Appraisal News and Business Tips

real estate market

10-18-19 Newz: What is Risk? – Fascinating Islands – Fees – Data Standards

What’s all this stuff about risk?

By George Dell

We seem to be hearing stuff about risk recently. Why?

Back in the old days, before internet but after the wheel – It was my challenge as a new appraiser to scratch together four or five comps, then put three of them on a form, or perhaps even all five on a table. We called the table a ‘grid,’ presumably because it looked like the grid on a bird cage.

I soon discovered I was free to fly around inside the grid cage all I wanted. I adjusted to what I had. I learned to live inside the cage.

Then flying electrons came. They flew right through the grid. There were many. Sometimes even a dozen or more. All claiming to be comp messages. It was too much. I had the five. Should be enough. Yep. That’s what my trainer said. That’s what my appraiser education said. And sure enough, it was on my test for my new appraiser license…

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My comment: Next month’s paid Appraisal Today will have a long article, “Adjust your adjustment, or adjust your attitude?  The Hype and the Reality” by George Dell. Very interesting!

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10-11-19 Newz: Appraisal Waiver Train – Multiple Offers – Secret Doors

Banks Are Driving the Appraisal Waiver Train

By Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: Look at the ASC members and their North Dakota waiver vote on July 9, 2019

Only FHFA and HUD voted against the North Dakota Waiver. Those specific agencies deal with appraisers first-hand and understand their role in the risk management process. The remainder are bank regulators or in the case of CFPD, represent consumer interests (and the agency has been gutted over the past several years to reduce its pro-consumer efforts).

In other words, banks are driving the waiver train. They want to remove a pain point from the mortgage process to grow more origination volume. The Federal government has already proved it will be willing to back up the banks if the economy collapses so why not keep pushing for removing of all pain points?

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My comment: Nothing new. Lenders have wanted to get rid of appraisals for decades. Impediments to The Deal.

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10-4-2019 Newz: Comp Photos – Waivers – No Permits – Rubik’s Cube

When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: One of the most interesting homes I’ve seen just sold. It was brand new, four stories, and a halfplex. Oh, and on paper it was 3,000 sq ft, but about 1,000 sq ft didn’t count in the square footage. This is definitely a conversation piece, so I’m thankful Realtor Brian McMartin agreed to do a Q&A. I hope this will be valuable and interesting. Any thoughts?

Quick points:

This house has 1,000 sq ft that is not permitted as square footage. The “non-conditioned” space looks just like square footage.

Understanding permits really does matter…

Interview with selling agent plus Ryan’s (and appraisers’) comments. Worth reading.

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My comment: I see non-permitted areas in homes a lot in my city, typically converted basements. Fortunately, I can get the permit info easily from the city and the property owner does not “get into trouble” because of my inquiry. I am lucky.

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9-20-19 Newz: Fannie Update – Domes – Low appraisals – Avengers

Fannie Mae September 2019 Appraiser Update

Sept. 13, 2019

Topics include:

– Forms for appraisers performing PDC and desktop appraisal

– Desktop appraisals, assumptions, and hypothetical conditions

– Locked rooms

– Consumer protections

– State board notifications

Only 5 pages. Easy to read and informative. To read more, click here

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Fannie Mae Appraiser Home Page

Everything Fannie In One Place!!

To read more, click here

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9-13-19 Newz: FRT issues – Why Suburbs Look the Same!

Fuggerei

In this truly magical place, rent hasn’t been raised since the year 1520! Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: After minting coins for the Vatican and making a name for himself as one of Europe’s greatest early entrepreneurs, Jakob Fugger (aka “Jakob the Rich”) turned his eye toward those in need. What emerged from this vision has persisted as the world’s oldest charitable social housing complex.
In the year 1517, construction began on Fugger’s vision for what would become the golden-walled enclave of Fuggerei, which he created as a way of providing affordable homes for day laborers, artisans and their families. Though it sustained heavy damage during a bombing raid in WWII, the community was restored to its pre-raid condition, where it has remained uninterruptedly inhabited since its founding in 1520. The city-within-a-city consists of private residences including 67 houses, 147 apartments, St. Mark’s Church, and an administrative building.
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My Comment: Wow!! Really gives me a perspective on rent control here in California and in my small city. Rents are increasing all over the country.

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9-6-19 Newz: Bidding Wars – Dumb Mistakes – U.S. Abandoned Places

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.

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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8-30-19 Newz; 99.99% Price Drop – Curious Bathrooms – Amazon’s $105K House

Once listed for $1 billion. Sold for $100,000. What just happened?

Excerpt: A heated court battle, a last-second offer and a sparsely attended auction behind a fountain in Pomona — this chapter of the famed Mountain of Beverly Hills ends not with a princely sum but a sale price more like that of a sports car.

Touted as the city’s finest undeveloped piece of land, the 157-acre property redefined the luxury market when it listed for a record $1 billion last year. On Tuesday, it sold for a mere $100,000 at a foreclosure auction, a fraction of the $200-million loan outstanding on the property.

A markdown of 99.99%, of course, comes with some fine print. Any other buyer would have been on the hook to repay that loan — and this buyer has to eat that loss

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My comment: Quite a story!! Only in LA, of course!! FYI, I am in Northern CA… very different here. We think we are superior to LA ;>

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8-2-19 Newz: Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer- Spreadsheet Shackles – Homes under $100,000

Spreadsheets: A Shackle to the Appraisal Profession? 

Excerpts: How can spreadsheet software hinder the profession? A Wall Street Journal article, and a presentation at the Appraisal Institute National Conference have similar stories. One addresses accountants, the other is about appraisers.

The 2015 AI meetings presentation: Will Appraisers Have to Learn to Use Real Analytics Software? was given by George Dell. The main point was that accountant’s software was primarily developed for record-keeping, mimicking paper columns and rows, with analysis a later goal. Other points are:

  • Validating and tracking data is difficult.
  • No built-in audit trails, nor tracking of changes.
  • Regulatory compliance is difficult to accomplish.
  • Susceptible to trivial human errors ETC.

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My comment: Read this article. I totally agree. I started using spreadsheets in 1981 for financial analysis. When I started my appraisal business in 1986, commercial appraisers were using spreadsheets for Discounted Cash Flow. I knew the many problems with spreadsheets’ reliability.

They are particularly unsuitable for statistics as they are not statistics programs. In my MBA program in 1979, I used SPSS for multiple regression analysis, connecting to a large computer.

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7-26-19 Newsletter 25th Anniversary! – Appraiser vs. Zillow – $11 Million View

25th Anniversary of These Weekly Free Email Newsletters!!

On June 17, 1994, I sent out my first weekly email update to Tracy Taplin, Bruce Hahn, Tom Cryer, and John Warr. Bruce Hahn still subscribes. The topic was FIRREA/deminimus. I missed a few weeks (computer problems, traveling) but subscribers became “hooked” on their weekly news, jokes, rumors, and tidbits! The distribution list is over 17,000 appraisers now, and growing every day.

This newsletter started with my Compuserve account, then shifted to my personal email (Eudora) after the first web browser made the internet email much easier to use. I mostly had people write down their names and email addresses when I was teaching, speaking or doing my annual conference. It is very hard to figure out hand written email addresses!

I set up my website in 1998 and had an email form to fill out to subscribe. It took a lot of time to manually enter the names and email addresses. Keeping track of email changes was a nightmare. In 2003 I started using Sparklist to help manage the addresses but it was klunky to use and was getting very expensive. I got up to about 3,500 subscribers. In 2008 I started using Constant Contact, which is very affordable and easy to use. I put a signup form on my website home page. The number of subscribers increased rapidly and is now at over 17,000.

In the early years it had just a few paragraphs. By 2003 it was up to about 3-4 pages long. Since 2008 it has been about 4-5 pages, but was formatted to be much easier to read.

The topics have changed over the years, starting with FIRREA in 1994. Mortgage loans and appraisal orders have gone up and down significantly over the years. Significant mortgage broker pressures from about 1995 to the mortgage crash in 2008, AMC takover, Fannie’s CU in 2015, etc. etc.

I started my paid newsletter in June, 1992. In 2008, I switched to PDF-only and quit printing it. Lots more flexibility in length, plus a lot less expensive! Started with 12 pages. Now typically well over 12 pages, up to about 18 pages.

Note: I somehow forgot about it last month ;>

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7-5-19 Newz: Zillow Past and Future – Coester- Lots More Info – North Dakota Waivers

Zillow – the past and the future

Zillow’s new photo algorithm

Zillow’s New algorithm uses photos of your home to check quality and curb appeal plus a look back at when Zillow started, and info on their ibuyer service

Excerpt: “We’ve taught the Zestimate to discern quality by training convolutional neural networks with millions of photos of homes on Zillow, and asking them to learn the visual cues that signal a home feature’s quality,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief analytics officer & chief economist, said in a Medium post announcing the new algorithm. “For instance, if a kitchen has granite countertops, the Zestimate now knows — based on the granite countertop’s pixels in the home photo — that the home is likely going to sell for a little more.”

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My comment: I am trying not to think about this…… Maybe North Dakota can try using Zillow on their rural properties….

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Zillow – tales from when it started plus ibuyer

Excerpt: Every night for five months before the launch of Zillow’s website in February 2006, employees gathered their Dell desktops on Ping-Pong tables, connected them to harness their combined processing power, and strung together extension cords to get them all running. To avoid overloading the circuits, they unplugged the office refrigerator and banned Christmas lights. Then, while most of them slept, this jury-rigged supercomputer analyzed a decade of property records and American housing market data in order to spit out price estimates for 43 million homes.

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My comment: Published in Forbes. Well written and researched. I liked Zillow’s history plus a good analysis of their ibuyer service – the new wave of purchasing homes and selling them later.

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