Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out?

Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out? Federal Regulators Vote to Loosen Requirements

Excerpt: What’s that drone doing hovering over a property?

Soon that sight may be the norm on homes for sale.

The days of human appraisers may be coming to an end for homes priced under $400,000, if regulation proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve gets approved.
Previously, only homes valued under $250,000 could be purchased or sold without the use of a human appraiser. That threshold is potentially being raised to $400,000, opening up more business for drone-monitored and computer-generated home valuations. The vote is nearly there, awaiting expected agreement from the Federal Reserve before the regulation takes effect.

While the appraisal industry is concerned the change could negatively impact real estate at large, the brokerage side of the business predicts the threshold hike should have minimal effects on homeownership and the home-buying experience.

Comments from many sides of the issue and lots of comments by readers.

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Appraiser Mistakes

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. But appraiser mistakes are not good.

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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Practical real estate appraisal writing tips for AMC questions

Write Like A Professional – Very Practical Writing Tips for AMC/underwriter questions

By Tim Andersen

Excerpt: QUESTION: I like to use the term, “in my professional opinion” as part of my reports. After all, I am a professional paid to express opinions. Recently, the reviewer for an AMC requested I remove that term from my report since, in her words, “…it has nothing to do with value”. Is the reviewer overreaching on this? The reviewer has the right to tell me if there is an error in my report, but not to criticize the language I use in my report. What should I do?

ANSWER: As Gertrude Stein was supposed to have said upon seeing Oakland, California for the first time: “There’s no there there!” For good or ill, the same may be said about many real estate appraisal reports and the convoluted language they insist on using…..

Excellent and practical. To read more click here

My comment: this is the best article I have ever seen for practical tips on how to reply to AMC/underwriter questions with lots of examples.

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Price per square foot not very reliable for appraisals

Why price per square foot is not the appraisers choice

By Rachel Massey

Excerpt: Often, buyers and sellers are under the impression that it is simple to price a house by its square footage. Nothing is further from the truth, unless of course, all the comparable properties considered are within a couple square feet of each other and have the same quality and condition and are in the same immediate neighborhood with no variation in the value of the site.

Underneath all is the land. This means that a house that sits on a hypothetical 60×120 sqft site should have the same underlying value if the house were 1,000 sqft or 2,000 sqft. If land is selling for $50,000 for this 7,200 sqft lot, then the value of the land does not change in value because it has a larger or a smaller house on it.

For more information and to check out the graphs click here

My comment: Good explanation and graphs. Written for buyers and sellers but a good explanation when you are trying to explain why Price per sq.ft. often is not reliable. Also, a very good blog post marketing to buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

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When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal(Opens in a new browser tab)

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

By George Dell

Excerpt: A recent study includes a graph which shows that some 90% of appraisals hit the sale price exactly, or were higher, while only some 10% were below the sale price (when the sale price is known).

Is this a bias on the part of appraisers, or is the bias the cause of the system? What could possibly cause this strong upside skew?

First, ignore the ongoing pressures from the entire ‘loan industry’ to make the loan, make the commission, make the quota, make the bonus, and look successful. Ignore the claimed purpose of the public trust (of our quasi-governmental standards and licensing quagmire).

The goal of protecting the public trust failed, and will fail again— this time with different excuses and blaming— but it will fail again.

Let’s look at some underlying economic truths and social/governmental policy. What economics and public policies come into play here? Three come to mind immediately:

To read the full, very interesting post click here

My comment: When I started my appraisal business in 1986, I was told by local very experienced appraisers to appraise at the sales price or I may be kicked off a lender’s approved list. Of course, since I was trained at an assessor’s office, I was shocked and refused to do this… There was always another lender client I could get.

Dell’s blog has very short posts. My June paid newsletter will have a much longer article written by him: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” It has a brief look into the past, including a photo of an acoustic coupler for connecting to remote sites. Plus, of course, comments on the future! I remember 30 baud transmission rates in the early 1980s connecting from my home PC to my company’s servers;>

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What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Don’t pick appraisal comps the old way

Are you violating USPAP every day?

If you pick comps the old way, you may be violating USPAP every day!

Excerpts: (In the past) Data was hard to get. I was taught it was only necessary to use only three or four comps. And only a few comps were available. I did learn the importance of bracketing from my trainers (it was nowhere in my appraiser education). I was diligent, and of course, I picked my necessary and available comps carefully. Don’t pick appraisal comps the old way.

Then things changed. No one noticed. MLS came on line. Income properties came online. Public records came online.  All relevant sales became available. Instantly. Without thinking, I ignored the “as available” rule. But stuck to the ‘as necessary’ rule. And heck, everybody used just three comps. In fact, USPAP says I should do what my peers would do. And they all used just three or four.

So, what changed?

Today in most areas, all the sales are available. But are they necessary? Well no. All my peers use just three or four, so it is ok. But what if I want to do more than achieve credible results?

To read more, click here

My comment: I love George’s Most Excellent headlines plus his writings!! His blog posts are short, as they should be. But, sometimes we want to read more. The June issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have his 6-page article: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” about the past, current and future in appraisal analysis. Very interesting!!

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Dancing and Crooked Houses for Appraisers

Krzywy Domek, The Very Crooked Little House of Sopot, Poland

Woops!! I forgot to include this in last week’s newsletter!!

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: In 2004, the Polish architecture firm Szotynski & Zaleski built a wonderfully illusory building in Sopot, Poland that doesn’t quite look real. The design was based upon whimsical, fairy tale sketches of artist Jan Marcin Szancer and is quite aptly named “Krzywy Domek” or crooked little house. The building’s front facade is made up of crooked lines and distorted shapes that recall childhood cartoons, but the back of the building is a rather standard setup that leads to the main shopping area.

Check out the videos and fotos.

My comment: Fascinating!! I think this is the most crooked house I have ever seen. No photoshopping done on fotos!!
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The Famous Dancing House of Prague by Frank Gehry

Another Just for Fun House!!

Excerpts: The building is also affectionately known as “Fred and Ginger” due to its resemblance to a perpetually swaying couple. Like the Crooked House of Sopot, Poland, the unusual lines of the building stand out from the rest of the neighborhood.

Lots of fotos at:

Brief summary of details: http://architectuul.com/architecture/the-dancing-house  Can also google it for lots of background info.

My comments: Take a break from writing up your appraisal reports and Take a Look at the photos!! And be glad you don’t have to appraise a house that looks like this ;>

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post to see photos of Ghery’s other strange buildings!!

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Appraisal Adjustments Yes, No, Maybe

 

In Search of “Perfect” Adjustment Factors

By Richard Price

Excerpt: Although a “perfect” adjustment may not exist, the search for perfect adjustments in appraisal reports is becoming a hot topic with many interesting articles, continuing education courses, and webinars addressing the subject. The message is clear. If an appraiser can’t support the adjustments, the results of the appraisal are subject to question, leading to several possible outcomes; none of them good. So, we will define the “perfect” adjustment factor as the best and most appropriate adjustment that should be made to the comparables.

https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/in-search-of-perfect-adjustmment-factors/

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Adjustments, now what?

By George Dell
Excerpt: We’re told to “support” our adjustments.  We hear words like “prove” your adjustments. . . as if there were some magic formula which can give an exact, correct, and absolutely true number.

It used to be so easy. . . Our trainer gave us a sheet with the “right” adjustments. Simple.

USPAP Standards Rule 1-1 says we must be aware of, understand, and correctly employ recognized methods and techniques. What are they? Who recognizes them? How do I apply them?

So, what are these methods and techniques? Let’s look.

In The Appraisal of Real Estate (ARE) p.46, it says: “Qualitative analysis techniques may also be applied for elements of comparison for which quantitative adjustments cannot be developed.”  So, it seems the very first reference in the ARE says some adjustments cannot be quantitatively developed!

For lots more Dell Adjustment Writings, go to the Adjustment Archives:

https://georgedell.com/category/adjustments

My comments on adjustments: CU in 2015 revealed residential form appraising’s “dirty little secret”: lack of support for adjustments.

Before starting my appraisal business in 1986, I worked part time for a local appraiser for 3-4 months. I went out with him first on a few lender appraisals. I will never forget asking him where the adjustments came from. He said “we use these” with no explanation. Later I asked other appraisers and they had the same answer.

Finally, about 3-4 years ago, I quit doing adjustments on form appraisals except for market conditions and factors that significantly affected the value, such as a very good view. Those adjustments were supported.

Appraisal Business Tips

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For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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FHA appraisal problems

Common FHA Violations

Excerpt: I’ve been performing FHA appraisals since 2000. Believe it or not, on a regular basis, I have home owners and real estate agents who tell me that some of the things I point out as FHA violations, were never mentioned in other FHA appraisal inspections. So, I thought I would mention some relatively common FHA violations I see when making my FHA inspections.

My comment: Funny Fotos and Videos!! I have seen similar photos around but there are many here in one place. Written for home owners, but good reminders for appraisers.

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Common Appraiser Violations

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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Geographic competency for appraisers

At What Point Does an Appraiser Need Geographic Competency?

Excerpt: It seems that some, and I emphasize some, agents are of the mindset that if the appraiser’s office is not in relatively close proximity to the property being appraised, or if the appraiser doesn’t live in a nearby area, that they do not possess geographic competency. And they may be right.

However, the appraiser’s office location or where they live, in relation to the property being appraised, has little if anything to do with geographic competency!

To be geographically competent simply means that the appraiser has the skills and resources needed in order to competently complete the assignment, in harmony with the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

My comments: Why has this become so important? Once again, Lenders Run Appraising. AMCs do what they say. They put restrictions on how far away appraisers could be from their offices. Similar to the restrictions on how far away, or recent, comps should be.

Before USPAP and lender meddling, I used to appraise a large geographic area. If you are an experienced appraiser it is not hard to figure out neighborhoods, positive and negative factors, and read MLS for clues. Plus, contact local real estate agents and appraisers if needed.

I have been doing appraisals only in my small city for the past 2-3 years. The longer I appraise, the more I realized what I don’t know. I can hardly keep up with my very local market. Maybe I should only appraise within 2 blocks of my office ;> I go on tour every week but sometimes I miss a house if there area lot to see. Of course, that is always my best comp!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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