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7 Things an appraiser has to be thankful for

 

NO WORKING ON THANKSGIVING!! USPAP VIOLATION!!! THE APPRAISAL POLICE ARE WATCHING YOU!!!

 
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7 Things an appraiser has to be thankful for
Most Excellent comments By Tom Horne on his blog
I didn’t have time to contact Tom for permission to read his entire blog posting. It is worthwhile reading.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative parts of our jobs, however I would guess that if we all thought about it we would find more positive Things an appraiser has to be thankful for things than negative. It’s always nice to have something like Thanksgiving to help us reassess our situation. Appraisers are no different than anyone else.
  1. Relaxed work schedule- The majority of appraisers work for themselves and enjoy a relaxed work schedule.
  2. You can pick and choose your clients.
  3. You’re in total control of your success.
  4. Good blend of working in and out of the office. I like my job because I don’t have to sit at my desk all day. I am able to work outside of the office during appraisal inspections which helps me to not get bored with what I am doing.
  5. You have control over how much money you make. A good part of owning your own business is that you are in charge of everything you do.
  6. Current trends in grassroots efforts. … some positive changes that have resulted from this is the trend in appraisers starting to take control of the situation and make themselves heard through the use of social media and state coalitions.
  7. Better tools for doing our job.
Read the details at:

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Appraiser income and expenses

APPRAISER INCOME AND EXPENSE POLLS

Appraisalport poll, 11-15, www.appraisalport.com
Considering all aspects of completing an appraisal (research, driving, inspection, writeup, etc.) what response do you think best represents your hourly wage?
My comment: Of course, this is gross, before any expenses, auto, insurance, MLS, software, etc. etc. I wonder about those making less than $25 per hour.
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In the past year, have your operating expenses:
My comment: Expenses going up, nothing new. See above poll for hourly income. What is happening with your expenses?

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Very funny appraiser commercial!!

The podcast, The Wits End Broadcast, is very “off the wall”, including “fake” commercials. I suggested including an appraiser commercial. It is hilarious!!

Episode 4, the most recent, has the appraiser commercial – appraiser Candy Cotton, short – only 7 minutes long for the entire episode. Hits a lot of appraiser “hot buttons” ;>

You gotta listen to it!! Plus, check out her other 3 posted podcasts. Please post a comment on iTunes or Stitcher.

Stitcher:

http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/75222/details Can link to social media, post a comment, get an app to subscribe on your iphone or android phone, etc.

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-wits-end-broadcast/id1048415737?mt=2 The best if you use iTunes. iTunes has labeled the podcasts as “explicit”. Sorry, not much in them except for a brief very humorous reference to group sex in an early episode ;>  My iphone has Gigabytes of podcast from subscriptions, including this one. I gotta take off a week to listen to them!!

Libsyn:

http://thewitsendbroadcast.libsyn.com/ – very easy to use but not many features such as comments, social media links and subscriptions.

About the podcast author: The podcast author and speaker is Lucinda Ryan, who edited my paid Appraisal Today newsletter for a few years when I first started it in 1992, and knows about appraisal issues. She is a former newspaper reporter and editor. Lucinda loves comedy writing and always wanted to do more, including writing for a few Famous Comedians and making lots of money ;> Maybe her podcasts will take off and I can say that I knew her “back in the old days”.

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Part time appraisers – how many and why?

Statistics from data on appraiser licenses from www.asc.gov, and other sources, do not identify how many are doing appraisals part time or not at all.

Why does it seem like there is an appraiser shortage in some areas? Of course, it is probably a shortage of appraisers willing to work for low fees. But, this also spills over into non-AMC work as few appraisers are available as they are cranking out AMC appraisals and won’t accept non-AMC work.

I keep speaking with more and more appraisers who are no longer working long hours. There is almost unlimited demand from AMCs, but most of them do not work for AMCs. Or, work for a few AMCs that pay well and give them occasional work. Or, refuse to work for lower fees, so don’t get much AMC work.

Why do appraisers work part time?

– The median appraiser age is getting higher. Older appraisers (and non-appraisers) are no longer willing to work 60-80 hours per week. They often don’t need as much money as before. Children graduated from college, collecting social security, home mortgage paid off or have a low rate on mortgage, spouse retired, etc. I suspect that this is the primary reason.

– Fee appraisers are self employed. Many baby boomers that are employed want to work part time but their employers won’t allow it. One of my brothers started working in the printing business when he was 18. For the past 30 years he has been doing on-site printer repairs for national companies. He is 67 and would love to cut back to part time as he does not want to do a lot of driving, which his job requires. When he retires this year, there is no one to replace him. There are no new people coming into printer repairs, which requires expertise in computer software and printer hardware, and many years of experience. His employer says “no” to part time work.

– Self-employed appraisers, as we get older, can gradually cut back on how much time we spend on appraising. That is one of the best features of having an appraisal business. Also, if we start another business or get another job, we can often continue part time appraising.

– Not working but keeping license as a backup. Hard to get license back. Sometimes do an occasional appraisal. I always recommend keeping your appraisal license as long as you can. You never know when you will need extra income.

– Don’t work for AMCs and don’t get a lot of work from non-AMC clients.

I just look in the mirror. I limit the amount of work I accept. I don’t do any lender work and turn down non-lender work every week. I am 72, downsized my home, no children to support, collect Social Security of $3,000 per month since I turned 70. I worked very long hours appraising for 25 years, but 5 years ago I started cutting back on the hours I spend appraising. (I typically worked about 60 hours per week.) I get also income from my paid newsletter and ads for this free email newsletter. Most important, I need more time for my experimental music and videos, another big motivator ;>

I do appraisals and work on my appraisal business about 15 hours per week. My sfr fees are at, or slightly above, non-AMC C&R fees. I have little driving time as have been working only in my small city for the past two years – 10 minutes to go from one end to the other. I have an assistant that proofreads, invoices, etc. My typical time to writeup an sfr is about 2 hours. Total time is about 4 hours plus 1 hour for my assistant. There are few tract homes here.

What does this mean for you?

If you stay in the appraisal profession, even part time, you will have lots of work in the future. Baby Boomers are leaving the workplace, or cutting way back, in large numbers for all types of work.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AT WWW.APPRAISALTODAYBLOG.COM !!

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Why are appraiser phone numbers and email addresses so hard to find online?

I set up my web site at www.appraisaltoday.com in 1998. Every page has my name, postal address, phone number, and email address. If anyone wants to contact me to give me an appraisal assignment, or for any other reason, they can find me. I get a lot of work from my web site.

When working on an article for my newsletters, I often need to contact appraisers. Also, I give out a lot of referrals, as I am very busy and turn down a lot of appraisals. For more information on my appraisal newsletters, click the banner ad below.

My assistant spends a lot of time trying to contact appraisers for my newsletters. When she googles a name, such as Janet Johnson appraiser new mexico, sometimes nothing comes up. If they are on an old directory web site, the postal address is available. Asc.gov only has postal addresses. Some state regulators have phone numbers. Some appraisal association member data comes up, such as the Appraisal Institute.

Email addresses are hopeless. They are very seldom available anywhere.

Often the appraiser has no web site, even a simple one page with name, address, resume, and contact info. If there is a contact link, you must fill out a form to contact the person.

I guess they just want to work for AMCs that contact them. Not interested in any other clients, I guess.

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Communicating with other appraisers – why is it a problem?

Communicating with other appraisers – O’Rourke Pontificates on Dustin Harris, the Appraiser Coach’s Podcast

Dustin and I discussed the big issue that many appraisers don’t know other appraisers personally (face to face or over the phone). Dustin talked about the times he has tried to establish relationships with other local appraisers. One was very successful and the other did not work very well. But, both resulted in one personal relationship each. I have written about this topic before and discussed my personal experience plus the “big picture”.

Online communication is fine, but not very good for local issues. Plus, it is hard to establish relationships.

To listen to it, go to http://theappraisercoach.libsyn.com/ . All the podcasts are there. This one is #051, Communication; a key to running a successful appraisal business. Check out the other podcasts. I subscribe to the podcast on itunes and listen to it in my car.

I was inspired to do a 7-page article on the topic for the October issue of Appraisal Today, sent out Oct.1. I sent out a request for info on small, unaffiliated groups in last week’s newsletter. To subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today, click on the banner ad below.

Many thanks to the 13 appraisals groups I profiled! They replied to a questionnaire I sent and I contacted some over the phone. Lots of good tips for appraisers thinking about starting a group and those who currently have an active group. Very interesting!!

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Fannie’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU) FAQs updated

Fannie’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU) FAQs updated – not dated but available on Feb. 25
Why does Fannie keep saying appraisals there will be minimal, or no effect, on appraisal turn times? The real estate agents are worried about delaying closings.
For now, since few appraisers are receiving warnings, the underwriters appear to be slowing down the processing as they are responsible for decided which, if any, warnings to send to appraisers, after reading the 30+ page appraisal reports.
These FAQs mostly clarify what they have said before, but there is some interesting new information.
The first two pages has the new FAQs updates,
Here is some of the new info:
– Fannie Mae does not instruct or suggest to lenders that they ask the appraiser to address all or any of the 20 comparables that are provided by CU for most appraisals.
– (Underwriters) Carefully review the appraisal report before seeking additional clarification from the appraiser based on CU findings.
– Fannie Mae expects lenders to use human due diligence in combination with the CU findings, and will actively follow up with lenders who are reported to be asking appraisers to change their reports based on CU findings without any further due diligence by the lender.
– Fannie Mae encourages lenders to carefully review the appraisal report – including all commentary – before seeking clarification from the appraiser. Don’t assume the appraiser is wrong just because you see a CU message. Taking messages or alternative sales at face value and simply asking your appraiser to address them is neither effective nor efficient. CU is intended to supplement a lender’s human due diligence. After completing a thorough review, lenders should be able to have constructive dialogue with appraisers to resolve specific appraisal questions or concerns. Lenders should not, however, make demands or provide
instructions to the appraiser based solely on automated feedback.
It is also available on the main CU link at www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/collateral-underwriter

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CU warning messages – grrrr

A few appraisers are reporting getting CU appraisal warning messages from AMCs. Some AMCs get the messages and and some don’t, depending on the agreement with their lender client.

I sorta believed all the “experts” who said CU would not affect appraisers much, except the many us who do not have market based adjustment support in our work files (which we should have always had). “They” said appraisers’ time for responding to AMC questions will not change. Fannie’s reviewers have been using CU for about two years. Some lenders beta tested it. They all liked it. But, I wonder if it was tested with “boots on the ground” appraisers who actually had to respond to the warnings??

In January I wrote up a long CU article for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. In the February issue I will have another long article, focusing on the differences between the old and new CU warning messages. They are very different. AMCs with access to lender’s warning messages are sending them to appraisers, such as:

Old message (pre-CU): Condition adjustment for comparable property #<comparable number> appears excessive.
New message(CU): The condition adjustment [for comp #X] is smaller than peer and model adjustments
New (CU): The condition adjustment [for comp #X] is larger than peer and model adjustments.

There are other messages about condition ratings different that peers and model.

I don’t know how our “peers” and The Model made their adjustments or ratings and what they are. I don’t know how to respond as to why mine differ.

Now that appraisers are getting the warnings, they are asking how to respond to them. Who are these peers? What is the model? I have no idea how to respond, except to say “I don’t know who the peers are and how they determined condition or what method they used for their adjustment. I am unable to respond.” How do you know what the condition is really like for comps? There are lots of ways to estimate an adjustment for condition. You can explain what you did. But, who is right? You, peers, or model?

MLS is soo reliable (Not) for estimating comp condition. I don’t think they will like “matched paired sales” on all of your responses for the method you used for adjustments.

Looks like maybe there will have to be some webinars for appraisers, not just underwriters, explaining how to respond.

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Appraisers not getting access to their own data on CU

There is a petition and a letter being circulated about appraisers getting access to CU, particularly the Web interface which lists comps. This is unlikely for many reasons, which I write about in my paid newsletter.

More important (and more likely to occur) is: Why don’t appraisers get access to subject and comp physical characteristics from the CU database, which was provided by appraisers using UAD?

For example, which appraisers are able to measure their comp GLAs? Not many. This data would really help appraisers do better appraisals. We can always look at MLS interior photos and interview agents, buyers, and sellers for other information we need, such as condition. When the MLS listing says “contractor special” or “fixer” that is a good indicator of condition.

The only reason I have heard is that appraisers vary widely and there are too many differences. GLA is a good example. This has has always varied among appraisers. When I used the old CMDC appraiser database in the late 1980s, sometimes there were more than one source of GLA on a property. I have done relocation appraisals since 1986. It was very seldom that the 2 or 3 appraisers have the same GLA. The “rule of thumb” was up to a 5% difference in GLA was ok.

How many appraisers are “fudging” their dimensions to make their GLA match public records and avoid “stips”? Hopefully, CU will change this. Maybe CU will notice how many appraisers just use public records and how many use their own measurements.

I am really hoping that Fannie allows appraisers to get property characteristic information. It will help all of us – Fannie, lenders, AMCs, appraisers, reviewers, etc.

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CU – census tracts, adjustments, "bad apples", etc.

There is a lot of misinformation about CU. No one knows what will happen when CU is fully implemented. I speculate myself. I am an appraiser. I have opinions ;>

UAD is mechanical. CU is asking appraisers to think about their appraisals, not how to classify a characteristic.

For the appraisal profession, I think CU will make us better appraisers by making us take a critical look at adjustments. It will also help get rid of the “bad apples”, including appraisers that “push” values, throw anything into the form to get it out the door, need lots more training and education, etc.

I think Fannie’s main purpose of CU may be to stop appraisers from having low (or high) adjustments, inappropriate comps, using Q/C ratings, etc. to make values higher. That is what they worry about.

Only using comps from within the subject’s census tract is ridiculous and I’m sure CU will not be doing this. It is a good idea to see which census tracts match the neighborhood boundaries that you use. Or, part of Census Tracts. Then you can put the census tracts you use in your appraisal. In some areas census tracts are way out of date due to new construction, plus other problems.

To find census tracts near any property, go to http://www.huduser.org/qct/qctmap.html and type in an address.

I started my business in 1986 and had to put census tract numbers in my appraisals for the first time. I had previously worked for an assessor’s office and had never done a lender appraisal. I used Thomas Brothers Census Tract books to find them. To me, they often represented a reasonable way to delineate all, or part of, a neighborhood. Looking at the current census map for Alameda, CA, my city (population 75,000), it definitely did a good job of defining neighborhoods. However, I usually have to include more than one census tract as there is not enough data to do an appraisal otherwise. It did miss one very important neighborhood where most of Alameda’s large historic homes are located. There is a significant premium for being in this neighborhood. I very, very seldom go out of this neighborhood for comps. I suspect there are issues like this in other geographic areas. I have no idea what area Fannie would use, so I would put an explanation in my appraisal.

The problem is the forms, which were developed for use on tract homes. If you are not appraising a conforming tract home, it is like trying to put square boxes into round holes.

Every appraisal will have a risk score. A high risk score (1.0 to 5.0, where 5.0 is high risk) does not mean an appraisal is “bad”. It may be in an area of declining values or have a negative location problem. Or, not enough comps to provide a reliable value.

Remember that only certain UAD items will be considered by CU for now. If it is not UAD formatted, it will not be looked at. I don’t think Fannie’ use of census tracts will be the issue.

The Big Issue is support for adjustments. I have no idea how to support all the adjustments I make in my appraisals. I know what buyers will pay more, or less, for. But, I don’t know the exact dollar amount.

Regression is just one way to support adjustments, but it will not work for many adjustments, particularly if there are very few sales. Regression is not the only answer. There are many other methods. I will be writing about them in my paid email newsletters.

Regression works very well for time adjustments. Be sure yours are market based, not just from an MC form.

I am seriously considering not making any dollar adjustments when I use form reports for non-lending work, except time adjustments. I never make dollar adjustments on narratives and apartment form reports. My state regulator wants to see support in my files for adjustments.

Just because there is a box does not mean it has to be filled in. Qualitative adjustments are fine. There was a Fannie form developed and used for awhile in the 80s or early 90s that did not use dollar adjustments, only plus or minus signs. I worry about that a lot. The old Fannie 2-4 unit form did not have any adjustment boxes. I really hated when they changed that form to include adjustment boxes and de-emphasize the Income Approach.

No one knows how CU will work out. Will everyone turn down appraisals except for conforming tract homes? Will there be no one to do the tough appraisals and work in rural areas. When appraisers are compared, does the majority opinion win?

Will the days of 24 hour turn times and $200 fees be gone? Will AMCs stop broadcasting all appraisal orders to everyone on their fee panels? Will all appraisers be seen as the same and interchangeable? Or, will appraisers be rated on skills, education and experience? Will fees go up? Will fees be based on difficulty of the appraisal? Will lots of appraisers abandon the lender appraisal ship of fools?

Read the webinar pdfs and look at the maps from the two Fannie Webinars to see what they actually are doing. I spent lots of hours doing this, plus speaking with others about what they thought. Of course, it was for a 12-page article in my paid newsletter. Plus 18 pages of excerpts from Fannie documents and webinars. I probably would not have done it otherwise ;>

Go to www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/collateral-underwriter and listen to Fannie’s two webinars for underwriters – very good with excellent illustrations and explanations. Plus, read the FAQs. You need to register, but it is very easy and you go directly to the webinar and can return at any time. There are lots of links on the web page for more information.

Last month’s January 2015 issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter had a 12-page article on CU plus 18 pages of addenda material. The February and subsequent issues will address problems such as how to make adjustments. Click the ad below for more information.

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