Appraisal News and Business Tips

appraisal business

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 ;>

Read more!!

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.

Read more!!

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.

Read more!!

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…

Read more!!

7-13-17 Newz// FTC vs. NC Fees, Zillow misestimates,Turbo-Charged Appraiser

FTC targets North Carolina Fee Survey

North Carolina currently considering establishing set fees for appraisals
 
Excerpt: According to the FTC, North Carolina’s proposed legislation carries many of the same issues as the laws in Louisiana.
In its comment, the FTC states that the bill’s method for establishing appraisal fees “is not mandated by – and, in fact, may be inconsistent with – federal law.”
The FTC also suggests that the bill “may have the effect of displacing competition for the setting of appraisal fees and ultimately harming consumers in the form of higher prices.”
More info here, including text of the bill, etc. and where to file a complaint.
Louisiana’s reply to previous FTC hassles here:
My comment:I have no idea why the FTC is going after states setting AMC fees. Seems like there are a lot of much bigger problems…

The Next Job Humans Lose to Robots: Real Estate Appraiser

Advances in big data at Zillow and elsewhere are helping automation creep into knowledge-based professions.

 

Excerpt: Twenty-five years ago, Brian Weaver was told at a seminar that the real estate appraisal profession would be killed off by technology in five years. It didn’t happen. But he now thinks the forecast wasn’t exactly wrong-just early.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-11/the-next-job-humans-lose-to-robots-real-estate-appraiser 

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The Turbo Charged Appraiser – “Progress Slow on Robot Takeover” – A Blast From the Past by George Dell

Except: This is the headline from an article in the San Diego Union Tribune this morning.  The article went on to say, “Data complexities, trust issues, and the persistent need for human input restrain scaled-up automation.”
As a brand-new appraiser trainee, I was in awe of the office and the people.  And in particular, the backroom.  The backroom was the library and data room.  As large as some small homes.  It contained data.  Lots of data…
Read more at:
My comment: I love these two very different topics!! One is maybe the future and the other looks at data way back in the past from George Dell, stats and data guru!!

Read more!!

6-8-17 Newz// Appraisal Waivers, Blue Bathrooms, Corelogic buys Mercury Network

 The Sunken World Hiding Under the Water’s Surface

27 drowned places that used to be above ground.
Excerpt: here is an entire submerged world hidden just below sea level, largely out of sight to terrestrial beings today. The Earth’s shores are lined with sunken cities, flooded crypts, drowned forests, and submerged structures that have been lost underwater over the millennia, overtaken by nature or human development.

Rising sea levels and flooding caused by earthquakes, landslides, changing tides, melting glaciers, or manmade dams have wiped entire villages off the map. And sometimes, when the water recedes, these submerged cities and landscapes reemerge from the depths, an eerie glimpse at the invisible sunken world.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/sunken-cities-flooded-drowned 

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Appraiser shortage = appraisal waivers??

Excerpt:
Key government agencies finally addressed the critically growing appraisal shortage crisis that’s hampering the mortgage process, highlighting two alternative options to help areas that are facing a shortage.
Particularly, the alternative options are aimed at helping rural areas that are struggling with the availability of state certified and licensed appraisers.

Read more!!

5-25-17 Newz: Lenders’ AMC problems, Arms-length Transactions, Incredible Private Islands

3 incredible private islands

Just for Fun – very short video
A few tidbits
– Locations: Key Largo  (FL), Washington state and Long Island NY
– Space for 110 ft. yacht
– Lowest price: $11 million
– Tennis court that doubles as a helicopter pad

http://www.realtor.com/videos/video-the-ultimate-getaway-you-can-own-one-of-these-3-incredible-private-islands/ac74f30c-de71-43ba-bae1-e54d8336a7ae 

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Analyzing the subject’s sales history

By Josh Wailitt
Short video. Worth watching. Check out some of the other videos in his USPAP errors series at www.appraiserelearning.com
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Arm’s-Length Transactions, Part 1

Read more!!

Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

AVMs are a threat to appraisers today and tomorrow!!

By Barry Bates

Is the quasi-provocative title of Barry Bates’ article in the May 2017 issue of Appraisal Today. It’s “quasi” because the central issue, the livelihood threat represented by AVMs, has been around for at least 20 years. It’s provocative because Barry’s research suggests that AVMs, bolstered by artificial intelligence, satellite overlays and more robust attributive data, are a bigger threat than ever.

He also cites a 2015 Oxford white paper that studied 702 U.S. jobs and rated their likelihood of total computerization over the next 10 years; “Appraisers and Assessors” warranted a 90% likelihood. Bates explains why, by 2023, that might as well be a function of the residential market assignment volume, i.e., 10% of 2013 volume. One of the factors he mentions is the erosion of federal rules that once ensured that every new origination for refinance or purchase would be accompanied by a full appraisal of the real property.

Not only has the rule been undermined by a variety of new Fannie/Freddie/VA loan programs that don’t require appraisals, but the federal rule itself was modified in 2015 to give the GSEs power to decide whether any particular loan (or type of loan)was worthy of a waiver.

Another factor (of several) is the availability of “data on steroids”: collateral information (including every field in the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) from past and current appraisals populating the GSE AVMs and database from every appraisal sent through one of the uniform collateral data portals, like Fannies UCDP, which already allows for appraisal “sharing” for aggregators and Fannie’s correspondent lenders (even the 1004MC data can be offloaded to a siding for market analysis).

Bates concludes that all the necessary pieces are being assembled for an artificial intelligence AVM with robustness equal to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

[Editor’s Note. When asked whether his prognostications were a little on the gloomy side, Bates rejoined, I know, I know, ‘The pessimists are right, but the optimists have more fun.’ I mean, hey, even paranoids have enemies! And unfortunately, as a card-carrying neurotic, I’d almost always prefer to be right.]

Bates’ full commentary is in the May issue of the Paid Appraisal  Today. For more

info, go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products

4-20-17 Newz//Ocwen Sued, ASA+NAIFA, Dog Mansions, Real Estate Holdout

Take Pet Pampering to the Next Level with These Fabulous Dog Houses

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Dog owners are infamous for providing their furry ones with a better lifestyle than their own. For instance, you might recall the time Paris Hilton had a replica of her mansion done for her pet Chihuahua.
We don’t need to go there, but there are definitely plenty of crazy options in the market. Who knows, one of them might catch your fancy.
Check out Mediterranean Villa, Victorian and 2 Mansions.

My comment: check out the fotos!! Wonder what my cat would think about these Dog Houses? I need a Big Cat House, way up high on a pedestal, with mice ;>

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Pets and Homebuying – Animals are family members

2017 NAR survey
Excerpts:
Among pet-owning homeowners who responded to NAR’s survey, 99 percent said they did indeed view their animals as a family member… Eighty-nine percent said they would not give up their pet in deference to housing restrictions or limitations. Nineteen percent said they would consider moving to accommodate their pet, and 12 percent said they have actually done so.

Read more!!