Market Decline Coming for Appraisals?

Is There a Market Correction on Its Way? 

by Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpt: When will the market correction arrive?

I have no idea, but there will be warning signs, and that’s what this blog article is about. Fluctuations in market activity are common, but unseasonal and ongoing changes of any of the signs listed below can often be red flags. Additional indicators can be some of the factors that led up to the last market bust; there are plenty of articles online with which to familiarize yourself.

What will be the early signs?

Some early warning signs of housing market correction are:

A) Listing inventory in MLS starts to climb steadily. Increasing inventory is generally a sign that buyers have stopped buying (due to prices being too high or a lack of consumer confidence), or there are just fewer ready, willing, and able buyers in the marketplace.

B) Days on Market for listings increase. This event is usually linked to item (A) above.

C) Listing prices begin to stabilize, and reductions in listing prices become more common, which is a sign the market is becoming saturated…

So many appraisers missed the early signs in the last boom’s bust that resulted in claims (valid or not) of over-valuations followed by lawsuits, E&O insurance claims, and regulatory disciplinary actions. Maybe this time, we should pay closer attention to the indicators…

To read lots more tips, click here

My comments: Most Excellent list of what to look for. Very comprehensive. I have been appraising during many up and down cycles in Northern California, starting in the late 1970s at 2%+ per month, followed by a crash in 1980 when interest rates went up to 15%+. Those were the days when lenders told appraisers not to make time adjustments!! Even though we don’t like the 1004mc, it forced lenders and appraisers to look at price changes.

No one knows when the increasing market peaks, but there are signs of a decline, listed in the blog post above. I sold my house in March 2008 and did not anticipate the market crash a few months later. I was very lucky. There had been some modest price declines for about 6 months previously.

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Subjective Language in Appraisals

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Bias in Housing is Not Appraisers’ Fault

Racial Bias in Real Estate: Is it the Appraisers’ Fault?
The best analysis I have ever read. 

By Maureen Sweeney, SRA

Bias in Housing is Not Appraisers’ Fault

Excerpt: The appraiser must be independent, impartial, and objective. In a mortgage transaction, the appraiser evaluates the property that is to be used as collateral in a mortgage finance transaction. The appraisal is provided to the lender, who uses the appraisal as one of the many criteria used to underwrite the loan and determine if a mortgage loan will be funded or not. Contrary to what some may believe, the appraiser does not make underwriting or lending decisions.

Discrimination, including the long list of anti-cultural, anti-national, and anti-ethnic terms, is a multi-layered, multi-cultural, and multi-generational issue. The systematic, historic, and institutional causes of the various business and government policies and practices need to be addressed and cured. We do not blame the doctor for a cancer diagnosis.

We do not blame the journalist as the cause of the natural disaster that is reported on the evening news. Why is the appraiser blamed for reporting on the real estate market?

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My comment: By far the best, understandable analysis I have read. No whining or ranting. Many appraiser comments and forwarding. Comprehensive post with many references. I had not heard about some of the references. Appraisers are not the problem. We have been told for many decades to be knowledgeable and aware of Fair Housing issues.

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Appraising vs. the Public Good?

Has Appraising Failed the Public Good?

by Steven R. Smith, MSREA, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: The term Public Good is in the opening paragraph of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). An appraiser friend once wrote that our regulations and guidelines are intentionally ambiguous—and that may be. But what is crystal clear to me is that the industry has put the interests of its clients before the public good.

The Public Trust statement and the Ethics Rule have been largely ignored over the years with loan production put first…

What can an individual appraiser do to support the public good, even before they start an assignment? For me, the answer always has been to appraise the client and the appraisal assignment. There are some clients and assignments that simply should be avoided because of the wants, needs and desires of the client, with respect to the assignment results.

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My comments: I have known Steve Smith for a long time. To read more comments from Steve and other savvy appraisers, join the National Appraisers Forum, an email discussion group. I have been a member since it started. It is my “go-to” resource for appraisal topics. Moderated. Very different from Facebook and other appraiser online discussion groups where filling out forms and dealing with AMCs are discussed.

The future of residential appraising

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What Types of Sales For Appraisals

Arm’s Length or Another Type of Sale? The 7 Sale Types Explained

What types of sales for appraisals

Excerpts: As a real estate appraiser, whether you’re considering the current terms of sale or analyzing previous sales of the subject property or comparable sales, it is imperative to know whether a sale is an arms-length transaction or a different type of sale. Sales due to a job relocation, estate settlement, foreclosure, or divorce may sell for less than the property’s market value.

By knowing the type of sale, you are better able to reconcile a current opinion of market value that falls above or below a current or recent transaction for the subject property.

Here are the seven valid sale types, explained in detail below:

  • REO sale
  • Short sale
  • Court ordered sale
  • Estate sale
  • Relocation sale
  • Non-arm’s length sale
  • Arm’s length sale

To read more, click here

My comment: Worth reviewing. Some good tips, especially for today’s crazy sales market!

Using home’s previous sales in appraisals

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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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Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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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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