More Crazy Appraiser Stories!

More Crazy Appraisal Stories!

Excerpt:

Restraining Orders & Appraisals – Never a Great Mix

Eric VanderWaal

The majority of my appraisal work is on divorces and estates, both of which have their fair share of crazy stories.

I was appraising a home for a divorce several years ago. The husband had contacted me for the appraisal, but it was the wife who was living in the home. We met at 9:30 am, which was an odd time that he requested. When I arrived at the home, he said that she wasn’t home and had locked all the doors, so he called a locksmith to come to open the back door. The locksmith arrived shortly and started to work on the backdoor. The husband said that his wife was aware of the appraisal appointment and should have left the home unlocked.

I started on the outside and about ten minutes later, a woman comes to the backyard where the husband, myself, and the locksmith were and starts yelling at the husband about him not being allowed to be there. I thought it was the wife, but it turned out to be a neighbor. The wife was at an appointment which is why, I figured out, that he wanted the appointment at 9:30 am rather than 10:00 am. After several minutes of the husband and neighbor yelling at each other, the locksmith got the back door open. The neighbor left and we went inside…

To read more, click here

My comments: We all have these stories ;> Divorce is the best non-lender option for residential appraisers. Very little competent competition and very high fees for expert witness testimony.

You will probably be going up against an MAI. Your attorney says to the MAI: How many house appraisals have you done this year? Answer: 4. Your answer: much more than 4! Your attorney is happy at winning the case, and you get lots more divorce work.

I will be writing about this in an upcoming issue of the monthly Appraisal Today, with lots of marketing and expert witness tips.

Many thanks to Appraisal Buzz for the image above. My favorite appraiser image ;>

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Unacceptable Appraisal Practices from Freddie Mac

12 Unacceptable Appraisal Practices from Freddie Mac

10-5-22

 

 

Here are 5:

  • Reliance in any appraisal analysis on inappropriate comparable sales, or the failure to use comparable sales that are more similar to or nearer to the subject property without adequate explanation
  • Use of unsupported or subjective terms to assess or rate, such as, but not limited to, “high,” “low,” “good,” “bad,” “fair,” “poor,” “strong,” “weak,” “rapid,” “slow,” “fast” or “average” without providing a foundation for analysis and contextual information
  • Use of comparable sales data provided by interested parties to the transaction without verification by a disinterested party
  • The use of inordinate adjustments for differences between the subject property and the comparable sales that do not reflect the market’s reaction to such differences, or the failure to make proper adjustments when they are clearly necessary
  • Development of value and/or marketability conclusions that are not supported by available market data

To read more, click here

My comments: From Freddie Mac’s Selling Guide with links to more information. Nothing new, but good reminders.

Review appraiser liability

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Appraisers: How and Why To Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Killed by Carbon Monoxide: Appraiser Blamed

Read this article on how to check CO detectors. You may save someone’s life!!

by Kendra Budd, Associate Editor, WorkingRE

Excerpts: For decades, appraisers have been gently reminded to pay careful attention to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors—especially noting when they are absent altogether. Many experts advise that the state and federal standards requiring these important systems exist for a reason.

A recent case in which a young couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning while they slept highlights the life and death importance of these simple alarms—and brings this issue front and center for the real estate appraiser community as a whole.

Lawsuit

As you might expect, it didn’t take long for both John and Suzy’s parents to hire a law firm and start going after all the real estate professionals involved.

As it turns out, both the appraiser and the home inspector had each independently inspected the home 18 months prior and both mistakenly reported a few of the smoke alarms present at the home, as CO detectors.

Consequently, both the appraiser and home inspector ended up on the receiving end of a “wrongful death” legal claim.

The legal team for the parents of the deceased young adults (plaintiffs) alleged that the appraiser, Darcy Doe (name changed for privacy), had negligently appraised the Smiths’ home and had reported the presence of a CO detector when in fact, none were present. Unfortunately for Doe, she labeled her photograph inaccurately in her own appraisal report to the lender.

CO Detector vs Smoke Alarm

One important lesson in these cases is that it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between CO detectors and smoke alarms. This is a reminder to appraisers to take a second look at all CO detectors and smoke alarms—and to test them as well.

Rick Bunzel, home inspector and Washington firefighter was able to give us some tips on how to not only tell the difference between the two detectors, but offers additional safety tips on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well.

For starters, the difference between a smoke alarm and a CO detector is quite simple. “The item will be clearly labeled, written on the exterior shell of the device, so you’ll be able to see it easily,” advises Bunzel. However, this can be hard to read because the signage could be the same color as the shell, so it’s incredibly important for you to get close enough to the alarm or CO detector to read it clearly (and test it!).

Bunzel was also able to provide some helpful tips for appraisers as far as how to communicate with their clients about CO detectors. For example, Bunzel says that appraisers and home inspectors should make it clear to their clients that they do not warranty if the device is working, just that it is there. “The test button doesn’t test the workability of a device—only the alarm. Just because it squeaks doesn’t mean it works,” reports Bunzel. This disclaimer language should be included in the appraiser’s report.

Another tip is to check the date of a CO alarm and smoke detector

To read more, click here

My comments: Read this article, especially how to identify and check CO detectors. The disclaimers are useful. I have CO and smoke detectors in several locations in my house. CO is much riskier than smoke as you can’t smell it.

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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

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Cost Approach – When to Use in Appraisals

Fannie Mae and the Cost Approach

Excerpt: We often receive questions from appraisers regarding Fannie Mae and the cost approach. For example: “I’m appraising a property and have been instructed to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines. I understand that Fannie Mae requires the sales comparison approach, but what if there aren’t enough good comps? Can I use the cost approach as the primary method of valuation?”

Answer: No!

In order to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines, the sales comparison approach must be the primary method used to determine the value. In fact, Fannie Mae will not purchase a mortgage on a property if the cost approach is the primary or only method of valuation used.

Quite simply, if there isn’t enough data for the appraiser to develop a reliable opinion of value by the sales comparison approach, the mortgage will not be marketable to Fannie Mae.

However…

To read more, click here

My comment: I included this article plus the one below, which both address the Cost Approach’s common appraisal questions.

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The Cost Approach: An Underutilized Approach to Value

Excerpt: In residential appraising, the cost approach and the income approach have in many cases become less utilized in favor of sole reliance on the sales comparison approach.

There are occasions when the income approach can be the primary indicator of value for residential properties, such as developments with a high percentage of homes owned by investors.

The fact that Fannie Mae won’t accept reports that rely solely on the cost approach, with a few rare exceptions, doesn’t mean that approach can’t be the primary indicator of value. It just means Fannie Mae won’t buy that loan.

To read more, click here 

My comments: I started with an assessor’s office in the 1970s. At that time, my county was changing from only using the Cost Approach for decades to a sales-based approach. I never liked to use only the Cost Approach when I started doing fee appraisals.

In my area, there are very few land sales. There has not been one for over 20 years in my city. Depreciation is always iffy when appraising Victorian homes built before 1915.

But, I always use the Cost Approach for new construction to determine the financial feasibility of custom homes. I use a few land sales from other cities. If the new proposed home is on a vacant parcel, I go back to when the parcel was purchased, sometimes many years ago, and do a market condition adjustment.

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So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions

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Subject Property Location in Appraisals

Subject Property Actual Location

By Dave Towne

Excerpts: Appraisers, this article was prompted by my ‘coming in contact with several appraisal reports where different regional appraisers report the physical location of the subject property “in” a particular City associated with the postal ZIP Code for that City. Actually, the property was not “in” the City at all. It was in the County.

Don’t say that the subject property is ‘within’ a particular City or Town due to the postal ZIP Code that applies to the street address unless that is accurate. The actual location may be miles away from there.

Starting with the ZIP Code: those are merely lines on a map the US Post Office established, used to plan mail routes, and distribute mail more efficiently. ZIP Code boundaries do not always follow City Limit or County (Parish) boundaries, and in some cases, the boundaries are a long way from the City name associated with the ZIP Code. See Map 1. This shows 5 ZIP Codes in a region. The ‘City’ for 98273 and 98274 has two ZIP Codes associated. Note how wide the area coverage boundaries are for those two ZIP Codes. It’s not shown here, but 98284 extends north into the adjoining County!

To read more, click here

My comments: I have seen this locally. For example, the two cities were very different. Having an address in one city was more valuable than in the other city. The cities shared a few zip codes. When using GPS internet searches such as Google maps, the city boundaries don’t show up or are not reliable. I keep printed maps in my car that include city and county boundaries.

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Residential Appraisals and Airbnb Income?

Residential Appraisals and Airbnb Income?

By Julie Friess, SRA, AI-RRS, MA

Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights! State appraisal boards ARE disciplining appraisers across the country for improperly using the business income (Short term Rental – STR) from Airbnbs on the residential 1007 Fannie Mae form.

Lenders and AMCs want residential appraisers to value these properties as both the real estate and the business values of these properties – Wrong!!

 

Some of the topics:

• USPAP issues

• GRM is an Income Approach that applies to homes with long long-term tenants, not homes with many Short Term Rentals.

• Functional Obsolescence

• External Obsolescence

• Covid-19 Pandemic and Airbnb’s

The photo below has an exterior entrance to a bedroom, typical for an Airbnb remodeling.

To read more, click here

My comments: This mainly applies to cities where many homes are being converted to Airbnbs, including exterior doors for bedrooms (see foto below) and expanding the number of bedrooms. In popular vacation areas, such as Sedona, AZ, where Julie lives, investors purchase homes and do extensive remodels to turn them into Airbnbs with Airbnb management companies handling everything for them (clean up, new furnishing, and renting).

Julie does not include short-term rental income (STR) in her appraisals of homes with Airbnbs. I posted her article on my website so that everyone can read it. I have a few of my comments, of course!! I’m a commercial appraiser and know how hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are appraised. The appraisals include separate values for real estate, fixtures, and Going Concern (business income and expenses).

Julie speaks about this topic regularly on our weekly Clubhouse meetup, Real Estate Appraisal Questions, every Thursday at 2 PM Pacific Time (audio-only social media). All the sessions are recorded. The May 12, 2022 session was “Residential 1004/1007 Form Appraising & AirBnB Income”.

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Tips on appraising new construction homes

6 Tips for Appraising New Construction Homes

Excerpts: New construction is treated a little differently by lenders, FHA, and the GSEs. When appraising new construction homes, you must take into consideration certain features and attributes that don’t necessarily apply to re-sales. It requires more work, so you want to be sure that you are charging for your effort. However, perhaps more than that, you want to be sure you’re following the proper protocol. Stick to these best practices to ensure you cover all your bases.

3. Talk to multiple local builders You can gain valuable information from builders—as long as you talk to them now to evaluate current costs and value. Some of the best construction cost data is compiled by you as you complete new construction appraisal assignments. When appraising new proposed construction, the prior data can be reviewed for those construction projects that are most similar to the subject property in quality, size, and features and be used as cost data to support cost estimates for the current appraisal. As the cost of construction materials generally continue to spiral upwards, it may be necessary to adjust for time, depending on how old the cost data is.

To read more tips, click here

My comments: Well written and worth reading. New home construction appraisals can be tricky. I quit doing them a while ago – too many various hassles, but many appraisers like doing them. There are few new homes built in my area, except stacked condos. Land is too expensive.

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Borrower Keeps Calling Appraiser

Borrower Keeps Calling Appraiser

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Appraisers – The Past and The Future

Appraisers – The Past and The Future

The Path that Brought Us Here

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: A wise man by the name of Jim Irish, former chief appraiser for the Federal Reserve Bank out of Topeka, Kansas, once told me something very profound: “The government is rarely proactive but always reactive.” Translation: laws, rules, and guidelines are usually developed after a problem smacks us upside the head. Since hearing this, I have found that it also applies to large enterprises.

Appraisers continued to tell lenders that they drove by each of the comparables used in the report. Years later, when lenders, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and the VA spot-checked reports, they found out that the condition or location of many comparables didn’t match what was reported. So, the reactive response was to require the appraiser to affirm, under penalty of perjury (which stands to this day), and provide original photographs of each comparable.

Failure to inspect triggered client engagement letters stating the absolute requirement to personally inspect each of the comparables, provide original photographs, and create a system that inspects the photographs and can tell when a photograph is used twice or sourced from the MLS or county—clients know who’s lying to them and fees are lower because of it.

To read more, click here

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Prepare for Change

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: In my career, I’ve been through four major changes in the market and our business, so what’s about to happen isn’t my first rodeo. I’m going to point out some things that will make a few people angry. However, I’m trying to help by pointing out how you can become better and profit from the change.

Waivers

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow “appraisal waivers” (loans where no appraisal is required), and in the past, waivers were limited to fewer than 5% of the loans they purchased from lenders. However, their waivers have increased to 48% of their loan purchases over the past year. Imagine that 48% of the loans no longer require an inspection or appraisal.

Prior to 2022, Fannie Mae’s UAD system reviewed approximately 20,000 appraisals a day produced by approximately 40,000 appraisers. This indicates that appraisers were providing one appraisal every other day. Now, consider that waivers reduce the rate to an appraisal once every 4 days. Ouch.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have known Richard Hagar for a long time. He can sometimes be negative or even harsh but has good ideas

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

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