Appraiser Client Relationships are Very Important

Relationships… The Lost Art

Mark Skapinetz

Excerpts: Relationships. It’s a lost art of business when it comes to the appraiser profession…

From 2009 to about 2019, I was doing Lender appraisals, and deep down, something was missing. I would only be talking to customer service reps, people overseas that the AMCs subcontracted out to review work, and I had no one to go to with my issues and ideas. I know nothing about these people, and they don’t know anything about me.

Building this referral or relationship business wasn’t going to be easy, and it most certainly wouldn’t include any lenders that used AMCs for their ordering process. I needed to look elsewhere for this to happen. Where did I go? I went to the Realtor Facebook groups, Investor groups, and recently, I went to the new platform called clubhouse.

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My comments: I started my business in 1986 and mostly worked for lenders, but also worked for a wide variety of other clients: relocation companies, attorneys, private sales, estates, title companies, etc.

I quit doing residential lender appraising in 2005, before the crash. I had personal relationships with all my local and non-local, lender clients. Very few revision requests (wrong address, missing value, etc.) and no competitive bidding, etc.

Most of my referrals have been from local real estate agents or my website. I went on our weekly broker open house tours almost every week since 1990 and was active in the local association of Realtors.

I have been writing about non-lender appraisals since I started my paid newsletter in 1992 and have spoken to appraisers all over the U.S. and Canada about appraisal marketing.

Appraisal Business Tips including Marketing 

Humor for Appraisers

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Zoning and Appraisals

The Infamous History of Zoning in the Housing Industry (Video)

Excerpts: History of zoning in the housing industry and how past practices shape the problems we are currently experienced today.

What was the purpose of zoning in the very beginning? How exactly were these practices harmful to people of color? What are some of the problems we see today because of this? These questions and much more will be answered.

To watch the video, click here

My comment: A controversial topic. Today this often involves “downzoning,” allowing for properties to have more than one unit or more density – apartments, condos and townhomes.

Experts Say Zoning Changes Are Most Effective Path to Boost Housing Supply for a More-Balanced Market

Excerpt: A Zillow survey of economists and other real estate experts finds high costs are expected to slow construction and may lower homeownership among today’s 30-somethings. Relaxing zoning rules is what the panel says would be most productive to increase new housing supply.

Other ways include:

  • Ease the land subdivision process for landowners
  • Relax local review regulations for projects of a certain size
  • Accelerate adoption of new construction technologies (e.g., modular building, 3D printing of certain components)

To read more, including details and the full list of survey suggestions, click here

Zoning in the Appraisal Process

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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What Should Appraisers Wear?

What Should Appraisers Wear?

Excerpt:

Professional Dress

When we are observing properties, it is important that we dress professionally. If we are doing an appraisal for lending, we are a representative of our client. Although we are not an employee of the client, we do represent them. Often, we are the only person actually seen by participants in the transaction.

Photo above by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Also, we represent ourselves, our business, so we want to dress professionally. We are professional licensed appraisers performing our work and should look as such. That said, what works for walking around properties, in between bushes, in the mud, etc.?

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My comments: Very interesting. From a female appraiser perspective, but applies to guys also.

Over my 45 years of appraising, I had differences in what I wear, from very professional (commercial) to casual for protection from bushes, dogs, etc. For residential appraisals, I prefer to keep my clothes from being damaged (heavy pants, strong jacket, collared polo shirts, and very sturdy shoes) from gravel, unknown stuff under weeds in the back yard, etc.). I live in a mild Mediterranean climate, so I don’t do much else except raincoats and a heavier jacket.  I don’t even want to think about snow, slush, and mud!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Wearing shoes in a house for appraisal(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Tips on doing appraisals for AMCs

Top 10 Tips for Working with AMCs

Excerpt: 6. Make appointments quickly

Schedule appraisal assignments as you receive them, within 24–48 hours. Many AMCs will score you on this task. If you’re working in a small area, and you get two assignments in one day that are close together, make the appointments. Get them on the books and schedule them as quickly as possible.

7. Update the AMC with any delays

Be sure to update the client if any delays or problems come up during the appraisal process. See item #2 above: Update your order statuses. This will preserve your SLAs with AMCs.

To read all the tips, click here

My comment: Nothing new, but some good reminders. Of course, you may not agree…

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Appraisers and The Psycho Kitty

Favorite Crazy Appraisal Stories – The Psycho Kitty

Excerpt: Psycho Kitty

I had an appointment at a home in the country out in the woods. The access instructions said the cat MIGHT be caged. Got to the home and the cat was at the front door and hissed at me as I went in. I tried to make friends with the cat, but it didn’t work, so I ignored the cat and started my inspection.

As I came out of the first-floor master, he was waiting. He stood on his hind legs, teeth showing, hissing, and came at me. Once again, I used my clipboard and ran to the laundry room where I was able to shut the door. I was safe…

To read more strange and/or funny appraisal stories, click here

My comment: We all have appraisal stories, of course!! In my 45 years of appraising I have never been attacked by a cat. My creepiest cat encounter was appraising the home of a cat foster parent for a local animal shelter. Large outside cat enclosure full of cats, multiple cats on top of dressers and other places, looking at me (looked like they were hungry). I wish I could forget about all the cat eyes looking at me :<

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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What’s Happening in Appraisal Now?

The State of the Appraisal Industry

Jonathan Miller speaks about new appraisers and other topics 

Video – 29 minutes

Miller is an excellent speaker and worth listening to. He discusses mostly getting new appraisers (first 15 minutes or so), after commercial break, discusses tips on non-lender work and other issues.

My comments: I don’t like the term “appraisal industry” and prefer “appraisal profession.” I am an “old-timer” of 45 years and have always thought of myself as being in a profession.

I have been reading Miller’s Housing Notes for a long time. Lots of graphs from his markets, and he often has fun, strange, and controversial comments on appraisal issues.

To subscribe to his posts, click here

 

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Appraisal Original Comp Photos

Original Comp Photos: Dangerous, Unnecessary

by Damian Downie

Excerpts: As I do many times a day, I was taking comparable (comp) photos for an appraisal. This one in particular is a condominium, so I was taking photos of two condos in a competing complex. There was a gate into the property, so I stopped across the street and snapped a photo of the gate.

Three minutes later, about a mile from the site, I looked over to my right out the passenger window, and I saw a man holding his phone up and pointing it at me. I asked him what he was doing and he angrily asked me why I was taking pictures of his car.

To read more plus the 59+ appraiser comments and add your own comment, click here

My comments: Always a hot, hot topic!! We’ve all got appraiser stories about comp photos (dogs, police, crazy people chasing you down the street, locked gates, etc., etc.)!! After 45 years of appraising I am never bored. There is always something new or weird that I see ;> My scariest experience (for the subject) was when two large Dobermans broke through the screen door of a mobile home and came after me. I got back into my car and told my client to get another appraiser!!

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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Surplus vs. Excess Land for Appraisals

How Surplus & Excess Land Works

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: It can be easy to over-simplify value because the value is not always as clear cut as it appears. For example, if a one-acre lot is selling for $10,000, does that mean that a two acre lot is worth $20,000? Not necessarily. The value of something usually changes depending on its size.

Excess land is land that is larger than what is typical for the neighborhood and capable of a separate use. Excess land is land that could be split-off and resold as a buildable lot. In the example below, the zoning required a minimum lot size of one and a half acres to be buildable.

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My comment: Definitely worth reading!

2-16-17 Newz .Land surveys in 1784 .Common appraisal errors (Opens in a new browser tab)

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Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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Real estate market trends for appraisers to watch in 2021

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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Real Estate Agents and Comparable Sales – Tips for Appraisers

Agents and Comparable Sales – Tips for Appraisers

Excerpts: When real estate agents provide relevant comparable sales to appraisers, it certainly benefits both parties. Agents can ensure that appraisers are reviewing comparables that match their properties and, hopefully, meet the seller’s desired price.

Additionally, while appraisers still must verify the information, it can save them time. Here are some dos and don’ts to follow as agents and appraisers work together on establishing comps for appraisal properties.

One of the tips: Don’t go outside the neighborhood

Other neighborhoods may be less or more desirable, and that can affect overall value. Comparable sales should come from only the direct neighborhood in which the house is located—even if that means choosing homes that are slightly smaller or bigger to use as a comparison. Agents should never use sales from a “better” neighborhood to boost the value of an appraisal property.

To read more tips, click here

My comments: All appraisers get comps from agents sometimes. Unfortunately, many are not useful. I always ask if an agent has any sales or listings for me. Agents are often experts in their particular area and know what is happening. Appraisers work in a much wider area usually. Whenever I speak with agents, I tell them how to select comps, especially pending sales, using some of the criteria above.

This does not apply to the sales provided by AMCs, of course, which require a response and often wasted time for the appraiser. Most are generated by computer algorithms or occasionally a review appraiser that knows nothing about the local market.

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

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

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