Appraisal News and Business Tips

AMCs

2-7-19 Newz: Appraisal Dying?- Dangerous Roads- Wrong Algorithms

What If the Algorithms Are Wrong?

Excerpt: Algorithms are everywhere…
Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.”

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code. It’s really different from what you think most people think of algorithms. They think algorithms are objective and true and scientific. That’s a marketing trick. It’s also a marketing trick to intimidate you with algorithms, to make you trust and fear algorithms because you trust and fear mathematics. A lot can go wrong when we put blind faith in big data…”

Check out the video of the Ted Talk: 15 minutes and well worth watching. “The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End” I love Ted Talks and have subscribed to the Ted Radio Hour Podcast for a long time.

My comments: Remember the Recent Mortgage Crash The Data Did Not Predict? Why? They did not include data from the Great Depression, the last time real estate markets crashed all over the country.

Who was saying something was wrong? Whistleblower Appraisers. Appraiser Petitions fell on deaf ears. Some appraisers spoke the truth and lost their appraisal businesses and/or were blackballed by lenders.

Read more!!

1-31-18 Newz: Birdlike Buildings – Most Expensive Home $238M – 300 years of land use changes

AMCs and Respect for Appraisers??

By Rachel Massey, SRA
Excerpt: …an example of an AMC that is not paying attention to the comments from the declination. If an appraiser declines due to coverage area, then it should not be reassigned. But also, if appraisers decline because the fee is inadequate, is upping it a paltry $25 going to cut it? In the time between the initial order and the subsequent, ten days passed. Had the AMC picked up the phone and started calling appraisers, they may have had much better success at finding someone who first of all covers the area, and second of all, would tell them how much it would take for them to take on the assignment.

My comments: Worth reading plus the appraiser comments, of course!!
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The Future of Residential Lender Appraisers

What if you don’t want to do desktop bifurcated appraisals or do the very tough appraisals that don’t work for AVMs? Or wait, once again, for the lender market to finally come back.

There are many forces trying to get field appraisers out of doing full valuations for mortgage loans. Automation and Artificial Intelligence will increase this trend, as it has done in other professions. For example, Quicken software dramatically decreased demand for manual bookkeepers. Once lenders can determine which properties will work well with an AVM, and they will, there will be fewer human appraisals.

Recently, several appraisers emailed and called me saying their non-lender work would go down due to fee competition from desperate lender appraisals. Yes, this does happen in downturns, especially when it first starts going down fast. Estate appraisals are easy, and this market is affected. Plus other non-lender markets.

What is the answer? The only answer I know is to do litigation support. In my area, there are very few residential appraisers who will testify in court. When they go up against an MAI who does 1-2, or fewer, residential appraisals per year, they win. Good demand, repeat business, fees much, much higher than any other type of appraisal business, respected as an expert. Almost the opposite of AMC appraisals.

Why are residential appraisers very reluctant to do Expert Witness court testimony? Fear of the unknown I guess. I did them in the past and had no problems with testifying as an expert in court or in a deposition.

Next month in my monthly paid newsletter, I will have an article on Litigation Support and Court Testimony.  I have been writing a lot about doing non-lender work. There are lots of options, but this is by far the most profitable with very little competition.

1-24-19 Newz: AVMs vs. Appraisers- New Fannie Formz?- Future of Res Appraising

AVMs vs. appraisers

Excerpt: Different AVMs are designed to deliver different types of valuations. And therein lies confusion.

Consumers don’t realize that there’s an AVM for nearly any purpose, which explains why different algorithms serve up different results, said Ann Regan, an executive product manager with real estate analytic firm CoreLogic. “The scores presented to consumers are not the same version that is being used by lenders to make decisions,” she said. “The consumer-facing AVMs are designed for consumer marketing purposes.”

Written for consumers, but very well written and worth reading.

My comment: How often does someone tell you what Zillow says their home is worth? What do you say? I say Zillow works well on tract homes built in the past 10 years. This article discusses AVMs, regulators, appraisers, etc.
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1-2-19 Newz: Eliminating Appraisers, Hybrid Appraisals, Corelogic

Best TED Talks for Appraisers

Here is a sample:
Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth.
Her rousing treatise on the power of grit and determination. These valuable qualities can help you become your best self in relation to your appraisal career. Coming up with accurate estimates and choosing the right comps to use can be frustrating – but keeping calm and pushing through will mark you as an appraisal professional that folks will seek out for the hardest (and most lucrative) jobs.
My comments: Angela Duckworth is one of my favorite TED speakers. I listen to a lot of podcasts. The TED Radio Hour is one I listen to a lot. It combines several TED talks on the same topic with references on how to listen to the full TED talks. Fascinating!!
“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) converged, and today covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages.”

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11-29-18 Newz// Proposed $400k threshold for appraisals -The American Garage – a very strange room

$400,000 Proposed bank threshold for appraisals to be replaced by evaluations

Below are links to the proposed rule, what others are saying, and where to send your comments on the proposed rule.
OCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Exempt Residential Real Estate Transactions of $400,000 or Less from Appraisal Requirements
Excerpts: Rather than requiring an appraisal, the proposal would require that residential real estate transactions exempted by the threshold obtain an evaluation consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

Read what the OCC says in their announcement – one page www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2018/nr-occ-2018-123.html

Comments will be accepted for 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

Instructions in the full Full 69-page proposed rulemaking. Download the above link and search for comments

The word “evaluation” is included many times in the document. Google evaluation to see what it says.

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FDIC, OCC, Fed propose raising appraisal threshold for first time since 1994. Good analysis of how many loans would be affected:

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Push to cut back on home appraisals sparks controversy
By Ken Harney, long time nationally syndicated real estate writer who regularly writes about appraisal issues

Excerpt: The Trump administration wants to eliminate professional appraisals on a large number of home-sale transactions – a move that critics say could push the country back toward the see-no-evil days of mortgage lending that preceded the housing crash.

Includes comments from appraisers Ryan Lundquist and Pat Turner plus Appraisal Institute.
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Link to Appraisal Institute letter
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Get rid of appraisers while nobody’s looking
By Ryan Lundquist

 

Excerpt: I’m guessing these “evaluators” will be real estate agents who do BPOs, employees at banks and data firms, and probably some appraisers who need the work at $75-$100 a pop.

Read it here, plus the appraiser comments, of course.
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My comments:
– FIRREA increased the deminimus from $200,000 (1989) to $250,000 in 1994, but appraisals were still done. Why? Fannie and Freddie’s investors wanted them. FHA, VA, etc did not adopt the deminimus.
– What is an ‘evaluation’ and who does them? Hopefully, someone will tell me what is an evaluation?
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8-2-18 Newz .1004MC dropped, Treasury Proposes Appraisal Downsizing, Rural Appraisals

No more 1004MC for Fannie appraisals

Date: 7/30/18 1:46
My note: This was posted in an appraiser yahoo email discussion group I have subscribed to since it started awhile ago. The person who sent it is very reliable. I have known him personally for many years. Below is the email. When I used to travel a lot to appraisal conferences, sometimes Fannie would make comments on significant changes. This was one of those comments. When I speak I am a lot more candid than when I write for unknown reasons. Maybe Fannie speakers do the same sometimes.
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Posted discussion group message:
“I’m in Nashville at the National Appraisal Institute Conference. I just left a presentation given by the collateral policy managers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

The Fannie spokesperson said that Fannie Mae has decided not to make the 1004MC a required from anymore; the change will be effective as of the new Selling Guide update, which is expected to come out next week.

I asked Freddie if they planned to drop the requirement as well? They said they had considered dropping it when the new reporting formats were finalized, but also said in light of Fannie’s announcement, they may not wait until the form-changes and adopt that decision sooner.

The Fannie spokesperson said that just because Fannie won’t requirement doesn’t mean a lender might not still want it. So, she warned not to expect all lenders to adopt the change instantly.

In my opinion, I think most lenders will opt out of the 1004mc form, but will require something else (data/analysis) in the report to support the market condition identification and adjustments (if warranted). So I don’t anticipate the need for market condition analyses to go away (and it shouldn’t, in my opinion) but I do anticipate more flexibility in the manner we (individual appraisers) want to present that data.”

What I think about 1004MC: The 1004MC forced appraisers to make market conditions adjustments, which lenders had to accept. When I started my appraisal business in 1986, I was told by local, well respected appraisers that lenders “did not want any time adjustments.” Apparently this had been going on for many years. During price declines in the 1990s, I personally knew appraisers who went out of business because they refused to not make time adjustments. All my lender clients allowed them or they were off my approved client list.

I started appraising in the 1970s at assessor’s offices. We were making 2% per month time adjustments. Guess I just got “bad training” for lender appraisals ;>

Appraiser comments: Of course, there were lots of appraiser comments. Dave Towne’s are below:
~1 Lenders and AMC’s (and the other gov’t agencies) won’t back down on requiring the 1004MC form in reports. So you will have to do it, regardless of what the GSE’s do.

~2 Some report users may design their own market conditions reporting form, and demand its inclusion in reports per their own assignment conditions.(One no-longer-in business-by that-name AMC did this in 2008, and demanded their form be included even after the MC form became mandated – until appraisers loudly complained.) These may not be acceptable to other lenders/users. So we could have a situation where multiple users have different forms required, which will greatly complicate completion of reports in a timely manner.

~3 The several report software providers may design something to replace the MC form, which you could then be used in reports. But if 4 (or more) different ones exist, the same situation as in #3 will occur.

~4 The GSE’s may have another form already prepared to replace the MC Form and will demand it be used instead. (By the way….”new appraisal report forms” to replace the current ones are nowhere ready to be released, at least from what the GSE’s have said in the past couple of months.)

~5 Smart, and well versed, appraisers will continue to provide supportable documents and analysis to show market trend activity – which they’ve already been including in reports as a substitute to the MC form. Appraisers who have not been doing this should take steps to learn how to document subject/comparable market trends that are specific to each assignment, and not just a regurgitation of ‘regional’ or ‘national’ trends data reported by others that may not directly apply to the appraisal assignment.

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7/19/18 Newz//Price declines? .History of Appraisals .Whale House

The History of Appraisals

By Ed Pinto
Excerpt: Many say “history always repeats itself” and in the case of appraisals, it may be for the best. We sat down with Edward Pinto, the Co-Director of AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance as he shares with us his discoveries from the original FHA forms.

Dating back to the 1900’s Ed found the tools needed to bring the appraisal process back to how they were originally called for – based off of the market value and the information proved by the expert, the appraiser.

Very interesting and worth reading:

My comments: I have published several articles in my paid Appraisal Today about the history of appraising, going back to the Bible: the Book of Moses!! I have been inspired to republish them in the September issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

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7-12-18 Newz// 3 Story Homes, Auction Prices, Portable Architecture

The Most Popular Article From Last Week’s Newsletter: Former Appraiser’s Hot Dog Stand!! FYI, unusual and weird stuff is very popular with appraisers ;>

Three-story Single-family Homes and Townhomes

Excerpt: Of the 729,000 single-family detached homes started in 2017, a little over 18,000 (2.5 percent) had three or more stories, according to National Association of Home Builder tabulation of recently released Census data.

In contrast, the 23,000 3-plus story townhomes represent 22.0 percent of single-family townhome starts.

More info here:

My comment: 3 story detached homes are not popular in very many areas. It is a long walk up to the 3rd floor. I have appraised them (attic conversions of a classic older home to a master bedroom, for example). I always look to see if an elevator can be added – usually has to be on the exterior of the home. Definitely a functional problem. I rarely see them on existing homes, except for attic conversions. Some newer detached homes have a small room on the 3rd story – family room, extra bedroom, etc.

For townhomes, I have seen a significant increase in 3 story new construction townhomes in my city (within the past few years) and other Bay Area cities. The first floor is a garage plus entry, second floor living room and kitchen, bedrooms on 3rd floor. Very profitable for home builders, especially in areas with high land prices and infill tracts. I have appraised them and the owners did not object to the 3 floors. There are sometimes a few townhomes that are 2 story.

My first apartment when I moved to San Francisco in my 20s was a third floor walkup. I vowed Never Again ;>

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7-5-18 Newz//Busy or Not?, Prices Dropping, Appraiser Hot Dog Stand

Who’s busy and who’s not?

Varies widely around the country. Maybe it depends on housing affordability? See articles below. But, it is really hard to say what causes the geographic variation for appraisers.

Many areas have seasonal variations, but now we are in the traditionally strong summer months, so it is clearer that some areas have less appraiser work.

How do you tell if it is down? AMCs dropping fees. Fewer emails, phone calls, etc.  Other appraisers complaining.
What about steady to increasing biz? Decent fees, turning down work, etc.

Changes in turn times and fees when biz slows down

Appraisers just don’t seem to understand that AMCs work for lenders and try to do what they want.

Why do AMCs/lenders want faster turn times?
AMCs work for lenders. They are competing on turn times primarily, like they always have. Business is very competitive and is declining.

Value pressure?
Is there more value pressure from some of your AMC clients?
Some lenders want to close as many loans as possible and keep profits from dropping.

Why do AMCs drop fees?
Direct lenders have their own fee panels don’t send out bid request to lots and lots of appraisers. Their fees don’t change dramatically. They have never focused on changing appraisal fees frequently. AMCs need lower appraisal fees to keep their profits up, just like you do. I have always thought of AMCs as very large appraisal companies that mostly fee out all their appraisals.

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