1-30-20 Newz: Tax Records SqFt. – Weird SFR Zoning – 5 ft. Wide Home

13516718 – white wood texture with natural patterns

Tax Records is not the definitive source for square footage!

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt:

Why is the appraiser saying it’s only 1,400 sq ft? Tax Records shows the home is 600 sq ft larger. This issue comes up ALL the time, so let’s talk about it.

The truth: The Assessor’s records are generally reliable, but I’m just saying sometimes they’re not. Why is this? At times it’s as simple as the original builder not turning in accurate information when a house was built. Or maybe an owner took out permits but official records were never updated. Of course we’ve all seen instances where the tax roll shows two units on one lot, but there’s really just one house nowadays. Let’s not forget sometimes owners do an addition without permits, so the Assessor might actually be correct even though the house is technically larger or has even sold on MLS as a larger home. For reference, here are ten reasons why an appraiser’s sketch might be different.

For lots of comments and more info, click here

My comment: This one of the main reasons that AVMs will never be very successful for all homes. Over and over again, statistical analysis shows GLA is the most important physical feature overall.

Also, how bedrooms are determined varies a lot, depending on the local market and can vary over time. The assessor number of bedrooms may not match the appraiser’s. For example, tandem rooms. Finished basements can vary also.

I started appraising at a CA assessor’s office in 1976. In CA, State Board of Equalization regulated county assessors offices, so the procedures and terminology are very similar all over the state. However, GLA from the assessor may have different requirements than other sources, such as ANSI.

Proposition 13 passed in 1979, which only allowed an annual 2% increase in assessment per year, unless there was a sale or improvements (determined by permits). Over time, the information has become more and more out of date.

Data is not available for smaller counties if the assessor says it is confidential. Until the 90s, my county did not release any data, so I had to “guesstimate” on square footage for sales and listings. We finally got it when an MAI was elected assessor.

In the early 90s, I researched assessors records around the country. In some small rural counties the records were kept at the assessor’s home. They were not digitized and available for purchase by data companies.

Appraisers need to know which areas are not accurate. Someties GLA is “political”. Within a city, accuracy can vary. In my city the least accurate records are in the “Gold Coast” with many of the city’s larger, historic homes. In other nearby cities, some properties have low GLAs to keep the property taxes lower.

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1-3-20 Newz: $65 Million Price Cut – No. of Bathrooms – Rate Forecast

Number of Bathrooms in New Homes

Excerpt: The Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction (SOC) shows changes in the number and shares of bathrooms and half-bathrooms of single-family homes started in the United States in 2018. The latest year’s data show that 3% of new single-family homes started had one bathroom or less, 64% had 2 bathrooms, 26% had 3 bathrooms, and 8% had 4 bathrooms or more. The term “bathroom” as used in this post refers to a full bathroom.
Interesting analysis, worth reading To read more, click here

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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?

To read more, click here

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

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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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8-2-19 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.

To read more, click here

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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7-19-19 Newz: Rates Going Down?- Appraiser Boards – AVMs Misunderstood?

AVMs Are Not Understood By A Large Swath of Non-Appraisers

Source: Jonathan Miller
Here are some recent survey results that show more than half of the respondents indicated, it is either NEVER appropriate or NOT SURE if it is appropriate for a non-appraiser to perform a valuation on a home.
So the jury is still out for a third of respondents but a third are absolutely sure it is inappropriate. One can infer that appraisers have an opportunity to convey what AVMs really are to the public.
Link to NAR AVM survey results click here
My comment: Good graphics and easy to read. Lots of topics including AVMs, desktops, bifurcated, etc. Results of a survey of NAR members. Lots of topics. Scroll down to AVMs, etc.
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5-17-19 Newz: Dancing and Crooked Houses – Will Appraisals Be Transformed??

Will Fintech Transform/Disrupt Appraisals?

Bifurcated appraisals is the “tip of the iceberg” in changes coming to lender appraisals

I recently attended Jeff Bradford’s excellent presentation on coming changes in the type of valuation used in the residential mortgage industry. I also attended a webinar “New Valuation Trends Disrupting the Industry” that focused on the lender side, especially loan originations. Both saw significant changes coming in the next 5-10 years, going from legacy to digital lending that will transformational.

Both used the term “Fintech” regularly.
Here are two definitions “computer programs and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services” and “fintech is one of the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists”. I have written about several VC funded appraisal companies in this newsletter, both residential and commercial, working on new ways to make appraisals more efficient.

Both presentations talked about many ways, such as using AI, photos and data to evaluate interior condition, estimating square footage without measuring, “real time” google earth, etc.

I will be writing about both presentations in the next month’s issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

For more info, google Fintech and mortgage lending and/or Fintech and mortgage lending appraisals. FYI, I did not know what fintech referred to and had to google it after the presentations;>
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4-26-19 Newz: Praising Appraisers – Hobbit Houses – New York AMC law

Hobbit Houses in Charlevoix, Michigan

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: Growing up in northern Michigan in the early 1900s, Earl Young was obsessed with boulders. Glacial boulders, to be exact-ones moored in fields, forests, and on lake coastlines across the state thanks to the slow march and retreat of glacial ice during the Precambrian age.
The homes he designed will stop you in your tracks, as one did the last time I was there, passing by on a bike. Call them “mushroom houses,” “hobbit houses,” “boulder houses”; everyone has a different name for them. They’re often described concisely, if vaguely, as “organic.” Though some see Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence, they’re distinctly Young.

Fascinating! Lots of fotos and info at:
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4-18-19 Newz: Strange Bathrooms; Secret Suburbs; Accurate MLS Data?

SUBSCRIBER NOTICE:
Starting next week this email newsletter will be sent out on Fridays.
Why? After 25 years of sending on Thursdays, time for a change! Also, fewer emails on Fridays, so more time to read this newsletter (and not lose it in your inbox) ;>
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4-4-19 Newz: Loan Apps Way Up – Straw Bale House – Revised FHA Handbook 4001.1

Tips for choosing comps on a unique home (straw-bale house)

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: It almost sounds like the big bad wolf story, but there really are homes built from straw. Literally. Today I want to mention a few things about this type of construction, share some photos of a local straw-bale house, and then talk briefly about how I approached appraising this one.

Worth reading to find out what Ryan did!!

My comment: Very good tips on appraising unique homes. No lender issues as the appraisal is pre-listing and not for a lender… Sacramento  is a Very Strange place for a straw-bale home!!

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These Locations Were Abandoned Years Ago. Look At Them Today

Excerpt: We’re used to seeing places maintained and kept to a high standard. Usually, we travel to places that are made to look as nice as possible through consistent cleaning and maintenance. But what about the places that are left behind?

Fascinating!! Take a break from appraising and check these out!!

https://www.editorchoice.com/abandoned-places/

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