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What Tools for Measuring Houses for Appraisals

What tool do you prefer to use when measuring a house?

Recent Appraisal Buzz survey

  • Measuring tape – over half
  • Laser – less than half
  • Guesstimate – a few, but way too many!
  • Phone app. – not many

To see the graph, click here

My comments: I have always wondered about this. I prefer my phone app – no more rose bush thorns, dog poop, tripping over miscellaneous stuff, etc. I was hooked the first time I used it! I was surprised to see how few use phone apps.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on changing real estate market, E&O tips, Fannie condo appraisal requirements changing, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: E&O, Fannie, real estate market

Appraiser Countersues Alleged Discrimination

Appraiser Countersues Black Plaintiffs Who Alleged Discrimination

by Isaac Peck, Publisher WorkingRE

There are now a number of lawsuits facing appraisers where the primary allegation is racial discrimination.

Tate-Austin v. Janette Miller, filed in California in Dec. 2021, was one of the first (and perhaps the most publicized). But since late 2021, a number of similar lawsuits have popped up—from North Carolina to Maryland.

Connolly & Mott v. Shane Lanham et al. is one highly publicized lawsuit covered at length by mainstream media–CBS News, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC News, and more.

Filed in August 2022 in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Connolly and Mott allege that Lanham discriminated against them and violated professional appraisal standards because of his allegedly “racist beliefs” (among other things).

Mr. Lanham is now countersuing Connolly and Mott for labeling him a racist, making false and defamatory accusations, and causing severe harm to his business, his reputation, and his well-being. Alongside his counterclaim, Lanham has also filed a Motion to Dismiss Connolly and Mott’s initial claim, arguing that they have failed to show any facts that support he discriminated against them.

“Plaintiffs cannot transform allegations of incompetence or a breach of appraisal industry standards into racial discrimination by baldly alleging that Mr. Lanham believed that Plaintiffs did not belong in their neighborhood and that their home was worth less than other homes because of their race. There are no facts alleged in the First Amended Complaint, and none can be alleged with good faith, that Mr. Lanham treated Plaintiffs any differently than homeowners of other races,” the motion reads.

To read more, click here

My comments: Long article and worth reading. Discusses many issues and lawsuits. I don’t write about this topic much. My opinion is that everyone is biased against something. I learned I was biased against young Black men when I was on a criminal jury many years ago.

When a young Black man, the defendant, walked into court, I immediately thought he was guilty. I sent a note to the judge who excused me publically in court. I was very, very embarrassed. But it would have been a lot worse to stay on the jury and vote to convict him. My parents raised us not to be prejudiced against anyone. But I grew up in Tulsa, OK, next to Greenwood, an area of successful Black residents prior to 1921. The Tulsa race massacre occurred on May 31, 1921. I never heard it mentioned by anyone. Older people, who knew about it, never spoke of it. Some newspaper issues were destroyed.

I assume that since I had been appraising in high crime neighborhoods, I became prejudiced. I work hard not to show it. I don’t cross the street when I see a young black man coming towards me, and I smile when we pass, but I do get a little nervous. What is most important is recognizing and not acting on your prejudice.

I have been tempted to lower a value when an owner’s large do dog jumps on me or tries to bite me. But I know I don’t like aggressive large dogs and don’t let it affect my value.

Of course, some appraisers could be biased. But, for residential lender appraisers, there is no advantage to coming in “low” on any residential lender appraisal. You may lose a client.

In the past, appraisers were trained by FHA to redline, with lower values in Black neighborhoods. Appraisal textbooks and classes included this. But, it all changed in the mid-1970s, when I started appraising and was no longer allowed. Hopefully, I would not have become an appraiser working for residential lenders before then because of the obvious bias.

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Posted in: Fannie, non-lender appraisals, real estate market, state appraiser regulators

Lenders Not Using AMCs for Appraisals

Lenders Not Using AMCs for Appraisals

By: McKissock June 23, 2023

Excerpts: Some appraisers seek alternate ways to find work outside of appraisal management companies (AMCs). One strategy is to pursue opportunities to be engaged directly by financial institutions and banks by being included on their fee panel. To help you get started, we asked our appraisal community, “What advice can you offer on how to identify financial institutions and banks that engage appraisers directly, without involving AMCs?” Here’s what they said.

Below are helpful tips on how to find financial institutions and banks that engage appraisers directly on fee panels. In a nutshell, our survey respondents recommended that you should:

  • Look for small, local banks and lenders.
  • Network to build relationships.
  • Join the Mercury Network.
  • Simply ask around!

To read more, click here

My comments: Short and worth reading. When I started fee appraising in 1986, my first client was a small local bank with a few nearby branches. After AMCs took over, the bank continued to do their own appraisal management. Their volume went up and down with mortgage rates, but they always had some appraisals to fee out. Even today, their regular fee appraisers get some work.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on new online Fannie forms, highest and best use, real estate market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Fannie Forms

Appraiser Liability Risks

This Is Where Appraisal Liability Risks Lie (Plus Tips on How to Avoid Them)

By: McKissock

Excerpts: While it’s difficult for a litigant to win a judgment against an appraiser, that doesn’t spare appraisers the inconvenience of being sued, which can be costly, time-consuming, and harmful to one’s reputation even if the suit fails.

Attorney Peter Christensen, general counsel at the Christensen Law Firm in Bozeman, Montana, notes that lawsuits against individual residential appraisers, or small residential AMCs, are fairly rare, and successful suits rarer still. However, it’s a good idea to know where the risks lie—and how to avoid them.

Topics include:

  • USPAP and state laws
  • Types of lawsuits brought to appraisers
  • Disclosures and disclaimers to reduce appraisal liability risks

To read more, click here

My comments: Peter Christensen is very knowledgeable. Well written, short, and worth reading. As we all (should) know, any person or company. can sue you for any reason at any time.!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on AVMs and AI, good appraisal book,  Real estate market, Fannie, non-lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: AI, appraisal how to, AVMS, Fannie, real estate market

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

What Fannie Says Effective June 29, 2023

Say This, Not That: Words and Phrases to Replace in Your Appraisal Reports

By McKissock

As part of our contributor series, Julie Molendorp Floyd gives tips on how to use more objective language in your appraisal reports ahead of the new Loan Collateral Advisor (LCA) alert messages that will take effect June 29, 2023.

Excerpts: Following that thought process, our appraisal language has simply got to change to reflect current times. In addition, our lenders and GSE’s are implementing tools and programs to identify when “Certain prohibited, subjective or potentially biased words or phrases are included in appraisal reports.”

(Freddie Mac Announcement: “Loan Collateral Advisor: Starting June 29 New Messages Alert Users to Certain Unacceptable Appraisal Practices,” April 28, 2023)

To read, click here

So, if we have the technology and tools to present our conclusions in clearer, fact-based ways, let’s get ahead of the program and make the changes proactively.

None of us enjoy completing revision requests. They take time, effort, and ultimately do not contribute to our bottom line. However, revision requests are part of an appraiser’s life. How can you go about crafting your appraisal report to avoid a revision request for “problematic language” or “unsupported conclusions”? Let’s dive into some words or phrases that should not be included in your appraisal reports and uncover ways to convey your meaning in a compliant, credible way.

Topics:

  • Moving toward fact-based language
  • Words and phrases to replace in your reports
  • Samples:
  •    Say This     Not That:
  • Within 10 blocks of shopping areas — Convenient to shopping areas
  • Conforms to current market trends — Traditional
  • Primary bedroom, ensuite — Master Bedroom

To read more, click here

My comments: If you do lender appraisals, read this post.

Changes in names is nothing new for appraisers. Since FHA, etc stopped redlining since the 1970s, appraisers have been asked to avoid certain words. Now Fannie’s computers will let lenders know.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post Non-lender appraisals, ROVs, appraisal business, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Fannie, non-lender appraisals, ROVs

Quality Adjustments for Appraisers

Quality Adjustment Research and Methodology: The Basics

By McKissock

Excerpt: Quality and condition are not the same. Quality refers to the quality of items, materials, and construction. When making appraisal adjustments, examine the quality of your data and remember that any quality ratings in your county records or MLS are not always reliable. Here are some basic things to consider regarding quality adjustment research and methodology.

Reliability of data

You need to consider: What is this data telling me? How reliable is that data? If you’re using county data, and you’re looking at quality ratings in there, how reliably do they rate properties? Should you even be using that data?

To read more, click here

My comments: The blog post has a link to Quality Ratings. Quality is sometimes difficult to determine on the subject and very tricky on the comps. Another appraisal challenge!

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on adapting to changes in appraisal, appraisal volume, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal waivers, desktop appraisals

Appraisers: Watch for Concessions and Kickbacks

Concessions, Kickbacks, and the Appraiser’s Nightmare

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: What Appraisers Must Do

There are many steps appraisers must follow, more than I can list here. However, you should start off by listing and describing the concessions. Learn how to provide an accurate value conclusion that protects the appraiser from the potential ramifications of their bad acts.

On the first page of FNMA’s form, they ask this question:

“Is there any financial assistance [loan charges, sales concessions, gift or down payment assistance, etc.] to be paid by any party on behalf of the borrower?”

The appraiser has no choice when faced with this question, they must answer and if they get it wrong…then the appraiser is in trouble. After disclosing the information, the appraiser’s next task is to determine how the concessions have impacted the sales price. Federal law, FNMA/FHLMC guidelines and USPAP all point to a solution.

Solutions to Keep You Safe

  • Make sure you have a complete signed purchase contract.
  • In the appraisal, list how many pages of the contract you have in your possession (In case someone is hiding pages from you).
  • List the concessions on page 1 and in the final reconciliation.
  • In the sales grid, list any known concessions that were involved with the purchase of a comparable….

To read more click here 

My comments: Some good tips on how real estate agents try to deal with this. I have known Richard for many years. He is an expert and is a most excellent instructor. I have taken many of his seminars over the years.

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

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Posted in: adjustments, ADUs, appraisal business, FHA, non-lender appraisals, real estate market

FHA: Cosmetic vs. MPR Repairs

Cosmetic vs. MPR Repairs: Guidance for FHA Appraisers

By: McKissock

Excerpts: If you are appraising a property that needs some cosmetic repairs but meets FHA minimum property requirements (MPR) in its current condition, you should make the appraisal “as-is.” Here is some guidance on cosmetic repairs vs. MPR repairs.

Topics include:

  • When can an FHA appraisal be completed “as-is” vs. “subject to”?
  • Cosmetic repairs Examples
  • MPR repairs Examples
  • Conditions that require inspection Examples

To read more, click here

My comments: If you do FHA appraisals, read this blog post. Photos and lots of examples. I quit doing FHA appraisals in the mid-1980s because of the inspection requirements compared to conventional appraisals, that did not have the requirement.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on appraisal “modernization”, bias hearing, bad appraiser, USPAP, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: bad appraisers, bias, FHA, lender appraisals, USPAP

Chat GPT For Fannie Form Appraisal Reports

Chat GPT For Fannie Form Appraisal Reports

By Dustin Harris

Excerpts: The world of real estate appraisal is constantly evolving (much to our dismay sometimes), and as professionals in this field, it is crucial to stay ahead of the curve by embracing innovative tools and technologies. ChatGPT is an advanced AI language model developed by OpenAI that can be used to streamline the appraisal writing process.

Can ChatGPT, and other AI models, actually assist appraisers in writing summary appraisal reports? The answer is, Yes! Here are some examples of real-life prompts I have used with success.

“Rewrite the following description of a house and property using brevity and professional language”

“Summarize all of these property descriptions into one, easy-to-read format with a professional tone for a real estate appraisal report.”

“I am a real estate appraiser completing an appraisal. For my square footage adjustment, I used a combination of paired-sales and sensitivity analysis to determine $65 a square foot was appropriate, but I did not adjust for differences between the subject and comparables if the difference was less than 100 square feet. Write a description of where the adjustment came from that I can use in the report.”

To read more, click here

My comments: Thanks to Dustin for writing this! I have been reading about using Chat GPT for appraisal marketing and narrative reports, but this is the first I have read about form reports.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on hybrid appraisals, business tips, UAD info from Freddie, Fannie modernization, non-lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Posted in: appraisal business, Fannie Forms, hybrid appraisals, non-lender appraisals, UAD

Data Collectors: Appraisers vs. Uber Drivers

Certified Appraisers vs. Unlicensed Data Collectors

By Jonathan Miller

(13-minute video) Here’s a great take on the difference between Certified Appraisers vs. Unlicensed Data Collectors by Leigh Brown, President of the NC Association of REALTORS. Fannie Mae has been working hard to get rid of appraisers for years. Their latest twist is to re-categorize many appraisers as “Unlicensed Data Collectors.”

Fannie Mae will end up creating more instability for the trillions in the bond market – investors will have to process millions of valuations with the physical attributes of the home collected by unlicensed, uninsured, and unprepared individuals getting paid $10-$25 per inspection.

This is to follow up on a meeting Appraisal Institute representatives held in Washington, D.C. with members of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Divisions of Housing Mission and Goals and Fair Lending March 8 to discuss the new Value Acceptance program released by Fannie Mae…

Of particular concern is the encouraged development of an alternative workforce of property data collectors that may negatively impact aspiring appraisers’ ability to enter the appraisal profession…

To read more and watch the video, click here

To sign up for his weekly Housing Notes, click here I have been a subscriber for many years.

My comments: Miller tends to be negative about the AI, but this excerpt from his weekly email is worth reading especially the video!

This is the future of GSE using appraisers. Inspection or desktops are fine, but fees may be low and many don’t want to do them. Full appraisals only on the “though appraisals” where Fannie’s AI does not work.

Many appraisers are retiring or quitting. If you make it through this downturn there will be few appraiser competitors left for the next big upturn in business.

Appraisal vs Zillow vs AVM which is best

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Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal fees, data, Fannie, future, humor, non-lender appraisals