Tips on doing appraisals for AMCs

Top 10 Tips for Working with AMCs

Excerpt: 6. Make appointments quickly

Schedule appraisal assignments as you receive them, within 24–48 hours. Many AMCs will score you on this task. If you’re working in a small area, and you get two assignments in one day that are close together, make the appointments. Get them on the books and schedule them as quickly as possible.

7. Update the AMC with any delays

Be sure to update the client if any delays or problems come up during the appraisal process. See item #2 above: Update your order statuses. This will preserve your SLAs with AMCs.

To read all the tips, click here

My comment: Nothing new, but some good reminders. Of course, you may not agree…

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FREE 2 hour Time Adjustments Webinar

George Dell, SRA, MAI, ASA, CRE

Excerpt: Join us on May 26th at 12 Noon (Pacific Time) for a free 2-hour webinar on Time Adjustments.

Learn how to calculate time adjustments using open-source spreadsheet and analytics software.

To read more, click here

My comment: Fill out form and click Register for Webinar. May take a few minutes for email confirmation. Don’t wait. Over 250 signups as of yesterday at 1pm!

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Evaluating Data Reliability in Hybrid Appraisal Assignments

Excerpts: Determining data reliability

In order to reasonably believe that a source is reliable, it is recommended that you assess the dependability of a data source based on the following three characteristics, at a minimum: accuracy, trustworthiness, and timeliness.

Accuracy

Is the data source known to be typically correct, factual, consistent, and precise? Is the data required to be entered in a uniform format? In other words, a data source such as the MLS may require certain data points such as site size to be entered in a consistent and specific data format.

To read more, click here

My comment: Very comprehensive. Worth reading.

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Appraisal Waivers: The Future is Here

by Isaac Peck

Excerpt: Back in 2017, when Working RE interviewed Zachary Dawson, then Director of Collateral Policy & Strategy at Fannie Mae, Dawson reported that Fannie Mae’s use of appraisal waivers was only a few percent of the agency’s total loan production, and that it might increase to 10 percent. “Our enhanced PIW program started December 10, 2016, so delivery volume is still ramping up at this time. We are seeing it used at rates of around 20 percent on limited cashout refinances thus far,” Dawson said at the time.

Four years later, the expansion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the GSEs) appraisal waiver programs has been anything but modest.

For lots of Graphs, details and analysis, click here

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What’s Your View? Rainbows, Sellers, buyers, agents, appraisers differ

Excerpts: Did you know that no two people see the same rainbow? You might be standing right next to someone, looking at what seems to be the same rainbow. However, what we are seeing is technically different.

In a real estate transaction, everyone has a different view. There is the owner of the home, who has a view of what they feel their home is worth. Buyers have their view of how much they are willing to pay for a home. Real estate agents have a view of what the home should be listed for, based upon their research and experience. And, of course, we appraisers have our views of what a home is worth.

In the current market, those views may be light-years apart. Let’s talk about some possible reasons why.

To watch the fun rainbow video and animated gifs plus read more, click here 

My comment: Very good analysis plus some appraiser stories. Another very creative blog post by Jamie Owen!!

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Minesweeper: Boat Transformed Into Waterfront Home in New Jersey

Excerpts: The moored minesweeper on a prime waterfront lot on Cape May Harbor in Cape May, NJ, is available for $695,000.

“It’s a very large lot and has a dock,” the agent adds. “There’s a lot of people looking at this property right now, hopefully to make it a really cool Airbnb. But I’m not really sure what will happen after it sells.”

“After it was taken out of service in the 1950s, it was placed on this lot and turned into a house.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here

My comment: I have never seen a WWII minesweeper taken out of the water and put on shore. Something new every day ;> Personal property or real estate?

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HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to www.mbaa.org Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

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Mortgage applications increased 2.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2021) – Mortgage applications increased 2.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 7, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 3 percent from the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 13 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates fell last week to the lowest levels since February, tracking the dip in Treasury yields. The decline in rates helped the refinance index reach its highest level in eight weeks, driven by a 4 percent increase in conventional refinances. Additionally, refinance loan balances increased for the fourth straight week, an indication that higher-balance borrowers acted to take quick advantage of lower rates,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The first week of May was also strong for the purchase market. Applications were up 13 percent from a year ago, which was around the time the housing market awakened from the pandemic-induced stall in activity. Most markets this spring continue to see robust demand, but activity continues to be constrained by insufficient inventory levels, as well as homebuilder challenges related to the ongoing shortages and price increases for building materials.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 61.3 percent of total applications from 61.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 3.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.9 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.7 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.11 percent from 3.18 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $548,250) decreased to 3.27 percent from 3.31 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.07 percent from 3.13 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.49 percent from 2.54 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.57 percent from 2.76 percent, with points decreasing to 0.22 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

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Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501
Phone 510-865-8041

Appraisers and The Psycho Kitty

Favorite Crazy Appraisal Stories – The Psycho Kitty

Excerpt: Psycho Kitty

I had an appointment at a home in the country out in the woods. The access instructions said the cat MIGHT be caged. Got to the home and the cat was at the front door and hissed at me as I went in. I tried to make friends with the cat, but it didn’t work, so I ignored the cat and started my inspection.

As I came out of the first-floor master, he was waiting. He stood on his hind legs, teeth showing, hissing, and came at me. Once again, I used my clipboard and ran to the laundry room where I was able to shut the door. I was safe…

To read more strange and/or funny appraisal stories, click here

My comment: We all have appraisal stories, of course!! In my 45 years of appraising I have never been attacked by a cat. My creepiest cat encounter was appraising the home of a cat foster parent for a local animal shelter. Large outside cat enclosure full of cats, multiple cats on top of dressers and other places, looking at me (looked like they were hungry). I wish I could forget about all the cat eyes looking at me :<

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on psycho kitty, waivers, value vs. price, hot market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Why Appraisers Love Appraising!

7 Reasons to Love Being an Appraiser

Excerpts: 1. Being your own boss

“After ‘working for the man’ for 20+ years, I changed careers to be an appraiser. Working for myself has been the biggest reward, offering flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.”

2. Having a flexible schedule

“Being able to set my own hours, as long as I get the job done.”

“Tackle the workflow when its heavy, and enjoy the reprieve when it lightens up!”

For 5 more reasons and lots more comments, click here

My comments: I worked in labs for 7 years and was bored. I saw an ad for a county assessor’s office in 1975 that said “work in the field.” I worked on the 1970 census and loved going out at looking at houses all day long. I read a book at the library about appraising and got hired. After 45 years I still love it! I am never bored. No two properties are the same. Plus, I love being self employed. I was always a bad employee with too many opinions of my own.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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 , mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

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Surplus vs. Excess Land for Appraisals

How Surplus & Excess Land Works

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: It can be easy to over-simplify value because the value is not always as clear cut as it appears. For example, if a one-acre lot is selling for $10,000, does that mean that a two acre lot is worth $20,000? Not necessarily. The value of something usually changes depending on its size.

Excess land is land that is larger than what is typical for the neighborhood and capable of a separate use. Excess land is land that could be split-off and resold as a buildable lot. In the example below, the zoning required a minimum lot size of one and a half acres to be buildable.

To read lots more and see fun animated gifs, click here

My comment: Definitely worth reading!

2-16-17 Newz .Land surveys in 1784 .Common appraisal errors (Opens in a new browser tab)

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Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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 vaccines and housing, waivers, appraiser skills, surveys, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

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Fact Witness vs. Expert Witness Appraisers

Excerpts: When a real estate appraiser is called to testify in a court, it could be as one of two types of witnesses. If you are called to testify as an appraiser, it’s important to determine at the time of the request which of the two types you will be: fact witness or expert witness appraisers.

A fact witness is one who testifies only to that of which he or she has firsthand knowledge and who describes only facts (as opposed to expressing opinions). There is no formal definition of a fact witness….

As an expert witness appraiser, you are allowed to express opinions. In fact, your opinions are the very reason for your testimony. The opinions are to be based on the expertise afforded by “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge.”

Short and well written. Includes legal references. To read more, click here

My comments: This is a never-ending hot issue for many appraisers. They don’t understand the difference. The difference is you get paid a minimal fee as a fact witness (similar to a witness of an auto accident, for example). As an expert witness, you are paid very well for prep for expert witness testimony, depositions, waiting outside the courtroom, and testifying. I have written about this in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

Read more!!

Most difficult to appraise home features

Three Home Features Are the Most Challenging to Appraise

From McKissock appraiser survey

Excerpt: 1. Solar panels and “green” features (37%)

“Solar panels and green features are still new in my market and require more attention to the details of the benefit these items provide to the homeowner and how they impact the subject’s marketability.”

“There are so very few homes with solar panels in our markets. The limited data makes it very difficult to find enough data to determine the market reaction.”

The other two challenges include Accessory Dwelling Units and views. Plus info on more challenges.

To read more, click here

My comment: All 3 are tricky in my area!! Very interesting survey on which Home features: the most difficult to appraise

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!!

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When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal

When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: One of the most interesting homes I’ve seen just sold. It was brand new, four stories, and a halfplex. Oh, and on paper it was 3,000 sq ft, but about 1,000 sq ft didn’t count in the square footage. This is definitely a conversation piece, so I’m thankful Realtor Brian McMartin agreed to do a Q&A. I hope this will be valuable and interesting. Any thoughts? This is an example of When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal

Quick points:

This house has 1,000 sq ft that is not permitted as square footage. The “non-conditioned” space looks just like square footage.

Understanding permits really does matter…

Interview with selling agent plus Ryan’s (and appraisers’) comments. Worth reading.

To read more, click here

My comment: I see non-permitted areas in homes a lot in my city, typically converted basements. Fortunately, I can get the permit info easily from the city and the property owner does not “get into trouble” because of my inquiry. I am lucky.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?

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

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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 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Appraisal Neighborhood Analysis

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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

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

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City and building maps for appraisers

A Map of every building in America

Excerpts: Classic maps answer questions like: How do I get from Point A to Point B? These data images, instead, evoke questions – sometimes, simply: What’s that? City and building maps for appraisers

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence.

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In the August 8 2018 issue of this email newsletter, I published the link

Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

Excerpt: Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

Excerpt: In Chicago or Beijing, any given street is likely to take you north, south, east, or west. But good luck following the compass in Rome or Boston, where streets grew up organically and seemingly twist and turn at random.

Fascinating!! Check it out at:

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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!!

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