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Market Decline Coming for Appraisals?

Is There a Market Correction on Its Way? 

by Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpt: When will the market correction arrive?

I have no idea, but there will be warning signs, and that’s what this blog article is about. Fluctuations in market activity are common, but unseasonal and ongoing changes of any of the signs listed below can often be red flags. Additional indicators can be some of the factors that led up to the last market bust; there are plenty of articles online with which to familiarize yourself.

What will be the early signs?

Some early warning signs of housing market correction are:

A) Listing inventory in MLS starts to climb steadily. Increasing inventory is generally a sign that buyers have stopped buying (due to prices being too high or a lack of consumer confidence), or there are just fewer ready, willing, and able buyers in the marketplace.

B) Days on Market for listings increase. This event is usually linked to item (A) above.

C) Listing prices begin to stabilize, and reductions in listing prices become more common, which is a sign the market is becoming saturated…

So many appraisers missed the early signs in the last boom’s bust that resulted in claims (valid or not) of over-valuations followed by lawsuits, E&O insurance claims, and regulatory disciplinary actions. Maybe this time, we should pay closer attention to the indicators…

To read lots more tips, click here

My comments: Most Excellent list of what to look for. Very comprehensive. I have been appraising during many up and down cycles in Northern California, starting in the late 1970s at 2%+ per month, followed by a crash in 1980 when interest rates went up to 15%+. Those were the days when lenders told appraisers not to make time adjustments!! Even though we don’t like the 1004mc, it forced lenders and appraisers to look at price changes.

No one knows when the increasing market peaks, but there are signs of a decline, listed in the blog post above. I sold my house in March 2008 and did not anticipate the market crash a few months later. I was very lucky. There had been some modest price declines for about 6 months previously.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal, Appraisal Subcommittee, humor, liability, real estate market, time adjustments, USPAP

Location, Location, Location In Appraisals

What’s Location Got to Do with It?

By Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpts: We’ve all heard the old mantra that real estate is all about “location, location, location.” A perfect example of the importance of location in appraising can be found in The Villages in central Florida.

The development called “The Villages” has seventy-eight communities, each called a “village,” ranging in size from 100 to around 1,500 homes in each. In total, there are somewhere around 140,000 residents, and the home prices in these individual villages range from the low one-hundred thousand up to a couple million. In some cases, villages located near and/or adjacent to each other can vary significantly in price….

An appraiser not familiar with The Villages could easily over-or under-value a property by mixing villages. For example, let’s say the subject is a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2,000 square foot home with a two-car garage on a typical sized lot. It would not be hard to find hundreds of homes with similar physical characteristics nearby; however, some might be located in the “wrong” village…

Can we apply this “village” concept to other areas? Are there typically many villages or neighborhoods in and around most major cities? Do the same principles apply in comparable selection and resultant values? Of course, they do!

To read more, click here

My comments: Very interesting “case study.” Tim Andersen soon will have two articles on neighborhoods and what USPAP says in Appraisal Today monthly newsletters.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal, appraisal how to, bias, real estate market, time adjustments

Fannie and ADUs

Fannie and ADUs

Video/Slides
Excerpt: Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are becoming more and more common. Want to brush up on your knowledge of Fannie Mae’s ADU policy? Take this short elearning course to explore information about ADUs, including requirements, construction types, and how to report ADUs in an appraisal report.
To watch, click here
Note: use two arrows at the lower right to move between slides.
My comments: I received an email notification of this on 8/24/21. Worth watching. Well done. Of course, ADU requirements vary by location. They are more being built in many areas of the country. I was recently listening to an appraisal online discussion. Appraisers were from all over the country and some had appraised homes with ADUs.
My MLS recently added a section on ADUs. Not many sales there yet, but anything can help!! In my city, most new ADUs are behind a large home. Many of the owners plan on living there when they retire and renting out the much larger home. Over the past few years, the local planning and building departments have become much easier to work with. Some local MLS listings mention “ADU possible”, a relatively new trend.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: ADUs, appraisal business, Fannie

What should appraisers look for in a sales contract?

What should appraisers look for in a sales contract?

By Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpt: When should we analyze the contract?

Looking at the sales contract early on allows the appraiser to identify any “subject to” items or other conditions that could influence the value conclusion.

However, reviewing the contract early might also put the sales price in the back of the appraiser’s mind. And although it shouldn’t, it may unintentionally influence the appraiser’s comparable selection and eventually impact a direction in value.

Maybe looking at the sales contract only after developing the appraiser’s opinion of value would help avoid the above concern?

To read more, click here

My comment: Some interesting, and maybe controversial, ideas. Short and worth reading.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, appraisal how to, lender appraisals, real estate market, waivers

2021 Appraiser Fee Survey

2021 Appraiser Fee Survey

By Isaac Peck
Excerpt: The 2021 Appraiser Fee Survey includes 365 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), as defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, with rural areas included by state. The survey includes eight different appraisal products, including reviews and FHA appraisals, and addresses turn times, to offer insight into that controversial topic by area.
To check out the very detailed report for your MSA, click here
My comments: Lots of info by MSA! I got this info Wednesday and did not have time to look at it in detail.
Raise Your Fees, especially if working for AMCs!! Before AMC broadcast bids looking for the lowest fee, appraisal fees did not change much when volume changed. Since 1986 direct lender fees went up gradually. In my area, fees were about $250 in 1986 for SFR. Now fees have gone up to about $450 – $550 for regular long-time lender clients (and local AMCs). National AMCs are not loyal. Direct lenders can be loyal.
Fascinating and very comprehensive results by state and MSAs. I hear a lot about lenders and borrowers complaining about high appraisal fees. But in my area fees are not that high per the survey. I hear regularly about desperate AMCs who will pay $1,000 or more for appraisals. Appraisers are deluged with AMC appraisal requests, which are often deleted unopened of course. I also hear that sometimes the fee to the appraiser is much lower than the AMC fee.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal classes, Appraisal fees, bias, Fannie, UAD

Subjective Language in Appraisals

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal how to, real estate market, USPAP

Why is the Appraisal Under Sales Price?

Top Ways to Defend Your Work When the Appraised Value Comes in Under Sales Price

Excerpt: As a real estate appraiser, you’ve likely encountered assignments in which the purchase price is not supported by the available comps. So, what are the best ways to address complaints and requests in these situations? To find out, we (McKissock) asked appraisers, “What’s your top tip for defending your work when the appraised value comes in under sales price?” Here’s what they said…
How to prevent and prepare for complaints and requests
Many survey respondents emphasized the importance of making sure your work is as detailed and well-supported as possible—by means of careful comparable selection and analysis, thorough documentation, and clear explanation of why the available comps do not support the contract price…
To read more, click here
My comments: Lots of good ideas. Worth reading

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Posted in: appraisal, bias, Freddie, real estate market

What is an Appraisal “Inspection”?

Appraisal Inspection Vs. Home Inspection

Excerpts: Why are these roles often confused? What is an Appraisal “Inspection”?

The root of many misconceptions about the appraisal inspection is the word “inspection” itself. It is true that as part of the appraisal process, the appraiser might perform some sort of onsite quality, condition, and functional utility survey of the property to determine its relevant characteristics and if it meets certain standards. For example, to the general public, the FHA requirements that an appraiser must operate certain systems in the home (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) seems similar to what a licensed home inspector does.

The Oxford Online Dictionary defines inspection as: “Careful examination or scrutiny”

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines inspection as:

“The act of looking at something closely in order to learn more about it, to find problems, etc.; the act of inspecting something”

It’s somewhat of a benign definition, is it not? There’s nothing really scary there, yet many appraisers attempt to avoid confusion, and (potentially) limit their liability, by avoiding use of the word “inspection” entirely. Many appraisers use euphemisms for this term in their appraisal reports, such as “property visit” or “viewing.”

Even FHA got into the euphemism game with the publication of Handbook 4000.1, which went into effect in 2015. The words “inspect” or “inspection” generally do not appear in reference to an appraiser’s obligations. Instead, the words “observe” and “observation” are used.

To read more, click here

My comments: USPAP has never required an inspection. USPAP defines “Personal Inspection” as the following: a physical observation performed to assist in identifying relevant property characteristics in a valuation service.”

The word “inspection” is used in various locations, such as Advisory opinion A02, including Minimal level of Inspection.

The fourth exposure draft for the 2023 version has Section 1: “Review of Requirements about Disclosing a Personal Inspection.” Final comments deadline is today, July 23, 2021.

Revised FHA Handbook 4000.1 effective 9/14/15. Are you ready for the changes? Get the facts!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, Appraisal fees, bias, FHA

Appraiser Client Relationships are Very Important

Relationships… The Lost Art

Mark Skapinetz

Excerpts: Relationships. It’s a lost art of business when it comes to the appraiser profession…

From 2009 to about 2019, I was doing Lender appraisals, and deep down, something was missing. I would only be talking to customer service reps, people overseas that the AMCs subcontracted out to review work, and I had no one to go to with my issues and ideas. I know nothing about these people, and they don’t know anything about me.

Building this referral or relationship business wasn’t going to be easy, and it most certainly wouldn’t include any lenders that used AMCs for their ordering process. I needed to look elsewhere for this to happen. Where did I go? I went to the Realtor Facebook groups, Investor groups, and recently, I went to the new platform called clubhouse.

To read more, click here

My comments: I started my business in 1986 and mostly worked for lenders, but also worked for a wide variety of other clients: relocation companies, attorneys, private sales, estates, title companies, etc.

I quit doing residential lender appraising in 2005, before the crash. I had personal relationships with all my local and non-local, lender clients. Very few revision requests (wrong address, missing value, etc.) and no competitive bidding, etc.

Most of my referrals have been from local real estate agents or my website. I went on our weekly broker open house tours almost every week since 1990 and was active in the local association of Realtors.

I have been writing about non-lender appraisals since I started my paid newsletter in 1992 and have spoken to appraisers all over the U.S. and Canada about appraisal marketing.

Appraisal Business Tips including Marketing 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Crazy real estate market, bias, liability, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, bias, liability, real estate market

Interracial Etiquette for Appraisers

Interracial Etiquette for Appraisers

By David Braun, MAI, SRA

A spotlight has been shined on the appraisal profession’s propensity towards racial bias.  There are at least two environments to contemplate.  One is the legal aspect, and the second is more of a personal nature.

The practicing appraiser will need to understand the existing and proposed laws relating to racial bias, especially in the context of “Fair Housing” laws.

This short article presents five steps to achieve practical interracial etiquette on a more personal level.  These steps apply to any combination of races.  If an appraiser cannot follow these proposed steps, there may be no need to study the legal aspects as it is not acceptable to say, “I hate (whichever) people, but I always treat them fair and professionally in business.  Sorry, you are in our prayers, but you cannot be in our profession.

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Posted in: bias