Appraisal Profession Dying?

Bringing More People Into a Dying Profession?

By Dave Towne, Jan. 23, 2023

My comment: This only applies to residential lending appraisals, of course. My non-lender appraisals have changed very little with few, if any new “requirements”. I determine the Scope of Work.

Excerpts: Some people want to bring more people (primarily of color, which is great) into a dying profession. But the profession is being killed off by (mostly white!) people who think technology is the golden spoon to accurate valuations.

PAREA is being touted as the savior and the best appropriate way to get new people into this profession, especially people of color. Really? Let’s see. The education providers currently writing the PAREA courses have been indicating that the course cost will be up to 5 figures, roughly $10,000 or possibly more. That’s an outlay of significant cash BEFORE actually connecting with an appraiser who will put the PAREA-educated appraiser to work.

To read more, plus over 60 appraiser comments, click here

My comments: This only applies to residential lending appraisals, of course. My non-lender appraisals have changed very little with few, if any new “requirements”. I determine the Scope of Work.

I definitely prefer “profession” to “business”. I have always been a professional appraiser. I quit doing residential lender appraisals in 2005. I had good clients but did not like the dramatic volume changes. It has gotten very bad since AMCs took over.

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FHA Handbook 4000.1 Appraisal Changes

FHA Handbook 4000.1 Appraisal Changes

By Dan Bradley

Excerpts: On January 18, 2023, HUD issued an announcement regarding revisions made to Handbook 4000.1. According to the announcement, the revisions included “enhancements and revisions to existing guidelines and various technical edits.”

The most significant of these revisions was the elimination of the requirement to include the 1004MC form as an attachment to the appraisal report.

Changes to the Handbook also include several other minor, but nevertheless meaningful, edits and clarifications to FHA appraisal requirements, including:

Under “Attic Observation Requirements,” a clarification was made regarding the appraiser’s obligation to “safely” access the attic. The language requiring a minimum “head and shoulders” access into the attic was deleted.

Under “Crawl Space Observation Requirements,” significant revisions were made, including removal of a bullet point list of MPR/MPS criteria for the crawl space. Also, language requiring a minimum “head and shoulders” access into the crawl space was deleted.

The changes outlined in the Handbook may be implemented immediately but must be implemented for FHA cases assigned on or after April 18, 2023.

To read more, click here

My comments: Many thanks to McKissock for telling us what we need to know. Includes a link to the “redline” version of 4000.1 so you can skip over most of it. Scroll down to “Updates, Revisions, Notifications” to get the redline versions.

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Revised FHA Handbook 4000.1 effective 9/14/15. Are you ready for the changes? Get the facts!!

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Appraiser Scam – Be Careful!

Appraiser Scam – Be Careful!

Posted Jan 5 on National Appraisers Forum. This was also posted in the 100% Appraisers group on FaceBook as happening to others.

“Last week, I received a text from “Master Chief Robert Roy” requesting an appraisal for a cash purchase. I thought it was odd that he was addressing himself by his rank as I do work for the VA and no service member has ever done that in my experience. Also my daughter’s boyfriend, a West Point graduate, was visiting at the time and he also thought it was odd too. I looked him up on line and saw that he was a Navy Seal and a public speaker. I addressed him as Sir in our texts out of respect.“

“He requested that I inspect the property 1/5/2023 as the inspector would be there at the same time. My fee was $775 however sent me a $1950 cashier’s check via Fed Ex the next day. He stated that his assistant mistakenly included the inspector’s fee and would I please pay the inspector the $1175 balance. (That seemed high for an inspector….) “

One of the responses:

“Sorry this happened to you. I posted about this about a month ago. Same guy. Because it seemed so odd, I didn’t respond to him and instead called the listing agent directly. He said I was the 4th female appraiser to call him about this in 24 hours. He had reported it all to the police. I never responded to the dude, as it is obviously a scam or worse. When I researched the name he was using, I found that person to be deceased. “

My comments: When appraisers are very slow, it is very hard to turn down an appraisal. Savvy scammers may know about this. Beware!!

1-12-17 Newz .New scam: owners pose as renters, 21 day turn times

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Appraiser Professional Goals

1-6-23 NEWSLETTER

Appraisers Share Their Top Professional Goals for 2023

By: McKissock (Survey)

Excerpts:

  • Maintain my current business (26%)
  • Earn a designation or certification (16%)
  • Grow my business (15%)
  • Prepare for retirement (12%)

“I would like to turn over my appraisal business to my daughter, who is certified.”

Should have retired last year but put it off due to the high amount of requests!”

After 23 years in appraising, which was very beneficial for me and my customers, I’m preparing for retirement.”

  • Achieve a better work-life balance (10%)
  • Other (6%)

To read more, including personal comments from appraisers, click here.

My comments: The post has links to some topics above with many tips. I have recently been writing about many of these topics since the market changed.

I write about non-lender work, staying up when business is down, retirement planning, and more in my monthly newsletter. I will be writing soon about upgrading to Certified General. I have always done both commercial and residential. My business has been much more stable as I can shift between them when the appraisal markets change, especially fees.

What are you planning to do in 2023? Now is the time to learn all the features in your MLS and forms software, upgrade your skills by taking seminars and classes, and more.

The future of residential appraising

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VA Required to Encourage Hybrid Appraisals

  • VA Required to Encourage Hybrids – Senate Passes HR 7735

    By Dave Towne December 21, 2022

    Excerpts: The U.S. Senate has announced the passage of HR 7735, the Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022.

    Under the terms of HR 7735, sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Mike Bost, the VA will be required to:

    • Issue certification requirements for appraisers;
    • Execute minimum property requirements;
    • Review the process for selecting and reviewing comparable sales;
    • Implement quality control processes;
    • Establish the Assisted Appraisal Processing Program; and
    • Establish the use of waivers or other alternatives to existing appraisal processes.

    This is not yet ‘law,’ but likely will be in the not too distant future. Has passed House and Senate. Needs Biden’s signature.

    To read more, click here

    My comments: Read the appraisers’ comments. The law is not surprising. The mortgage industry has been wanting this for a long time. I still recommend VA to appraisers as they are the only mortgage organization that wants to help the borrower instead of making as much money as possible

Where VA loans are soaring. Are you doing VA appraisals?

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Unacceptable Appraisal Practices from Freddie Mac

12 Unacceptable Appraisal Practices from Freddie Mac

10-5-22

 

 

Here are 5:

  • Reliance in any appraisal analysis on inappropriate comparable sales, or the failure to use comparable sales that are more similar to or nearer to the subject property without adequate explanation
  • Use of unsupported or subjective terms to assess or rate, such as, but not limited to, “high,” “low,” “good,” “bad,” “fair,” “poor,” “strong,” “weak,” “rapid,” “slow,” “fast” or “average” without providing a foundation for analysis and contextual information
  • Use of comparable sales data provided by interested parties to the transaction without verification by a disinterested party
  • The use of inordinate adjustments for differences between the subject property and the comparable sales that do not reflect the market’s reaction to such differences, or the failure to make proper adjustments when they are clearly necessary
  • Development of value and/or marketability conclusions that are not supported by available market data

To read more, click here

My comments: From Freddie Mac’s Selling Guide with links to more information. Nothing new, but good reminders.

Review appraiser liability

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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

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Appraisal Risk, Reviews, and Revisions

Appraisal Risk, Reviews, and Revisions

By Ken Dicks

Excerpts: This is part three of a three part series on appraisal review – Read parts one and two. I am often posed with the following question “How do you know when you are looking at a “good” appraisal?” The reality is there is no universal acceptance of a single method of measurement to differentiate “good” from “bad.” After many years of reading appraisal reports, my response is “One that leaves the reader with few unanswered questions, allows the data to tell the story, keeps appraiser interventions to a minimum and is able to present a case for what a property is worth, as well as what it is not worth.”

Today, while there still remains some stickiness to the QC revision process, a recent survey completed by The STRATMOR Group commissioned by appraisal management technology company Reggora, indicates 25% of appraisal reports require some form of revision. While that number may seem high to some, in the context of lending and property complexities, that is a 54% improvement in performance cited earlier in this article (from 35% 10 years ago). Is there room for more improvement? Of course, there is always room for process improvement, but on the face of it, some process improvements appear to be yielding results.

Consistent application of both quality control and quality assurance processes for appraisal review may also be in part a reason for improvement, as appraisers have a better understanding of what is needed by their client. Additionally, the tools available to both appraisers and appraisal reviewers have undergone iterative process changes and users have advanced further up the learning curve. Lastly, many lenders have progressed beyond the initial risk identification stage, or the “gotcha stage” to a holistic and strategic approach that accepts risk into their business objectives. Today lenders and stakeholders have the ability to gain risk insight beyond the initial transaction stage and utilize pattern and trend identification.

To read more, click here

My comments: Links to Part 1 and 2 are in the first line of the post. View from the AMC/Lender side. Good that reviews and reconsideration requests have gone down. Appraisers and AMCs spend less time and have fewer hassles.

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Appraisal in Changing Markets

Sellers Chasing the ball down the road in real estate

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: Commentary from a (Ryan) appraisal: Here is a bit of commentary in one of my recent appraisal reports. This is only part of what I say because I’m a man who needs a few paragraphs. One box just isn’t enough.

“At the least we ought to describe the market as showing a downward seasonal shift, though it’s possible we can call this a downward cycle if the trend persists over time. For now, it is most reasonable to categorize the market as having growing uncertainty and blatantly inflamed downward seasonal price declines compared to a normal seasonal trend. At the least, properties are clearly selling for less than they did several months ago. The regional median price has ticked down about 7% since May, which is $45,000. This doesn’t mean every property is worth $45,000 less, but it’s been clear buyers have been resisting paying higher prices.”

Okay, one last thing about size: During the beginning of the pandemic there was a blatant spike in home size due to a greater focus on larger homes at higher prices. This spike basically peaked one year ago as size has started to normalize. Now let’s keep watching to see what happens to size. Will we see smaller homes more often as first-time buyers flood the market? Will we see fewer sales at the highest prices? To be determined.

To read more, click here

My comments: Scroll down the page for more comments from Ryan. Markets are changing in many areas, but are complicated by price range, size, etc. I remember the easy days of market condition adjustments 1% per month up or down, for example, to apply to all detached home appraisals. Ryan has been writing about the ups and downs of his market for a long time. Maybe you can use some of his ideas, graphs, and/or explanations in your appraisals.

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Navigating a Changing Market

by Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpts: … senior leaders at AMCs, lenders and the GSEs have noted that slower appraisal volume will favor those appraisers who can stay in communication with their clients and provide faster turn times. “During the heyday of 3 percent interest rates, it was acceptable for appraisers to take three to four weeks to complete an appraisal and forget to update the client. Now that volume has declined to normal levels, those appraisers who aren’t providing good customer service may see their businesses suffer,” remarked a senior executive at a major bank.

At the end of the day, (Ryan) Lundquist says his goal is to report what is happening in the market right now—accurately and without sensationalism. “I’m constantly changing what I say in my appraisals, and I’m very careful of boilerplate and canned statements. A quick change in interest rates has led to a quick change in the market. My appraisals talk about more stable prices in my area but also about uncertainty regarding the future. Pending volume is softening, available listings are skyrocketing, and it is taking longer to sell—but there are still stats that suggest there is heavy competition for certain homes. It changes by the week. There’s no easy way to quickly do this, it takes effort. There’s no such thing as being a market expert without putting in the time to be an expert,” argues Lundquist.

To read more, click here  

My comments:  This article uses AEI data, graphs, and reports from June. Some are out of date in September. I follow AEI (American Enterprise Institute), which has excellent data and reports. For more info on AEI, click here 

The MBA data, loan application volume (see below) is the future of appraisal volume. Using recent September data, loan applications are below the levels in 2019 and still dropping. I have a graph of this every month in my paid monthly newsletter. Loan applications went up this week but are still below 2019 levels.

The upcoming October issue of the monthly Appraisal Today has an article, “Which are your best current and former AMC/lender clients? What do they want?” The Big Three: Turn Time/Quality/Fee. I discuss what lenders want and how to provide better service and get more business. Number 1 for lenders (AMCs’ clients) has always been turn time.

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Appraisers: What should you have in your car?

Appraisers: What should you have in your car?

Excerpt: Here are a few items:

  • Screwdriver: A screwdriver has many uses. You can use it to take the cover off a crawl space entry panel, check wooden structural members for rot or insect damage, remove an electrical outlet cover to check for insulation in the walls, etc.
  • Voltage detector: To determine whether wires are live.
  • Ice pick: To check for termites or wood rot.
  • Magnet: To determine whether old pipes are made of iron or lead.
  • Mace or pepper spray: To defend yourself, especially if you’re appraising REO and foreclosure properties.
  • Bug spray: To protect yourself from mosquito bites, ticks, etc.
  • Spare clothes and footwear: Including an extra coat or jacket, hat, and boots—especially if you work in rural areas.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good tips! I definitely need to add some of the items to my car, especially dog repellent, which is not on the list. I have been bitten by dogs. I left the homes and contacted the lender. Don’t know if they got their loan and did not care. Once two large Dobermann dogs broke down a trailer door. I barely got into my car in time.

This was originally posted on McKissock’s Appraisal Blog, but that link was not working.

Appraisers – The Past and The Future

Appraisal Business Tips 

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