Reconsideration of Value and Appraisers

How to Respond to ROV Requests: Updated Guidance

By Greg Stephens, SRA, AI-RRS

Excerpts: Suggested protocols for responding to Reconsideration of Value requests

When you receive an ROV request, some recommended steps to take include:

1. Maintain USPAP compliance – Confirm the ROV request came from your client, either directly or through the client’s AMC, acting as an agent for the client, or other party designated as an agent by the client. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Appraisers are still required to comply with USPAP when responding to an ROV request, including the confidential nature of assignment results.

2. Identify ROV content to determine next steps – take the time to analyze the content of the ROV to determine what specifically is being requested of you (the appraiser) and what level of information will be needed to respond to the requestor of the ROV. This is an opportune time to maintain a professional demeanor and not react to an ROV request as if it is an affront to your competency or experience. After receiving an ROV request, send an acknowledgement of receipt and advise the client that the ROV request will be analyzed and responded to in a timely manner.

To read more, click here

Click here to listen to Tim Andersen, MAI’s podcast, “Reconsiderations of Value: Satan’s Own Seed, Right?” (Podcast 9.5 minutes) on ROVs, included in a 12-21 issue of this newsletter, so it may look familiar to you.

My comments: ROVs are a PITA for many appraisers. Very well written and practical. Greg Stephens is a very experienced appraiser and reviewer. He worked in management positions for several large AMCs.

Reconsideration of Appraised Value

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Value Reconciliation, non-lender appraisals, liabililty, USPAP, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

Fannie Wants Desktop Appraisals

Desktop Appraisal to Become the New Norm

by Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpts: Sketch vs. Floor Plan

One notable requirement that is expected of the Desktop assignments is that they will require a floor plan instead of just a sketch. A floor plan takes the sketch a step further by including interior walls and room labeling, in most cases.

The obvious question is how are appraisers going to get these floor plans?

…the requirement for a floor plan in the desktop appraisal strongly suggests that appraisers will be required to work with real estate agents and/or the home seller and have them use a third-party tool to walk through the house, take pictures, and use advanced mobile app to generate a floor plan based on the agent or seller walking through the house.

… There is also the question of whether the introduction of desktop appraisals will potentially lead to a broader range of alternative appraisal products into the mix. Given that some senior executives at Fannie Mae were predicting that hybrid appraisals would become mainstream by 2022, it is actually a little surprising that desktop appraisal assignments are the first alternative product to get a permanent place on the GSE’s valuation roster. Appraisers will just have to wait to see what the future holds!

To read more, click here

My comments: Who will do the floor plans? They take much time for appraisers to measure and use appraisal sketching software. Many years ago, Fannie required them for a year or so, but quit due to appraiser complaints. I still do rough sketches for myself, so I don’t miss a bathroom or small bedroom!

Fannie met with Cubicasa and Inside Maps, who agreed to make their software conform to ANSI. Cubicasa is $34.90 per use. I have no idea how a homeowner will be expected to have an expensive smartphone (iPhone 12 Pro +) and learn how to use this software. In my market, many real estate agents are having these done or doing it themselves.

Some AMCs are recruiting appraisers to do these desktops with someone else using the floor plan apps. I don’t think many fee appraisers will want to hassle with finding someone to do them and pay for using the app.


Read more!!

Appraisal Cost To Cure

Cost to Cure 

(Plus very funny handyman video)

Excerpt: On a regular basis, I appraise homes that need some type of repair. It may be as simple as replacing an outlet or as complicated as renovating a home. In the appraisal process, the appraiser has to estimate a cost to cure many types of repairs.

Why do appraisers use the term, cost to “cure” instead of a cost to “fix” a repair? Are appraisers just trying to use fancy vernacular to try and impress the reader of the report?

Appraisers think in terms of value. The term “cure” may make you think of someone who suffers from an illness for which a cure is desired. Appraisal Cost to Cure is very different.

To read more and watch the very funny 3-minute video near the end, click here.

My comments: Written for homeowners. This very good for appraiser marketing. But, there are lots of reminders and maybe some new ideas for appraisers.

The best part: The “Weird Al Yankovic” Handy 3 minute video at the end. Very, very funny. Total Escape!! Just what I needed for the election ;> I have been following Weird Al for decades.

Once Again, Jamie Owen finds the best photos, animated gifs, and videos. Extremely Creative!! 

Unfortunately, I cannot insert a video into these emails.

If you don’t have time to read the blog post, to watch the 3-minute video, click here

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Click Read More below for the rest of this long blog post!!


Read more!!

What’s the appraisal definition for suburban?

Excerpts: The U.S. hasn’t had a formal definition for what constitutes a suburb. A new data analysis comes closer to defining America’s most popular neighborhood type. (Suburban appraisal definition is tricky.) What’s the appraisal definition for suburban?

The United States is a land of suburbs, with just one problem: No one’s quite clear what a “suburb” is.

It’s a question of semantics with real-world implications, as government programs, political campaigns and developers try to spend money in the “suburbs,” where a majority of Americans say they live despite the category having no formal definition.

For some people, it’s obvious: A suburb is a smaller city on the periphery of a larger city. Or it’s a sprawling neighborhood filled with vast swathes of single-family homes. Still other more dated conceptions of suburbia in the popular mind involve the people who live there: allegedly white, middle class and socially homogenous.

Now a new team of researchers believe they’ve cracked the code…

To read more, click here

My comments: Of course, if you do residential lender appraisals this is a Very Big Issue due to lender “requirements” such as no rural properties. Lots and lots of online discussion about this for a long time. Post this topic on your favorite Internet chat site or email list… and wait for the wide variety of opinions!!


My Favorite Definitions

(This has been floating around for many years…)

Rural  Suburban  Urban

  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors can’t see you… it’s rural.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors call the cops on you… it’s suburban.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors ignore you… it’s urban.

There are other variations, of course, that are not suitable for this newsletter ;>

Crazy Appraiser Stories!!(Opens in a new browser tab)

Read more!!

Covid humor for appraisers

Fun video – Take a 3 minute break!

One Day More – A Quarantined Broadway LipSync

Fantastic!! Made me smile. Regular people.

Many thanks to John Regan, a long time subscriber and big opera fan!

To watch click here

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

Read more!!

6 Reasons Appraisers Are NOT Needed

Appraisers Are NOT Needed???

Excerpt: You can buy a car in little to no time so why not a house? Over the years I have heard that the home buying process is too long. There are too many headaches for buyers and the process should be easier.

We are in a microwave society and everybody wants things instantly. This should, of course, carry over to the home buying process, right?

A house is probably the most expensive purchase people will ever make but that doesn’t mean that the process needs to consume your entire life, right? The appraiser just adds to the stumbling block that most home buyers face in getting into the house of their dreams. Today I am going to discuss 6 reasons that appraisers are not needed (wink, wink) in the home buying process.

Written for home buyers but good explanations for appraisers to use.

To read more click here

My comment: I have appraised many apartment properties. 2-4 unit properties are more difficult to appraise than a 60 unit apartment building, which I appraised recently! Owner occupants, motivations, etc. are big issues. 4 units are the most difficult.

My city has had rent control, which keeps getting stricter, for 4 years. CA recently passed rent control for the state. Must use actual, not market, rents in appraisals. Very, very difficult to appraise. 3 weeks ago I decided not to do them any more.

But, last week a family was thinking about selling their 4 unit property. I pre-screened them. If it had low rents, I don’t know who would buy it. Fortunately the rents were around 80% of market. They wanted to know if it was good time to sell. I told them I would let them know, then do the appraisal. Not a good market now.

I met one of the owners this week at the inspection. He brought a copy of the 2005 date of death appraisal and asked for an “update” or an “evaluation”, for a lower fee, which his sisters requested. I told him I could not do it and did not know any licensed appraiser who would do it. And told him to use a local real estate agent for free. I doubt if they would recommend not listing now as I speak with them regularly at open houses.

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Top Ten Reasons Why It Is Great to be an Appraiser Humor(Opens in a new browser tab)

To read about lots more appraisal topics, continue reading below!

Read more!!

Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals

13516718 – white wood texture with natural patterns

Tax Records is not the definitive source for square footage!

By Ryan Lundquist


Why is the appraiser saying it’s only 1,400 sq ft? Tax Records shows the home is 600 sq ft larger. This issue comes up ALL the time, so let’s talk about it. Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals is a hot topic.

The truth: The Assessor’s records are generally reliable, but I’m just saying sometimes they’re not. Why is this? At times it’s as simple as the original builder not turning in accurate information when a house was built. Or maybe an owner took out permits but official records were never updated. Of course we’ve all seen instances where the tax roll shows two units on one lot, but there’s really just one house nowadays. Let’s not forget sometimes owners do an addition without permits, so the Assessor might actually be correct even though the house is technically larger or has even sold on MLS as a larger home. For reference, here are ten reasons why an appraiser’s sketch might be different.

For lots of comments and more info, click here

My comment: This one of the main reasons that AVMs will never be very successful for all homes. Over and over again, statistical analysis shows GLA is the most important physical feature overall.

Also, how bedrooms are determined varies a lot, depending on the local market and can vary over time. The assessor number of bedrooms may not match the appraiser’s. For example, tandem rooms. Finished basements can vary also.

I started appraising at a CA assessor’s office in 1976. In CA, State Board of Equalization regulated county assessors offices, so the procedures and terminology are very similar all over the state. However, GLA from the assessor may have different requirements than other sources, such as ANSI.

Proposition 13 passed in 1979, which only allowed an annual 2% increase in assessment per year, unless there was a sale or improvements (determined by permits). Over time, the information has become more and more out of date.

Data is not available for smaller counties if the assessor says it is confidential. Until the 90s, my county did not release any data, so I had to “guesstimate” on square footage for sales and listings. We finally got it when an MAI was elected assessor.

In the early 90s, I researched assessors records around the country. In some small rural counties the records were kept at the assessor’s home. They were not digitized and available for purchase by data companies.

Appraisers need to know which areas are not accurate. Sometimes GLA is “political”. Within a city, accuracy can vary. In my city the least accurate records are in the “Gold Coast” with many of the city’s larger, historic homes. In other nearby cities, some properties have low GLAs to keep the property taxes lower.

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?(Opens in a new browser tab)

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

10 reasons why public records and the appraiser’s square footage can differ(Opens in a new browser tab)

To read about lots more appraisal topics, continue reading below!


Read more!!

Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out?

Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out? Federal Regulators Vote to Loosen Requirements

Excerpt: What’s that drone doing hovering over a property?

Soon that sight may be the norm on homes for sale.

The days of human appraisers may be coming to an end for homes priced under $400,000, if regulation proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve gets approved.
Previously, only homes valued under $250,000 could be purchased or sold without the use of a human appraiser. That threshold is potentially being raised to $400,000, opening up more business for drone-monitored and computer-generated home valuations. The vote is nearly there, awaiting expected agreement from the Federal Reserve before the regulation takes effect.

While the appraisal industry is concerned the change could negatively impact real estate at large, the brokerage side of the business predicts the threshold hike should have minimal effects on homeownership and the home-buying experience.

Comments from many sides of the issue and lots of comments by readers.

To read more, click here

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

Read more!!

Appraising Hobbit Houses

Hobbit Houses in Charlevoix, Michigan

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: Growing up in northern Michigan in the early 1900s, Earl Young was obsessed with boulders. Glacial boulders, to be exact-ones moored in fields, forests, and on lake coastlines across the state thanks to the slow march and retreat of glacial ice during the Precambrian age. Appraising Hobbit Houses in Michigan is a challenge.
The homes he designed will stop you in your tracks, as one did the last time I was there, passing by on a bike. Call them “mushroom houses,” “hobbit houses,” “boulder houses”; everyone has a different name for them. They’re often described concisely, if vaguely, as “organic.” Though some see Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence, they’re distinctly Young.

Fascinating! Lots of fotos and info at:

Lord of the Rings – Hobbit houses from the movie(Opens in a new browser tab)

Hobbit House of Montana(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

Read more!!

Reliable MLS Data important for appraisals

The Importance Of Accurate MLS Information

Accurate MLS Information Is Necessary For Reliable Appraisals

By Tom Horn

Excerpt: Topics include
– Accurate MLS Information Helps With Adjustments
– Square Footage Should Be Accurate
– You Can’t Measure It If It’s Not Described
Read the full article plus the comments.

My comment: Written for real estate agents. Maybe you can use some of it in your appraisal blog focusing on real estate agents. Of course, with Big Data, MLS inaccuracies are propagated and used for AVMs, including CU’s AVM.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

Generally speaking, how accurate do you find MLS data in your area?

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

Read more!!