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.

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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

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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

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What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?

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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

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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

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Appraiser conflict: objective/impartial vs. what clients want

Do You Have Two Appraiser Brains?

By George Dell
Excerpt: One appraiser brain says you must be “independent, impartial, and objective.” (USPAP) It wants to be good. It wants integrity and to sleep peacefully at night.

But there’s another brain. It’s primal and wants to survive. It has other responsibilities: meet the bills, feed the family, pay the mortgage, and pay government taxes/fees. And recorded in this brain is that part of the standards which say: Do what your clients expect; do what everyone else does. As paraphrased, the sole guides to an acceptable scope of work.

Worth reading. Short. Plus the comments.

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

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Appraising Cabins

 

Why We Love Cabins

Excerpt: Set against the chaos and complexity of contemporary life, the dream of eloping to the woods to live out a simple and unfettered existence is an increasingly tempting fantasy. The perfect wooden cabin plays a large part: appealing not just for their material honesty, attractive geometry, and breathtaking surroundings, cabins are, at least in popular imagination, a symbol of unity between man and nature, the humble abode of adventurous pioneers and poets-and, more recently still, the object of our wanderlust.
Great photos and info at:
My comment: When I first moved to the Bay Area in the late 1960s I rented a small cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was high in the mountains with a great view of the distant ocean. I had to learn to use a chain saw and an axe to split wood, be careful using water during the dry season so I didn’t run out of water in the water tank, etc. I drove up and down a very steep, long and narrow one lane road my cabin. When winter storms knocked down trees and blocked the road, I helped a neighbor cut and remove them. I will never forget lying on the ground staring up into a grove of redwood trees nearby. I still have a great fondness for redwood trees. Of course, now it is fully developed with a lot of big homes…

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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Appraisal Report certifications

Certifications: Understanding What You’re Signing

By Tim Andersen, MAI
Excerpt: Next is another declaration to aid in the transparency of the analyses behind the appraisal. “I have performed no (or the specified) services, as an appraiser or in any other capacity, regarding the property that is the subject of this report within the three-year period immediately preceding acceptance of this assignment.” Here, the intent is to prevent the client from perceiving the appraiser is in any way biased for or against the subject property by disclosing any relationship the appraiser may have with the property.

Occasionally appraisers appraise the same property numerous times for different entities. This component of the Certification discloses the appraiser has received knowledge of the property from having provided a past service involving the property. Because of the use of the word services, it is clear if the appraiser has provided any services relating to the property, the appraiser must disclose them.

My comment: When I used to teach USPAP (before the Appraisal Foundation mandated what to teach) I always spent time on the 1004 certifications. I suspect that was the first time that attendees read them. I make my own certifications for my non-lender appraisals.

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!!

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6-28-18// Newz .Appraiser Impostor Video, Unusual Motels/Hotels, Switch Off USPAP

Appraiser Imposter Captured on Video!!!

Click here to see the video of the imposter and the owner’s comments. Note: You may have to wait for the ad to finish. Worth the wait!!

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Imposter posing as appraiser, utility workers target Phoenix neighborhood
Excerpt: Last Wednesday, as construction workers bustled inside Huddleston’s home near 22nd Street and Glendale Avenue, a woman came to her door claiming to be an appraiser for the bank.

Huddleston said the woman told her she was there to take pictures, and had arranged the time with Kacia’s husband, Bryan.
“She knew my husband’s name, and as I was in the midst of texting my husband to see if she was supposed to be here, she walked right in,” said Huddleston.

My comment: Have you inspected the wrong house? I have definitely knocked on the wrong door, but never went inside… so far ;>

Stories of Surprising Roadside Hotels

It’s check-in time for your memories of unforgettable travel lodgings.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Lots of interesting places!! Here are a few:
Red Caboose Motel Ronks, Pennsylvania
The guest rooms are actual train cabooses. Think tiny houses on rails.

The Atomic Inn Beatty, Nevada
“It was alien and bunker-themed, and was decorated with atomic bomb art.”

Wigwam Village #2 Cave City, Kentucky
Stay in a teepee.

Movie Manor
Monte Vista, Colorado
“It’s in a drive-in theater and you can watch movies from your bed.”

Click on the Motel/Hotel name for photo and more info

My comment: Back in the 60s I traveled between California and Oklahoma regularly, using Route 66, before the Interstate was completed. Lotsa strange motels!! Before motels morphed into chains that looked the same. There are still a few of these “old timers” left.

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