Appraisal News and Business Tips

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10-11-19 Newz: Appraisal Waiver Train – Multiple Offers – Secret Doors

Banks Are Driving the Appraisal Waiver Train

By Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: Look at the ASC members and their North Dakota waiver vote on July 9, 2019

Only FHFA and HUD voted against the North Dakota Waiver. Those specific agencies deal with appraisers first-hand and understand their role in the risk management process. The remainder are bank regulators or in the case of CFPD, represent consumer interests (and the agency has been gutted over the past several years to reduce its pro-consumer efforts).

In other words, banks are driving the waiver train. They want to remove a pain point from the mortgage process to grow more origination volume. The Federal government has already proved it will be willing to back up the banks if the economy collapses so why not keep pushing for removing of all pain points?

To read more, click here

My comment: Nothing new. Lenders have wanted to get rid of appraisals for decades. Impediments to The Deal.

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9-27-19 Newz: Bifurcated Appraisals and Inspections; Abandoned Resorts – New CA Independent Contractor Law

Crowdsourcing Appraiser Data

By Jerin Harper, IFA, ASA, CREA

Excerpt: Just imagine the possibilities of having a hyper-local database…

If you are not in the business of data you will be out of business. I’m not sure if I heard this somewhere or not, but this mantra has been in my head for a while now. Being in the data business is essential for every business today. We see it across all industries where the companies that embrace data are still in business, and the companies that didn’t make that pivot are out. In our profession we saw Fannie Mae get into the big data business with the creation of CU. CoreLogic took their data business to a whole new level when they bought Alamode. One of my favorite examples is sports: just in the last several years data & analytics have completely changed the way football, basketball, and baseball is played— and those sports have been around for 100 years. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you have to be able to capture the right data and communicate it effectively.

I suggest that appraisers start crowdfunding their data.

To read more, click here, plus the many comments,

My comment: A never ending idea… Who “owns” the appraisal data? I remember the days of the CMDC (California Market Data Cooperative) where appraisers, including myself, shared their appraisal data, long before the Internet. It still exists and is owned by FNC. Their historic data is available.

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9-20-19 Newz: Fannie Update – Domes – Low appraisals – Avengers

Fannie Mae September 2019 Appraiser Update

Sept. 13, 2019

Topics include:

– Forms for appraisers performing PDC and desktop appraisal

– Desktop appraisals, assumptions, and hypothetical conditions

– Locked rooms

– Consumer protections

– State board notifications

Only 5 pages. Easy to read and informative. To read more, click here

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Fannie Mae Appraiser Home Page

Everything Fannie In One Place!!

To read more, click here

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8-16-19 Newz: Refi Mania – Paper vs. Google Maps – GLA Split/Bi-level homes

Refis Way Up: Almost 20 Million Homeowners Could See A Mortgage Rate Drop

According to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinances have doubled since late. They’re now at their highest point since mid-2016.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage application volume, rose 21.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended August 9.

Freddie Mac shows the average rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage is just 3.6% — a 15-point decrease from one week prior.

To read more, click here

My comment: Don’t work for cheap fees! Make money while you can!!

See below for the full MBA report on the refi boom.

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8-2-19 Newz: Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer- Spreadsheet Shackles – Homes under $100,000

Spreadsheets: A Shackle to the Appraisal Profession? 

Excerpts: How can spreadsheet software hinder the profession? A Wall Street Journal article, and a presentation at the Appraisal Institute National Conference have similar stories. One addresses accountants, the other is about appraisers.

The 2015 AI meetings presentation: Will Appraisers Have to Learn to Use Real Analytics Software? was given by George Dell. The main point was that accountant’s software was primarily developed for record-keeping, mimicking paper columns and rows, with analysis a later goal. Other points are:

  • Validating and tracking data is difficult.
  • No built-in audit trails, nor tracking of changes.
  • Regulatory compliance is difficult to accomplish.
  • Susceptible to trivial human errors ETC.

To read more, click here

My comment: Read this article. I totally agree. I started using spreadsheets in 1981 for financial analysis. When I started my appraisal business in 1986, commercial appraisers were using spreadsheets for Discounted Cash Flow. I knew the many problems with spreadsheets’ reliability.

They are particularly unsuitable for statistics as they are not statistics programs. In my MBA program in 1979, I used SPSS for multiple regression analysis, connecting to a large computer.

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7-12-19 ASC Approves ND Waiver – Neighborhood Names – 27 Inspiring Bridges

How much is a neighborhood name worth?

Excerpt: Despite some anecdotal examples, there’s little statistical evidence supporting the notion that a neighborhood’s brand or name contributes to a higher sales volume or a premium on price, according to Jonathan Miller, chief executive of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

“You’ll see buildings trying to hook into adjacent, better-known neighborhoods as a marketing ploy, but we don’t see that translate into a premium or more sales for doing that,” Mr. Miller said.

To read more, click here

My comment: Some interesting stories. I’m not sure if “renaming” works, but I do know that in some older established neighborhoods in the Bay Area, including my city, the name does make a difference in value.

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6-21-19 Newz: MLS Cyber Attack – McMansions – FHA and Risky Loans

Valuation Is Not A Guessing Game, It’s a Development Process

Excerpts: If you’ve ever had an appraisal of your home completed, perhaps you can relate to the following scenario: insert image

The appraiser arrives at your home. You know that they have probably done a little research on what potentially comparable sales in the neighborhood are selling for.

The appraiser views each room in your home, taking photos and notes as they go. The appraiser asks you about any improvements you have made to your home in recent years.

At the end of the inspection, you assume that the appraiser has to have some idea about what the value is likely to be. You ask the appraiser, “Well…What do ya think?” What you’re probably really wanting to know is what the appraiser thinks your home is worth. At this point the appraiser is likely to give an evasive reply that doesn’t answer your question. Why?

To read more and see the funny animated fotos and gifs click here

My comment: written for homeowners, but some good ideas for appraisers. You can use for ideas for speaking to real estate agents, for example. Or, can give (or send) the owner a link to this article.

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5-24-19 Newz: Hybrids the new normal? – $9 million lot – Refi boom over?

Are you violating USPAP every day?

If you pick comps the old way, you may be violating USPAP every day!

Excerpts: (In the past) Data was hard to get. I was taught it was only necessary to use only three or four comps. And only a few comps were available. I did learn the importance of bracketing from my trainers (it was nowhere in my appraiser education). I was diligent, and of course, I picked my necessary and available comps carefully.

Then things changed. No one noticed. MLS came on line. Income properties came online. Public records came online.  All relevant sales became available. Instantly. Without thinking, I ignored the “as available” rule. But stuck to the ‘as necessary’ rule. And heck, everybody used just three comps. In fact, USPAP says I should do what my peers would do. And they all used just three or four.

So, what changed?

Today in most areas, all the sales are available. But are they necessary? Well no. All my peers use just three or four, so it is ok. But what if I want to do more than achieve credible results?

To read more, click here

My comment: I love George’s Most Excellent headlines plus his writings!! His blog posts are short, as they should be. But, sometimes we want to read more. The June issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have his 6-page article: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” about the past, current and future in appraisal analysis. Very interesting!!

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3-7-19 Newz: Digitally-Doctored Listing Photos – Mermaids and Camels at Open Houses – Manufactured Home Webinar

7 Women in the Building Business, Including an Appraiser

Excerpt: In 1986, when Dina Miller, her brother, Jonathan, and other family members founded the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, “there were very few female appraisers,” said Ms. Miller, 56, whose specialty is specialty work – determining the value of a common hallway that a co-op shareholder wants to buy, for example, and handling stratospherically expensive property, including the top-floor apartment at 432 Park Avenue.

Scroll down the page to Dina Miller

My Sister, My Business Partner Gets Her New York Times Due By Jonathan Miller
Excerpt: The New York Times weekend real estate section has a cover story The Boss? You’re Looking at Her: 7 Women in the Building Business and my sister Dina was one of them. I’m very proud of her. She, myself and my wife are the principals of our firm Miller Samuel we co-founded with our parents in 1986. Dina is not a public person like I seem to be but has often said her brother (me) “never met a microphone he didn’t like” which I wear as a badge of honor. Congrats to my sister for her well-deserved recognition.

My comment: Not often an appraiser is featured in an article in a major national publication!! Hardly ever is it a female appraiser.

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2-28-19 Newz: Strange listing fotos – $400k deminimus – FHA violations

Strange and tricky listing fotos

A real estate photographer tells you how to spot staging tricks in listing photos

Excerpt: “If a photo is overly bright, over contrasted, or almost too perfect or synthetic, that should be a red flag,” Cato says.

Another is if the photo has the same level of lighting everywhere. “It’s weird,” he says. “If the brightness is the same throughout, that is just not natural. You have to show where natural light falls.”

My comment: Written about New York apartments and condos but relates to all listing fotos. We all use comp listing fotos. Tips on how to evaluate them, including digital alterations, is always good!!
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The Most Hilarious Pictures Taken By Real Estate Agents
Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: From horror movie-esque semi abandoned flats for rent to excessively unique home decor cases and very impractical architecture decisions, the real estate agents behind these funny ads didn’t even care to fix the places up before snapping the hilarious pictures. The caring levels were so low that there’s also a photo with a live bat in it, a huge pig laying around in the living room and feral horses relaxing in front yards. The most baffling part is that these funny photos were really used to advertise and show the good side of housings to possible tenants.

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