Appraisal News and Business Tips

Appraisal fees

11-22-19 Newz: Appraisal Fees – Previous Careers – Dungeon

What Was Your Previous Career Before You Got Into Appraisal?

Excerpts:

The Top 3

  • Real estate sales (14%)
  • Mortgage lending (8%)
  • Insurance (5%)
  • Assistant or admin work (5%)
  • Banking (1%)
  • Others: 63%

To read more, click here Check out the respondent comments and a list of some of the many previous careers

My comment: I was a chemist before I started appraising. Really like learning about science in school, but 7 years of lab work was too boring. I felt trapped inside. Saw an ad for “appraiser assistant” at the local county offices. “Work in the field.” I had never heard of it, so read a book about it at the library (1974). I got the job and still love appraising!! I didn’t see many science careers on the “Other” list. But, I think it prepared me well for appraising as I was trained to be very objective and analytical.

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11-8-19 Newz: Zestimates – Fee Transparency – Science and Appraising

National Appraisers Forum

By Dave Towne

Excerpt: Appraisers, if you would like to learn from highly qualified peers (other than me! :), post questions, or offer your own comments, consider joining the FREE group, National Appraisers Forum (NAF). Use this link.

This is one of the best appraiser groups as all commentary is respectful. While not everyone always agrees with certain points, the discussions are not demeaning. There is a wealth of info participants share freely on a wide number of topics. The group has several moderators who monitor the posting activity.

One key point, NAF participants are not anonymous. You must use your name (at a bare minimum) when participating, which is required when signing up… Moderators are asking that anyone who wants to join should give their name as licensed, the state they are in, and their license number.

To read more, click here

My comments: This is my favorite appraiser online group! I get many emails from various sources for this newsletter and have been a member of many online communication places. Before the internet was widely available, I hosted live chats on aol and compuserve. Since then I have watched many online places. Unfortunately, just like any other topic, sometimes the groups end up doing lots of “flaming” (attacking another participants, etc.), negative comments, off topic, politics, etc. I quit going to these places.

Of all the groups I have subscribed to, National Appraisers Forum is the best for me. I have been a member since it started, or soon after. No complaining about AMCs, off topic, trolling and flaming, etc. The founder, Steve Smith, and the moderators keep it this way. Regular contributors are “high end” appraisers with many years of experience. Hot topics are often discussed.

There are well managed appraisal groups on Facebook, but it is too hard to for me to follow the threads, so I don’t go there very often. But, it may work for you.

Another major factor is that you must use your real name, so we know who is commenting. Allowing anonymous postings can easily decay into a mess.

I will be updating my article ” How to connect with other appraisers online. What’s the best group for you? ” in a future issue of the paid Appraisal Today discussing other email chat groups, how to find other groups or start your own, Facebook, etc.

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10-18-19 Newz: What is Risk? – Fascinating Islands – Fees – Data Standards

What’s all this stuff about risk?

By George Dell

We seem to be hearing stuff about risk recently. Why?

Back in the old days, before internet but after the wheel – It was my challenge as a new appraiser to scratch together four or five comps, then put three of them on a form, or perhaps even all five on a table. We called the table a ‘grid,’ presumably because it looked like the grid on a bird cage.

I soon discovered I was free to fly around inside the grid cage all I wanted. I adjusted to what I had. I learned to live inside the cage.

Then flying electrons came. They flew right through the grid. There were many. Sometimes even a dozen or more. All claiming to be comp messages. It was too much. I had the five. Should be enough. Yep. That’s what my trainer said. That’s what my appraiser education said. And sure enough, it was on my test for my new appraiser license…

To read more, click here

My comment: Next month’s paid Appraisal Today will have a long article, “Adjust your adjustment, or adjust your attitude?  The Hype and the Reality” by George Dell. Very interesting!

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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.

1-17-19 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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9-20-18 Newz// Zillow Addicts – Pyramid House – Favorite Podcasts

Unusual pyramid house in Malibu takes its cues from the sun and moon

Excerpt: This one-of-a-kind residence looks like it belongs in the swirling sands of Giza rather than on a hilltop in Malibu. The three-bedroom house was designed for two astronomy photographers and built to face the magnetic north like the needle of a compass. Sitting on one of the highest points in the Santa Monica Mountains, it has perfect vantage for observing the ocean as well as the movements of the sun and moon.

Read more and see the fotos plus video!! Currently listed for $2,999,000. Has been on the market for awhile.
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7/19/18 Newz//Price declines? .History of Appraisals .Whale House

The History of Appraisals

By Ed Pinto
Excerpt: Many say “history always repeats itself” and in the case of appraisals, it may be for the best. We sat down with Edward Pinto, the Co-Director of AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance as he shares with us his discoveries from the original FHA forms.

Dating back to the 1900’s Ed found the tools needed to bring the appraisal process back to how they were originally called for – based off of the market value and the information proved by the expert, the appraiser.

Very interesting and worth reading:

My comments: I have published several articles in my paid Appraisal Today about the history of appraising, going back to the Bible: the Book of Moses!! I have been inspired to republish them in the September issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

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7-5-18 Newz//Busy or Not?, Prices Dropping, Appraiser Hot Dog Stand

Who’s busy and who’s not?

Varies widely around the country. Maybe it depends on housing affordability? See articles below. But, it is really hard to say what causes the geographic variation for appraisers.

Many areas have seasonal variations, but now we are in the traditionally strong summer months, so it is clearer that some areas have less appraiser work.

How do you tell if it is down? AMCs dropping fees. Fewer emails, phone calls, etc.  Other appraisers complaining.
What about steady to increasing biz? Decent fees, turning down work, etc.

Changes in turn times and fees when biz slows down

Appraisers just don’t seem to understand that AMCs work for lenders and try to do what they want.

Why do AMCs/lenders want faster turn times?
AMCs work for lenders. They are competing on turn times primarily, like they always have. Business is very competitive and is declining.

Value pressure?
Is there more value pressure from some of your AMC clients?
Some lenders want to close as many loans as possible and keep profits from dropping.

Why do AMCs drop fees?
Direct lenders have their own fee panels don’t send out bid request to lots and lots of appraisers. Their fees don’t change dramatically. They have never focused on changing appraisal fees frequently. AMCs need lower appraisal fees to keep their profits up, just like you do. I have always thought of AMCs as very large appraisal companies that mostly fee out all their appraisals.

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6-21-18 Newz// $760,000 Parking Space, Peak Prices?, Hypervacancy

A $760,000 Parking Space ($5,000 per sq.ft.)

By Jonathan Miller
Excerpt: In 2007, I analyzed Manhattan parking spaces that made page one of the NY Times (oh, and my wife broke her leg that day). The takeaway was that parking spaces sold for about the same price per square foot as a typical apartment in the same building. Typical parking spaces run about 150 square feet in size.

This US $760,000 Hong Kong parking space sale (a flip) was a little more than $5,000 per square foot in a luxury project. The average residential sale is US$3,182 per square foot. Based on what we see for Hong Kong housing prices, that price really doesn’t sound so crazy.

In the greater reality, it sounds absolutely nuts. Without the context of an HK$100M condo nearby…

Scroll down to Appraiserville for a long story about a VA appraisal “gone bad” plus lots more good stuff at:

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-15-2018

Surf’s Up! America’s Most Affordable Beach Towns, 2018 Edition

Excerpts: These aren’t the country’s best known and rarified ocean towns (sorry, Hamptons and Malibu!), but each one has a great beach and a cool and distinct vibe, from ruminative to rowdy, serene to (sorta) swanky.

Here are a few:
1. Gulfport, MS
Median home list price: $184,100
2. Jacksonville, NC
Median home list price: $184,600
9. Coos Bay, OR
Median home list price: $274,200
Lots more detail at:

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/americas-most-affordable-beach-towns-2018-edition

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5-3-18 Newz//Federal Enforcement of USPAP?, Public Restroom App, Unusual Houses & Buildings

How Lenders and Appraisers Can Work Better Together Through Increased Transparency

By Wes Costello
Excerpts: The relationship between lenders and appraisers has never been quite right. The association was scared by improprieties of the few that led to a fallout of the many, with each party retreating behind walls of mistrust and perceived regulatory requirement. Recently, communication is civil but has been described as resembling two parties of a legal arrangement who speak to each other on an as-needed basis….

Anyone who has directed appraisal management knows that they are only as good as the appraisers they partner with. This makes it vital to value each member of your appraisal panel as an integral partner in your company’s business.

My comment: Well written and worth reading, plus the comments, of course. The author is a Senior Vice President of Quality Management & Collateral Risk at AnnieMac Home Mortgage… He is a Pennsylvania Certified Real Estate Appraiser.

Public Restroom App by Charmin: Find Clean Bathrooms!

Excerpt: A clean nearby public bathroom can be hard to find. But not all restrooms are created equal.

With SitOrSquat we put clean public toilets on the map. Literally. Clean locations have a green “Sit” rating. Less desirable ones have a red “Squat.”

So, the next time nature calls and you need to find a nearby restroom, SitORSquat will help you know where to go.

My comment: Thanks to appraiser Jerry Walsh for this great tip. He has used it for years. I am downloading it today!! I coulda used this 40 years ago when I started appraising in rural areas….. Better than The Bushes or Behind A Tree ;>

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