SFR with ADU or Two Units?

How to Identify a Single-Family with ADU vs. Two-Family Property

By McKissock

Excerpts:

The presence of an additional living unit can complicate the appraisal process. It may make it difficult for you, the appraiser, to know how to classify the subject property. How do you know whether you’re dealing with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a second unit?

Topics include:

  • ADU meaning and types
  • What is a two-family property?
  • How to tell if it’s a single-family with ADU vs. two-family property
  • It’s more likely to be a two-family property vs. single-family with ADU if:
  • It’s more likely to be a single-family with ADU vs. two-family property if:

To read more, click here

My comments: ADUs have been a controversial topic for a long time in California as state and local governments kept changing their ADU requirements. Finally, what they are and where they can be built became standardized. Today, they are becoming popular to get extra rentals in markets low on housing. Most recently, there is a possible regulation to sell them separately from the main house. Another tricky HBU issue in California!

Check the regulations in your state, county, or city.

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NAR Member Survey on Appraisal Data Collectors

NAR  Member Survey on Data Collectors

Excerpts: In May 2023, NAR surveyed its members pertaining to data collectors in the appraisal process. Here are a few of the many survey results.

Survey respondents

Sales agents accounted for the largest proportion, with 45% of participants holding this license. Brokers followed with 24%, and appraisal-certified professionals comprised 14% of the respondents. Broker-Associates and Appraisal Licensees accounted for 13% and two percent, respectively, while the remaining two percent reported holding other types of real estate licenses.

According to the survey responses, the majority of participants (76%) perceive the quality of property data collected by data collectors to be lower than that collected by appraisers themselves. Conversely, 23% of respondents believe that the quality of data collected by data collectors is comparable to that of appraisers.

The survey findings indicate that 30% of respondents reported that a data collector had given them the impression that they were the appraiser or had a role other than merely collecting property data.

Fifty-one percent of respondents expressed safety concerns with the data collection process.

To read more, click here

My comments: Now we know what NAR members think about it. Not very positive. I was surprised at how negative they were. Read the full report. Very interesting. I am working on an article on Hybrid Appraisals for the November issue of Appraisal Today. To me, the big issue is who is doing the inspections. Only appraisers do the appraisals. I see very different levels of inspectors.

Before Covid, I talked with various AMC upper-level managers who were testing it. What they were doing about inspectors had a wide range. They included appraisers, real estate agents, and someone with a week, a month, or online video training. They should definitely not be paid the same. An AMC can offer different levels to their clients, depending on how much reliability their lender customers want or need.

On a more positive side, I have done thousands of drive by appraisals since 1986. I drove by the house and looked at what was nearby, etc. For example, I’m appraising a Victorian built before 1910. There is no way to know what the inside looks like or the foundation (many are brick). Using MLS photos is a joke, as real estate agents don’t take photos of defects. A buyer gets a seller’s disclosure statement for that information. I would be more comfortable if someone used an app that was set up to take specific photos, do floor plan, etc. At least I would have some independent photos.

Data Collectors: Appraisers vs. Uber Drivers

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NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

In July 2023, NAR Research conducted a survey of all 9,800 appraiser members and 50,000 randomly-selected residential-focused non-appraiser members.

The survey results had a comparison of 2022 and 2023, which was very interesting.

  • Appraiser Topics
  • Greatest challenges in business
  • Lesser challenges with business
  • Valuations
  • Comfort with valuation tools
  • Radius in which appraisals are conducted
  • Radius by area type (rural, small town, urban, resort, suburban)
  • How often asked to conduct appraisals outside geographic area/Property type of expertise

Sample: Greatest challenges in business

(AMCs) in general among their greatest challenges. This year, this option was broken into three separate AMC-related issues. Forty-four percent cite at least one of these, with 28 percent specifically citing AMC requests for revisions.

This year, however, the single greatest challenge, cited by almost half (47 percent), is “fee pressures,” which, based on comments, is also related in many cases to pressure from AMCs. This is up sharply from 27 percent last year.

One-quarter (26 percent) cite technology fees (not an option in 2022). Appraisers are less likely this year to cite expanding regulations/interpretations of regulations, lender requirements, pressure from real estate agents/brokers, and liability concerns.

The 21 percent who cite other challenges are most likely to cite lack of business/slow market, rising interest rates, low fees, and to reiterate pressure from AMCs.

A very good graphic is included for each section.

To read the report, click here

My comments: Read the appraiser sections in the long report. Fortunately, appraiser results are in the first section. I read the full survey. Most of the questions were for all NAR members, both appraisers and non-appraiser members. Some may be of interest to you. Much of the appraiser results were what we already sort of suspected, but it is good to see actual survey results.

NAR Appraisal Survey 2022

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Appraiser Salaries

What’s the Average Real Estate Appraiser Salary?

Excerpts: On average, appraisers earn $102,620 a year. However… the average appraiser salary varies significantly across license levels.

Trainee appraisers earn an average annual income of about $53K. Licensed appraisers earn approximately $89K per year. Certified residential appraisers earn more than $101K annually. And certified general appraisers earn the most, making approximately $145K per year.

Like with many professions, the more time you put in, the more your hard work pays off. Average earnings tend to increase the longer an appraiser is in the profession, with the greatest jump being from 0-2 years of experience to 2-5 years of experience. Appraisers who have put in 16+ years in the appraisal industry tend to make the most ($118K), while those who have less than 2 years of experience earn the least ($43K).

To read more and see the charts, click here

My comments: Mckissock results are from their own survey of appraisers. I have seen this type information before, but mostly from contacting companies, recruiters or government databases. Most res appraisers are fee appraisers, but this lets you know the relative income levels based on various factors.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your license, this illustrates the income levels. For example, I do both commercial and residential appraisals, a significant positive factor in my income. When one is slow, I do more work in the other. Of course, if you are only licensed you should upgrade ASAP.

Relatively few residential appraisers have salaried jobs, but they are available at lenders, AMCs, assessors, etc.

My first appraisal job at a county assessor’s office in 1975 paid $900 per month. I would have never become an appraiser without a salaried job. Also, due to “affirmative action” at that time, women were hired for the first time as appraisers at assessor’s offices and lenders. An appraiser I know was hired by FHA as an appraiser trainee. She was previously a secretary. There were few women at my appraisal classes.

Until the early 1990s, when lenders outsourced appraisals to fee appraisers, most res appraisers had staff lender jobs.

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Apps for Appraisers

7 Must-Have Apps for Appraisers

By: McKissock

Excerpts:

1. Dragon Anywhere

Dragon Anywhere is a dictation and speech-to-text app that allows you to create, edit, and share documents from your mobile device. This professional-grade dictation service could save you tons of time on typing reports and taking notes in the field. The company boasts a 99% accuracy rate as well as powerful voice editing capabilities. Dragon is very well-liked among appraisal professionals, making it number one on our list of must-have apps for appraisers.

6. Genius Scan

This app gets a lot of love from appraisers. Genius Scan makes it easy to scan, upload, and share documents using your mobile devices. It can even scan handwriting and convert it into text. This tool is excellent for making copies of tax records, floor plans, etc. Over 200 million users and thousands of small businesses are currently using Genius Scan. This app could be a lifesaver for your workfile creation.

To read about the other 5 apps, click here

My comments: Worth checking out. When business is slow is an excellent time to look for new apps, learn how to use your MLS and forms software, etc. etc. Dragon has been around a long time and is popular with commercial appraisers.

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Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

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Appraisers: Be Careful with Your Words

Pesky Words. Keeping Appraisers out of Language Purgatory

Appraisers: Be Careful with Your Words!

by Dave Towne

Excerpts: Appraisers, on July 17, 2023, a document from Freddie Mac was circulated to numerous appraisers around the US which identified certain words and other info that can be considered to be ‘BIASED’ in appraisal reports. Here is the Link to the Bulletin.

We need to step back for a moment and carefully analyze and consider why that was done, and what it means to appraisers.

In many ways, appraisers forget the purpose of the appraisal assignment – which is to value real estate. In other words, the physical structures tied to the land.

But too often, elements of personal or neighborhood demographics or other comments seep into the reports. Maybe not consciously or on purpose, but because appraisers are not critically reading what they write and may not realize the implications of how what they write can be interpreted.

To read more, click here

To read the Freddie document, click here

My comments: Well written and worth reading. Thanks to Dave Towne! I have subscribed to his emails for a long time. To join his list, send an email to dtowne@fidalgo.net requesting to join. I wrote about the July 17 Freddie announcement in this newsletter’s June 16, 2023 issue. Guess it finally got out into the appraiser internet world.

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Value of a Pool for Homes?

The value of a pool for Homes?

July 18, 2023 By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts:

Some areas have more pools than others

Real estate is about location. That’s what we always hear. And, it’s true. Homes in different locations and price points tend to have different amenities, and that includes pools. Keep in mind the presence of a pool could be about lot size also – not just the price range.

More pools at higher prices

Here’s a look at the percentage of homes sold with pools by price range in a few local counties. In short, the higher the price, the greater chance of having a pool. This likely has to do with the cost of building a pool, cost of maintaining a pool, and even larger parcels at higher ranges – not to mention buyers at higher price points expecting a pool more often.

NOTE: Does your market look similar?

Adjustments for pools

Last but not least, let’s remember there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all adjustment for a built-in pool because the value of a pool is going to depend on quality, condition, and even age. But it’s also about location because some price ranges and areas simply expect a pool to be present. In contrast, pools hardly exist in some locations, so it’s less of a factor because buyers don’t expect a pool. Ultimately, let’s look to the comps for the answers. What are buyers willing to pay? The ideal is to find similar homes with and without pools to help us understand that.

To read more and see Ryan’s tables and graphs on pools, click here

My comments: I live in an island city with a “Mediterranean” climate located on San Francisco Bay, which means some fog and moderate temperatures. This week, the highest temperature will be under 70 degrees. About 10-15 miles away, east of the hills, the climate is totally different, with very hot summers. The current high temperature there is about 100 degrees.

Where I live, very few homes have pools. After 35 years of appraising here, the value effect is none. Often, the MLS mentions that the sellers will fill in the pool, but I don’t know if that has ever happened. In dramatic contrast, when I first started appraising “over the hill”, 10-15 miles away where there are many subdivisions, I noticed that in certain neighborhoods, a pool was almost mandatory. I used comps with pools for any homes with and without pools to see any adjustment.

If you are not in an area where this is clear, making pool adjustments can be tough without adequate comps. I have appraised a few homes with pools in areas with few pools. It was tricky.

Pools can be a significant hazard, especially for children. Also, maintenance and heating is a hassle.

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Appraiser Countersues Alleged Discrimination

Appraiser Countersues Black Plaintiffs Who Alleged Discrimination

by Isaac Peck, Publisher WorkingRE

There are now a number of lawsuits facing appraisers where the primary allegation is racial discrimination.

Tate-Austin v. Janette Miller, filed in California in Dec. 2021, was one of the first (and perhaps the most publicized). But since late 2021, a number of similar lawsuits have popped up—from North Carolina to Maryland.

Connolly & Mott v. Shane Lanham et al. is one highly publicized lawsuit covered at length by mainstream media–CBS News, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC News, and more.

Filed in August 2022 in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Connolly and Mott allege that Lanham discriminated against them and violated professional appraisal standards because of his allegedly “racist beliefs” (among other things).

Mr. Lanham is now countersuing Connolly and Mott for labeling him a racist, making false and defamatory accusations, and causing severe harm to his business, his reputation, and his well-being. Alongside his counterclaim, Lanham has also filed a Motion to Dismiss Connolly and Mott’s initial claim, arguing that they have failed to show any facts that support he discriminated against them.

“Plaintiffs cannot transform allegations of incompetence or a breach of appraisal industry standards into racial discrimination by baldly alleging that Mr. Lanham believed that Plaintiffs did not belong in their neighborhood and that their home was worth less than other homes because of their race. There are no facts alleged in the First Amended Complaint, and none can be alleged with good faith, that Mr. Lanham treated Plaintiffs any differently than homeowners of other races,” the motion reads.

To read more, click here

My comments: Long article and worth reading. Discusses many issues and lawsuits. I don’t write about this topic much. My opinion is that everyone is biased against something. I learned I was biased against young Black men when I was on a criminal jury many years ago.

When a young Black man, the defendant, walked into court, I immediately thought he was guilty. I sent a note to the judge who excused me publically in court. I was very, very embarrassed. But it would have been a lot worse to stay on the jury and vote to convict him. My parents raised us not to be prejudiced against anyone. But I grew up in Tulsa, OK, next to Greenwood, an area of successful Black residents prior to 1921. The Tulsa race massacre occurred on May 31, 1921. I never heard it mentioned by anyone. Older people, who knew about it, never spoke of it. Some newspaper issues were destroyed.

I assume that since I had been appraising in high crime neighborhoods, I became prejudiced. I work hard not to show it. I don’t cross the street when I see a young black man coming towards me, and I smile when we pass, but I do get a little nervous. What is most important is recognizing and not acting on your prejudice.

I have been tempted to lower a value when an owner’s large do dog jumps on me or tries to bite me. But I know I don’t like aggressive large dogs and don’t let it affect my value.

Of course, some appraisers could be biased. But, for residential lender appraisers, there is no advantage to coming in “low” on any residential lender appraisal. You may lose a client.

In the past, appraisers were trained by FHA to redline, with lower values in Black neighborhoods. Appraisal textbooks and classes included this. But, it all changed in the mid-1970s, when I started appraising and was no longer allowed. Hopefully, I would not have become an appraiser working for residential lenders before then because of the obvious bias.

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Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

What Fannie Says Effective June 29, 2023

Say This, Not That: Words and Phrases to Replace in Your Appraisal Reports

By McKissock

As part of our contributor series, Julie Molendorp Floyd gives tips on how to use more objective language in your appraisal reports ahead of the new Loan Collateral Advisor (LCA) alert messages that will take effect June 29, 2023.

Excerpts: Following that thought process, our appraisal language has simply got to change to reflect current times. In addition, our lenders and GSE’s are implementing tools and programs to identify when “Certain prohibited, subjective or potentially biased words or phrases are included in appraisal reports.”

(Freddie Mac Announcement: “Loan Collateral Advisor: Starting June 29 New Messages Alert Users to Certain Unacceptable Appraisal Practices,” April 28, 2023)

To read, click here

So, if we have the technology and tools to present our conclusions in clearer, fact-based ways, let’s get ahead of the program and make the changes proactively.

None of us enjoy completing revision requests. They take time, effort, and ultimately do not contribute to our bottom line. However, revision requests are part of an appraiser’s life. How can you go about crafting your appraisal report to avoid a revision request for “problematic language” or “unsupported conclusions”? Let’s dive into some words or phrases that should not be included in your appraisal reports and uncover ways to convey your meaning in a compliant, credible way.

Topics:

  • Moving toward fact-based language
  • Words and phrases to replace in your reports
  • Samples:
  •    Say This     Not That:
  • Within 10 blocks of shopping areas — Convenient to shopping areas
  • Conforms to current market trends — Traditional
  • Primary bedroom, ensuite — Master Bedroom

To read more, click here

My comments: If you do lender appraisals, read this post.

Changes in names is nothing new for appraisers. Since FHA, etc stopped redlining since the 1970s, appraisers have been asked to avoid certain words. Now Fannie’s computers will let lenders know.

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Appraisers: Watch for Concessions and Kickbacks

Concessions, Kickbacks, and the Appraiser’s Nightmare

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: What Appraisers Must Do

There are many steps appraisers must follow, more than I can list here. However, you should start off by listing and describing the concessions. Learn how to provide an accurate value conclusion that protects the appraiser from the potential ramifications of their bad acts.

On the first page of FNMA’s form, they ask this question:

“Is there any financial assistance [loan charges, sales concessions, gift or down payment assistance, etc.] to be paid by any party on behalf of the borrower?”

The appraiser has no choice when faced with this question, they must answer and if they get it wrong…then the appraiser is in trouble. After disclosing the information, the appraiser’s next task is to determine how the concessions have impacted the sales price. Federal law, FNMA/FHLMC guidelines and USPAP all point to a solution.

Solutions to Keep You Safe

  • Make sure you have a complete signed purchase contract.
  • In the appraisal, list how many pages of the contract you have in your possession (In case someone is hiding pages from you).
  • List the concessions on page 1 and in the final reconciliation.
  • In the sales grid, list any known concessions that were involved with the purchase of a comparable….

To read more click here 

My comments: Some good tips on how real estate agents try to deal with this. I have known Richard for many years. He is an expert and is a most excellent instructor. I have taken many of his seminars over the years.

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