Low Appraisal Fees in 2024

CFPB Crackdown: Unfair Practices Hurting Consumers

This includes Appraisal payments to appraisers by AMCs

by Josh Tucker, June 5, 2024

Comments must be received on or before August 2, 2024

Excerpts: As we all know many AMCs are not paying Customary & Reasonable fee as required by TILA. They have consistently pushed down the pay of Appraisers while making undisclosed profit off consumers and prioritizing cheapest and fastest over quality and competency. The CFPB has been in communication with individuals behind the scenes and are concerned with what has been shown enough to include AMCs in their data collection process.

Now is the time to send them everything we have. To drive legitimate change, we must encourage as many appraisers as possible to submit all relevant information to the contact details provided below.

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU

[Docket No. CFPB-2024-0021] NOTE: USE THIS LINK TO READ THE DOCUMENT AND THIS NAME TO USE THE COMMENTS PORTAL BELOW.

Request for Information Regarding Fees Imposed in Residential Mortgage Transactions AGENCY: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Docket No. CFPB-2024-0021, by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov . Follow the instructions for submitting comments. NOTE: THE SEARCH WAS NOT WORKING ON JUNE 6. MAY WORK LATER. CAN USE EMAIL.

Email: 2024-RFI-ResidentialMortgageFees@CFPB.gov. Include Docket No. CFPB-2024-0021 in the subject line of the message.

Mail / Hand Delivery / Courier: Comment Intake —Residential Mortgage Fees Assessment, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: DO SOMETHING. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. Let CFPB know about the amount of AMC fees for appraisers, plus other problems. In my opinion, AMCs are ruining residential lender appraising. I have never worked for an AMC, but I’ve been appraising for almost 50 years and understand the problems.

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Appraisal Fees & Value: Lessons from Picasso & Steinmetz

By “Apex Appraiser” June 3, 2024

The Appraisal Institute has been a source of frustration and criticism within the appraisal profession for quite some time. I must admit that I have also expressed my dissatisfaction with them. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge that the new CEO, Cindy Chance, appears to be a positive change and is making some valuable points about our profession from her new position. In particular, she recently discussed appraisal fees in a piece she wrote.

In this excerpt, she shares two stories that provide valuable insights. These stories, one involving art and the other science, highlight the fact that appraising is a combination of both.

First is the story about a young woman who encountered Pablo Picasso one spring day, in a park, sketching. She begged him to sketch her. He graciously agreed, and following a few moments of study and drawing, handed her a sketch of herself. When she asked what she owed him, Picasso answered “$5,000 madam.” “But it only took you five minutes.” “No, madam, it took me my whole life.”

To read more, plus many appraiser comments, Click Here

My comments: Worth reading, plus the appraisers comments. I have been following CEO Cyndi Chance since she started working for AI. It’s definitely a “breath of fresh air” for the AI!

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Appraisers Riding the Waves of Up and Down Mortgage Rates

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on state appraisal boards, liability, appraiser insurance, price per sq.ft. up 50%, sea level rise, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc

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Paperless Appraisal Office?

10 Steps to a Paperless Office

By Mike Fletcher

Excerpts: If you’ve talked to appraisers who have gone digital, you know they love not having boxes of old reports and workfiles cluttering their offices, homes, and garages and not spending money on paper, toner, and other equipment. Even better, appraisers who run a paperless office often enjoy increased productivity and efficiency.

If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of getting rid of paper, I’m sharing 10 steps to switch to a completely paperless office. While you may need to tailor this blueprint to your preferred methods and workflows, this will help you get started.

Summary

Switching to digital files and a paperless office saves you time and offers better protection for your files. Making the shift to get rid of printed documents and handwritten notes isn’t easy at first, but by going one step at a time and relying on your appraisal software’s tools, you’ll be paperless in no time.

Topics with detailed and practical advice:

1. Why do you want a paperless office?

2. Commit to change – Be aware of wanting to stay in the familiar

3. Identify your paper and how to go paperless

4. Obtain needed equipment for your paperless office

5. Determine your storage needs in a paperless office

6. Establish a new workflow in your paperless office

7. Going paperless starts small

8. Add another paperless item

9. Get trained

10. Seek out your peers

To read more, Click Here

My comments: What appraiser does not want to go paperless? No one. Read this article with lots of good advice!

Business is slow for many appraisers. Going paperless is an excellent option to consider.

This is by far the best article I have read on going paperless. It is written for appraisers, is understandable, and is not too long. The author is a veteran residential appraiser and self-proclaimed “Data Nerd.” He is currently a Senior Data Steward at Corelogic.

I have a home garage and business office full of appraisal files, plus my business records for taxes. I keep hoping someone will come in and steal all the paper and the filing cabinets

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on HUD bias Complaints, E&O insurance, home fire insurance, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc

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Tools To Support Appraisal Adjustments

What Tools Do You Use to Support Your Appraisal Adjustments?

By McKissock

As part of our monthly survey series, we asked our community of real estate appraisers, “What tool(s) do you use to support your appraisal adjustments?” Respondents were allowed to make multiple selections and write in their own answers as well.

Popular tools include Synapse by Spark, Solomon Adjustment Calculator, and Redstone by Bradford Technologies. The majority of respondents said they use a combination of various tools and methods, such as paired sales analysis.

We’ve included “paired sales/matched pair analysis” in the list as well, even though it’s a method rather than a digital or appraisal software tool, because it was mentioned by so many appraisers.

A few sample appraiser comments:

“I am capable of determining the adjustments without any software. I look at the MLS data and am able to determine appropriate adjustments. I would need to know all of the assumptions the software takes into consideration before I would trust the adjustment with my signature.”

“I use Synapse by Spark for typical property adjustments and Solomon for more complex properties.”

In addition to the top answers, we received many other write-in responses. Sample responses:

Allocation method

Depreciation

Cost to build

Sample appraiser comments

“Due to rural location, there are no algorithmic tools to be utilized for adjustment data. I utilize paired and grouped data analysis and experience and knowledge.”

To read more, Click Here

My comments: Short, well written, and Very Interesting, especially the appraiser’s comments! I quit doing adjustments a while ago. I always do market conditions adjustments (or explain why not) and for views and other factors that significantly add to value.

I have never used any of the appraisal software listed above. I use Excel and MLS data. I often go back in time for comps with views, etc. I also interview agents to see what they say. Not for a number, but about marketability.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Geographic Data and Comps, effect of renovation on value, very low foreclosures now, current real estate market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appliances for FHA appraisals

How does the FHA define appliances?

By Daniel A. Bradley, SRA, CDEI

In September of 2015, FHA revised Handbook 4000.1 to provide a specific definition, which includes:

Refrigerators

Ranges/ovens

Dishwashers

Garbage disposals

Microwaves

Washers and dryers

It’s important to note this does not include garage door openers, swimming pool pumps, intercoms, sound systems, and security systems.

How do appraisers consider appliances?

FHA Handbook 4000.1 also clarifies when appliances are required to be operational by stating, “Appliances that are to remain and that contribute to the market value opinion must be operational,” and, “The Appraiser must note all appliances that remain and contribute to the Market Value.”

FHA requirements for appliances: Is a house required to have a stove?

To read more, Click Here

My comments: Worth reading if you do FHA appraisals. Short and understandable. I did FHA appraisals for a few years in the mid-80s. Too many requirements so I quit doing them, but they helped me get started in my appraisal business.

 

Appraisers Riding the Waves of Up and Down Mortgage Rates

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on E&O and state boards, bias, 32% sales are new homes, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Freddie Advice: How to Avoid Using “Bad” Words

More Objective Appraisals: A Practical Guide for Appraisers

By Scott Reuter Single-Family Chief Appraisal Officer, Freddie Mac

Excerpts: Changing the Mindset – Facts First

What’s the number one thing appraisers should be doing when they develop an appraisal? Stick to the facts. Here are a few more best practices that can help appraisers achieve more objective appraisals.

  • Don’t think like a salesperson – avoid words that may be common in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and used to help sell a home.
  • Don’t use shorthand – both ‘123 Church Street’ and ‘123 Church’ could refer to an address but might come across differently in an appraisal.
  • Don’t copy and paste – avoid copying from Wikipedia or old appraisal reports or commonly used templates when providing neighborhood descriptions for similar communities.
  • Use pre-screening practices – while you can implement your own pre-screening process, some appraisal companies can implement them too.

To read more, click here 

My comments: Read this article! Not just a list of words and phrases. Excellent examples and analysis. The author started as a second-generation practicing residential appraiser. He knows what you want.

 

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on effect of low rates on existing home loans, Liability, Bias, FHA manufactured home changes, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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ChatGPT for Appraisers

ChatGPT: Valuable Tool or a Replacement for Real Estate Appraisers?

by Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach

Excerpts: ChatGPT: A Game-Changer for Appraisal Work

For those who have embraced it, ChatGPT has been transforming multiple aspects of appraisal work, such as:

Appraisal Work:

  • Writing narrative
  • Market analysis
  • Market-specific information
  • Descriptions of adjustments
  • Terminology
  • ResearchMarketing:
  • Creating lists
  •  Writing emails and messages to current and potential clients
  • Crafting blogs
  • Strategizing networking and relationship development
  • Writing presentations for ‘lunch and learn’ events with real estate agents
  • Crafting the perfect apology letter when you upset a key loan officer in your small town
  • To read lots more, click here
  • My comments: Many thanks to Dustin for writing this article! I have not had time to use it, but have been reading and watching demos about how it can be used for appraisers for awhile. It definitely can be very useful, as Dustin explains. It can be tricky at first to use, but Dustin explains it.

I recently had to renew my California Driver’s license, as I am over 70 and had to do a written exam and eye test. I had difficulty setting up an appointment and clicked on “Chatbot”. It was much friendlier than any other Chat support I have used. I recognized the use of software similar to ChatGPT.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, liability, markets with few sales, Bias, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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State Appraisal Boards – What Do They Look For?

The State Appraisal Board Wants to Throw Me Under the Bus, Right?

by Barry Phillips and Tim Andersen

Excerpts: So, what do the investigator and the state board look for as part of their investigation? Again, simply put, the investigator and board look to see if the appraisal meets the requirements of USPAP’s Standard 1, and if the report meets the requirements of USPAP’s Standard 2. Everything else in such an investigation is merely an elaboration of the answers to these two questions.

Nevertheless, there is a warning due here. Increased numbers of state appraisal boards are looking at complaints against appraisers from the standpoint of the consumer, rather than that of the client and/or the intended user(s).

This, to a great extent, is a function of the current political climate. As all appraisers are aware, the consumer has no standing with the appraiser (assuming the consumer is not the named client or intended user). Nevertheless, state boards tend to favor the consumer (the complainant) over the appraiser (the respondent).

To read more, click here

My comments: Good analysis of how state boards work and what they look for. Tim Andersen, MAI, is definitely “The” USPAP Expert.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Fannie Modernization, non-lender appraisals, liability, lender bias, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appraising Fixer Uppers

Appraising Fixer Uppers

Excerpts: We’re all familiar with the term “fixer-upper.” For many different reasons, properties can come on the market in less-than-par condition. The degree and cost to cure becomes an issue to buyers and sellers, and a challenge for appraisers. At some point it’s no longer “normal market value minus cost to cure equals as-is value.”

The terms “entrepreneurial incentive” and “entrepreneurial profit” are typically discussed in terms of investment property, but the principles involved can also be applied to the many fixer-uppers—whether the buyer is a “purely investor type” or an “owner occupied investor type.” Maybe a couple new terms should be discussed: “sweat equity incentive” and “sweat equity profit.”

The rest of the post is a very good case study

To read more, click here

My comments: I have appraised many fixer-uppers. My overall ratings are: Unlivable with holes in wall or ceiling, kitchen, and bath not functional, not lendable, etc. ) In my MLS “contractor special” is often used.  Liveable: needs work but functional kitchen and bath.

Most of my appraisals are for estates, and fixers are relatively common. There are few comps as almost all homes are fixed up for sale. There are some good ideas in this post. Even if you have comps, there is often a very wide range of conditions.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on liability, appraisal errors, non-lender appraisals, Fannie non-appraisal options, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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The Power of Praise for Appraisers and Clients 3-24-23

The Power of Praise

By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS, CDEI

Excerpts: …I received a really nice compliment from a reviewer with the Farm Credit Bureau. I had completed a complex appraisal assignment and was expecting multiple revision requests, but instead, got a note saying how thorough my appraisal report was and thanking me for the work. A couple days later, I got a call from a relocation company reviewer on another mind-boggling relocation assignment. Again, I was expecting multiple questions about the report since it was complex and atypical for the area. Instead this reviewer proceeded to tell me that it was one of the most detailed and well-developed reports he had seen in all his years reviewing relocation work. Boy I wish I had that one in writing!

Granted, I tend to be a bit verbose because I like to write, and I believe that it is important that my work be understandable, and not just now but in the future. I tend to put a similar amount of effort into the communication side for all clients, and like to think that my work product is solid. This begs the question of why two reviewers went out of their way to compliment my work, when it seems that almost every mortgage assignment that I complete for a production group, comes back with stipulations.

Stipulations that I forgot to add a listing which was a requirement of the engagement agreement (yes, I missed that) or that I didn’t put a sketch of an unfinished basement in the report (yes, I missed that as well). No words of thank you for an otherwise job well done. I missed something, fix it.

To read more, click here

My comments: Rachel is one of my favorite appraisal authors. She has seen all sides of the residential appraisal profession. Rachel has shifted between lender staff appraiser and reviewer and fee appraisals. Currently, she is a reviewer for a large lender. You could send a link to this article to a Very Picky or Very Supportive reviewer.>

Why Appraisers Love Appraising!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non-lender appraisals and liability, sharing comps, Fannie Update, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Practical Tips for Working With AMCs

Appraisers Share Their Best Tips for Working with AMCs

By McKissock

Excerpts: In a nutshell, our survey respondents recommended that you should:

1) do your research and get to know the AMCs,

2) build a relationship with them,

3) treat the relationship as a partnership, and

4) prioritize communication.

Build a relationship

“Be personable so they remember you.”

“Make yourself known by being efficient as well as timely with your reports. Be friendly—even when you feel like the UW’s question may be redundant or was already answered in the report. I promise you that this will make you known in your area.”

“Have a very responsive credo. Keep them up to date in every step of the report so that they can keep the Lender (and the Buyer/Seller/Realtor/Closing Attorneys when applicable) all in the loop on the progress of the report. Remember when they look good and trust you—you look good

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

“Update the orders quickly.”

“Keep them informed.”

“Over communicate!”

“Always communicate—even if it feels like too much. Our office updates AMCs on every scheduling attempt with details, every inspection appointment set and completion, and any materials needed ASAP in the assignment. They really appreciate it, and it ensures you can complete assignments on time as you had planned (no one likes waiting for a legal description only to have it show up on your day of 4 inspections!). It’s truly a win-win.”

“Stay in communication. Appraisers tend to get annoyed with constant emails from the AMC about inspection date, completion, report submission, etc. I make it a point to update them and answer their emails ASAP. In my opinion, that’s good business. And if you do need more time, more info, they are more willing to oblige.”

To read more, click here

My comments: Read this blog post with practical tips from practicing appraisers. It can help you get more business from AMCs (and other lender clients). Savvy appraisers I know who mostly do non-lender work also have a limited number of carefully vetted AMCs they work for, plus a few local lenders and “private” lenders.

Advertising Disclaimer: McKissock is one of my regular email advertisers. I keep my advertising clients and this newsletter’s content separate. But, McKissock’s blog posts are short, well written, and popular with readers, so I include them regularly.

LIA runs an informational ad at the top of each email newsletter. The ads regularly get the largest number of “hits,” indicating that readers like them. We all like free Liability advice!

Practical real estate appraisal writing tips for AMC questions

Reconsideration of value and Appraisers

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on AMCs, non-lender appraisals, liability, ROVs,unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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