Appraisal News and Business Tips

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7-26-19 Newsletter 25th Anniversary! – Appraiser vs. Zillow – $11 Million View

25th Anniversary of These Weekly Free Email Newsletters!!

On June 17, 1994, I sent out my first weekly email update to Tracy Taplin, Bruce Hahn, Tom Cryer, and John Warr. Bruce Hahn still subscribes. The topic was FIRREA/deminimus. I missed a few weeks (computer problems, traveling) but subscribers became “hooked” on their weekly news, jokes, rumors, and tidbits! The distribution list is over 17,000 appraisers now, and growing every day.

This newsletter started with my Compuserve account, then shifted to my personal email (Eudora) after the first web browser made the internet email much easier to use. I mostly had people write down their names and email addresses when I was teaching, speaking or doing my annual conference. It is very hard to figure out hand written email addresses!

I set up my website in 1998 and had an email form to fill out to subscribe. It took a lot of time to manually enter the names and email addresses. Keeping track of email changes was a nightmare. In 2003 I started using Sparklist to help manage the addresses but it was klunky to use and was getting very expensive. I got up to about 3,500 subscribers. In 2008 I started using Constant Contact, which is very affordable and easy to use. I put a signup form on my website home page. The number of subscribers increased rapidly and is now at over 17,000.

In the early years it had just a few paragraphs. By 2003 it was up to about 3-4 pages long. Since 2008 it has been about 4-5 pages, but was formatted to be much easier to read.

The topics have changed over the years, starting with FIRREA in 1994. Mortgage loans and appraisal orders have gone up and down significantly over the years. Significant mortgage broker pressures from about 1995 to the mortgage crash in 2008, AMC takover, Fannie’s CU in 2015, etc. etc.

I started my paid newsletter in June, 1992. In 2008, I switched to PDF-only and quit printing it. Lots more flexibility in length, plus a lot less expensive! Started with 12 pages. Now typically well over 12 pages, up to about 18 pages.

Note: I somehow forgot about it last month ;>

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6-14-19 Newz: Refis up 47% – Appraisal Hearing – Suburb Definition

Lender Overlays and FHA Appraisal Requirements

Excerpt: FHA requirements re: approaches to value

Regarding the approaches to value, the HUD Handbook states, “The Appraiser must consider and attempt all approaches to value and must develop and reconcile each approach that is relevant.”

Translation: If the appraiser determines an approach is necessary for credible assignment results, the appraiser must develop that approach. When appraising new construction or a dwelling that is one year old or less, it is likely that the appraiser will need to develop the cost approach. As in any appraisal, if the appraiser decides not to develop one or more of the approaches, he or she will need to support that decision.

For info on site requirements, etc click here

My comment: AMCs and lenders can have some strange requirements. It’s always good to know what FHA says.

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How Should We Define the Suburbs?

Excerpt: The problem (lack of a definition) stems from the fact that U.S. statistical agencies (the Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget) do not provide a systematic definition for suburbs. They offer classifications for metropolitan areas and micropolitan areas, a classification of urban and rural areas, and a category of principal cities, but nothing of the sort for suburbs.

Very interesting with a good table To read more, click here

My comment: Appraisers have to identify on forms if a property is urban/suburban/rural. Also percent built up. Rural can affect loans sometimes. I have never seen any clear definitions. Now I know why!

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1-24-19 Newz: AVMs vs. Appraisers- New Fannie Formz?- Future of Res Appraising

AVMs vs. appraisers

Excerpt: Different AVMs are designed to deliver different types of valuations. And therein lies confusion.

Consumers don’t realize that there’s an AVM for nearly any purpose, which explains why different algorithms serve up different results, said Ann Regan, an executive product manager with real estate analytic firm CoreLogic. “The scores presented to consumers are not the same version that is being used by lenders to make decisions,” she said. “The consumer-facing AVMs are designed for consumer marketing purposes.”

Written for consumers, but very well written and worth reading.

My comment: How often does someone tell you what Zillow says their home is worth? What do you say? I say Zillow works well on tract homes built in the past 10 years. This article discusses AVMs, regulators, appraisers, etc.
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11-1-18 Newz// $245M listing – Land value – Living Underground

$245M Bel Air CA mansion is nation’s most expensive listing

Originally listed for $350M, it’s still a potential record-breaker after a price cut

Excerpts: The limestone clad mansion in Bel Air owned by the late TV executive Jerry Perenchio just got a price cut.

But at $245 million, the commanding French neoclassical residence, which measures 25,000 square feet, is still the most expensive listing on the open market in the U.S.

The property, which came up for sale last year for a staggering $350 million, has long been the cream of the crop among high-end estates…

A 105,000-square-foot mega-mansion built on spec, also in Bel Air, has a ridiculous $500 million price tag, but it’s not listed on the open market.

My comment: And I just read that the Southern California market is in a slump… who knows about this price range ;>
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Living Beneath the Ground in an Australian Desert

For about a century, residents of Coober Pedy have escaped the searing heat by building their homes underground.
Excerpt: “Bars and restaurants are underground, churches, all these children growing up living underground,” Ms. Merino said in a telephone interview about the residents’ social and private lives. “There’s nothing different about them; they’re not cave men. They’re normal people choosing to live in a different way.”

My comment: I have been reading about this place for awhile, but the author, who “stumbled upon” it has an excellent Fascinating article with great photos!!
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10-25-18 Newz// Maps streets-buildings – Warming Oceans – Actionable Education

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?

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:
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10-19-18 Newz: ;Beach House Survives – FHA Appraisal Problems – Buy This Book!

Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’

Excerpts: The elevated house that the owners call the Sand Palace, on 36th Street in Mexico Beach, Fla., came through Hurricane Michael almost unscathed…

As they built their dream house last year on the shimmering sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Russell King and his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey, painstakingly documented every detail of the elevated construction, from the 40-foot pilings buried into the ground to the types of screws drilled into the walls. They picked gleaming paints from … a palette of shore colors, chose salt-tolerant species to plant in the beach dunes and christened their creation the Sand Palace of Mexico Beach.

Very interesting. Worth reading. The aerial photos of the beach are striking – one intact beach house left.
For lots more info, photos and videos, google Sand Palace of Mexico Beach

My comment: I am so glad I live on the Left Coast. Most of it is elevated, with the beaches at water level. Plus, no big areas of rivers and streams draining into the ocean causing flooding. Much colder ocean than the East Coast. Of course, for us the Big One is a major earthquake, which I try not to think about ;>
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Mortgage-industry layoffs are picking up

Excerpt: JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Movement Mortgage this month were the latest companies to announce layoffs of hundreds of mortgage workers due to a downturn in business. Many more people in the industry can expect to lose their jobs in the coming months, Fannie Mae says.

“I do believe you will see more layoffs,” Fannie’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, said during a telephone interview. Hiring in the mortgage business has traditionally been boom and bust. Companies add staff during refinance booms and then lay off workers when the rates tick up. Given the cost to hire and fire people, the companies tend to wait and see if the downturn is permanent, Duncan said. There is usually a six-month lag before the layoffs pick up steam.

That time has arrived, Duncan said.

 “We are at the beginning of that I would say,” he said. “It is a cyclical business and it is driven by the cyclical behavior of interest rates. So, none of that should be a surprise to anyone. The only thing different in this cycle was that it was policy that drove rates, so they were so low for so long.”

https://www.scotsmanguide.com/News/2018/10/Mortgage-industry-layoffs-are-picking-up/

My comment: Looks like appraisers are finally thinking about doing non-lender work. An ad for my paid newsletter was sent out by workingre today, with twice the number of new subscribers as compared with the typical response. Appraising is cyclical as it depends on mortgage lending…
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8-23-18 Newz//Schizophrenic Adjustments – Neighborhood Names – Appraisal Disputes

Neighborhood Names That Attract Wealthy Buyers

Excerpt: You may be able to judge a neighborhood by its name. Some neighborhoods containing certain names tend to attract the wealthiest residents and boast the highest home values, according to a new study by Porch.com, a home improvement resource.

Neighborhoods that include names like “Hills,” “Island,” and “Village,” for example, tend to report some of the highest average household incomes in the country. On the other hand, the lowest home values were found in neighborhoods with words like “Fort,” “Junction,” and “Rock” in their names.

In the richest neighborhoods, researchers found places that had names using the words “Village,” “Valley,” and “Heights” tended to exceed $100,000 in average household incomes. For example, in Texas, 22 neighborhoods and communities that contained the name “Village” had average household incomes of more than $174,000. Colorado and Michigan communities that contained the word “Village” in the name also contained some of the states’ wealthiest residents, too.

My comment: Neighborhood name adjustments?? I wonder how CU handles this?
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5/31/18 Newz//Crash in 2020?, Floating Homes, Rate changes since 1900s

Floating Homes the Ultimate Water View

Excerpts: For many, floating is something new and adventurous,” said Max Funk, co-editor of “Rock the Boat: Boats, Cabins and Homes on the Water” (Gestalten, 2017). The book reveals an explosion of creativity in buoyant architecture, including an egg-shaped floating cabin in England, floating spas (with working saunas) in Finland and the United States, and floating geodesic domes in Slovenia.

Outside of Seattle, where houseboat construction is being curtailed because of the potential impact on local salmon populations, Ms. Bethell said, the most prominent areas in North America for floating homes are the San Francisco Bay Area; Vancouver, British Columbia; Key West, Fla.; and Portland, Ore.; where the number of floating homes has doubled since 2012.

My comment: In the San Francisco Bay Area they are in several marinas, including in my city, Alameda. In the past, they were anchored around the bay, but were moved to marinas due to pollution concerns. When I moved here in 1968, I visited one anchored off Sausalito in a protected bay with no sewage storage.

2018’s Hottest Backyard Amenity: Detached Living Spaces

Excerpt: The reason for their rise in popularity? Privacy, for one. There’s no one-and no surrounding noises from your disruptive family or neighbors-to make you lose your focus. It’s all you, the shed and whatever your No. 1 priority is for the day. Not to mention, if you have a lush and peaceful backyard, the view is a plus.

So, what do these look like? Anything you can imagine. From hobbit hole-style sheds to more contemporary glass structures, these can take the form that best suits your needs. And what are they used for? That depends on you…

http://blog.rismedia.com/2018/detached-living-spaces

My comment: a great way to get some peace and quiet plus privacy ;>

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4-26-18 Newz//Tristar Waivers Denied, Fannie Update, FHFA Paper on Value of AMCs Questioned

Technology or Human Logical Analysis? Who Wins?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA, CDEI
Excerpt: There is evidence that human judgment WINS – the appraiser opinion beats the AVM and other valuations based on technology. In fact, I have often heard that the qualified appraisal, based on the human logical analysis – is the “gold standard” for the industry. This appears to be true of client groups, and appears to be recognized in administrative law, our federal and state and “quasi-governmental” bodies such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Appraisal Foundation.

Even as we say this, the human model, the appraiser, continues to lose market share to other technologies and other “non-appraiser” value providers.

Worth reading at:

My comment: George Dell’s weekly blog posts are great, but short, as is appropriate for blogs. The May issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter will have a much longer article by George, “Will another profession replace appraisers?”

Uredd Rest Area (Ureddplassen)

Norway has built what may be the world’s most beautiful public toilet.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Norway’s newest landmark is a place of absurd beauty. The redesigned rest area, situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route, overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer.

Now this picturesque place is quickly gaining a stranger kind of fame, for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet the world over.

Check out the Fantastic Photos and short description at:

My comment: Wow!! What do I use in the field? Fast food, bushes, etc. ;> Sometimes a crummy restroom or smelly portable toilet in a public park… Please hit reply of you know any other great public restrooms…

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4-12-18 Newz//What’s a Comp?, Multiple offers way over list, Rotating House

What’s a comp?

 
By George Dell, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: Our education tells us a comp is similar and competitive. So how do we measure “comparability”? If our job entails studying market data to get an answer … might it be important to know exactly how to describe a comp?

So what’s the issue? Why should we care? I am a highly trained expert. I have a license. “Trust me. I know a good comp when I see one.”

My comments: George is writing a longer article than his blog posts for the May issue of the paid Appraisal Today. I often wish his blog posts were longer, but they are designed to be short ;>

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