What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?

Question: Can it count in the square footage?

Roof detail house

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: Can you include it in the square footage? I get questions like this almost every week. Is it okay to count an accessory dwelling in the living area? What about a pool house? How about a man cave or she shed? Let’s talk about this.

The straight dope: It’s tempting to lump something else in the backyard into the square footage, but that’s not appropriate per ANSI measuring standards. Suppose you have to walk outside of the house into something else that is not directly accessible to the house. In that case, we’re really dealing with something that isn’t considered to be a part of the main house…

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My comments: Written for homeowners, but has some good remarks on square footage, such as “lumped square footage” in MLS. What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage can be tricky and controversial. It can also vary by geographic area.

How accurate is the reported square footage from the tax records in your primary service area?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Marketing and Management Tips for Appraisers

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What is most often overlooked by appraisers?


 

 

 

 

Excerpt: We recently asked our appraisal community, “What’s the ONE thing that is most often overlooked by appraisers?” We received a wide variety of answers ranging from big-picture oversights to specific details. The most common answer we received was “Highest and Best Use.”…

Highest and Best Use (HBU)

This was the top answer, which was written in by about 8% of survey respondents “First question when doing an appraisal is the highest and best use. If there are two very different opinions of value on a property, different HBU is often the reason.”…

Obsolescence

Obsolescence is another item mentioned by multiple survey respondents. Appraisers cited both external obsolescence and functional obsolescence as being frequently overlooked.

External obsolescence for the subject property – When I’m reviewing appraisals, I see this more often than other oversights. When I was performing retrospective reviews for FNMA, their biggest complaint was that appraisers did not point out external obsolescence for the subject and/or its impact on marketability (if there was an impact).”

Functional obsolescence – Appraiser focus has changed over the years as subject functionality has changed.”

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Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

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Value, Accuracy, and Misleading for Appraisers

On Value, Accuracy, and Misleading…and How They are Different From What You Might Think!

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: Let’s start this musing by addressing the issues of value, accuracy, and misleading. You might have looked at them differently in the past. Then we’ll tie these in the idea of the value conclusion in an appraisal being right or correct.

State appraisal boards level charges against appraisers. It is very common for appraisers to defend themselves against these charges by insisting their value is “right”. Or, they assert they have properly supported their value conclusion, or something similar. In reality, this argument is utterly irrelevant and carries no weight with the appraisal board.

IRRELEVANT!?

When it comes to value, accuracy, and misleading, the appraiser’s value opinion alone is irrelevant and weightless. This is because TAF has given state appraisal boards specific instructions. Those instructions are that the appraiser’s value conclusion is not to be a part of the board’s investigation. Nor is it to be a part of its deliberations. Therefore, it is not to be part of the appraiser’s defense since it is not part of the charges against the appraiser.

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My comment: Tim is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today. He is The USPAP Expert and helps appraisers stay out of trouble with their state boards!! Tim also has an interesting podcast – link is on the top of the page.

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Humor

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Infectious Disease Defined the American Bathroom: Appraisals

Cholera and tuberculosis outbreaks transformed the design and technology of the home bathroom. Will Covid-19 inspire a new wave of hygiene innovation?

Excerpt: Alter predicted that disease-avoidance would rise to the fore of bathroom design a few years ago, when he observed the traumatizing effects of the 2003 SARS outbreak on Toronto, which killed 44 people. But home design in general — and bathroom design in particular — has long been influenced by infectious disease. This isn’t a linear narrative with clear causation, but rather a convergence of advancements in science, infrastructure, plumbing, sanitation and design trends.

The modern bathroom developed alongside outbreaks of tuberculosis, cholera and influenza; its standard fixtures, wallcoverings, floorings, and finishes were implemented, in part, to promote health and hygiene in the home at a time of widespread public health concerns.

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Very unusual bathrooms for appraisers(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Humor

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Coronavirus and Appraisals March 13 2020

Appraiser’s (Changing) Role

Q&A with Mark Verrett, Chief Innovation Officer at Accurity Valuation

Excerpts: WRE: How can appraisers adapt to meet the profession demands?

Verrett: I think there are several ways to adapt to these challenges. The first is to work toward diversifying your practice away from 100 percent mortgage business niches. Our firm is a leader in green valuation, rural valuation, valuation consulting and litigation support and we help our offices diversify into those spaces. However, this solution isn’t for everyone….

To directly take on the challenges facing appraiser relevancy in the mortgage space, significant change is required. Appraisers need to unite to create a like-minded national voice that is not rejecting proposed changes for the profession, but rather working with stakeholders (regulators, lenders, clients, etc.) in conceptualizing, testing, tweaking, and ultimately modernizing the appraisal process on the mortgage side.

The appraisal community has a tough assignment in their role in this modernization. To be useful in the discussion, we need to challenge ourselves to be creative and open-minded, yet diligent in maintaining or, even better, improving the quality of the valuation being produced. I think it is extremely important for appraisers to listen and understand the needs of their clients and to creatively develop solutions that meet those needs.

Worth reading with some good ideas. To read more, click here

My comment: Accurity has franchisees and some very savvy appraiser officers and directors.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

Appraiser Covid Survey Results April 2020

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Previous Career Before Appraising

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 liked 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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

The future of residential appraising(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Join the National Appraisers Online Forum

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 for me to follow the threads, so I don’t go there very often. But, it may work for you. Join the National Appraisers Online Forum!

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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

How to communicate with appraisers online

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What is Risk for Appraisers?

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…

Now, we worry about What is Risk for Appraisers?

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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!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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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.

Raise appraisal deminimus to $2 million or $5 million?

 

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.

 

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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