Appraisal News and Business Tips

george dell

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

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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.

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5-10-19 Newz: Fannie Changes – Appraisal Changes – Very Crooked House

How is Appraisal Gonna Change?

By George Dell

Excerpt: What new “appraisal methods and techniques” have we seen? As I speak to reviewers who see valuations from around the country, there seems to be a degradation of quality. Less analysis rather than more. Less explanation rather than clearer logic. More “trust me” and less “see my reasoning.”

What does the world really need? Trust my opinion-or see the result? Trust my comps-or see market parameters.

Competitors for valuation, risk, and investment needs want “better, faster, cheaper.” For now, lets just look at “better.” What is “better?”

“Better” is actually fairly simple. There are only three parts: 1) is the right question being asked; 2) is the result true (accurate); and 3) how sure (precise) is the result? So, let’s look briefly at each of these needs, and how each can be helped with today’s technology.

https://georgedell.com/how-is-appraisal-gonna-change/

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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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1-31-18 Newz: Birdlike Buildings – Most Expensive Home $238M – 300 years of land use changes

AMCs and Respect for Appraisers??

By Rachel Massey, SRA
Excerpt: …an example of an AMC that is not paying attention to the comments from the declination. If an appraiser declines due to coverage area, then it should not be reassigned. But also, if appraisers decline because the fee is inadequate, is upping it a paltry $25 going to cut it? In the time between the initial order and the subsequent, ten days passed. Had the AMC picked up the phone and started calling appraisers, they may have had much better success at finding someone who first of all covers the area, and second of all, would tell them how much it would take for them to take on the assignment.

My comments: Worth reading plus the appraiser comments, of course!!
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1-17-19 Newz: $2M deminimus? – $3M Funding for Res Appr Startup – Appeals Board Members Fall Asleep

Should we raise the deminimus to $2 million? Or $5 million?

By George Dell
Excerpt: To simplify this discussion, let’s note two facts:  Appraisers can perform ‘evaluations’, normally using the same scope of work as an unlicensed “evaluator”.  What’s the difference?  It appears to me that there is one key difference.  The question is then:  Which part of the service is not required?  Is it the integrity/ethics, or the performance (such as using the right data and analysis)?

It appears to me that since unlicensed persons can charge less, have less tax/fee burden (for licensing, education, and errors/omissions insurance- the less ethical, less responsible ‘evaluator’ can always outbid the licensed appraiser every time.

Read the full blog post and appraiser comments. What do you think? Add your comments.

My comments: Interesting analysis by George, of course!! Credit unions are proposing to raise the commercial deminimus to $1,000,000. I didn’t know they made commercial loans. Guess they forgot about the commercial crash in the late 1980s.
As long as Fannie and Freddie (and their investors) require res appraisals, it won’t have a big effect on residential. The FIRREA deminimus in 1989 was $200,000. No effect on much of anything, even though we thought the Sky Was Falling.

The usual Mortgage Cycle: Good Business = lower requirements. Bad Business = higher requirements.

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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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9-27-18 Newz//Two Appraiser Brains? -Fannie Waivers – Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Do You Have Two Appraiser Brains?

By George Dell
Excerpt: One appraiser brain says you must be “independent, impartial, and objective.” (USPAP) It wants to be good. It wants integrity and to sleep peacefully at night.

But there’s another brain. It’s primal and wants to survive. It has other responsibilities: meet the bills, feed the family, pay the mortgage, and pay government taxes/fees. And recorded in this brain is that part of the standards which say: Do what your clients expect; do what everyone else does. As paraphrased, the sole guides to an acceptable scope of work.

Worth reading. Short. Plus the comments.
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7 Fantastic Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Excerpt: Dubbed by the American Institute of Architects as the “greatest American architect of all time,” Wright designed more than 1,100 buildings, 532 of which were eventually built. From his early designs in the low-slung Prairie School style to the efficient, affordable Usonian style inspired by the Great Depression, everything Wright created aimed to create spaces that he described as “eloquent and humane.”
Photos and info at:

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/frank-lloyd-wright-homes-on-the-market

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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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8-16-18 Newz//Market starting to tank? ;Unusual Homes ;Public Trust Failed?

Bye-bye 1004MC, Hello Analysis

By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS
Excerpt: What does this mean to the residential practitioner operating in the mortgage space? It means that the requirement for analyzing the market remains, and it is now up to the practitioner to support their opinion, without the benefit of a flawed format. Appraisers can now choose how they present their analysis, which may include multiple sources to support an opinion. Fannie Mae is clear that the one-unit housing trends section should reflect properties that are directly competitive with the property being appraised. The following information relates to several different ways to support trends, but is not an exhaustive list.

Read the full article here:

My comment: FHA and VA still require 1004mc, plus some lenders and AMCs. Freddie is expected to drop the requirement.
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