Appraisal News and Business Tips

Appraisal fees

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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1/24/18 News//New USPAP Q&A-Hybrids .Dying Appraisal Profession? .Cat Urine & Big Data

Is the Appraisal Profession Dying?

By George Dell
Excerpts: Yes. Appraisal as we know it is dying.
Can it be saved?  No.
So what should I do?  What should “we” do?

To answer these questions, we need to look at causes and conditions. Some of these are obvious.
– Judgment is good; Analysis is better.
– Human generalization is excellent; Computation is fast…

So what can we do? If we cannot be saved. If computers are faster. If we have complete data. If we too have software.  If we too can provide results instead of opinions…  Leads to an obvious question: Can an experienced appraiser do these things as well as, or better than those others?

Worth reading at:

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1-18-18 Newz//Hybrid Appraisal Rejected, Scope Creeping, UsPaP False Assumptions

Scope Creep – Head’em Off at the Pass!

By George Dell
Excerpt: Why do we have scope creep?
Possible answers include:
– The reviewer or clerk has to justify their existence;
– There is genuine concern about something;
– The work should’ve been there in the first place;

It’s important to remember that our entire system of appraisal production and review is belief-based.  It must be “worthy of belief.”  We have no objective standards.  Your work must be subjectively “credible” in the mind of the reader.

Read this short, interesting blog post at:

My comment: George Dell writes regularly for Appraisal Today. His articles are much longer than his blog posts, often expanding on a blog post.

UsPaP – A few of the more obvious false assumptions

By Barry Bates

Excerpt from blog post

The appraisal client is always the intended user.

A lovely concept out in the ether somewhere, but hardly ever the case in practice. The client (who engages the appraiser) is a lending technician or AMC drone; the intended user is an underwriter, servicer or portfolio manager. (This assumes the fact that only about 10% of appraisals are ever done for anybody other than a mortgage company.)

To read the full post, click here

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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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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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