Appraisal News and Business Tips

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8-30-19 Newz; 99.99% Price Drop – Curious Bathrooms – Amazon’s $105K House

Once listed for $1 billion. Sold for $100,000. What just happened?

Excerpt: A heated court battle, a last-second offer and a sparsely attended auction behind a fountain in Pomona — this chapter of the famed Mountain of Beverly Hills ends not with a princely sum but a sale price more like that of a sports car.

Touted as the city’s finest undeveloped piece of land, the 157-acre property redefined the luxury market when it listed for a record $1 billion last year. On Tuesday, it sold for a mere $100,000 at a foreclosure auction, a fraction of the $200-million loan outstanding on the property.

A markdown of 99.99%, of course, comes with some fine print. Any other buyer would have been on the hook to repay that loan — and this buyer has to eat that loss

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My comment: Quite a story!! Only in LA, of course!! FYI, I am in Northern CA… very different here. We think we are superior to LA ;>

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8-23-19 Newz: Deminimus = $400,000 – Highest and Best Use – Fannie Cost Approach

Highest and Best Use – Residential Appraisers Need To Understand It!

Excerpt: There are many valuation products out there. CMA’s, BPO’s and AVM’s to name a few. What you will likely not see in those kinds of valuations, is the specific zoning class for the property being valued. Why?

With these types of valuations, a highest & best use (HBU) analysis is generally not made. However, if you hire an appraiser to value your home, we will perform this analysis. What is a highest & best use analysis? Why is it important in the development of an opinion of value? How is zoning involved?

To read more and see the fun animated gifs click here

My comments: My Most Frequent Residential Appraisal Rant!! I started at an assessor’s office in 1975. The First, and Most Important, Question was “What is the highest and best use?” In 1986 I started doing residential lender work. The form was just a check box for HBU. If you checked No, it was a big problem for the lender. Many residential appraisers don’t check the zoning, general plan, etc. One good way is to just drive around and see what is happening. For example, lots of small homes being torn down and McMansions being built. Or, lots of houses on a busy street converted to office uses. Or, a small house on a big lot with apartments all around it. A common residential issue is a possible lot split.

Don’t forget the General (Or Specific) Plan. It tells you what the city wants today and in the future for land use, which is not discussed in this article.

I have appraised a lot of older commercial properties for lenders, which often had a HBU different than the current use. I discussed it in my appraisals.

When there is a big difference in value between two appraisals, it is often due to a difference in opinion of HBU. Don’t get into trouble. Be sure to think about HBU!! If you’re not sure, contact an experienced appraiser, particularly one who does a lot of non-lender work and/or commercial appraisals.

In the Feb. 2017 issue there is an excellent article written for residential appraisers by Denis Desaix, “Residential Highest and Best Use Analysis: more than Just a “Check box” available to paid subscribers. See below.

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8-9-19 Newz: Evaluations and USPAP – Zoning Codes – Inspection Standards?

9 Very Funny Quotes for the Self-Employed Appraiser

Just For Fun!!

Some great, very funny, animated gifs ;>

Here are a few comments:

“The crappy thing about being self-employed is I never believe myself when I call in sick.”

“Things people say: ‘It’s Friday!’ Things self-employed people say: ‘It’s Friday?’”

To read more, click here

My comment: We all need some appraiser humor! Something for everyone in this blog post!! Unfortunately, animated gifs usually don’t work well in these email newsletters. You Just Gotta See Them!!

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7-12-19 ASC Approves ND Waiver – Neighborhood Names – 27 Inspiring Bridges

How much is a neighborhood name worth?

Excerpt: Despite some anecdotal examples, there’s little statistical evidence supporting the notion that a neighborhood’s brand or name contributes to a higher sales volume or a premium on price, according to Jonathan Miller, chief executive of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

“You’ll see buildings trying to hook into adjacent, better-known neighborhoods as a marketing ploy, but we don’t see that translate into a premium or more sales for doing that,” Mr. Miller said.

To read more, click here

My comment: Some interesting stories. I’m not sure if “renaming” works, but I do know that in some older established neighborhoods in the Bay Area, including my city, the name does make a difference in value.

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7-5-19 Newz: Zillow Past and Future – Coester- Lots More Info – North Dakota Waivers

Zillow – the past and the future

Zillow’s new photo algorithm

Zillow’s New algorithm uses photos of your home to check quality and curb appeal plus a look back at when Zillow started, and info on their ibuyer service

Excerpt: “We’ve taught the Zestimate to discern quality by training convolutional neural networks with millions of photos of homes on Zillow, and asking them to learn the visual cues that signal a home feature’s quality,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief analytics officer & chief economist, said in a Medium post announcing the new algorithm. “For instance, if a kitchen has granite countertops, the Zestimate now knows — based on the granite countertop’s pixels in the home photo — that the home is likely going to sell for a little more.”

To read more, click here

My comment: I am trying not to think about this…… Maybe North Dakota can try using Zillow on their rural properties….

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Zillow – tales from when it started plus ibuyer

Excerpt: Every night for five months before the launch of Zillow’s website in February 2006, employees gathered their Dell desktops on Ping-Pong tables, connected them to harness their combined processing power, and strung together extension cords to get them all running. To avoid overloading the circuits, they unplugged the office refrigerator and banned Christmas lights. Then, while most of them slept, this jury-rigged supercomputer analyzed a decade of property records and American housing market data in order to spit out price estimates for 43 million homes.

To read more, click here

My comment: Published in Forbes. Well written and researched. I liked Zillow’s history plus a good analysis of their ibuyer service – the new wave of purchasing homes and selling them later.

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6-28-19 Newz: Coester Loses Lawsuit – Fannie Appraiser Update – Secret Stairways

What I think about bifurcated appraisals

Have you ever done a comp check for a mortgage broker or lender in the past? They are appraisals. You only have public records and maybe MLS. You may have driven by the property, but probably not.

What about drivebys? You drove by the outside, but never saw the rear or interior.

With bifurcated appraisals, at least you have photos, measurements of the exterior, descriptions of what the exterior and interior rooms look like, etc.

What about having trainees do them, under your supervision? A great way to get new appraisers started. I spoke with one appraiser who is doing this.

All appraisers rely on public records, MLS photos and descriptions, etc. We don’t know how accurate this data is.

Check out the company doing bifurcated appraisals and their forms software data handling. Do not work for one that requires that you manually fill in a 1004P, for example. How long have they been in business? Are there appraisers in management?

Whether or not you do them is a business decision. They are less risky than comp checks and drivebys. You have more information, assuming they do not make up the photos, sketch, etc.

The Bottom Line: appraisers don’t like change, just like most people. Some adapt, some decide not to change.

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5-10-19 Newz: Fannie Changes – Appraisal Changes – Very Crooked House

How is Appraisal Gonna Change?

By George Dell

Excerpt: What new “appraisal methods and techniques” have we seen? As I speak to reviewers who see valuations from around the country, there seems to be a degradation of quality. Less analysis rather than more. Less explanation rather than clearer logic. More “trust me” and less “see my reasoning.”

What does the world really need? Trust my opinion-or see the result? Trust my comps-or see market parameters.

Competitors for valuation, risk, and investment needs want “better, faster, cheaper.” For now, lets just look at “better.” What is “better?”

“Better” is actually fairly simple. There are only three parts: 1) is the right question being asked; 2) is the result true (accurate); and 3) how sure (precise) is the result? So, let’s look briefly at each of these needs, and how each can be helped with today’s technology.

https://georgedell.com/how-is-appraisal-gonna-change/

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3-21-19 Newz: Using Previous Sales – 12 Tech Tools – Floating Neighborhood

The problem of giving too much weight to previous sales (or not enough)

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: It must be worth more than it sold for in the past, right? In many cases, YES. But sometimes NO. Let’s talk through some things to consider when pulling comps and noticing a previous sale. I find many of these points coming up lately in conversation, so I hope this is helpful.

8 issues are discussed.
Here are a few
2) Unique property:
3) Unicorn buyer overpaid
8) Not penalizing because it sold too low

Closing advice: I recommend paying close attention to previous sales to get clues to understand how a property fits into the market. But don’t get so stuck that you don’t see the most important thing – current comps.

Good topic I have not seen discussed in detail before. Worth reading. Lots of comments!!
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3-14-19 Newz: Terrible RE Agent Fotos – Appraiser Article in Rolling Stone – Appraisers and Ipads/Tablets

The Property Valuation Reckoning is Imminent

How Technology is Highlighting Underwriting’s Shortcoming

Excerpt: some high-level aspects that can be used to get conversations started.

1. Increasing the availability of detailed, property-specific information, including both operational (ongoing) activities and transactions (sale, refinance, etc.).
2. The collection and analysis of macroeconomic, microeconomic, and capital markets influences that affect the real estate industry.
3. Using concepts such as systems thinking, systems engineering, and advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning to design semi-automated models that capture and make sense of both property-specific and larger capital markets factors.

Very interesting ideas and analysis. Long, but worth reading. FYI PropTech is a newish acronym. See the next link.

What is PropTech?

My comment: The article gives commercial examples, but is relevant for residential. I have been watching commercial applications, such as AVMs, attempted since the 1990s. The biggest problem is the lack of data. Costar is the major source of data in many areas and has not allowed its data to be commercially used by AVM developers, as far as I know. For leased commercial properties you must have income and expenses, which is not always available. For some types of non-leased properties, such as owner occupied warehouses, AVMs could work well.

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3-7-19 Newz: Digitally-Doctored Listing Photos – Mermaids and Camels at Open Houses – Manufactured Home Webinar

7 Women in the Building Business, Including an Appraiser

Excerpt: In 1986, when Dina Miller, her brother, Jonathan, and other family members founded the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, “there were very few female appraisers,” said Ms. Miller, 56, whose specialty is specialty work – determining the value of a common hallway that a co-op shareholder wants to buy, for example, and handling stratospherically expensive property, including the top-floor apartment at 432 Park Avenue.

Scroll down the page to Dina Miller

My Sister, My Business Partner Gets Her New York Times Due By Jonathan Miller
Excerpt: The New York Times weekend real estate section has a cover story The Boss? You’re Looking at Her: 7 Women in the Building Business and my sister Dina was one of them. I’m very proud of her. She, myself and my wife are the principals of our firm Miller Samuel we co-founded with our parents in 1986. Dina is not a public person like I seem to be but has often said her brother (me) “never met a microphone he didn’t like” which I wear as a badge of honor. Congrats to my sister for her well-deserved recognition.

My comment: Not often an appraiser is featured in an article in a major national publication!! Hardly ever is it a female appraiser.

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