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How to fix the appraiser shortage now!!

CLARIFICATION:
Until I wrote this post, I had been saying that AMC low fees and hassles were the main cause of the current appraiser shortage. Many appraisers won’t work for AMCs. Others left the profession because they would not work for AMCs.

I was wrong. The major factor is that trainees cannot sign on their own until certified. There is no other way to manage the huge ups and downs in volume of lender appraising. Prior to HVCC, this had been done for decades.

If this cannot be fixed, lenders will try to get their regulators to require fewer appraisals by using AVMs, BPOs, etc. They have always wanted this.  Their reason now: too few appraisers causing purchases to be delayed. 

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The residential lender appraisal system is broken.

The problem is NOT primarily low fees, licensing requirements, college degree, aging appraiser population, reluctance to hire “competitors”, etc.

The Problem: for the first time, there is no way to bring in trainees during boom times to sign on their own.

Since the 1970s, when Freddie and Fannie started and refis accelerated, lender volume had huge ups and downs, depending on interest rates. Lenders hired armies of trainees and laid them off when business slowed down. During the last big boom prior to the mortgage meltdown, fee appraisers hired the trainees and let them go. Now, very few appraisers are hiring trainees, except friends and relatives.

Lots of complaints now about the appraiser shortage. The Appraisal Foundation is considering lowering licensing requirements for certified appraisers. But, this will take years to change.

If lenders accept licensed appraisers, who do not need a college degree but need 150 hours of college classes, this will really help. A minimum of 12 months and 2000 hours of experience is required. The certified appraiser requirements will not have to be reduced. Certified res is 2.5 years of experience.

The AQB experience requirements are the minimum. I am in California, which has the AQB requirement: “Personally inspect the property with the Trainee until the supervisor determines the Trainee is competent to make unsupervised inspections, in accordance with the Competency Rule of USPAP for the type of property being appraised.” Some states have gone way beyond this, requiring the supervisor to inspect the subject with the trainee for the two years of experience. e supervision.

Lenders who want to switch from conventional and FHA will not be able to use licensed or trainees, of course. But, this is much, much better than weeks of delays getting appraisals, especially for purchases.

AQB requirements

Residential (AL) 150 hours, covering specific modules including the 15-hour National USPAP Course (or its equivalent as determined by the AQB); and 30 semester units of college-level education, OR an Associate’s degree or higher (in any field). 2,000 hours and encompassing no less than 12 months of acceptable appraisal experience. Any non-complex 1-4 family property with a transaction value up to $1 million; and non-residential property with a transaction value up to $250,000


Certified Residential (AR) 200 hours, covering specific modules, including the 15-hour National USPAP Course; and a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 2,500 hours and encompassing no less than 2.5 years (30 months) of acceptable appraisal experience. Any 1-4 family property without regard to transaction value or complexity; and non-residential property with a transaction value up to $250,000.


Of course, for existing appraisers, this is a boom time with no new competitors entering the business. Fees are increasing dramatically and have increased this much in the past.

Posted in: AMCs, appraiser shortage

8-4-16 Newz// Data verification, AMCs-percent of work, Drones

Collection and Verification of Residential Data in the Sales Comparison Approach

Appraisal Practices Board, Issued June 30, 2016, First Exposure Draft

Deadline for comments is August 12, 2016

The document includes examples for lender and non-lender work plus references to lender requirements. Extensive discussions on scope of work for different types of assignments, such as relocation, individuals, effect of zoning, estates, etc. as well as verification sources, etc. etc.

Excerpt:

Example 2 – Client: Conventional Lender Effective Date: January 20, 2015

After the four siblings receive a market value range of $139,000 to $155,000 from the appraiser, they compare this range to a $140,000 cash offer they received from a buyer who was willing to close in one week. The siblings accepted the offer because they were motivated to sell. This new buyer purchases the residence on January 15, 2015, for $140,000 cash and then decides to finance the residence with a conventional loan. In this instance, the client is the lender.

For this assignment, the lender has specific requirements regarding what data points to verify and with whom the appraiser should verity those data points. The lender also has guidelines such as the minimal number of comparable sales the appraisal will report, and a time frame within which those comparables sold. The appraiser accepted the lender’s specific requirements and produced credible assignment results within these parameters. The final opinion of market value was $150,000, with an estimated exposure time of six months.

Every client and assignment condition will have different requirements for how much sales data is collected and how that data is verified. This can include using different sources, using different levels of verification, and concentrating on the verification of different data points. The overall goal for verification is to verify data to a level that is necessary for credible assignment results, not to necessarily verify all data and certainly not to verify all data to the same level. Different levels of verification are acceptable based on assignment conditions, availability of data, and the relevance of each data point.

https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/share?cmd=d&id=s58e5be211d044a79#/view/s58e5be211d044a79

My comment: Finally the APB has something useful and practical for residential appraisers!! Be sure to read and comment on this 52-page draft. Worthwhile reading. Very comprehensive on this important topic. Discusses lender issues, including CU. I have not read the entire document but plan on reading it very soon.

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How Dirt Houses Became Beloved By The Tiny House Movement

Meet the wondrous cob.

Excerpts: It’s likely that earthen homes were among the oldest structures ever built by humanity. There are a few different techniques and many names for a building made mostly of, well, dirt, but the one that’s caught on in this recent revival of the material comes from England: Cob.

See the photo of: Ancient cob high-rise buildings in Shibam, Yemen.

Very interesting and detailed with photos:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-dirt-houses-became-beloved-by-the-tiny-house-movement

Read more!!

Posted in: Appraisal Standards Board, forecast, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, unusual home, unusual homes, USPAP, weird homes

What percentage of your work do you receive from AMCs?

My comment: Looks like there are some appraisers who don’t work for AMCs. I had expected higher percentages that worked mostly for AMCs.  Now that business is strong, some appraisers don’t work for AMCs, or take less work from them. When business is slow, they do more work for AMCs.
Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, lender appraisals

7-28-16 Newz Origin of tiny houses – HUD warning letters – FHA transfers

The Surprising Origins of the Tiny House Phenomenon

Why ancient hermits are the key to understanding our tiny home obsession

Excerpts”

Invariably, someone will remind you that civilization emerged from tiny houses-caves, yurts, tents, wigwams, igloos, grass huts, and so forth.

These early antecedents are beside the point. Sioux, Samoans, and Inuits were not offered more spacious alternatives. But people who opt for tiny houses-meaning the kind that tug at heartstrings and star on cable-generally choose to live small. The reasons aren’t just practical, but also ethical and emotional.

the true parents of tiny-house living are hermits. From the ancient Chinese Taoists in mountain caves to the Desert Fathers of third century Christianity and onward (the word “hermit” derives from the Greek word for “desert”), hermits were the first people to actively downsize to confined, remote, and minimally furnished living spaces.

Read the full story here:

http://www.curbed.com/2016/7/13/12162832/tiny-house-history-hermits

My comment: The most interesting article I have read on tiny houses. Of course, I started sailing sailboats in the early 1970s. Living aboard a sailboat is the Ultimate Tiny House!! Narrow and long but very portable… Another good link from Jonathan Miller…

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FHA Case Transfer, issued July 26, FHA INFO #16-49

Mortgagees should note the following about case transfers relative to appraisal reports in both the EAD (electronic appraisal delivery) portal and FHAC:

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, computers, FHA, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, weird homes

7-21-16 Newz//Bracketing-AMC staff appraisers-Appraiserville

8 Spooky New York Places That Should Be in the New Ghostbusters Movie

There’s something strange in these neighborhoods.

Excerpt: Here is one, but you gotta see the photos and the other 7!!

The Morris-Jumel Mansion

On a hill overlooking the Harlem River, the stately Morris-Jumel mansion is not only Manhattan’s oldest home but supposedly one of its most haunted. Its macabre history started after owner Stephen Jumel died in 1832. His wife Eliza was rumored to have had a hand in the death-there was some suspicion afoot that she orchestrated the carriage accident that killed him….

Take a break from typing appraisal reports and check it out!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/8-spooky-new-york-places-that-should-be-in-the-new-ghostbusters-movie

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The Shrinking of the American Lawn

As houses have gotten bigger, yard sizes have receded. What gives?

Excerpts:

The American house is growing. These days, the average new home encompasses 2,500 square feet, about 50 percent more area than the average house in the late 1970s, according to Census data. Compared to the typical house of 40 years ago, today’s likely has another bathroom and an extra bedroom, making it about the same size as the Brady Bunch house, which famously fit two families.

This expansion has come at a cost: the American lawn.

As homes have grown larger, the lots they’re built on have actually gotten smaller-average area is down 13 percent since 1978, to 0.19 acres. That might not seem like a lot, but after adjusting for houses’ bigger footprints, it appears the median yard has shrunk by more than 26 percent, and now stands at just 0.14 acres. The actual value lies somewhere between those two numbers, since a house’s square footage could include a second (or third) floor. Either way, it’s a substantial reduction.

Read the full story at: Very interesting!!

http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/07/the-shrinking-of-the-american-lawn/490157/

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There Go My Brackets

From the Illinois Appraiser June 2016

Excerpt:

Is it a USPAP violation to fail to bracket or end up with a tight bracket?

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, AMCs, appraisal business, appraisal management company, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, USPAP, weird properties

Bracketing and USPAP

To keep up on what is happening in appraisal businesses, mortgage lending, USPAP, etc. , Plus humor and strange homes, sign up for my FREE weekly appraisal email newsletter, sent since June 1994. Go to Home on the left side of the menu at the top of this page or go to www.appraisaltoday.com
Sign up in the Big Yellow Boxes

I regularly write about hot topics in appraising and appraisal business management issues
in my paid Appraisal Today monthly newsletter.
$99 per year or (credit card only) $8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, or $89 per year.
For more info, go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products

There Go My Brackets

From the Illinois Appraiser June 2016
Excerpt: Is it a USPAP violation to fail to bracket or end up with a tight bracket?
USPAP is silent on bracketing. For that matter, so is Illinois law. Here’s what Fannie Mae says;
“When there are no truly comparable sales for a particular property because of the uniqueness of the property or other conditions, the appraiser must select sales that represent the best indicators of value for the subject property and make adjustments to reflect the actions of typical purchasers in that market.”
Not a word about bracketing.
While comforting for an underwriter to see the collateral fall snugly into place, bracketing is still a guideline. This hasn’t stopped AMCs and lenders from complaining to the Board about missed brackets or huge ranges. There just isn’t a law against having a sloppy bracket, nor should there be.
Something else from Fannie Mae;
“It should be noted that the indicated value in the Sales Comparison Approach must be within the range of the adjusted sales price of the comparables that are reported in the appraisal report form.”
Read here for the full article:

Check out the other very interesting articles such as AMC fair housing Myths and Evaluations. Link to the original newsletter.

My comment:
I have never “bracketed” anything except the value when I used to do appraisals for Fannie Mae loans. I have no idea why lenders are requiring bracketing for everything with an adjustment. Just another Stupid Scope Creep I guess. Works ok in conforming tracts with lots of sales and minimal adjustments, but goes downhill quickly after that. Of course, the entire appraisal review-by-computer assumes that all houses are in conforming tracts. As do the Fannie forms, of course.
AT_final_rev_newslet
Posted in: adjustments, lender appraisals, USPAP

7-15-16 Newz//CU Crumbles-Refi mania-Urbanization since 3700 BC

The history of urbanization, 3700 BC – 2000 AD

Watch as the world’s cities appear one-by-one over 6,000 years

Fascinating!! Take a break from appraising and check this out!!

By 2030, 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities. Today, about 54 percent of us do. In 1960, only 34 percent of the world lived in cities.

Urbanization didn’t begin in the 1960’s. But until recently, tracking its history much further back than that was a challenging task. The most comprehensive collection of urban population data available, U.N. World urbanization prospects, goes back only to 1950. But thanks to a report released last week by a Yale-led team of researchers, it’s now possible to analyze the history of cities over a much longer time frame.

http://metrocosm.com/history-of-cities/

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419.99 Mile Marker

Just For Fun

When zealous marijuana enthusiasts kept stealing the “Mile 420” highway marker, the State of Colorado got creative.

Another obscure factoid from atlasobscura.com ;>

Since the recreational use of marijuana was made legal in Colorado in 2012, the “Mile 420” post became a hot commodity. So hot, it kept disappearing – and the Colorado Department of Transportation got tired of replacing it.

Check out the photos (and try not to click on too many of the other weird stuff) at:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/41999-mile-marker

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Refis skyrocketing per Zillow – Brexit

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, Collateral Underwriter, forecast, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, regression, weird properties

7-7-16 Newz// Comp photos cost -Tech trends in 1776-Data and Scottish Scoundrel

The Scottish Scoundrel Who Changed How We See Data

When he wasn’t blackmailing lords and being sued for libel,

William Playfair invented the pie chart, the bar graph, and the line graph.

Excerpts:

Today, graphs and charts are seen as more efficient than words, letting us gulp information rather than sip it. For a large chunk of European history, though, this was far from the case. As statistician Howard Wainer explains in Graphic Discovery, 18th century academics actually looked down their noses at anything that resembled a picture.

Into this void stepped Playfair, a man with very little regard for tradition. Born in Scotland in 1759, Playfair was a kind of Forrest Gump of the Enlightenment, rubbing shoulders with the era’s many giants, switching careers at the drop of a hat, and throwing himself headlong into history-changing events, from the storming of the Bastille to the settling of the American West.

His graphical inventions, like many of his endeavors, were inspired by a certain disrespect for limits. He wasn’t so much an inventor as an intellectual remixer, taking bits and pieces of different people’s ideas and piecing them together into useful wholes.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-scottish-scoundrel-who-changed-how-we-see-data

My comment: Fascinating! Plus a very entertaining writeup. Another good one from www.AtlasObscura.com – one of my favorite web sites!!

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8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

1. Underwater Warfare

4. Indoor Plumbing

5. High Tech Major Appliances

Read more!!

Posted in: commercial appraisal, comp photos, data, FHA, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, weird properties

What does it cost to take appraisal comp photos?

To keep up on what is happening in appraisal businesses, mortgage lending, USPAP, etc. , Plus humor and strange homes, sign up for my FREE weekly appraisal email newsletter, sent since June 1994. Go to Home on the left side of the menu at the top of this page or go to www.appraisaltoday.com
Sign up in the Big Yellow Boxes

I regularly write about hot topics in appraising and appraisal business management issues
in my paid Appraisal Today monthly newsletter.
$99 per year or (credit card only) $8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, or $89 per year.
For more info, go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products

What does it cost to take appraisal comp photos?

In general, how much do you think the requirements of taking comp photos increases the cost of completing an appraisal? www.appraisalport.com poll
My comments: Comp photos are very controversial, especially with the availability of google (including historic photos), mls, Zillow, etc. Interesting results. Don’t know if this includes blurring out personal items, people, dogs, etc. Maybe includes driving time (non-rural of course) and downloading and filing photos. At least we don’t have to spend lots of money on photo processing plus time going to and from the store any more!!

I am not sure why, but lots of appraisers don’t like to take comp photos. USPAP certainly does not require it. I always do, even if I have taken a photo before, because I can’t remember what was near the comp, condition, etc. I always remember it when I used hear about it when speaking at Canadian appraisal conferences. At that time, appraisers were not required to put comp photos in their lender appraisals. They told me “I know that area very well.” Or, “I drove by it XX years ago.”

Previous Appraisalport polls on comp photos
6/2/15 – analysis of 3 comp photo polls – Comp Photos and MLS, Fannie, USPAP, etc.
Plus read the comments.
Posted in: comp photos, Uncategorized

6-30-16 Newz // Most dangerous roads-Fees going up-Brexit and mortgages

The most dangerous places to drive in the world

Take a break and check out these places…

Excerpt:

Driving can be dangerous, and every one of us who attempt to control those speeding steel boxes of ours will, at some time or another, experience a dangerous or life-threatening situation. But the truth is, despite the occasional error of judgement or climate, driving in the US is largely safe, and you will most likely get to your destination calm and in one piece (or just in one piece, because traffic, right?). The world, however, is not the US, or even western Europe. And as you will see, driving styles, laws, and road conditions vary so much, that what might be an everyday commute for a native of Afghanistan would be a death-defying (or outright death-inviting) thrill ride for a driver in the Land of the Free.

http://www.grunge.com/15503/dangerous-places-drive-world/

My comment: Guess I won’t complain (as much) about getting stuck between 2 giant big rigs on the freeway ;>

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Complaints about high appraisal fees and long turn times

RAISE YOUR FEES!!!

Appraisers Remain Under Siege – Jonathan Miller

(Scroll down the page past the second graph)

Excerpt:

Here is a series of feedback from Rob Chrisman in his must read newsletter on the mortgage industry. It is a heavily read source of in-the-trenches mortgage insights that I subscribe to. He gave me permission to share his recent content on the appraisal industry and will share more of it in the coming weeks. I inserted my thoughts following each quote:

“And appraisals are always a hot topic. I received this note from an originator. “Our appraisal environment is out of control. Appraisals we used to get in 1-2 weeks have quickly gone to 3-4 weeks. Appraisals that were just $400 are now $550 and sometimes up to $1,100 for FHA and conventional appraisals. With the rules regulating appraisers on how to become an appraiser and how appraisers have to monitor everything an apprentice appraiser does, it is causing our homebuyers hardship. With the appraiser’s current workloads and the amount of appraisers we have lost in recent years, there is no motivation to bring apprentices on (due to those regulations), leaving the current appraisers working night and day to keep up with their workloads. That is also causing them to keep moving up the appraisal fees (basically rush fees to keep pushing who can pay the most up the line).”

Miller’s comments

It’s called “market forces” and because the AMC movement has gutted the industry, there are much fewer competent appraisers left. And please lay off the “hardship” angle. It’s tired and worn out. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and with the Brexit they will likely stay that way for a while. As I have said before, there is not a shortage of appraisers, there is a shortage of appraisers willing to work for half the market rate.

Worth reading, especially for Jonathon’s comments. http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-24-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-ca10724b99-116855313

Link to Chrisman article – scroll down the page to “And appraisals are always a hot topic”

http://www.robchrisman.com/2016/06/11/june-11-letters-notes-on-password-protection-mechanics-liens-and-the-current-state-of-the-appraisal-business/

My comments

Why are complaints about appraiser fees and turn times increasing so much? Supply and Demand. AMCs and lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own – no new appraisers. AMCs trained their appraisers to bid against each other. Now, they are getting payback.

The Appraisal Foundation is frantically trying to reduce requirements for appraiser licensing in response to the current appraiser shortage. But, the problem is that lenders will not allow trainees to sign on their own. There was no shortage in the last boom prior to 2008.

In all the previous boom periods, since lenders started using appraisers in the 1930s, the increase in volume was handled by hiring armies of trainees who left the profession when business slowed down. Prior to licensing, lenders did this. After licensing, fee appraisers did it. But, soon after 2008 lenders would not allow trainees to sign on their own, so there was no one to handle the increase in business.

When AMCs took over appraisal ordering, many experienced appraisers left the profession due to low fees, increasing lender requirements, hassles, etc. Some stayed, who had direct lender clients or were willing to work for AMCs.

The AMC fee model is a bidding system, with AMCs often looking for the lowest bid. Now, sometimes they spend days looking for an appraiser who will work for low fees. Some of us have finally adapted by significantly increasing our fees.

AMCs have trained us to bid against each other. Even when business is very strong, AMCs continue to try to get low fees. Finally, after 8 years of this, appraisers have realized that when there is a shortage of appraisers we can increase our fees. We finally learned about Supply and Demand. This never occurred before.

Many appraisers (and other business owners) have great difficulty turning down work, even with low fees. After years of telling appraisers to raise their fees, finally some appraisers are listening.

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal fees, appraiser shortage, future, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, weird properties