Appraisal News and Business Tips

future

2-7-19 Newz: Appraisal Dying?- Dangerous Roads- Wrong Algorithms

What If the Algorithms Are Wrong?

Excerpt: Algorithms are everywhere…
Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.”

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code. It’s really different from what you think most people think of algorithms. They think algorithms are objective and true and scientific. That’s a marketing trick. It’s also a marketing trick to intimidate you with algorithms, to make you trust and fear algorithms because you trust and fear mathematics. A lot can go wrong when we put blind faith in big data…”

Check out the video of the Ted Talk: 15 minutes and well worth watching. “The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End” I love Ted Talks and have subscribed to the Ted Radio Hour Podcast for a long time.

My comments: Remember the Recent Mortgage Crash The Data Did Not Predict? Why? They did not include data from the Great Depression, the last time real estate markets crashed all over the country.

Who was saying something was wrong? Whistleblower Appraisers. Appraiser Petitions fell on deaf ears. Some appraisers spoke the truth and lost their appraisal businesses and/or were blackballed by lenders.

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The Future of Residential Lender Appraisers

What if you don’t want to do desktop bifurcated appraisals or do the very tough appraisals that don’t work for AVMs? Or wait, once again, for the lender market to finally come back.

There are many forces trying to get field appraisers out of doing full valuations for mortgage loans. Automation and Artificial Intelligence will increase this trend, as it has done in other professions. For example, Quicken software dramatically decreased demand for manual bookkeepers. Once lenders can determine which properties will work well with an AVM, and they will, there will be fewer human appraisals.

Recently, several appraisers emailed and called me saying their non-lender work would go down due to fee competition from desperate lender appraisals. Yes, this does happen in downturns, especially when it first starts going down fast. Estate appraisals are easy, and this market is affected. Plus other non-lender markets.

What is the answer? The only answer I know is to do litigation support. In my area, there are very few residential appraisers who will testify in court. When they go up against an MAI who does 1-2, or fewer, residential appraisals per year, they win. Good demand, repeat business, fees much, much higher than any other type of appraisal business, respected as an expert. Almost the opposite of AMC appraisals.

Why are residential appraisers very reluctant to do Expert Witness court testimony? Fear of the unknown I guess. I did them in the past and had no problems with testifying as an expert in court or in a deposition.

Next month in my monthly paid newsletter, I will have an article on Litigation Support and Court Testimony.  I have been writing a lot about doing non-lender work. There are lots of options, but this is by far the most profitable with very little competition.

1-10-19 Newz: Appraisal Firm Gets $15M VC Funding – Terrible RE Agent Fotos

A Response to: Mortgage Industry Expert Wants to “Eliminate” Appraisers

By Abdur Abdur-Malik
Excerpts: Rather than read the article and shrug, I decided to email the reporter who conducted the interview. I copied a number of the website’s editors and also the industry “expert,” the interviewee herself. Their contact information was available via a simple Google search, so below is an unredacted copy of the email I sent:

My comment: Well written and worth reading. Nothing new, but not the typical appraiser whining and/or ranting. Lots and lots of appraiser comments.
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3-22-18 Newz//The Way Things Used To Be, Can the Appraisal Profession Be Saved?, Cultural/Religious Effects on Value

Can the Appraisal Profession be Saved?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA
Excerpt: What does it mean “Can the profession be saved?” Does anyone else care except us?

The second question first. Who might care? Clients who have developed a trust for you and who are comfortable with the traditional ways of doing things. There is a group of us and of them who like doing things as always. It’s comfortable, requires little change, and is a ‘safe’ way of doing things.

But who might not care? We can break these down into two subgroups: 1) those that dislike our getting in the way of their deal; and, 2) those who genuinely want something different, more modern. For now, let’s dismiss the first group, and consider those who do want a better product, a better service.

What do you think? Post your comments!!

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9-21-17 Newz//Pivot- Not enough Appraisers To Too Many Appraisers, Appraising New Home In Old Neighborhood

How do we value a brand new house in an old neighborhood?

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: Tip #5. The wrong one & modern homes: Just because something is brand new does not mean it’s going to fetch top dollar. If it’s the wrong type of house for the neighborhood, buyers might actually pay less for the property. It’s like when someone builds a plain earth-tone stucco tract home in a classic area with Tudors and Bungalows. Despite being new it might actually sell with a price discount if it doesn’t have any hint of era charm for the neighborhood. On the other hand there are modern homes popping up all over Sacramento (CA) and beyond that seem to defy this idea. These homes definitely don’t blend into the neighborhood at all in terms of design, but they’re still fetching high prices. Keep in mind though modern homes tend to carry wide appeal, so they are often able to break the mold of the neighborhood and still command a price premium because of their style. In short, modern homes are not vibeless tract homes, so it’s not really the same thing.
Click here to read the other 4 great tips plus some interesting comments!!

http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2017/07/26/how-do-we-value-a-brand-new-house-in-an-old-neighborhood/ 

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9-14-17 Newz:// No Appraisal Waivers, How Many Comps Are Enough?, Ugliest House

Google Street Views – First Big Update with Lots More Big Data!!

Excerpt: The car-top rig includes two cameras that capture still HD images looking out to either side of the vehicle. They’re there to feed clearer, closer shots of buildings and street signs into Google’s image recognition algorithms.
Those algorithms can pore over millions of signs and storefronts without getting tired. By hoovering up vast amounts of information visible on the world’s streets-signs, business names, perhaps even opening hours posted in the window of your corner deli-Google hopes to improve its already formidable digital mapping database
My comment: Fascinating article. Check it out. I use Street Views a lot, but sometimes the images are fuzzy and are hard to figure out. Looking forward to improvements, but on the minus side, more data available that field appraisers provides now.

36 Appraisal Organizations Send Letter to Party Leaders of House Committee on Financial Services and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on “No Appraisal” Waivers

Excerpt: 36 industry groups are attempting to prevent the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSE’s) from issuing appraisal waivers by sending a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee addressing its concerns. AI recommends the halt of the waivers until the GSEs can demonstrate that the proposed program does not harm the consumer, is properly monitored, and integrates proper safeguards to prevent fraud.
We are writing this letter to raise concern over the new appraisal waiver programs recently implemented by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the ” Government Sponsored Enterprises.”)  We believe these programs will create unnecessary and unacceptable risks for taxpayers and homeowners, and they come at a time when markets are at all-time highs – when risk mitigation should be tantamount. We ask you to call on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to prevent the Enterprises from implementing the appraisal waiver programs until they can demonstrate the appraisal waiver program:

My comment: Worth reading. Read the names of all the organizations that sent the letter. I can’t remember when so many appraisal organizations agreed on anything!!

Read more!!

8-31-17 Newz// Appraiser indicted, Hurricane Donations, Appraisers’ Future

Where to contribute to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey

a la mode Software’s Relief Efforts
From Dave Bigger’s (Founder, a la mode) recent email:
We’ve already set up our systems to defer payments for those of you in the storm-hit areas on the Gulf Coast.  We’re also ready to help anyone drastically affected rebuild in any way we can – whether it’s replacing damaged Distos, laptops, printers, or anything else, we’re here.
If you know appraisers, agents, mortgage pros, or inspectors who need help, let us know and tell them to call 1-800-ALAMODE or email relief@alamode.com.
 
We  are working on several relief projects, and we encourage you to join us.   Read the announcement here. 
Yesterday, we also donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  We chose this organization because they’re local, working with many boots-on-the-ground non-profits.  They’re in rescue mode – focused on essentials like water, shelter, medical emergencies, and supplies. But our $100,000 is designed to just “prime the pump” for the broader real estate industry, including other technology companies, to step up as well.

We all need to act quickly, and show our commitment to our colleagues. Donate like we did to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund via our pass-through website, www.alamode.com/harvey . (When you donate through our site, you won’t pay credit card fees. We’ll cover those.) By coming through our portal, your donation will be grouped with other real estate professionals and vendors, showing solidarity as an industry.

Every gift makes a big difference – $10, $50, $100, or more.  Our goal is to gather enough funds within the real estate industry to at least match our donation, and preferably many times more.

Overworked and underpaid appraisers?

Excerpt: While most sectors of the industry managed the increased demand with few hiccups, the appraisal services segment of the industry did not fare as well. The uninterrupted appraisal demand throughout 2016 and into the first quarter of this year led to chronic fatigue that spread throughout the appraiser population.
This led to a number of service level issues, including missed deadlines, longer than customary turn-times, increased revision rates, unresponsiveness and higher appraiser fee demands, to name a few.
My comment: Low AMC fees are always a problem. But the “overworked” comments are out of date for my area. Low fee appraiser price competition has really heated up in the past few months. When I quote my standard fee from 2016 for estate work or don’t reply within a few hours or am not available to go out tomorrow, I don’t get the assignment. Earlier this year, prospects were glad I called them back. AMC fees are way down also.

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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6-30-16 Newz // Most dangerous roads-Fees going up-Brexit and mortgages

The most dangerous places to drive in the world

Take a break and check out these places…

Excerpt:

Driving can be dangerous, and every one of us who attempt to control those speeding steel boxes of ours will, at some time or another, experience a dangerous or life-threatening situation. But the truth is, despite the occasional error of judgement or climate, driving in the US is largely safe, and you will most likely get to your destination calm and in one piece (or just in one piece, because traffic, right?). The world, however, is not the US, or even western Europe. And as you will see, driving styles, laws, and road conditions vary so much, that what might be an everyday commute for a native of Afghanistan would be a death-defying (or outright death-inviting) thrill ride for a driver in the Land of the Free.

http://www.grunge.com/15503/dangerous-places-drive-world/

My comment: Guess I won’t complain (as much) about getting stuck between 2 giant big rigs on the freeway ;>

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Complaints about high appraisal fees and long turn times

RAISE YOUR FEES!!!

Appraisers Remain Under Siege – Jonathan Miller

(Scroll down the page past the second graph)

Excerpt:

Here is a series of feedback from Rob Chrisman in his must read newsletter on the mortgage industry. It is a heavily read source of in-the-trenches mortgage insights that I subscribe to. He gave me permission to share his recent content on the appraisal industry and will share more of it in the coming weeks. I inserted my thoughts following each quote:

“And appraisals are always a hot topic. I received this note from an originator. “Our appraisal environment is out of control. Appraisals we used to get in 1-2 weeks have quickly gone to 3-4 weeks. Appraisals that were just $400 are now $550 and sometimes up to $1,100 for FHA and conventional appraisals. With the rules regulating appraisers on how to become an appraiser and how appraisers have to monitor everything an apprentice appraiser does, it is causing our homebuyers hardship. With the appraiser’s current workloads and the amount of appraisers we have lost in recent years, there is no motivation to bring apprentices on (due to those regulations), leaving the current appraisers working night and day to keep up with their workloads. That is also causing them to keep moving up the appraisal fees (basically rush fees to keep pushing who can pay the most up the line).”

Miller’s comments

It’s called “market forces” and because the AMC movement has gutted the industry, there are much fewer competent appraisers left. And please lay off the “hardship” angle. It’s tired and worn out. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and with the Brexit they will likely stay that way for a while. As I have said before, there is not a shortage of appraisers, there is a shortage of appraisers willing to work for half the market rate.

Worth reading, especially for Jonathon’s comments. http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-24-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-ca10724b99-116855313

Link to Chrisman article – scroll down the page to “And appraisals are always a hot topic”

http://www.robchrisman.com/2016/06/11/june-11-letters-notes-on-password-protection-mechanics-liens-and-the-current-state-of-the-appraisal-business/

My comments

Why are complaints about appraiser fees and turn times increasing so much? Supply and Demand. AMCs and lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own – no new appraisers. AMCs trained their appraisers to bid against each other. Now, they are getting payback.

The Appraisal Foundation is frantically trying to reduce requirements for appraiser licensing in response to the current appraiser shortage. But, the problem is that lenders will not allow trainees to sign on their own. There was no shortage in the last boom prior to 2008.

In all the previous boom periods, since lenders started using appraisers in the 1930s, the increase in volume was handled by hiring armies of trainees who left the profession when business slowed down. Prior to licensing, lenders did this. After licensing, fee appraisers did it. But, soon after 2008 lenders would not allow trainees to sign on their own, so there was no one to handle the increase in business.

When AMCs took over appraisal ordering, many experienced appraisers left the profession due to low fees, increasing lender requirements, hassles, etc. Some stayed, who had direct lender clients or were willing to work for AMCs.

The AMC fee model is a bidding system, with AMCs often looking for the lowest bid. Now, sometimes they spend days looking for an appraiser who will work for low fees. Some of us have finally adapted by significantly increasing our fees.

AMCs have trained us to bid against each other. Even when business is very strong, AMCs continue to try to get low fees. Finally, after 8 years of this, appraisers have realized that when there is a shortage of appraisers we can increase our fees. We finally learned about Supply and Demand. This never occurred before.

Many appraisers (and other business owners) have great difficulty turning down work, even with low fees. After years of telling appraisers to raise their fees, finally some appraisers are listening.

Read more!!

6-16-16 Newz//Appraiser Stalker -Mansion under $100,000 -Safest states -SBA loans

Mansion under $100,000

Mansions cost millions, right? Well, not necessarily. This week’s most popular home on realtor.com® is a mansion priced under a million. In fact, it’s priced below $100,000.

Yes, it’s in Toledo; and yes, it needs some work to bring it into fighting shape. But still, a mansion with a five-digit price tag is a rare beast indeed. The listing agent told us a recent open house attracted more than 1,000 people over two days. He added that this mansion would be worth millions if it were in a major coastal metro-making it a savvy purchase for a buyer who doesn’t mind summering on the Maumee River.

Scroll down the page to Number 1. FYI, Number 3 – Amityville Horror House for $850,000

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/most-popular-homes-mansion-under-100k

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Twinkies Enabled the Sale of the Playboy Mansion

By Jonathan Miller

Excerpt:

It’s been a confusing week for me.

I’ve been trying to reduces the sugar in my diet and I actually feel much better. But then I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the recent sale of the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angles, California. Apparently the next-door neighbor who restarted the Hostess brand purchased the $200 million listing for more than $100 million but the price was not disclosed.

In other words, the sale of Twinkies made this all possible.

Read the full commentary and scroll down the page for interesting comments on free appraisals, purple formica, value of a bedroom, etc.

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-10-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-bfd1d18c9f-116855313

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