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

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

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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

Excerpt:

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

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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)

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Appraisal Neighborhood Analysis

What is so Important About the Damn Neighborhood Analysis that the Reviewer Nicked me for it?

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: Question: in a recent review of one of my appraisal reports, the reviewer said my neighborhood analysis was poor. I asked what that meant and she indicated I should familiarize myself with Fannie Mae’s requirements for a NEIGHBORHOOD ANALYSIS. She also indicated what I had in my report was just a recitation of facts, but (a) lacked any analysis of neighborhood trends and (b) therefore I did not analyze the neighborhood sufficiently to reconcile my conclusions of the neighborhood trends and its effect on both my highest and best use conclusion and my final value opinion. I came in just over the contract price. What does the reviewer want from me? I did what I always do in an appraisal! Help me!

For the answer, click here

My comment: Tim always has great answers for appraiser questions! He is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today, with articles on USPAP 2020-2021, state board problems, etc.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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7 Ways to Not to Choose Appraisal Comps

By Tom Horn

Excerpt: Here are three of the topics:

1) I’m taking what I think the home is worth based on the owners estimate and looking for sales in this price range

4) Using higher sales from another neighborhood when there are good sales within my own subdivision

6) Using price per square foot

To find out what Tom says and the other 4 ways, click here

My comment: written for real estate agents, Tom Horn’s primary referral clients, but useful for appraisers. Maybe it will help you explain about comps to agents, or why you did not use the comps they provided. I always take whatever sales and listings the agents have. Sometimes the MLS has it miscoded somehow and I miss it. Or, there is a “pocket” listing that sold but was never listed on the MLS. Also, I never want to miss a sale very close to the subject, if only to mention it and explain why I did not use it!! 7 ways to choose comps gives you some ideas.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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99.99% price drop from $1 billion. Appraisal Challenge

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. 99.99% price drop from $1 billion. Appraisal Challenge.

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

To read more, click here

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 ;>

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

Appraisal Process Challenges

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Zoning in the Appraisal Process

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? Zoning in the Appraisal Process is very important.

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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Real Estate Appraisers Self Employment Humor

9 Very Funny Quotes for the Self-Employed Appraiser

Just For Fun!!

Some great, very funny, animated gifs ;> We All Need Real Estate Appraisers Self Employment Humor!!

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!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Neighborhood Names and Appraisals

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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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Zillow uses home photos for “appraisals”

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.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Practical real estate appraisal writing tips for AMC questions

Write Like A Professional – Very Practical Writing Tips for AMC/underwriter questions

By Tim Andersen

Excerpt: QUESTION: I like to use the term, “in my professional opinion” as part of my reports. After all, I am a professional paid to express opinions. Recently, the reviewer for an AMC requested I remove that term from my report since, in her words, “…it has nothing to do with value”. Is the reviewer overreaching on this? The reviewer has the right to tell me if there is an error in my report, but not to criticize the language I use in my report. What should I do?

ANSWER: As Gertrude Stein was supposed to have said upon seeing Oakland, California for the first time: “There’s no there there!” For good or ill, the same may be said about many real estate appraisal reports and the convoluted language they insist on using…..

Excellent and practical. To read more click here

My comment: this is the best article I have ever seen for practical tips on how to reply to AMC/underwriter questions with lots of examples.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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