Appraisal News and Business Tips

appraisal business

10-26-17 Newz//Haunted homes and Places, Liability Issues, Tax Savings

Haunted houses and places – Halloween is next Tuesday.

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Google Maps Listed The 31 Most Haunted Places In America And They Sound Terrifying
From cemeteries and churches to mansions and museums.
Here are a few:
13. Adam’s Street Cemetery – South Bend, Indiana
16. Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
26. The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
My comment: Photos, brief writeup and links. Most are east of Kansas. Only a few near me. Not sure what that means ;>
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38 Real Haunted Houses and the Stories behind Them
Here are a few:
4. The White House, Washington DC
8. The Pirate’s House, Savannah, Georgia
10. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts
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Haunted House? Not a Deal Breaker for Many Homebuyers

Excerpt: According to the Haunted House Real Estate Survey realtor.com® released today, 33 percent of approximately 1,000 respondents said they are open to living in a haunted house, 25 percent might be, and 42 percent are not open to the idea.

About 40 percent of people who are open to a haunted home said they’d want to see that home price go down to put money down on it. Another 35 percent said it would have to be in a better neighborhood to make the move, 32 percent said they wanted extra footage and 29 percent said they’d move in if they had more bedrooms.

Only 8 percent of respondents said they require no additional perks to purchase a haunted home. Basically, they wouldn’t hesitate and would move right in.

What about if someone died in the house? Actually, 47 percent of those surveyed said they would live in a home where someone died, 27 percent said they might, and 26 percent said, “NO WAY.”

My comment: Very interesting results. What is the effect on value, if any. Up, down, none?? Maybe someone will pay me some big bucks sometime to figure it out…

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From Ghost Hunters to Exorcists: Who You Gonna Call for a Haunted House?

Excerpt: Shortly after physical therapist Sally Morgan moved into her charming, late-19th-century cottage in Northampton, MA, she realized that she and her two pet corgis were not alone.

The price of the two-bedroom fixer-upper had seemed almost too good to be true. She soon discovered why she had gotten a bargain.

“Within a week, I started to feel a presence in the house. There were cold spots, and the dogs would stop and look at [invisible] things,” says Morgan, now 59. “In the shadows in the evenings, you’d think you saw a lady in a long dress. But was it her? Was it the curtains? Was it the shadows?”
My comment: Very interesting – who are you gonna call???
 
Search for haunted homes and places in your city. I found some in mine!! 

Read more!!

10-19-17 Newz// Appraisal Waivers, Crooked Houses, High-Low Home Prices

The Asymmetrical Charm of Crooked Houses

They’re like regular buildings, but with a twist.
Excerpt: THE BUILDINGS THAT OFTEN GET the most praise (one famed tower in Pisa not withstanding) are those that stand up straight, refuse to bend or bow over time. But those buildings are boring. The really compelling constructions are those buildings that, despite looking like they are slowly keeling over, continue to stand, and continue to be used.

Some whimsical tourist traps have been purpose-built at odd angles, but it’s the buildings that were never meant to lean that are far more fascinating. Whether due to construction errors, shifting ground, or just the accumulated weight of time, some buildings have become crooked masterpieces of architectural fortitude. Take a look at some of the most stunning crooked houses in the world.

My comment: Just For Fun!! Good fotos and descriptions.

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10-5-17 Newz//Increasing home prices in disaster-prone areas. USPAP and Desktop Evaluations

Home Prices Rising Twice as Fast in U.S. Cities with Highest Natural Hazard Risk Than in Lowest-Risk Cities

 Homeowners in Highest-Risk Cities Have More Equity, Longer Homeownership Tenures
 Appreciation Slower in Florida and Louisiana Cities with Highest Flood Risk, Bucking Trend

Excerpt:
ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, recently released its 2017 U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index, which found that median home prices in U.S. cities in the 80th percentile for natural hazard risk (top 20 percent with highest risk) have increased more than twice as fast over the past five years and over the past 10 years than median home prices in U.S cities in the 20th percentile for natural hazard risk (bottom 20 percent with lowest risk).

Click here to see a Heat Map of all U.S counties – what does your look like? Search by type of disaster. Plus lots more analysis. Very interesting!!

My comment: Overall high risk counties are scattered all over the country. The article mentions strong economies and scenic locations. I live in Earthquake Country. When I first started appraising here, I was surprised that it did not matter. There is no discount even for being on a fault line. Why? Lots of people want to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The fault line closest to me (about 10 miles away) is on the top of hills with very good Bay views. There are 3 in the Midwest and east. The large New Madras earthquake fault area in the midwest is on the map as Moderate (last earthquake in the 1800s). Two other small areas in NC and PA are on the map.

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9-21-17 Newz//Pivot- Not enough Appraisers To Too Many Appraisers, Appraising New Home In Old Neighborhood

How do we value a brand new house in an old neighborhood?

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: Tip #5. The wrong one & modern homes: Just because something is brand new does not mean it’s going to fetch top dollar. If it’s the wrong type of house for the neighborhood, buyers might actually pay less for the property. It’s like when someone builds a plain earth-tone stucco tract home in a classic area with Tudors and Bungalows. Despite being new it might actually sell with a price discount if it doesn’t have any hint of era charm for the neighborhood. On the other hand there are modern homes popping up all over Sacramento (CA) and beyond that seem to defy this idea. These homes definitely don’t blend into the neighborhood at all in terms of design, but they’re still fetching high prices. Keep in mind though modern homes tend to carry wide appeal, so they are often able to break the mold of the neighborhood and still command a price premium because of their style. In short, modern homes are not vibeless tract homes, so it’s not really the same thing.
Click here to read the other 4 great tips plus some interesting comments!!

http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2017/07/26/how-do-we-value-a-brand-new-house-in-an-old-neighborhood/ 

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9-14-17 Newz:// No Appraisal Waivers, How Many Comps Are Enough?, Ugliest House

Google Street Views – First Big Update with Lots More Big Data!!

Excerpt: The car-top rig includes two cameras that capture still HD images looking out to either side of the vehicle. They’re there to feed clearer, closer shots of buildings and street signs into Google’s image recognition algorithms.
Those algorithms can pore over millions of signs and storefronts without getting tired. By hoovering up vast amounts of information visible on the world’s streets-signs, business names, perhaps even opening hours posted in the window of your corner deli-Google hopes to improve its already formidable digital mapping database
My comment: Fascinating article. Check it out. I use Street Views a lot, but sometimes the images are fuzzy and are hard to figure out. Looking forward to improvements, but on the minus side, more data available that field appraisers provides now.

36 Appraisal Organizations Send Letter to Party Leaders of House Committee on Financial Services and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on “No Appraisal” Waivers

Excerpt: 36 industry groups are attempting to prevent the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSE’s) from issuing appraisal waivers by sending a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee addressing its concerns. AI recommends the halt of the waivers until the GSEs can demonstrate that the proposed program does not harm the consumer, is properly monitored, and integrates proper safeguards to prevent fraud.
We are writing this letter to raise concern over the new appraisal waiver programs recently implemented by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the ” Government Sponsored Enterprises.”)  We believe these programs will create unnecessary and unacceptable risks for taxpayers and homeowners, and they come at a time when markets are at all-time highs – when risk mitigation should be tantamount. We ask you to call on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to prevent the Enterprises from implementing the appraisal waiver programs until they can demonstrate the appraisal waiver program:

My comment: Worth reading. Read the names of all the organizations that sent the letter. I can’t remember when so many appraisal organizations agreed on anything!!

Read more!!

8-31-17 Newz// Appraiser indicted, Hurricane Donations, Appraisers’ Future

Where to contribute to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey

a la mode Software’s Relief Efforts
From Dave Bigger’s (Founder, a la mode) recent email:
We’ve already set up our systems to defer payments for those of you in the storm-hit areas on the Gulf Coast.  We’re also ready to help anyone drastically affected rebuild in any way we can – whether it’s replacing damaged Distos, laptops, printers, or anything else, we’re here.
If you know appraisers, agents, mortgage pros, or inspectors who need help, let us know and tell them to call 1-800-ALAMODE or email relief@alamode.com.
 
We  are working on several relief projects, and we encourage you to join us.   Read the announcement here. 
Yesterday, we also donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  We chose this organization because they’re local, working with many boots-on-the-ground non-profits.  They’re in rescue mode – focused on essentials like water, shelter, medical emergencies, and supplies. But our $100,000 is designed to just “prime the pump” for the broader real estate industry, including other technology companies, to step up as well.

We all need to act quickly, and show our commitment to our colleagues. Donate like we did to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund via our pass-through website, www.alamode.com/harvey . (When you donate through our site, you won’t pay credit card fees. We’ll cover those.) By coming through our portal, your donation will be grouped with other real estate professionals and vendors, showing solidarity as an industry.

Every gift makes a big difference – $10, $50, $100, or more.  Our goal is to gather enough funds within the real estate industry to at least match our donation, and preferably many times more.

Overworked and underpaid appraisers?

Excerpt: While most sectors of the industry managed the increased demand with few hiccups, the appraisal services segment of the industry did not fare as well. The uninterrupted appraisal demand throughout 2016 and into the first quarter of this year led to chronic fatigue that spread throughout the appraiser population.
This led to a number of service level issues, including missed deadlines, longer than customary turn-times, increased revision rates, unresponsiveness and higher appraiser fee demands, to name a few.
My comment: Low AMC fees are always a problem. But the “overworked” comments are out of date for my area. Low fee appraiser price competition has really heated up in the past few months. When I quote my standard fee from 2016 for estate work or don’t reply within a few hours or am not available to go out tomorrow, I don’t get the assignment. Earlier this year, prospects were glad I called them back. AMC fees are way down also.

Read more!!

8-17-17 Newz//Appraiser Goes to Jail, Mercury Network Bidding, $10,000 Lighthouse

Buy a lighthouse for $10,000

 Just For Fun!!

Excerpt:
Bidding is underway for six decommissioned lighthouses built before 1930 that the federal government has put up for auction. Five overlook the Great Lakes in Michigan, and the sixth is on the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s a tempting prospect, perhaps, for those who yearn for scenic surroundings – and who have the stamina to tackle periodic renovations.
Interesting article with photos and commentary
My comment: I Want One!!! A former lighthouse in San Francisco Bay was converted to a very popular B&B. Someday, maybe, I will stay overnight there ;>

How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest)

Excerpt: Air-conditioning has been remarkably good at creating demand for itself.
 It enabled the sweeping postwar development of the South, where all new single-family homes today include central air. In automobiles, it made the commutes between air-conditioned homes and air-conditioned offices possible. In the Southwest, its arrival facilitated new methods of rapid construction, replacing traditional building designs that once naturally withstood the region’s desert climate.
Interesting graphs and analysis.

My comment: A timely topic in today’s increasing temperatures. I have never lived in a house with air conditioning, even in Oklahoma when I was a kid. But, I used to visit my aunt in Dallas in the summer – air conditioned house, car, etc. I always say that people here in California do not know what hot is: 85 degrees and 85% humidity when I lived in Oklahoma ;>

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8-10-17 Newz// Fannie-Appraiser Future, AMC goes down, Delightful Domes

A Tour of the World’s Most Delightful Domes

17 half-spheres that do round right. Just For Fun!

Excerpt: Employing massive hemispherical roofs first became popular with the ancient Romans-most famously the iconic Pantheon, built in the 2nd century. Since then, the feature has taken many forms across the globe, providing cover for everything from ancient tombs to futuristic houses. The circular nature of domes has special significance in religious houses such as churches and mosques, where it represents the eternal, with no beginning and no end.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/domes-architecture-world-tour 

TC Valuations (AMC) Ceasing Operations!

Paying appraisers $ .25 on the dollar!!

Excerpt from letter sent to appraisers: It is with much regret, that I write this letter to inform you that TCV has commenced an orderly wind up and liquidation of operations. Unfortunately a significant downturn in revenue and the loss of part of our volume with two key clients in the second quarter of 2017, has forced the company to wind up its operations.
Read the full letter plus lots of comments at

My comment: There will be more AMCs going down, particularly small ones. In 1993, when the appraisal business crashed and I had way too many employees, I almost went out of business. But, I had no uncollected billings, even from mortgage brokers. Why? I always carefully monitor my accounts receivable. My assistant called all my clients every day until they paid. My husband, a very large man, wearing black clothes (Gangsta style ;>), went to a local mortgage broker’s office and left with a full payment check. It may be time to write a collections article for the paid Appraisal Today…  predictions are for more small AMCs Going Down.

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8-3-17 Newz// Forest Guitar, Wells Fargo-no AMCs, Creepy Scope

Forest Guitar made of trees, dedicated to a man’s lost love.

Excerpt: Breaking up the flat agricultural areas of Argentina’s Pampas is a guitar formed entirely out of trees. Stretching for 2/3 of a mile, the multi-colored instrument was created by one Argentine farmer to memorialize his wife who tragically died at the age of 25.
My comment: Just for Fun ;> Fascinating photo and brief writeup.

Scope Creep Causes Creepy Scope

By George Dell, MAI, SRA

Excerpt: …scope creep has turned into scope running. I’m sure many appraisers, particularly residential people will agree. He (David Braun) points out that as the reviewers ask for more, appraisers are finding ways to not be specific. This has turned into a self-perpetuating loop:  “As the providers, users, and enforcement bodies have differing opinions on the proper level of the scope required . . .”

My comment: Interesting blog post. Short. Worth reading.

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7-20-17 Newz// Fannie data, USPS gyrocopters, Costar data

When the U.S. Postal Service Used Gyrocopters to Deliver the Mail The flying machines hopped from roof to roof of post offices.

Excerpt: Sensing opportunity, the United States Postal Service-then the U.S. Post Office Department-decided to invest in the new technology. In 1937, Congress appropriated money to fund a series of experiments on autogyro mail delivery, and within a year the first flight-from Bethesda, Maryland to Washington, D.C.-was made.

My comment: Check out the photos (no videos in 1937). Very interesting!!

Why Fannie Mae Shouldn’t Keep Data Secret

Excerpt: Today’s lenders have access to massive amounts of data. According to (Richard) Hagar, government lenders have access to every recorded sale in most every county across the U.S. via information providers like CoreLogic. He believes appraisal adjustments should be cross-checked against sales metrics of the five million home sales that occur each year.
However, appraisers typically use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for residential appraising. Data provided by MLS may vary from information shown by providers like CoreLogic. MLS has more detailed information that county records don’t contain. Oftentimes, though, MLS contains errors or missing data. In other words, both types of systems have errors, but not necessarily the same errors.
My comment: Controversial topic!! Fannie says that they want appraisers to be objective, not using Fannie’s data. For example, appraisers changing their building sketches to match public records sq.ft. to avoid underwriter/review hassles. I remember CMDC books (in california) back in the 1980s where appraisers submitted the first pages of their appraisals to go into a shared appraiser database. Before appraisers could get MLS access. Seems like that was okay…

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