  •  Vacant and secluded homes
  •   Spooky historic properties
  •   Properties in horrible condition
  •   Other surprising and strange site visits

“Vacant house that neighbors told me had not been occupied for almost 3 years. They were concerned that the electric was still on and could pose a danger as you could hear an electrical buzzing sound. Once I entered the house, the sound was evident and I looked for the source, probably a light fixture with a bad ballast or short-circuit. However what I found was a massive wasp nest that was approx 4′-5′ tall in one of the bedrooms.

When I opened the door, it clearly agitated them and I got out quickly and advised the lender to send in an exterminator ASAP. They were far too aggressive for me to even snap a photo. The AMC rep wanted to know if I could simply hit the nest with a can of wasp spray! Is this the actuality of ‘walking into a hornet’s nest’?”

To read more, click here

My comments: We have all encountered strange homes. I worked for an assessor’s office for 5 years in my first appraisal job. I appraised everything in a specific geographic area. I saw a lot of weird homes, especially in the more rural hillside areas. Lenders would have never loaned on them!

An appraiser I have known for many years saw a ghost in a haunted B&B he stayed in when traveling in Montana. He is about the last person you would think who saw an apparition of a woman. The owner and other visitors had seen her also.

Haunted House Appraisal Adjustments

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post, appraisers with increased income, ADUs in California can be Condos , unusual homes, mortgage origination and more!

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Posted in: adjustments, ADUs, appraisal business

Fannie Files Complaint Against Appraiser

Fannie Mae Filed a Complaint Against Me

October 18, 2023

Excerpts: In June of 2021, I completed an appraisal for a conventional purchase. The appraisal was ordered by an AMC on behalf of a lender. At that time, the real estate market was still being wildly affected by the COVID pandemic. Remote work was in full swing, and consumers were desperately seeking to get out of the cities. Prices for all types of residential properties were rising rapidly, and this held especially true for niche properties that consumers believed would make a good short-term rental.

My subject was a mountain cabin, in reasonably close proximity to a National Park. This approximately 900sf, 1.5 story, 2-bed, 1-bath cabin was situated on a critically sloped 2.5 acres of wooded land. This is not unusual at all. Many similar properties exist, but they are spread across a wide area. The inspection was uneventful. I was given a lockbox combination and inspected the vacant home. It was unremarkable. A basic Q4, C3 home.

Five days after the report has been delivered, I received a revision request. The AMC stated that the lender indicated the appraisal received a high risk score by Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae provided two sales and two listing based on their “model”. In addition to the sales provided by Fannie Mae, I was asked to provide at least two better comps. As anyone who has been an appraiser for more than five seconds can attest, you use the best comps available. There were no “better comps” to be used.

In June of 2022, one year after completing the original appraisal report, I received an email from the AMC stating the lender had received a repurchase demand from Fannie Mae. The demand letter cited an accounting error during the origination of the loan (not an appraisal issue) and the appraisal as the reason for the buy back. This was the first time I had ever experienced this problem. None of their comments seemed to make any sense. I had a terrible time understanding why this appraisal was such a problem for Fannie Mae. I have attached the Fannie Mae comments and my responses below. I have redacted the areas that could reveal sensitive information.

To read more, plus appraiser comments, click here

My comments: I have heard that Fannie’s repurchase demands can trigger problems for the appraiser. The post is long. Be sure to read the Final Thought on the last page with a link to Jeremy Bagott’s always interesting analysis, “Insider: Fannie’s Loan Buyback Sophistry Relies on Modifying Analyst’s Behavior,” posted on October 13, 2023

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SFR with ADU or Two Units?

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post Modular Homes Data Plates,  ADU income, Pickleball courts and other interesting home improvements,   , unusual homes, mortgage origination and more!

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Posted in: ADUs, manufactured housing, non-lender appraisals, real estate market

What level appraiser are you?

How to Level Up as an Appraiser

By Conrad Meertins Jr.

Excerpts: The key is not the letters but the competency or skill. For example, are you competent to prepare an entire appraisal from start to finish? You might answer, “Absolutely!” But what if the appraisal form was completely blank with no boilerplate text? Do you still feel the same level of assuredness? What if you could not use the URAR form at all, but still had to produce an appraisal report that could stand up in court? Are your legs shaking? These questions help us to start to gauge our current level.

The three levels that we are going to discuss are “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Pro.” Now, we could go deep and say that there are levels within the levels, but for now we will keep it simple and explore these three main levels. Some view each level as a stepping stone, and some view each level as a permanent parking space. It’s your choice which level you choose to pursue. The goal here is for us to evaluate which level we are at and determine which level we want to achieve.

Level 1 – Beginner

This is where we all start. There is no shame in this level. Depending on how you were trained, at the beginner level you typically view appraisals as forms — forms with checkboxes to be checked or left blank. If all the right boxes are checked and your report is signed with a value, mission accomplished!

Level 2 – Intermediate

At the intermediate level, you realize there is more to appraising real estate than checking boxes. Here is where you provide more explanations. If you say the market is stable, perhaps you add a sentence or two to expound on that. If you say that comp #1 was the best comp, you add a sentence explaining why. If you don’t adjust for the subject being on a busy road, you add a sentence about the neutral impact of the busy road and a comparable to support that conclusion—before being prompted to do so by the underwriter.

Level 3 – Pro

There is a subtle difference between Level 2 and Level 3. But one indicator that you have crossed the line from intermediate to pro is understanding how all the pieces fit together. For example, you understand that you do not need a form to produce an appraisal.

To read more, click here

My comments: Hybrid Appraisals are coming fast for lender appraisals, when any “human” appraisals are done. Full appraisals that Level 1 and most Level 2 appraisers cannot do will be done by Level 3 appraisers. I am writing two long articles for the November issue about Hybrid Desktops and Property Data Collectors. Both positive and negative sides for appraisers. If you want to continue to do AMC appraisals, this is an option.

What if you don’t want to do either one? If you have done AMC lender appraising only, you only appraise homes that conform to GSE requirements. You have a low skill level.

If I did lender work now, I would be in the “top tier” to be called when other appraisers said no. For as long as I have been appraising, lenders had special lists for the tough ones, or for a valuable bank client that borrows money from the bank and has large deposits.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  retirement, USPAP 2024 Changes, school district app, unusual homes, mortgage origination and more!

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Posted in: appraisal business, Highest and Best Use, USPAP, zillow

2024 USPAP For Appraisers

2024 USPAP

Source: Appraisal Foundation

The 2024 Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice is now available for purchase in physical and digital formats.

This year, for the first time, you can purchase just the book of USPAP standards for $35. This covers all Definitions, Rules, and Standards.

We also have a new product launching this year. All Advisory Opinions, Frequently Asked Questions and the recently launched Reference Manual will now be part of a standalone publication called the 2024 USPAP Guidance and Reference Manual.

This change reflects the maturation of USPAP, resulting in longer effective dates. The ASB will continue to review USPAP for changes when necessary but will shift much of its focus to providing more guidance to the marketplace. Appraisers can now buy one set of USPAP standards and keep that publication on their bookshelf for as long as that edition is effective and purchase just the Guidance and Reference Manual as needed for coursework and updates.

If you like having the USPAP standards and guidance material linked, we still have you covered. You can also purchase a linked digital version of the eUSPAP and Guidance and Reference Manual and get seamless access across both documents.

To read the full letter, click here

My comments: USPAP 2024 is effective January 1, 2024. I’ve been waiting for a very long time for longer than 2 years between effective dates. Also, there is no ending date for the 2024 version.

When USPAP started, it was very exciting as appraisers had to decide what needed to be changed or added. Lots of people wanted to be on the ASB. Over time, I quit following the updates as there were few significant changes.

2024-2025 USPAP 7-Hour Update Course is being approved or is approved, in the states. I assume a new class will be required every two years in the future. Gotta keep that money coming into the Appraisal Foundation, I guess…

I really hated the classes when there was not much to say except a rehash of the past. I taught USPAP before the ASB told you what to teach. It was my favorite class as we could focus on issues in our current market. Of course, now there is appraiser discrimination, the current hot topic. Personally, I think there is very, very little intentional discrimination by appraisers, compared with the intentional discrimination by lenders (and others). “Red Lining” still exists, some are in the same locations.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  non-lender appraisals, economics analysis, Fannie getting rid of appraisers?, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal how to, Economic analysis, Fannie, hybrid appraisals, non-lender appraisals, real estate market, USPAP

SFR with ADU or Two Units?

How to Identify a Single-Family with ADU vs. Two-Family Property

By McKissock

Excerpts:

The presence of an additional living unit can complicate the appraisal process. It may make it difficult for you, the appraiser, to know how to classify the subject property. How do you know whether you’re dealing with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a second unit?

Topics include:

  • ADU meaning and types
  • What is a two-family property?
  • How to tell if it’s a single-family with ADU vs. two-family property
  • It’s more likely to be a two-family property vs. single-family with ADU if:
  • It’s more likely to be a single-family with ADU vs. two-family property if:

To read more, click here

My comments: ADUs have been a controversial topic for a long time in California as state and local governments kept changing their ADU requirements. Finally, what they are and where they can be built became standardized. Today, they are becoming popular to get extra rentals in markets low on housing. Most recently, there is a possible regulation to sell them separately from the main house. Another tricky HBU issue in California!

Check the regulations in your state, county, or city.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  non-lender appraisals, VA, flood and fires no insurance, retirement,  few lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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Posted in: ADUs, climate change, future, non-lender appraisals, real estate market, retirement, va