CubiCasa – Home Measurement From Inside A House

CubiCasa and a Desktop Mess – an appraiser’s experience

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: I called the listing agent on the property I was to appraise and asked if they knew how an appraiser might go about obtaining a floor plan (for my desktop appraisal). She had no idea and had never heard of this type of thing being needed. I was really at a dead end here. I called the bank and explained the situation. They ended up converting the assignment to a traditional type of appraisal so that I could just make the inspection myself.

I called the chief appraiser of the bank that ordered the appraisal. I know him well and have worked together with him on some complex assignments. He said the whole thing is a mess. Some appraisers are submitting reports where they have the listing agent hand-draw the interior walls on copies of the county auditor’s sketch outline. This is also a no-no. Fannie Mae will accept nothing hand-drawn in terms of the sketch…

I decided to test CubiCasa. I downloaded the software to my iPhone 11… I must tell you that I was very impressed! The scan took 15 minutes to do. By the way, I measured the home also. It took about 15 minutes for me to measure the home. But it would have taken a lot longer if I had to add walls and doors!

In less than a day, the sketch was sent to me via email, and it was awesome! It was professional-looking and had all the data that I needed. Its measurements were within 15 square feet of mine on a home that was just over 2,400 square feet. It also broke down the square footage of each floor and the dimensions of each room and its gross living area calculations.

I have been using it and then comparing my measurements with its measurements. It is consistently within 1-3% of my measurements. The 3% variance is with larger homes with complex angles and tricky areas to measure. In my view, that’s pretty good!

To read more and see a fun video and animated gifs, click here

My comments: Desktop appraisals are a new type of assignment for appraisers. I wrote about CubiCasa and Desktops in recent newsletters. I tested it and spoke with knowledgeable people. I am using it. No more exterior measurements!

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Green Home Appraisals – Ideas for Appraisers

5 Tips for Appraising Green Homes

By McKissock

Excerpts:

1. Consider each home on a case-by-case basis

You must independently determine whether there is sufficient information available to develop a reliable opinion of market value for each individual property. That will depend on the extent of the differences between the green home and other types of houses in the neighborhood. It will also depend on the number of such properties that have already been sold in the neighborhood.

5. Compare improvements to those in the neighborhood

Any improvements should conform to the neighborhood in terms of age, type, design, and materials used for their construction. If there is market resistance to a green home property because its improvements are not compatible with the neighborhood or with the requirements of the competitive market because of adequacy of plumbing, heating, or electrical services; design; quality; size; condition; or any other reason directly related to market demand, address the impact to the value and marketability of the subject property.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have “Mediterranean” (mild) weather, without much solar. If you live in an area with high summer and/or low winter temperatures, there are probably more solar installations. Many classes are offered by various appraisal CE providers. Check with education providers, such as McKissock, the Appraisal Institute, and local offerings.

What are Pass through Bedrooms for Appraisals

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Does A “Crazy” Neighbor Lower Value?

Does A “Crazy” Neighbor Lower Value?

By Jamie Owen
Excerpts: It’s tax appeal season, and I’ve had several homeowners say that they feel their neighbors are negatively impacting the value of their homes for different reasons. Is that the case? Can that be the case?
The homeowners of one property stated that their neighbors are a nuisance. My clients said that one of their neighbors has people coming and going until late in the evening, most evenings. They also complained about there being noisy. Additionally, they claimed that the neighbor directly behind them is not a very nice person and is always causing neighborhood trouble.
Meanwhile, in a different neighborhood, a different homeowner claimed that their home was suffering a loss of value due to their neighbor’s home not being kept up and needing repairs and updates on the exterior. The neighbor’s property is an eye-sore.
The long-winded point I am trying to make is that the appraiser will need to find some evidence to support the claims that a neighboring property is really creating a loss in market value to its neighboring properties.
To read more, and see some fun animated gifs and videos, click here
My comments: As always, Jamie often writes about appraisal topics from a different “angle”! I have a crazy next-door neighbor also, who waits for me to come home to “attack” me with some perceived problem… since 1986 when I purchased the property.

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Crazy Appraisal Stories! We all have them!!

Crazy Appraisal Stories!

Excerpts: Not Just Measuring Homes and Taking Pictures
I went to appraise a home for a movie producer in Brentwood, California. I knocked on the door, and one of the producer’s boyfriends opened the door and invited me in. He was completely naked. He told me that whatever I do, don’t let the cat out. As I went room to room taking photos, I met another naked boyfriend. He also told me not to let the cat out. As I went to the second floor of the house, I met the producer who was also naked. He told me again, “don’t let the cat out.”
I’m approaching the rear patio door to take pics of the rear of the house. Outside I see a beautiful pure-bred Persian cat. I know I didn’t let the cat out but I sure as hell better get it back in the house. I started chasing the cat in the rear yard. Finally, I grabbed it, but not before it ripped my blouse and caused my hands to bleed. Huffing and puffing from the chase, I tossed the cat back into the house and closed the door. A few moments later one of the naked boyfriends came over and said “that’s the neighbor’s cat. Get him out of the house.” I then had to chase the cat again. Finally, I caught the cat and put him out of the house. I was left there panting with a torn blouse and bleeding hands, thinking appraising homes is definitely not just measuring homes, taking pics, and typing up forms.
-Mary Cummins
To read more, click here
My comments: Just For Fun! We’ve all got these stories!

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PAVE Appraiser Bashing

PAVE Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity

By McKissock, March 23, 2022
Two of the more controversial recommendations:
Excerpts:
Inform Federal Housing Administration (FHA) borrowers about the process to request a reconsideration of a valuation when the initial valuation is lower than expected.
Perhaps the most far-reaching recommendation for action is number 1.6, which states, “Develop a legislative proposal that modernizes the governance structure of the appraisal industry to improve transparency and public participation in the establishment of appraisal standards and appraiser qualification criteria, and to advance diversity in the profession.” Translation: Amend FIRREA to remove references to The Appraisal Foundation and transfer the Foundation’s authority to write appraisal standards and qualifications to the Appraisal Subcommittee or another federal government entity.
As of this writing, no proposed legislation related to the PAVE recommendations has been introduced. Because committees in both the Senate and the House are holding hearings, a bill (or, more likely, bills) can be expected very soon. Stay tuned.
Short and worth reading. To read more, including links to the full PAVE report and the summary, click here
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AEI’s Comments on PAVE Report
Excerpt: The Brookings and Freddie Mac studies are not based on rigorous data analysis. Most importantly, they conflate race with socio-economic status (SES), i.e. income, buying power, marriage rates, credit scores, etc. Race-based gaps found in the Brookings and Freddie Mac studies either entirely or substantially disappear when adjusting for differences in SES. Furthermore, our analyses show that similar gaps are present in majority White or White-only tracts across different SES levels, raising serious questions regarding a race-based explanation.
To read more, click here
My comment: American Enterprise Institute is a conservative “think tank” and has also supported the appraisers’ side on other issues.
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Congress Committee Meetings on Appraisal Bias

Strengthening Oversight and Equity in the Appraisal Process
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Appraiser Witness: James Park, Executive Director Appraisal Subcommittee
To watch, click here
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Devalued, Denied, and Disrespected: How Home Appraisal Bias and Discrimination Are Hurting Homeowners and Communities of Color Tuesday, March 29, 2022

House Financial Services Committee

Appraiser speakers:
  • Pledger M. Bishop, III, President, Appraisal Institute
  • David S. Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation
  • Dean Kelker, Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, SingleSource Property Solutions, on behalf of the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association
To watch, click here
My comments: I was not able to watch either of these meetings before writing this newsletter.
Jonathan Miller attended the virtual March 24 meeting and had comments on the March 24 and 29 hearings. To read his comments, click here Scroll down to “James Park”
His blog post for today (usually sent around 11 AM EST) may have comments on the March 29 meeting. To read his comments, click here. Search for “devalued” (Hopefully, this link works.)

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Fannie ANSI Update – 19 New FAQs

Fannie ANSI FAQs Update

Updated Standardized Property Measurement Guidelines – 19 new FAQs, 5 Pages

Excerpt from the short Fannie email sent 3-15-22 at 8 AM (Pacific time): “…Are you ready? We’ve updated the Standardized Property Measuring Guidelines fact sheet to include more answers to your frequently asked questions. Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions.”
My comment: There are no changes to the first page, including comps measured differently and the exception process. Links are included for references in Fannie’s Selling Guide in the Guidelines.
FAQ topics include:
Q5. When common practice in the local market differs from the ANSI standard, can the appraiser modify the subject’s GLA to conform to local custom?
Q8. The ANSI standard specifically notes that the definition of above and below grade could cause some houses to have no above-grade finished square footage.
How should appraisers report GLA in this scenario?
Q9. How will lenders know that appraisers used the ANSI standard?
Q15. Will appraiser adherence to the ANSI standard cause confusion when the subject GLA differs from other sources such as MLS or public record?
Q16. How should appraisers account for rooms located in above-grade finished areas that do not qualify as GLA under the ANSI standard?
Q18. The GLA of comparables available to appraisers may not be based on the ANSI standard. How should appraisers manage this issue?
Q19. How should appraisers value finished areas that the ANSI standard does not include in GLA, such as where the ceiling height is less than 7 feet?
To download the PDF to read the answers and other FAQs,  click here
My comments: Read This Document! I have been waiting for an update to the one-page original Fannie document since it was first released about 3 months ago. There are many, many issues when using ANSI for lenders and AMCs. Appraisers sent many questions to Fannie and made comments during webinars with Fannie.
If you’re looking for a class, webinar, or other ANSI info, go to www.appraisaltoday.com/ANSI

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Fannie’s New Desktop Appraisal FAQs

Fannie’s New Desktop FAQs

Timeline and 19 FAQs From an email received 3-8-22
“Desktop appraisals will be offered in Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for eligible transactions starting March 19. Are you ready?
We’ve updated the About desktop appraisals fact sheet with an expanded frequently asked questions section.
Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions, and please continue to Contact us with your appraisal related comments and questions.”
To read the FAQs, click here
My comment: Reading the original Fannie document is good, such as a timeline list, additional verifications, inspections, CU, etc.
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McKissock has an excellent blog post answering many practical questions, including some in the Fannie FAQs and many other questions.
Topics include:
  • What data sources are used for identifying the subject’s relevant characteristics?
  • Are there any state restrictions?
  • Must I be competent in the subject’s market area?
  • Are extraordinary assumptions allowed?
  • Does the limited scope of work mitigate my liability?
  • What is the difference between a sketch and a floor plan?
  • How do I get a floor plan?
  • Does the floor plan need to be verified?
  • Does the property need to be measured per ANSI measurement standards per Fannie Mae’s requirements?
To read more, click here
My comment: Read both the Fannie FAQs and McKissock blog post. How often will desktops be used? It will take a while before they may be widely adopted. See last week’s newsletter. When are we going to get some ANSI FAQs????

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Fannie Wants Desktop Appraisals with Floor Plans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to launch remote desktop appraisals in 2022

Desktop appraisals with floor plans

Excerpt:
Beginning March 19, 2022, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will accept remote desktop appraisals nationwide on eligible transactions without the appraiser ever stepping foot on the subject property, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced.
To read more, click here
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Link to FHFA announcement 10/18/21 with more information,click here
My comments: When they submit loan applications, lenders receive a list of appraisal types available for their loans, including waivers. Lenders did not widely choose the desktop Covid appraisals. They preferred full appraisals.
I ran an ad for Cubicasa (floor plan app) on Tuesday this week and got some appraiser complaints. I will be testing it soon and hopefully will be able to use it in my appraisals.
Many anticipate that lender adoption will be slow, including Lyle Radke from Fannie and a group email posting from an appraiser who recently attended a state Mortgage Bankers’ meeting. He said:
“I was on a 4 appraiser panel with +/-60 LO’s representing 20 different lenders. I asked for a show of hands-on how many would be offering Desktop or Hybrid appraisals on March 19… There was not a single hand raised. “
“When we discussed the Desktop and Hybrids, most had no idea about the differences in the two products… All 4 of us thought that the turn time “might” be reduced by 1-2 business days. So, based on a small sample, this may not be as much of a problem as some appraisers think. “

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1004MC or 1004 ANSI

1004MC or 1004 ANSI

By George Dell, MAI

Excerpt: The 1004MC “market conditions” appraisal addendum was created by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require a form-based market analysis. This added to the traditional practice to collect a handful of ‘comps’ to opine and foretell market price. There are problems and unintended consequences.

The ANSI requirement is that residential appraisers measure houses according to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) method. This constraint can have good long-term results for consistency, if it is adopted by the full universe of participants. The requirement would have to include tax assessors, building permit agencies, real estate agents, investors, insurance companies, architects, contractors, and unlicensed appraisers. This part might take years, if ever.

We can take a quick look at some similarities, some differences, and where things may go…

To read more, click here

My comments: George and I talked about this and agreed to disagree. He is not the only one with doubts about ANSI. Most are appraisers, like George, who have never used it. I finally found a somewhat negative post about ANSI, instead of social media rants ;>

My opinion: This Standard is better than no standard. Appraisers have been using ANSI since 1996. I did not hear about problems with using it or with lender clients. Change is hard.

See the end of this newsletter for info on Appraisal Institute’s New 4 hour online ANSI class and an excellent ANSI webinar this Monday with Lyle Radke from Fannie being grilled by three appraisers! Two of them had negative comments.

ANSI Z765-2021 Resources for Appraisers

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Fannie Wants Desktop Appraisals

Desktop Appraisal to Become the New Norm

by Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpts: Sketch vs. Floor Plan

One notable requirement that is expected of the Desktop assignments is that they will require a floor plan instead of just a sketch. A floor plan takes the sketch a step further by including interior walls and room labeling, in most cases.

The obvious question is how are appraisers going to get these floor plans?

…the requirement for a floor plan in the desktop appraisal strongly suggests that appraisers will be required to work with real estate agents and/or the home seller and have them use a third-party tool to walk through the house, take pictures, and use advanced mobile app to generate a floor plan based on the agent or seller walking through the house.

… There is also the question of whether the introduction of desktop appraisals will potentially lead to a broader range of alternative appraisal products into the mix. Given that some senior executives at Fannie Mae were predicting that hybrid appraisals would become mainstream by 2022, it is actually a little surprising that desktop appraisal assignments are the first alternative product to get a permanent place on the GSE’s valuation roster. Appraisers will just have to wait to see what the future holds!

To read more, click here

My comments: Who will do the floor plans? They take much time for appraisers to measure and use appraisal sketching software. Many years ago, Fannie required them for a year or so, but quit due to appraiser complaints. I still do rough sketches for myself, so I don’t miss a bathroom or small bedroom!

Fannie met with Cubicasa and Inside Maps, who agreed to make their software conform to ANSI. Cubicasa is $34.90 per use. I have no idea how a homeowner will be expected to have an expensive smartphone (iPhone 12 Pro +) and learn how to use this software. In my market, many real estate agents are having these done or doing it themselves.

Some AMCs are recruiting appraisers to do these desktops with someone else using the floor plan apps. I don’t think many fee appraisers will want to hassle with finding someone to do them and pay for using the app.

 

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