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!!

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Traditionalist, advanced, vocational appraisers. What are you?

What kind of appraiser are you?

By George Dell
Excerpt: Let’s put aside the ‘art’ versus ‘science’ discussion, where the artists say: “No computer will ever replace the appraiser”, or “No amount of education will ever replace experience”. The other side seems a bit confused.  There are traditionalists.  And there are the “advanced” appraisers.  And there are the “vocational” appraisers, who don’t seem to care much about all of this.  They just want to push through as many reports as possible.  The skeptics tend to doubt some of the old theory, as well as some of the “new theory”. Traditionalist, advanced, vocational appraisers. What are you?

My comment: Worth reading. I am a “traditionalist/skeptic”. What are you?

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Appraisal Comp Photos Drive or Not Drive?

To Drive or Not To Drive, That is the Question!!

Excerpt: The argument of using MLS photos or shooting your own photos has been debated by appraisers for the last few decades. You, as appraisers, want to be sure the comparables you are using are of the correct house and also look as the MLS illustrates. Most importantly, you want to make sure the house is still standing. The listing agent’s job is to sell the house. As the salesperson they will highlight all the positives and leave the negatives up to the imagination. This is one of the main reasons it is extremely important to not solely rely on MLS when utilizing comparables.

Click here to read the full post, plus over 50 comments from appraisers. Add your own comments!!

My comment: this issue has been going on for decades and is still controversial. Especially in rural areas!! Note: the post is a sorta promo for proxpics, a photo taking service, but the appraiser comments are great.

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Bots replacing appraisers?

Sorry, home appraisers, bots are coming for your jobs

NOTE: This post was published in December 2018. This topic has been going on for a very long time since AVMs started in the 1970s. 

Federal regulators are looking to change appraisal rules to allow for more automated appraisals
Excerpt: Such a change could prove lucrative for upstart property valuation companies that use algorithms, artificial intelligence and drones to value homes. If these rule changes had been in effect last year, roughly 214,000 additional home sales, or some $68 billion worth, could have traded hands without an appraiser. Bots replacing appraisers?
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Plan to Reduce Human Appraisals May Lead to ‘Wildly Inaccurate’ Estimates 
From NAR: 
Excerpt: Automated home evaluations likely would take the place of in-person appraisals for qualifying properties-a move appraisers warn could lead to inaccurate estimates and more sellers who are unrealistic about home value.

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Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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11-29-18 Newz// Proposed $400k threshold for appraisals -The American Garage – a very strange room

$400,000 Proposed bank threshold for appraisals to be replaced by evaluations

Below are links to the proposed rule, what others are saying, and where to send your comments on the proposed rule.
OCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Exempt Residential Real Estate Transactions of $400,000 or Less from Appraisal Requirements
Excerpts: Rather than requiring an appraisal, the proposal would require that residential real estate transactions exempted by the threshold obtain an evaluation consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

Read what the OCC says in their announcement – one page www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2018/nr-occ-2018-123.html

Comments will be accepted for 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

Instructions in the full Full 69-page proposed rulemaking. Download the above link and search for comments

The word “evaluation” is included many times in the document. Google evaluation to see what it says.

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FDIC, OCC, Fed propose raising appraisal threshold for first time since 1994. Good analysis of how many loans would be affected:

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Push to cut back on home appraisals sparks controversy
By Ken Harney, long time nationally syndicated real estate writer who regularly writes about appraisal issues

Excerpt: The Trump administration wants to eliminate professional appraisals on a large number of home-sale transactions – a move that critics say could push the country back toward the see-no-evil days of mortgage lending that preceded the housing crash.

Includes comments from appraisers Ryan Lundquist and Pat Turner plus Appraisal Institute.
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Link to Appraisal Institute letter
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Get rid of appraisers while nobody’s looking
By Ryan Lundquist

 

Excerpt: I’m guessing these “evaluators” will be real estate agents who do BPOs, employees at banks and data firms, and probably some appraisers who need the work at $75-$100 a pop.

Read it here, plus the appraiser comments, of course.
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My comments:
– FIRREA increased the deminimus from $200,000 (1989) to $250,000 in 1994, but appraisals were still done. Why? Fannie and Freddie’s investors wanted them. FHA, VA, etc did not adopt the deminimus.
– What is an ‘evaluation’ and who does them? Hopefully, someone will tell me what is an evaluation?
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Bolwoningen Ball Houses – difficult appraisals!

Bolwoningen Ball Houses

 Excerpt: Bolwoningen consists of 50 sphere houses. The balls are made of cement, reinforced with fiberglass. They are mounted on the base in the form of a cylinder. Each sphere’s diameter is 18 feet and each has 11 round windows. The layout of these structures is quite unusual. In the center of the sphere there is a bathroom and a tiny bedroom, and a living room and kitchen, are located on the second floor-level. The house can be completely disassembled and transported to any other place (the weight of this building is only about 2755 lbs). In addition, this building can be placed not only on the ground, but also on water, on a stationary platform. Bolwoningen Ball Houses – difficult appraisals!

Locals didn’t quite appreciate the vision of the architect, but there are plenty of tourists, who would love to visit or even experience living in these futuristic houses.

My comment: Fascinating!! It was built in 1984 and is surrounded by standard homes. Check out the 2 links above and/or google bolwoningen ball houses

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Sheds vs. outbuildings for appraisals

Are Sheds Outbuildings?

Excerpts: Often, when appraising homes, I see MLS listings that call a shed an out building. Ask any appraiser and they will likely say that a shed is not an outbuilding. So, are sheds outbuildings?…

In appraising properties, there is a big difference in value between a shed and a large outbuilding. Most of the time, at least in my market, sheds really do not add any significant market value to a home. However, a large out building can add tens of thousands of dollars in value to a home…

Well written and worth reading:

My comments: I never really thought about this before, even though I see a lot of “sheds”…

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Wearing shoes in a house for appraisal

The Ugly (and Filthy) Truth About Wearing Shoes in the House

Excerpts: “Shoes off, please.” A reasonable request? Or are those fightin’ words?

Arguably, no other three monosyllabic words have ever led to more irritated house guests, resentful homeowners and thriving sales of shoe racks, slippers, and sing-songy, passive-aggressive signs. (“Since little fingers touch our floor, please remove your shoes at our door!”)… “So many germs and bacteria can be brought in from your shoes, including toxins and E. coli,” Mitzner explains…

“So, if one removes their shoes,” he asks, “what about all the potential bacteria on their socks?” Plus, even if you abide by a strict rule of “no shoes,” you can’t escape the fact that the interior of your home is still covered in germs, Adalja says. How reassuring.

While there are scientific arguments both for and against pulling off footwear the moment you enter the front door, experts do seem to agree on one thing: To minimize the risk of getting sick, go out of your way to keep a clean home.

My comment: I hate taking off my shoes in a house!! I have to put them, or disposable booties, back on when going in and out of the house. But, since reading this article, I am so glad I have hardwood floors with no carpets and no small children ;> Of course, the bottom line: it is their house and they can decide.


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City and building maps for appraisers

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? City and building maps for appraisers

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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Valuation by Comparison – Very good residential book

Buy This Book!! Valuation by Comparison, Second Edition by Mark Ratterman, MAI, SRA

I reviewed it in the July, 2018 issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

One of the best books I have ever read for residential appraisers. (There are only a few that I recommend.)

More info and how to purchase at:

Appraisal Adjustments Yes, No, Maybe(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

 

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