Appraisal News and Business Tips

Appraisal fees

9-8-16 Newz// Increasing fees, Flawed FEMA maps, Loan apps way up

How many appraisers are increasing their fees?

Poll: In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment? www.appraisalport.com

 

 

 

 

My comment: Good news that the majority of responses were for increased fees. But, less than $50 annual increase is low. If you work for AMCs, your fees will drop when business slows down, assuming you are not getting very low fees now. If you don’t ask for higher fees now, or drop AMCs that insist on low fees, you are losing lots of money. I keep increasing my fees by $50 every 3-4 months and am still below other local appraisers’ fees. Remember, there is little or no AMC “loyalty” to appraisers. They will not remember you when business slows down and you really need work.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AND READ OTHER COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com

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McMansion Hell in Roseville CA

Just for Fun!!

Excerpt: Nothing in this world is a better metaphor for what politicians and marketers like to call “The American Dream” than the Californian tract house. Imagine – you too, could have your own sloppily put together plot of land on a nice street lined with other sloppily put together plots of land.

But you, of course, want your sloppily put together plot of land to be different from the sloppily put together plots of land of your peers. Now, your houses may have been built at the same time with the same plan by the same builder, but damn are you not determined to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Finally, after the nth hour of HGTV, it dawns on you: the windows.

http://www.mcmansionhell.com/post/149807609446/roseville-ca

My comment: check out other interesting stuff on this web site. I didn’t even know there were any McMansions in Roseville!!

Read more!!

How many appraisers are increasing their fees?

Poll: In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment?

www.appraisalport.com

My comment: Good news that the majority of responses were for increased fees. But, less than $50 annual increase is low. If you work for AMCs, your fees will drop when business slows down, assuming you are not getting very low fees now. If you don’t ask for higher fees now, or drop AMCs that insist on low fees, you are losing lots of money. I keep increasing my fees by $50 every 3-4 months and am still below other local appraisers’ fees. Remember, there is little or no AMC “loyalty” to appraisers. They will not remember you when business slows down and you really need work.
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8-25-16 Newz://What are C&R fees when fees are changing?, 8 colorful cities, Flooded appraiser donations

Donation Fundraising for Louisiana Appraisers

Thanks (again) to Dave Towne for this info!!

Excerpt:

The Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Coalition (LAREAC) has started a fund raising campaign using PayPal, which will be used to equally provide donated funds to affected appraisers who are suffering as a result of the massive flooding last weekend. PayPal is being used because its administrative fee is less than another more-well-known crowd funding web site.

There are approximately 8-10 presently known appraisers who have had their homes nearly destroyed in the flood.

http://appraisersblogs.com/donation-disaster-louisiana-appraisers

My comment: last week I wrote about donations to Bill Cobb, whose house was flooded. It is great that this donation method is done also.

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8 Colorful Cities that Look Like They Were Designed by Crayola

See the world in a whole new light through these vibrant locales.

Just for Fun!!!

Excerpt:

Many cities are known for their distinctive profiles and unique landmarks, but all across the globe there are regions that are landmarks in and of themselves thanks to their insane colorations. From a all-blue town in Spain that is a leftover from a Smurf marketing stunt, to a Venetian island that looks as though it was born of an intense acid trip, some of the most colorful locations in the world aren’t the biggest, just the most eye-popping. Check out eight cities and towns that offer vibrantly colorful views which are just as unforgettable as any big city skyline.

My comment: None are in the U.S. Too conservative I guess…

Great article with lots of photos and comments!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/8-colorful-cities-that-look-like-they-were-designed-by-crayola

Read more!!

What are Customary & Reasonable fees when residential fees are changing?

I don’t think that residential fees have ever gone up this quickly, both for non-AMCs and some AMCs. Keeping up on residential fees in my local market is tough. Of course, the “flip side” is that fees will go down when the boom is over, especially AMC fees.

Some consider VA fees as C&R, but they are increasing also in some areas.

Although some AMCs keep looking for appraisers who will do a quick turn time for a low fee, it is becoming more and more difficult as fewer appraisers are willing to do this.

I recently attended a CE class nearby that focused on AMCs, who said that there were big issues with turn times and fees from their lender clients. The September issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have an article on what was discussed at the class, “AMCs tell All to residential appraisers”.

Why were fees relatively stable for decades? Prior to HVCC, in my market, fees would gradually go up over time, increasing $25 to $50 when demand was very strong. Most fees were in a fairly narrow price range. We made money on the easy tract homes and lost money on the “tough ones”.

Why have fees gone up so dramatically? Appraisers are reporting turning down (or not responding to) 20-30 or more requests a day from AMCs. Residential appraisers had never competed much on lender fees prior to HVCC. I do commercial appraisals, where bidding has always been done. Fee ranges of $1,500 to $3,000 for the same property have never been unusual. The time and cost of bidding is included in the fee. Most AMCs have been using bidding as there was an oversupply of appraisers. When business is slow, they offer lower fees. Now that business is strong, they pay higher fees. Of course, there are still some appraisers doing them for low fees.

Appraisal Today Paid Newsletter

In some areas, AMCs are desperate for any appraisers at any fees to accept appraisals, especially for purchases. Particularly tough are markets where an AMC has one, or a few appraisers. NAR warned real estate agents not to try for 30 day closes.

How do AMCs handle the high fees? This depends on their lender agreements. TRID is a factor as loan officers usually set the fees, which are very difficult to change. Some lenders will allow AMCs to charge more for a specific appraisal. If not, the AMC has to pay the additional cost.

What about turn time? If a loan needs to close quickly, such as a purchase loan, some lenders are offering very high fees. Be careful taking them – be sure to see how difficult the appraisal will be before accepting as turn time is very critical. Also, you will doing less work for a regular “A list” clients.

6-30-16 Newz // Most dangerous roads-Fees going up-Brexit and mortgages

The most dangerous places to drive in the world

Take a break and check out these places…

Excerpt:

Driving can be dangerous, and every one of us who attempt to control those speeding steel boxes of ours will, at some time or another, experience a dangerous or life-threatening situation. But the truth is, despite the occasional error of judgement or climate, driving in the US is largely safe, and you will most likely get to your destination calm and in one piece (or just in one piece, because traffic, right?). The world, however, is not the US, or even western Europe. And as you will see, driving styles, laws, and road conditions vary so much, that what might be an everyday commute for a native of Afghanistan would be a death-defying (or outright death-inviting) thrill ride for a driver in the Land of the Free.

http://www.grunge.com/15503/dangerous-places-drive-world/

My comment: Guess I won’t complain (as much) about getting stuck between 2 giant big rigs on the freeway ;>

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Complaints about high appraisal fees and long turn times

RAISE YOUR FEES!!!

Appraisers Remain Under Siege – Jonathan Miller

(Scroll down the page past the second graph)

Excerpt:

Here is a series of feedback from Rob Chrisman in his must read newsletter on the mortgage industry. It is a heavily read source of in-the-trenches mortgage insights that I subscribe to. He gave me permission to share his recent content on the appraisal industry and will share more of it in the coming weeks. I inserted my thoughts following each quote:

“And appraisals are always a hot topic. I received this note from an originator. “Our appraisal environment is out of control. Appraisals we used to get in 1-2 weeks have quickly gone to 3-4 weeks. Appraisals that were just $400 are now $550 and sometimes up to $1,100 for FHA and conventional appraisals. With the rules regulating appraisers on how to become an appraiser and how appraisers have to monitor everything an apprentice appraiser does, it is causing our homebuyers hardship. With the appraiser’s current workloads and the amount of appraisers we have lost in recent years, there is no motivation to bring apprentices on (due to those regulations), leaving the current appraisers working night and day to keep up with their workloads. That is also causing them to keep moving up the appraisal fees (basically rush fees to keep pushing who can pay the most up the line).”

Miller’s comments

It’s called “market forces” and because the AMC movement has gutted the industry, there are much fewer competent appraisers left. And please lay off the “hardship” angle. It’s tired and worn out. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and with the Brexit they will likely stay that way for a while. As I have said before, there is not a shortage of appraisers, there is a shortage of appraisers willing to work for half the market rate.

Worth reading, especially for Jonathon’s comments. http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-24-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-ca10724b99-116855313

Link to Chrisman article – scroll down the page to “And appraisals are always a hot topic”

http://www.robchrisman.com/2016/06/11/june-11-letters-notes-on-password-protection-mechanics-liens-and-the-current-state-of-the-appraisal-business/

My comments

Why are complaints about appraiser fees and turn times increasing so much? Supply and Demand. AMCs and lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own – no new appraisers. AMCs trained their appraisers to bid against each other. Now, they are getting payback.

The Appraisal Foundation is frantically trying to reduce requirements for appraiser licensing in response to the current appraiser shortage. But, the problem is that lenders will not allow trainees to sign on their own. There was no shortage in the last boom prior to 2008.

In all the previous boom periods, since lenders started using appraisers in the 1930s, the increase in volume was handled by hiring armies of trainees who left the profession when business slowed down. Prior to licensing, lenders did this. After licensing, fee appraisers did it. But, soon after 2008 lenders would not allow trainees to sign on their own, so there was no one to handle the increase in business.

When AMCs took over appraisal ordering, many experienced appraisers left the profession due to low fees, increasing lender requirements, hassles, etc. Some stayed, who had direct lender clients or were willing to work for AMCs.

The AMC fee model is a bidding system, with AMCs often looking for the lowest bid. Now, sometimes they spend days looking for an appraiser who will work for low fees. Some of us have finally adapted by significantly increasing our fees.

AMCs have trained us to bid against each other. Even when business is very strong, AMCs continue to try to get low fees. Finally, after 8 years of this, appraisers have realized that when there is a shortage of appraisers we can increase our fees. We finally learned about Supply and Demand. This never occurred before.

Many appraisers (and other business owners) have great difficulty turning down work, even with low fees. After years of telling appraisers to raise their fees, finally some appraisers are listening.

Read more!!

6-23-16 Newz:: San Francisco under water – Funny owner DIYs – C/R complaints

 In 100 Years, $77 Billion Worth Of San Francisco Property Could Be Underwater

Excerpts:

Around the city, more than 200,000 commercial and residential buildings-along with major infrastructure like the airport-are at risk from either temporary flooding or permanent loss due to sea level rise if the city does nothing to prepare. Even more dangerously, the risk extends well inland, and isn’t limited to property directly on the coast.

Armed with the new maps, San Francisco is currently creating a strategy to try to save as much property as possible. “It’s almost inevitable that, in the end, the plan will be a combination of multiple approaches,” says VanderMarck. “One approach in some areas will be to surrender to the fact that seas are rising-it’s impractical, either economically or for other reasons, to try to defend against that in certain areas.” In other places, the city may build higher walls or other defenses.

In the Ocean Beach neighborhood, for example, it’s likely that the city will reroute portions of the road that’s currently along the water, replacing some areas with open space, while also building up dunes and protecting some infrastructure like a wastewater tunnel. On Treasure Island, where the city is planning to build a new sustainable community, any new housing will be set back from the water, with parks along the edges-parks that very likely will be reclaimed by the bay.

My comment: FEMA is rezoning all the coastal properties in the U.S., including my small island city in San Francisco Bay. Of course, the big complaint was having to buy flood insurance for those who have mortgages….

Check out the full article and the very interesting graphics:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3060770/in-100-years-77-billion-of-san-francisco-property-could-be-underwater

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Not C/R fees? File a complaint with the FDIC!!

Excerpt:

Here is what VaCAP received from an appraiser who reached out to the FDIC:

I just had a call from an extremely pleasant lady named Susan Welch from the FDIC Consumer Response Center (1-800-378-9581). I had sent a note over regarding an AMC attempting to get me to sign a “Base Fee Letter” agreeing to a drop of my base fee for full appraisals to $325 from $400-500. She said the FDIC is VERY interested in hearing from appraisers regarding AMCs paying low fees. As you know FDIC regulates the banks, who are responsible for third party oversight with AMCs they engage. FDIC wants Regulation Z to be followed and will enforce it for appraisers.

Incidentally I opted to have them proceed while keeping me anonymous, a la whistle blower status. Susan said she would be surprised if they had not investigated this within 90 days.

FDIC bank examiners will contact the bank involved and look at their procedures for engaging appraisers, look at fees appraisers are actually paid versus what is considered C&R based on things like the VA sheet and go from there.

Click here for more info plus read the comments:

http://appraisersblogs.com/low-amc-fees-fdic-appraisers-regulationz

Read more!!

5-5-16 Newz .Using listings .CU update .Low inventory and stats

Collateral Underwriter Update from Fannie Mae

Source: Appraisal Buzz

Excerpt:

The Buzz staff recently asked Zach Dawson, Director of Collateral Policy and Strategy, Fannie Mae, to provide appraisers with an update on the development of Collateral Underwriter.

A few of the questions:

– Buzz: Can you bring us up to date on CU? What have you learned from this data initiative?

– Buzz: Can you tell us more about AQM and the objectives of that project?

– Buzz: How many appraisers does Fannie Mae refuse to accept appraisals from?

https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/collateral-underwriter-update/

My comment: Definitely hits the Hot Topics!! Nothing much new, but good to directly from Fannie Mae, in writing…

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Can Living Near a Starbucks Boost Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

It seems that being close to a Starbucks does have a marked effect on home values, particularly in the East, according to a Zillow report.

Between 1997 and 2014, homes within walking distance, or one-quarter mile, of a Starbucks appreciated 96 percent. Compared to the national average for the same time period, 65 percent, it seems having a barista close by is a smart real estate move.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2015/08/19/starbucks-boost-home-values/#4084f9eb2c70

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Does a new Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in Your Neighborhood Increase Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

A 2015 study by the real estate information company RealtyTrac analyzed this trend. The study included 4 million homes located in a ZIP code with either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s location, finding that average property values in a ZIP code with Trader Joe’s appreciated by about 40 percent since they were purchased, while homes with a Whole Foods in the ZIP code appreciated by nearly 34 percent, which matches the national average increase according to the survey.

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/does-the-new-whole-foods-in-your-neighborhood-increase-your-home-value

Read more!!

4-21-16 Newz .Levitating houses .Murders in house .Unhappy appraisers

Levitating houses?

Excerpts:

… One architect’s proposed solution for low-lying cities that have trouble with flooding. Inspired by amphibious houses, Lira Luis’ concept asks: what if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

As sea levels rise, some low-lying cities have started experimenting with floating buildings and amphibious houses. But one architect has another unlikely sounding suggestion: What if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

Architect Lira Luis thought of the concept as she was working on another installation that happened to be on water and required invisible, easily removable attachments. She started using magnets for the attachments, and when she accidentally held the magnets the wrong way, she noticed that they repelled each other even through a layer of water.

Click here to read. A bit “techie” but fascinating.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058400/this-architect-is-trying-to-build-houses-that-can-levitate

Thanks to Matt Cook for posting this Most Interesting Link!!

My comment: This is very relevant for predicted increases in sea levels. I live in a low-lying coastal city in San Francisco Bay. Recently, part of the city’s flood maps were revised to 100 year flood levels, requiring flood insurance if you have a federally insured loan. As usual, all the complaints from owners were about having to buy flood insurance. My house is about 5-6 feet above typical high tide now. When there are very high “King” tides (high tide plus heavy rains), it is closer to high tides. Flood maps for all coastal areas in the country are being revised.


Read more!!

4-7-16 Newz .Verifying sales .Big data .Weird bathrooms

8 Bizarre Bathrooms from Around the World

“From pop-up toilets in city streets to a bathroom surrounded entirely by an aquarium, these public and private bathrooms are beyond bizarre-and you need to see them!”

Take a break from appraising and check these out. Definitely Weird!!

http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/keepin-it-weird-8-bizarre-bathrooms

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Recent acquisitions of appraisal and title companies

Another great commentary from Dave Towne. Thanks again, Dave!!

From the article in Housingwire.com:

First American Mortgage Solutions, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation, acquired Forsythe Appraisals, supplementing its existing valuation capabilities.

Forsythe Appraisals is one of the largest independent residential appraisal company in the United States and offers real estate valuation solutions with nationwide coverage.

Under the acquisition, Forsythe’s management team, including President and CEO John Forsythe, Senior Director of Customer Development Tim Forsythe and Chief Appraiser Alan Hummel, will continue to lead those operations.

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36672-first-american-mortgage-snaps-up-valuation-veteran-forsythe-appraisals

Read more!!

3-31-16 Newz .College degree .1004mc .Home price recovery

Man moves to San Francisco, pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ living room

Excerpts: With the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $3,670 a month, the city’s housing crisis has pushed frugal renters to the edge of their comfort limits.

From tents to trucks, the next logical step in San Francisco has taken shape – in the form of a literal box.

Very interesting!! Check out the comments, video, photos, and the rest of the article at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/29/man-moves-to-san-francisco-pays-400-a-month-to-sleep-in-wooden-box-inside-friends-living-room/

My comment: I live 10 miles from San Francisco. Rents in my city are well below San Francisco’s, but have increased 50% over the past 3 years. I don’t know anyone living in a box, but I do have friends who left the state to find affordable housing. Many others are worried that their rents will go way up any day. I am very glad I am an owner, not a renter. San Francisco has strict rent controls, but I don’t know if it applies to boxes… I gotta increase the rents on my apartments!! Greedy (or Evil) landlord ;>

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College degree requirement misguided

By David Brauner

Excerpt: The college degree requirement seems more like a forced attempt at elevating the status of the profession by closing the club, and that strikes me as elitist. Not everyone has the opportunity, resources or aptitude to attend and/or flourish in college…

The requirement is even more dubious when you consider that a degree in any subject passes muster for becoming a Certified Appraiser, no matter how unrelated (think French Literature for instance), while someone with the skills to flourish in this business would be shut out for all intents and purposes without a degree.

Read more!!