Appraisal News and Business Tips

fees

6-1-17 Newz .Our 25th Anniversary! .Zillow Class Action Lawsuit, FTC Says No to LA Setting AMC Fees

FTC Challenges Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Regulations that Restrict Competition

Restrictions on fee setting violate federal antitrust rules, agency alleges

Excerpt from FTC: The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, alleging that the group is unreasonably restraining price competition for appraisal services in Louisiana, contrary to federal antitrust law. The complaint will be submitted to adjudication before an Administrative Law Judge, who will review it and render an initial decision.
In the administrative complaint, the FTC alleges that the Louisiana appraisers board limits the freedom of individual appraisers and their customers to engage in bona fide negotiations to set appraisal fees for real estate appraisals in Louisiana.
Excerpt from LA appraisal board comments:
In a statement, the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board denies the FTC claims, adding that it is operating well within its rights and any accusations beyond that are “ludicrous” and without merit.
“Respectfully, the FTC is just plain wrong. By issuing this legally faulty and factually incorrect complaint, the FTC is seeking to punish a Louisiana state agency for following federal regulatory mandates,” Bruce Unangst, executive director of the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, said in a statement.
Read the details here from the FTC:
More info, including comments from LA appraisal board
My comment: Very interesting angle… I always wondered if it was ok for states to set AMC appraisal fees. I wondered who complained????
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When Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight

Play real-life Chutes and Ladders at these obscure thruways.

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Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

AVMs are a threat to appraisers today and tomorrow!!

By Barry Bates

Is the quasi-provocative title of Barry Bates’ article in the May 2017 issue of Appraisal Today. It’s “quasi” because the central issue, the livelihood threat represented by AVMs, has been around for at least 20 years. It’s provocative because Barry’s research suggests that AVMs, bolstered by artificial intelligence, satellite overlays and more robust attributive data, are a bigger threat than ever.

He also cites a 2015 Oxford white paper that studied 702 U.S. jobs and rated their likelihood of total computerization over the next 10 years; “Appraisers and Assessors” warranted a 90% likelihood. Bates explains why, by 2023, that might as well be a function of the residential market assignment volume, i.e., 10% of 2013 volume. One of the factors he mentions is the erosion of federal rules that once ensured that every new origination for refinance or purchase would be accompanied by a full appraisal of the real property.

Not only has the rule been undermined by a variety of new Fannie/Freddie/VA loan programs that don’t require appraisals, but the federal rule itself was modified in 2015 to give the GSEs power to decide whether any particular loan (or type of loan)was worthy of a waiver.

Another factor (of several) is the availability of “data on steroids”: collateral information (including every field in the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) from past and current appraisals populating the GSE AVMs and database from every appraisal sent through one of the uniform collateral data portals, like Fannies UCDP, which already allows for appraisal “sharing” for aggregators and Fannie’s correspondent lenders (even the 1004MC data can be offloaded to a siding for market analysis).

Bates concludes that all the necessary pieces are being assembled for an artificial intelligence AVM with robustness equal to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

[Editor’s Note. When asked whether his prognostications were a little on the gloomy side, Bates rejoined, I know, I know, ‘The pessimists are right, but the optimists have more fun.’ I mean, hey, even paranoids have enemies! And unfortunately, as a card-carrying neurotic, I’d almost always prefer to be right.]

Bates’ full commentary is in the May issue of the Paid Appraisal  Today. For more

info, go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products

4-20-17 Newz// The Narrowest House, State Appraisal Boards, Low Housing Inventory

Keret House- The world’s narrowest house makes for an awkward, four-foot-wide living space.

Excerpt: Designed by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny, the Keret House in Warsaw is wedged inside a four-foot crevice, nicknamed a “cushion of air,” between two buildings. The Keret House stretches over 30 feet tall but is simultaneously only 28 inches wide at its narrowest point-thinner than a stovetop-and just four feet wide at its widest.
My comment: Check out the fotos and full article. Wow!! I have written about narrow houses in this weekly email before, but this is definitely the narrowest!!
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When You Get Notice of a State Complaint…

By Ted Whitmer
If you are an appraiser, it is likely that at some point in your career you will receive notice that a complaint was filed against you. In one particular busy year in Texas, roughly one in six residential appraisers were filed against with the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. When you run the number of complaints in one year against the number of appraisers, one can expect a complaint every eight to ten years.

Read more!!

4-13-17 Newz// Desktop Appraisals .Fannie Appraiser Update .Trump Dump Dodd-Frank Regs

Sign up for Fannie’s new Appraiser Update and other appraisal-related news!

How do appraiser-related policy updates, technology changes, and industry trends affect your business? To stay on top of the latest Fannie Mae appraisal news and policies, check out the new Fannie Mae Appraiser Update, a newsletter providing periodic updates for residential appraisers serving Fannie Mae lender customers.  Sign up today to receive the newsletter and other appraisal-related updates.
My comment: I get all the Fannie announcements and have to scroll through them looking for anything relevant to appraisers for this email newsletter. Hopefully, Fannie’s appraiser info will be send frequently. The first newsletter is available.
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Ecological Plastic Bottle House

One family’s mission to exemplify sustainability took on a whole new life as a surprisingly beautiful home.
Excerpt: Alfredo Santa Cruz and his family built the bottle house out of trash and recyclables they collected. Aluminum cans, glass jars, CDs, cardboard cartons, and of course, plastic bottles were all used as construction materials. The house has multiple rooms, and even furniture constructed from all these items.
Scroll down the page to see bottle houses in Michigan, Canada, and Azerbaijan!!
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3-22-17 Newz: AQB Degree and Experience .Raise Deminimus? .AMC High Consumer Fees

Are you paying unseen add-on fees for your appraisal?By Ken Harney, nationally syndicated real estate writer

Excerpt: Are you getting fleeced on appraisal charges when you buy a house or refinance? Could you be paying as much as double what the appraiser is receiving for actually doing the work, with the excess going to an undisclosed third party?

Many appraisers say yes. And they’re eager to let consumers know that when the appraisal charge is $500 or $800 or $1,000, they’re frequently being paid just a fraction of that. The rest is going to an “appraisal management” company…
Read the full article here and add your comments:
My comment: Finally, someone is writing about the AMC Consumer Ripoff!! I have been saying since 2008 that the best way to “fight” AMCs is to let consumers know they are getting ripped off!! Appraisers complain about how AMCs treat appraisers and low fees, but don’t seem to focus on consumers, who are paying much more.
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1-12-17 Newz .New scam: owners pose as renters, 21 day turn times

Haunting Photos of Europe’s Abandoned Buildings, From Steel Plants to Castles

Excerpt: Photographer Hans Van Vrouwerf first started shooting abandoned buildings in 2010. He started with an old stone factory in a village in the Dutch countryside and when he got home, Van Vrouwerf started to research other buildings. As a committed urban explorer, with the countries of Western Europe as his backyard, he has sought out derelict buildings not only in his home base of the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Germany, France, and Luxembourg.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/haunting-photos-of-europes-abandoned-buildings-from-steel-plants-to-castles 

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What’s the most disturbing history you’ve learned about a house you were selling?
More than 5,000 comments in 48 hours on Reddit
Excerpt: At first glance, it’s a simple question: What’s the most disturbing history you’ve learned about a house you were selling.
But what started out as a 13-word question on share-site Reddit, spiraled into unsettling long responses from tons of users, generating more than 5,000 responses in only 48 hours.
My comment: Wow!! I thought I had seen some bad stuff as an appraiser, but it was nothing compared to these comments. Warning: can be disturbing, especially the dead bodies. Be sure to check out the comments (and threads)

Read more!!

11-3-16 Newz: Freddie-lower appraisal requirements, Do you like appraising?, Wells Fargo overcharges on appraisals

2016’s Best Small Cities in America

Excerpt:

Small-city dwellers enjoy tighter networks, shorter commutes and an abundance of land, just to name a few advantages. Granted, there are tradeoffs such as perhaps fewer restaurant options or shorter business hours. But one of the best perks of living in a city with a relatively smaller population is cheaper cost of living – generally speaking, that is. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a two-parent, two-child family would need to earn $49,114 a year “to secure an adequate but modest living standard” in Morristown, Tenn., compared with $106,493 in Washington.

So which small cities outshine the rest? WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 30 key indicators of livability. They range from “housing costs” to “school-system quality” to “number of restaurants per capita.” Continue reading below for the winners of the top spots, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-small-cities-to-live-in/16581/

My comment: Check your city – mine was listed!! But, did not rate high on cost of living with a median home price of around $800,000… But, you can see the mayor at the grocery store to complain about potholes ;>

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Wells Fargo agrees to $50 million settlement over homeowner appraisal fees

Excerpt:

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a racketeering lawsuit accusing it of overcharging hundreds of thousands of homeowners for appraisals ordered after they defaulted on their mortgage loans.

The proposed settlement, which requires court approval, was disclosed in a filing on Friday in an Oakland, California federal court. If approved, it will resolve nationwide claims that Wells Fargo charged much more than it paid for third-party appraisals, exploiting borrowers who could least afford it and driving them further into default.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wellsfargo-settlement-idUSKBN12V27F

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9-8-16 Newz// Increasing fees, Flawed FEMA maps, Loan apps way up

How many appraisers are increasing their fees?

Poll: In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment? www.appraisalport.com

 

 

 

 

My comment: Good news that the majority of responses were for increased fees. But, less than $50 annual increase is low. If you work for AMCs, your fees will drop when business slows down, assuming you are not getting very low fees now. If you don’t ask for higher fees now, or drop AMCs that insist on low fees, you are losing lots of money. I keep increasing my fees by $50 every 3-4 months and am still below other local appraisers’ fees. Remember, there is little or no AMC “loyalty” to appraisers. They will not remember you when business slows down and you really need work.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AND READ OTHER COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com

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McMansion Hell in Roseville CA

Just for Fun!!

Excerpt: Nothing in this world is a better metaphor for what politicians and marketers like to call “The American Dream” than the Californian tract house. Imagine – you too, could have your own sloppily put together plot of land on a nice street lined with other sloppily put together plots of land.

But you, of course, want your sloppily put together plot of land to be different from the sloppily put together plots of land of your peers. Now, your houses may have been built at the same time with the same plan by the same builder, but damn are you not determined to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Finally, after the nth hour of HGTV, it dawns on you: the windows.

http://www.mcmansionhell.com/post/149807609446/roseville-ca

My comment: check out other interesting stuff on this web site. I didn’t even know there were any McMansions in Roseville!!

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6-23-16 Newz:: San Francisco under water – Funny owner DIYs – C/R complaints

 In 100 Years, $77 Billion Worth Of San Francisco Property Could Be Underwater

Excerpts:

Around the city, more than 200,000 commercial and residential buildings-along with major infrastructure like the airport-are at risk from either temporary flooding or permanent loss due to sea level rise if the city does nothing to prepare. Even more dangerously, the risk extends well inland, and isn’t limited to property directly on the coast.

Armed with the new maps, San Francisco is currently creating a strategy to try to save as much property as possible. “It’s almost inevitable that, in the end, the plan will be a combination of multiple approaches,” says VanderMarck. “One approach in some areas will be to surrender to the fact that seas are rising-it’s impractical, either economically or for other reasons, to try to defend against that in certain areas.” In other places, the city may build higher walls or other defenses.

In the Ocean Beach neighborhood, for example, it’s likely that the city will reroute portions of the road that’s currently along the water, replacing some areas with open space, while also building up dunes and protecting some infrastructure like a wastewater tunnel. On Treasure Island, where the city is planning to build a new sustainable community, any new housing will be set back from the water, with parks along the edges-parks that very likely will be reclaimed by the bay.

My comment: FEMA is rezoning all the coastal properties in the U.S., including my small island city in San Francisco Bay. Of course, the big complaint was having to buy flood insurance for those who have mortgages….

Check out the full article and the very interesting graphics:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3060770/in-100-years-77-billion-of-san-francisco-property-could-be-underwater

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Not C/R fees? File a complaint with the FDIC!!

Excerpt:

Here is what VaCAP received from an appraiser who reached out to the FDIC:

I just had a call from an extremely pleasant lady named Susan Welch from the FDIC Consumer Response Center (1-800-378-9581). I had sent a note over regarding an AMC attempting to get me to sign a “Base Fee Letter” agreeing to a drop of my base fee for full appraisals to $325 from $400-500. She said the FDIC is VERY interested in hearing from appraisers regarding AMCs paying low fees. As you know FDIC regulates the banks, who are responsible for third party oversight with AMCs they engage. FDIC wants Regulation Z to be followed and will enforce it for appraisers.

Incidentally I opted to have them proceed while keeping me anonymous, a la whistle blower status. Susan said she would be surprised if they had not investigated this within 90 days.

FDIC bank examiners will contact the bank involved and look at their procedures for engaging appraisers, look at fees appraisers are actually paid versus what is considered C&R based on things like the VA sheet and go from there.

Click here for more info plus read the comments:

http://appraisersblogs.com/low-amc-fees-fdic-appraisers-regulationz

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5-5-16 Newz .Using listings .CU update .Low inventory and stats

Collateral Underwriter Update from Fannie Mae

Source: Appraisal Buzz

Excerpt:

The Buzz staff recently asked Zach Dawson, Director of Collateral Policy and Strategy, Fannie Mae, to provide appraisers with an update on the development of Collateral Underwriter.

A few of the questions:

– Buzz: Can you bring us up to date on CU? What have you learned from this data initiative?

– Buzz: Can you tell us more about AQM and the objectives of that project?

– Buzz: How many appraisers does Fannie Mae refuse to accept appraisals from?

https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/collateral-underwriter-update/

My comment: Definitely hits the Hot Topics!! Nothing much new, but good to directly from Fannie Mae, in writing…

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Can Living Near a Starbucks Boost Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

It seems that being close to a Starbucks does have a marked effect on home values, particularly in the East, according to a Zillow report.

Between 1997 and 2014, homes within walking distance, or one-quarter mile, of a Starbucks appreciated 96 percent. Compared to the national average for the same time period, 65 percent, it seems having a barista close by is a smart real estate move.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2015/08/19/starbucks-boost-home-values/#4084f9eb2c70

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Does a new Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in Your Neighborhood Increase Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

A 2015 study by the real estate information company RealtyTrac analyzed this trend. The study included 4 million homes located in a ZIP code with either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s location, finding that average property values in a ZIP code with Trader Joe’s appreciated by about 40 percent since they were purchased, while homes with a Whole Foods in the ZIP code appreciated by nearly 34 percent, which matches the national average increase according to the survey.

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/does-the-new-whole-foods-in-your-neighborhood-increase-your-home-value

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