7-24-20 Newz: Difficult Clients – ANSI sq.ft. Standards Changing – 10 Private Islands

Advice for Working with Difficult Clients

Excerpt: Even if the bulk of your appraisals are fairly cut and dried, and require minimal interaction with a human client, any appraiser will occasionally have to work with a difficult client. The assignment might require you to work with a specialty property that is hard to appraise, or with a client who is personally disagreeable, or exceptionally exacting, or who has an agenda that you don’t understand or can’t go along with. Here are some tips for working with difficult clients. Three of the topics:

– Working with AMCs and banks: Time management

– Working with non-lenders: Expectations management

– Deal with complaints immediately

To read the tips, click here

My comment: Some great, practical tips!! Maybe I will try some of them instead of Firing clients, my most popular option ;>

My motto: Appraising would be great except for the darn clients!!

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Will Big Data Put Appraisers Out of Business?

By Dustin Harris

Although Zillow (and other similar companies) keep their algorithms proprietary, they do give us enough information that we can get a pretty good idea as to where the data comes from. For example, according to Zillow’s own website, “we use public and user-provided data for house attributes, and some areas report more data than others.”

As an appraiser for over two decades, I see a blaring problem here. Very few areas have accurate public information for size, quality, condition, and other important features of houses. As you know, these are features that can dramatically affect an accurate value. This is especially true in non-disclosure states where I work such as Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. As for user-provided data? This is information coming from places like the home owner themselves. Nothing biased there. If Zillow depends on good data to provide good estimates, the phrase “garbage in – garbage out” comes to mind.

To read more, click here

My comment: Real estate data is overall poor, except for a maybe conforming newer subdivisions. No standardization for public records. MLS data provided by real estate agents. Most data not standardized. That means human appraisers will be needed.

Read more!!

6-10-20 Newz: Another New Fannie Update; Suburban Definition?

How to Tell If You Live in the Suburbs

Excerpts: The U.S. hasn’t had a formal definition for what constitutes a suburb. A new data analysis comes closer to defining America’s most popular neighborhood type.

The United States is a land of suburbs, with just one problem: No one’s quite clear what a “suburb” is.

It’s a question of semantics with real-world implications, as government programs, political campaigns and developers try to spend money in the “suburbs,” where a majority of Americans say they live despite the category having no formal definition.

For some people, it’s obvious: A suburb is a smaller city on the periphery of a larger city. Or it’s a sprawling neighborhood filled with vast swathes of single-family homes. Still other more dated conceptions of suburbia in the popular mind involve the people who live there: allegedly white, middle class and socially homogenous.

Now a new team of researchers believe they’ve cracked the code…

To read more, click here

My comments: Of course, if you do residential lender appraisals this is a Very Big Issue due to lender “requirements” such as no rural properties. Lots and lots of online discussion about this for a long time. Post this topic on your favorite Internet chat site or email list… and wait for the wide variety of opinions!!

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My Favorite Definitions

(This has been floating around for many years…)

Rural  Suburban  Urban

  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors can’t see you… it’s rural.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors call the cops on you… it’s suburban.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors ignore you… it’s urban.

There are other variations, of course, that are not suitable for this newsletter ;>

Read more!!

5-22-20 Newz: Refis to Surge – Selling Over List – What’s Happening in Your Market?

Mortgage refinancings set to surge to a 17-year high

Lenders probably will originate $1.5 trillion in refis, a 51% jump from 2019, Fannie Mae says

Excerpt: Even as other parts of the economy tank, lenders will originate $1.5 trillion in refis in 2020, a 51% jump from 2019, according to the forecast. That would be the highest level since 2003 when $2.5 trillion of mortgages were refinanced, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The lowest interest rates on record will bolster refis after the Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities to stimulate bond demand and grease the wheels of the credit markets. The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.23% at the end of April, according to Freddie Mac.

It’s probably heading even lower, according to the Fannie Mae forecast. The average rate probably will be 3.2% in the second quarter, down from 3.5% in the first quarter, and drop for the rest of the year.

To read more, click here

My Comment: And I thought my 3.5% rate loan was a low rate!! Everyone should refi!! Appraisers will be very busy!! Maybe more lenders will order external and desktop appraisals.

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Will Sex Sell? BDSM Dungeon in Arkansas Basement

Excerpts: A hidden door gives access to the dungeon, leading down a spiral staircase. At the bottom is a full nightclub, outfitted with an entertainer’s pole, along with custom-BDSM furniture Shayne made himself.

The couple says the neighborhood is quiet and an excellent place to raise a family.

Some of their neighbors know about the dungeon, and a few have been invited over. The space isn’t a dirty secret, and the couple is happy to talk about it with anyone who shows interest.

Despite the fact that the surrounding community is largely conservative, Shayne says the couple has had “zero negative feedback ”

For more info and lotsa fotos click here

Read more!!

12-13-19 Newz: Fannie Appraiser Update – “Affordable” Mansions – Pyramid House

Fannie Appraiser Update December 2019

Topics:

  • Multiple parcels
  • Significant appraisal defects
  • How are you modernizing?
  • How appraisal waivers fit with our risk mindset

To read more, click here

To go to Fannie’s Appraiser Page, click here

Lots of info, including their updates. I use it a lot. Read this month’s newsletter and the old newsletters.

My comment: Some useful info in the Update. Of course, appraisers are worried about appraisal waivers. Fannie has a short explanation about the risk and when they are used. I have known for decades that some properties were low risk and appraisals were not really “necessary”. Especially with a low LTV, good credit, etc. CU has so much data now it is much easier to make a determination. Bifurcated are coming. Fannie decided to postpone them without an appraisal, but I am sure this is the future.

Read more!!

11-29-19 Newz: Choosing Comps – VA and Bifurcated – Most Expensive Homes

By George Dell

Excerpt: This question caused me to rethink the relationship of ‘spiritual’ or ‘mental health’ principles to profitable business practices. From last year’s blog, the research showed benefits with: relationships, physical and emotional health, reduced anger/isolation, sleep, self-esteem, and even improved brain power! Cool.

So, do these things cost me money? Or do they help make more money?

Let’s start with the obvious: what’s in an appraiser’s required belief system: Standards, ethics, and conduct. Recall that USPAP requires you to be worthy. Worthy of belief. Credible.

So, what in that list helps me make more money?

To read more, click here

My comment: Very good appraisal comments for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays! Worth reading.

Read more!!

11-8-19 Newz: Zestimates – Fee Transparency – Science and Appraising

National Appraisers Forum

By Dave Towne

Excerpt: Appraisers, if you would like to learn from highly qualified peers (other than me! :), post questions, or offer your own comments, consider joining the FREE group, National Appraisers Forum (NAF). Use this link.

This is one of the best appraiser groups as all commentary is respectful. While not everyone always agrees with certain points, the discussions are not demeaning. There is a wealth of info participants share freely on a wide number of topics. The group has several moderators who monitor the posting activity.

One key point, NAF participants are not anonymous. You must use your name (at a bare minimum) when participating, which is required when signing up… Moderators are asking that anyone who wants to join should give their name as licensed, the state they are in, and their license number.

To read more, click here

My comments: This is my favorite appraiser online group! I get many emails from various sources for this newsletter and have been a member of many online communication places. Before the internet was widely available, I hosted live chats on aol and compuserve. Since then I have watched many online places. Unfortunately, just like any other topic, sometimes the groups end up doing lots of “flaming” (attacking another participants, etc.), negative comments, off topic, politics, etc. I quit going to these places.

Of all the groups I have subscribed to, National Appraisers Forum is the best for me. I have been a member since it started, or soon after. No complaining about AMCs, off topic, trolling and flaming, etc. The founder, Steve Smith, and the moderators keep it this way. Regular contributors are “high end” appraisers with many years of experience. Hot topics are often discussed.

There are well managed appraisal groups on Facebook, but it is too hard to for me to follow the threads, so I don’t go there very often. But, it may work for you.

Another major factor is that you must use your real name, so we know who is commenting. Allowing anonymous postings can easily decay into a mess.

I will be updating my article ” How to connect with other appraisers online. What’s the best group for you? ” in a future issue of the paid Appraisal Today discussing other email chat groups, how to find other groups or start your own, Facebook, etc.

Read more!!

10-4-2019 Newz: Comp Photos – Waivers – No Permits – Rubik’s Cube

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?

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.

Read more!!

9-20-19 Newz: Fannie Update – Domes – Low appraisals – Avengers

Fannie Mae September 2019 Appraiser Update

Sept. 13, 2019

Topics include:

– Forms for appraisers performing PDC and desktop appraisal

– Desktop appraisals, assumptions, and hypothetical conditions

– Locked rooms

– Consumer protections

– State board notifications

Only 5 pages. Easy to read and informative. To read more, click here

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Fannie Mae Appraiser Home Page

Everything Fannie In One Place!!

To read more, click here

Read more!!

9-6-19 Newz: Bidding Wars – Dumb Mistakes – U.S. Abandoned Places

Can Smart Appraisers Make Dumb Mistakes?

By George Dell, ASA, MAI, SRA

Excerpt: I am a smart and educated, award-winning appraiser. It is not possible for me to be irrational. Of course not. You can see that. I can see that.

A high IQ and education won’t necessarily protect you from highly irrational behavior—and it may sometimes amplify your errors. David Robson, in an Excerpt from The Intelligence Trap

Oh No! Who is this guy!? Doesn’t he know how smart I am? Why, even my peers have said I am smart. I pride myself on my critical thinking. Even my kids say that! What more proof do you need? Let’s get this straight: I am rational, smart, of high IQ and extremely educated, especially in my chosen field!

Recently, scientists have started to measure what things go with irrationality. There is even a name for this field of study, this measure: dysrationalia. The studies roughly parallel the studies of dyslexia and dyscalculia (difficulty in dealing with number things).

Understandable, Well Written and Interesting!! To read more, click here

Read more!!

8-2-19 Newz: Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer- Spreadsheet Shackles – Homes under $100,000

Spreadsheets: A Shackle to the Appraisal Profession? 

Excerpts: How can spreadsheet software hinder the profession? A Wall Street Journal article, and a presentation at the Appraisal Institute National Conference have similar stories. One addresses accountants, the other is about appraisers.

The 2015 AI meetings presentation: Will Appraisers Have to Learn to Use Real Analytics Software? was given by George Dell. The main point was that accountant’s software was primarily developed for record-keeping, mimicking paper columns and rows, with analysis a later goal. Other points are:

  • Validating and tracking data is difficult.
  • No built-in audit trails, nor tracking of changes.
  • Regulatory compliance is difficult to accomplish.
  • Susceptible to trivial human errors ETC.

To read more, click here

My comment: Read this article. I totally agree. I started using spreadsheets in 1981 for financial analysis. When I started my appraisal business in 1986, commercial appraisers were using spreadsheets for Discounted Cash Flow. I knew the many problems with spreadsheets’ reliability.

They are particularly unsuitable for statistics as they are not statistics programs. In my MBA program in 1979, I used SPSS for multiple regression analysis, connecting to a large computer.

Read more!!