Appraisal News and Business Tips

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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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1-17-19 Newz: $2M deminimus? – $3M Funding for Res Appr Startup – Appeals Board Members Fall Asleep

Should we raise the deminimus to $2 million? Or $5 million?

By George Dell
Excerpt: To simplify this discussion, let’s note two facts:  Appraisers can perform ‘evaluations’, normally using the same scope of work as an unlicensed “evaluator”.  What’s the difference?  It appears to me that there is one key difference.  The question is then:  Which part of the service is not required?  Is it the integrity/ethics, or the performance (such as using the right data and analysis)?

It appears to me that since unlicensed persons can charge less, have less tax/fee burden (for licensing, education, and errors/omissions insurance- the less ethical, less responsible ‘evaluator’ can always outbid the licensed appraiser every time.

Read the full blog post and appraiser comments. What do you think? Add your comments.

My comments: Interesting analysis by George, of course!! Credit unions are proposing to raise the commercial deminimus to $1,000,000. I didn’t know they made commercial loans. Guess they forgot about the commercial crash in the late 1980s.
As long as Fannie and Freddie (and their investors) require res appraisals, it won’t have a big effect on residential. The FIRREA deminimus in 1989 was $200,000. No effect on much of anything, even though we thought the Sky Was Falling.

The usual Mortgage Cycle: Good Business = lower requirements. Bad Business = higher requirements.

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1-10-19 Newz: Appraisal Firm Gets $15M VC Funding – Terrible RE Agent Fotos

A Response to: Mortgage Industry Expert Wants to “Eliminate” Appraisers

By Abdur Abdur-Malik
Excerpts: Rather than read the article and shrug, I decided to email the reporter who conducted the interview. I copied a number of the website’s editors and also the industry “expert,” the interviewee herself. Their contact information was available via a simple Google search, so below is an unredacted copy of the email I sent:

My comment: Well written and worth reading. Nothing new, but not the typical appraiser whining and/or ranting. Lots and lots of appraiser comments.
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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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11-8-18 Newz// 8 ft Wide Townhome – Election and Banking Regs – Template Tips

What’s 8 Feet Wide and Has an Elevator? Manhattan’s Tiniest Fancy Townhouse – asking $5 million.

Excerpts: On a cobblestoned lower Manhattan street near the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, a four-story house is about to go on the market for $5 million. The widest room measures 10 feet.

Small houses have a long history in New York. A Dutch-style gabled house at 75 ½ Bedford St. in Greenwich Village built in 1873 is 9 ½ feet wide. It is “popularly known as the smallest house in the city,” according to the city’s landmarks preservation commission. Its tenants have included poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and anthropologist Margaret Mead.

My comment: I wonder what an 8 ft wide floor plan, with an elevator, looks like???
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7 Quick Tips for Using Appraisal Templates

Excerpt: Use these tips for proofreading appraisal reports:
5. Proofread Will a few typos or misspellings ruin your appraisal career? Probably not. However, they do seriously undermine your professionalism and suggest that you lack attention to detail. Take the time to ensure you are putting forth polished reports.

Focus on your most recent edits. When you edit something, it’s easy to introduce new errors, such as missing or repeated words. Proof new content and comments two to three times after you edit them, but also home in on those areas again during your final proof.

For more very good tips that we can all use click here:

My comment: I use a few templates for form reports and my assistant has to very carefully check each appraisal I writeup to be sure everything is okay! I gotta make sure I change the effective date of the appraisal and signed dates around the first of the year, of course…
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10-25-18 Newz// Maps streets-buildings – Warming Oceans – Actionable Education

A Map of every building in America

Excerpts: Classic maps answer questions like: How do I get from Point A to Point B? These data images, instead, evoke questions – sometimes, simply: What’s that?

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence.

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In the August 8 2018 issue of this email newsletter, I published the link

Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

Excerpt: Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

Excerpt: In Chicago or Beijing, any given street is likely to take you north, south, east, or west. But good luck following the compass in Rome or Boston, where streets grew up organically and seemingly twist and turn at random.

Fascinating!! Check it out at:
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9-13-18 Newz// Disasters – Working Together – Nonbank lender risk

When a Disaster Strikes, Are You Prepared?

By Bruce Ford
Excerpt: In 2017, California experienced the most destructive wildfire season on record. There were over 9,000 fires that burned covering 1,381,405 acres. The fires destroyed anything in its path. Damaging more than 10,000 structures and resulting in over 40 causalities.

The author, Bruce J. Ford, Chief Appraiser of NorCal Quality Appraisals and California native… collaborated with other appraisers in the area to help those in need.

Read this article for lots more info:

My comment: Disasters can occur anywhere, any time. Fire, flood, hurricanes, etc. In my area, the 1989 earthquake and the 1991 Oakland firestorm were the most recent. I will never forget driving by all the remaining fireplaces trying to find the properties I had appraised to see which were gone. It was very, very sad. Now, I really worry about the failure to do much about the large amount of trees and brush that are a significant fire hazard in the Oakland/Berkeley hills and many other Bay Area cities.

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8-23-18 Newz//Schizophrenic Adjustments – Neighborhood Names – Appraisal Disputes

Neighborhood Names That Attract Wealthy Buyers

Excerpt: You may be able to judge a neighborhood by its name. Some neighborhoods containing certain names tend to attract the wealthiest residents and boast the highest home values, according to a new study by Porch.com, a home improvement resource.

Neighborhoods that include names like “Hills,” “Island,” and “Village,” for example, tend to report some of the highest average household incomes in the country. On the other hand, the lowest home values were found in neighborhoods with words like “Fort,” “Junction,” and “Rock” in their names.

In the richest neighborhoods, researchers found places that had names using the words “Village,” “Valley,” and “Heights” tended to exceed $100,000 in average household incomes. For example, in Texas, 22 neighborhoods and communities that contained the name “Village” had average household incomes of more than $174,000. Colorado and Michigan communities that contained the word “Village” in the name also contained some of the states’ wealthiest residents, too.

My comment: Neighborhood name adjustments?? I wonder how CU handles this?
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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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