Why Comp Photos in Appraisals?

Why Comp Photos?

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpt: First, don’t even think about not doing it! To begin with, it’s required. Inspecting the exterior of every comparable isn’t a USPAP requirement, by the way, it is a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) requirement.

However, FNMA’s requirement goes directly to the heart of USPAP’s “scope of work” rule. USPAP defines scope of work, in part, as: the type and extent of research and analyses. The scope of work section of the 1004 appraisal states “The appraiser must, at a minimum: (3) inspect each of the comparables sales from at least the street.” So, when an appraiser agrees to an assignment and its required scope of work, they have agreed to personally inspect the exterior of each sales comparable used in the appraisal. There is no way around this; an appraiser can’t contradict the certification requirement by inserting a qualification within the appraisal. In other words, it’s your job; you are being paid to personally inspect each sales comparable—so do it!

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My comments: Last week’s newsletter had a very popular negative post on comp photos: Original Comp Photos: Dangerous, Unnecessary. This week is the other side!! I know what it is like to drive many miles to take an original comp photo that I somehow forgot to take. But, I am more comfortable if I take another comp photo again as I forget about the details sometimes. I have used MLS photos when I cannot see the comp from the street.

Hagar discusses the many aspects of original comp photos, including the limiting conditions on the Fannie forms. In my opinion, the statement is somewhat uncertain. “…inspect each of the comparables sales from at least the street”. Does this mean original photos and always driving by? I do not have this statement in my non-lender appraisals, plus many other Fannie statements. However, many lenders and AMCs have this in their requirements.

On the other side, I used to travel to Canada to speak at appraisal conferences. At that time, taking original comp photos was not required for lending purposes. Few appraisers did them. They said they had “seen it in the past”.

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Fannie New Appraisal Form Modernization

New appraisal form and UAD short video (under 4 minutes)

It looks like Fannie and Freddie are finally saying something again about their plans! For example, one form that works for all the old forms. The infographic link includes a sample sales comparison grid. Make it larger to see all the added adjustments.

The February issue of the monthly Appraisal Today has lots of info on this topic.

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To watch the video and more, click here

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Real estate market trends for appraisers to watch in 2021

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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.

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AMC Appraiser Dress Requirements?

AMC Appraiser Dress Codes? 

Excerpt: I recently saw a Facebook post where an appraiser was quite upset and offended that an AMC asked him to dress professionally for an appraisal walkthrough. Now, this

was a request that was made upfront as one of the conditions for accepting the order. Reading the post, it sounded like this appraiser was upset for two reasons. One, he was offended that the AMC was implying that he does not take his job seriously enough or dress professionally enough. Two, he felt like the AMC did not have a right to tell him how to do his job (i.e., how to dress).

First, let me say that I personally do not think it was the AMC’s intention to imply that this appraiser is not professional in any way. I simply think that they were taking extra precautions to make sure the borrower was extremely impressed by the service they, and the appraiser whom they hired, provided. Now, on to the real question. Can an AMC tell an appraiser how to dress? And the answer is yes.

To read more, plus appraiser comments, click here.

My comment: This has always been a controversial topic for fee appraisers. Dustin is correct. An appraiser client can have many requirements, such as requiring a newer car, no flip-flops, etc. It is your decision whether to work for them. Primary Rule: There is always another client!

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What’s the appraisal definition for suburban?

Excerpts: The U.S. hasn’t had a formal definition for what constitutes a suburb. A new data analysis comes closer to defining America’s most popular neighborhood type. (Suburban appraisal definition is tricky.) What’s the appraisal definition for suburban?

The United States is a land of suburbs, with just one problem: No one’s quite clear what a “suburb” is.

It’s a question of semantics with real-world implications, as government programs, political campaigns and developers try to spend money in the “suburbs,” where a majority of Americans say they live despite the category having no formal definition.

For some people, it’s obvious: A suburb is a smaller city on the periphery of a larger city. Or it’s a sprawling neighborhood filled with vast swathes of single-family homes. Still other more dated conceptions of suburbia in the popular mind involve the people who live there: allegedly white, middle class and socially homogenous.

Now a new team of researchers believe they’ve cracked the code…

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My comments: Of course, if you do residential lender appraisals this is a Very Big Issue due to lender “requirements” such as no rural properties. Lots and lots of online discussion about this for a long time. Post this topic on your favorite Internet chat site or email list… and wait for the wide variety of opinions!!

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My Favorite Definitions

(This has been floating around for many years…)

Rural  Suburban  Urban

  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors can’t see you… it’s rural.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors call the cops on you… it’s suburban.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors ignore you… it’s urban.

There are other variations, of course, that are not suitable for this newsletter ;>

Crazy Appraiser Stories!!(Opens in a new browser tab)

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What is most often overlooked by appraisers?


 

 

 

 

Excerpt: We recently asked our appraisal community, “What’s the ONE thing that is most often overlooked by appraisers?” We received a wide variety of answers ranging from big-picture oversights to specific details. The most common answer we received was “Highest and Best Use.”…

Highest and Best Use (HBU)

This was the top answer, which was written in by about 8% of survey respondents “First question when doing an appraisal is the highest and best use. If there are two very different opinions of value on a property, different HBU is often the reason.”…

Obsolescence

Obsolescence is another item mentioned by multiple survey respondents. Appraisers cited both external obsolescence and functional obsolescence as being frequently overlooked.

External obsolescence for the subject property – When I’m reviewing appraisals, I see this more often than other oversights. When I was performing retrospective reviews for FNMA, their biggest complaint was that appraisers did not point out external obsolescence for the subject and/or its impact on marketability (if there was an impact).”

Functional obsolescence – Appraiser focus has changed over the years as subject functionality has changed.”

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Value, Accuracy, and Misleading for Appraisers

On Value, Accuracy, and Misleading…and How They are Different From What You Might Think!

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: Let’s start this musing by addressing the issues of value, accuracy, and misleading. You might have looked at them differently in the past. Then we’ll tie these in the idea of the value conclusion in an appraisal being right or correct.

State appraisal boards level charges against appraisers. It is very common for appraisers to defend themselves against these charges by insisting their value is “right”. Or, they assert they have properly supported their value conclusion, or something similar. In reality, this argument is utterly irrelevant and carries no weight with the appraisal board.

IRRELEVANT!?

When it comes to value, accuracy, and misleading, the appraiser’s value opinion alone is irrelevant and weightless. This is because TAF has given state appraisal boards specific instructions. Those instructions are that the appraiser’s value conclusion is not to be a part of the board’s investigation. Nor is it to be a part of its deliberations. Therefore, it is not to be part of the appraiser’s defense since it is not part of the charges against the appraiser.

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My comment: Tim is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today. He is The USPAP Expert and helps appraisers stay out of trouble with their state boards!! Tim also has an interesting podcast – link is on the top of the page.

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Infectious Disease Defined the American Bathroom: Appraisals

Cholera and tuberculosis outbreaks transformed the design and technology of the home bathroom. Will Covid-19 inspire a new wave of hygiene innovation?

Excerpt: Alter predicted that disease-avoidance would rise to the fore of bathroom design a few years ago, when he observed the traumatizing effects of the 2003 SARS outbreak on Toronto, which killed 44 people. But home design in general — and bathroom design in particular — has long been influenced by infectious disease. This isn’t a linear narrative with clear causation, but rather a convergence of advancements in science, infrastructure, plumbing, sanitation and design trends.

The modern bathroom developed alongside outbreaks of tuberculosis, cholera and influenza; its standard fixtures, wallcoverings, floorings, and finishes were implemented, in part, to promote health and hygiene in the home at a time of widespread public health concerns.

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Very unusual bathrooms for appraisers(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Pandemic and market for buyers and sellers: Appraisals

By Ryan Lundquist April 30, 2020

Excerpts: Buyers more sensitive about location & condition: For years buyers have been exhibiting sensitivity to adverse locations and homes that are not in pristine condition. In other words, buyers have higher expectations about what they

75 percent alcohol disinfectant alcohol spray nearby a house concept of disinfecting the house

are buying and they aren’t overlooking the true condition of a home or paying top dollar for junk. I expect going through a pandemic will only inflame this dynamic.

Cash out at the top: Some people are concerned about the market changing directions, so we’ll see certain owners try to cash out at the top so to speak. I’m not saying we’re at the top of a price cycle. I’m only saying some people think the pandemic has pushed us or will push us into a new price cycle.

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Personal note from Ryan: Appraiser John Carlson GoFundMe: John is a well-known appraiser in Southern California and he is going through a difficult time as he was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized. I invite you to pray for him and donate if you can. To read more, click here.

My comments: I spoke yesterday with a local appraiser friend who is thinking about selling her house and moving to a smaller, lowered priced house. (She is 78 years old, one year older than myself, but still appraising.) No listings or pendings in her area. Seemed like a good idea to me.

On June 29, McKissock had a webinar ” Appraising in a Pandemic”. In the last half hour, Ryan gave the best presentation I have ever seen on what to put in your report about the current market, not just a “I don’t know anything disclaimer”. He also had a sample statement slide. The recording was not available by my deadline. I will send it to you in next week’s email.
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