Appraisal News and Business Tips

weird properties

6-14-18 Newz//New Fannie Selling Guide, AMC Changes, Crazy Restrooms

Dodd-Frank rollback weakens appraisal standards

Excerpts: Under the new law… smaller banks and credit unions will now be free to waive an appraisal for rural properties valued under $400,000, when they can’t find an appraiser in a timely manner.

Most loans are sold into the secondary market. It is a fairly narrow provision. They are basically looking at rural areas where banks are holding the loans in their portfolio.

…continuing concerns with what has been a pendulum swinging back to regulatory relief and loosening risk-management requirements. This is part of that wave.

Read more here:
My comment: good analysis by Bill Garber of the Appraisal Institute. Worth reading.

13 of the Craziest/Coolest Public Bathrooms

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: We know, there is a lot to hate about public restrooms, but we’ve found they can actually be a very unexpected but very potent source of inspiration. We’ve never seen tile layouts like the ones in public facilities-and that’s why we like them. Overlapping squares with zigzag edges? A woven look with a whopping five different colors and two different tile sizes?

My comment: Wow! Vibrant colors and tiles….

Read more!!

6-7-18 Newz//Square footage, Novelty Architecture, Appraisal Fraud

It’s not all about square footage in real estate

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt:
Myth: Extra square footage is always worth more.
Factors:
1) Single story vs two story
2) 55+ Community
3) Layout
4) Dangerous to always adjust

Worth reading, plus appraiser comments at:

Goofy Buildings: Revisiting the Heyday of California’s ‘Crazy’ Novelty Architecture – Giant hats, portly pigs, and drive-thru donuts.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: In the 1930s, a British traveler in Southern California wondered if the local architects had gone a little nuts. It was either that or he had stumbled into a fantasy universe. There was something trippy about the roadside shops he saw along the way…

The unusual businesses he saw weren’t on some Hollywood backlot, but were California’s classic coterie of mimetic architecture-that is, buildings shaped like, well, anything but buildings. According to Cristina Carbone, a professor of art and architectural history at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, the practice dates back to at least the Renaissance.

Fascinating!! Lots of photos and interesting comments at:

Read more!!

5-24-18 Newz//UAD and Fannie Form Changes, Floating Island, Refis dropping

It’ll never sell that high (but then it did)

Excerpt: There’s no way it’s going to sell that high. Have you ever thought that in real estate? Well, let’s talk about a property that many said would never sell at $4.1M, but then it did. I definitely have some takeaways about this lofty condo in Downtown Sacramento (CA), and I hope non-locals will relate to the commentary. (My note: median home sale price is $367,500)

Details and lots of graphs at:

My comment: The median home sale price is $367,500. This is definitely an outlier for the area.

A floating Pacific island is in the works with its own government, cryptocurrency and 300 houses

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: The Floating Island Project plans to create off-shore housing that uses its own currency and operates outside of government regulations.
– The project is a pilot program in partnership with the government of French Polynesia.
– A long-term vision for the project is hundreds of new countries floating on the ocean.

As well as offering a home for the displaced, the self-contained islands are designed to function as business centers that are beyond the influence of government regulation.

Check out the video and lots more details at:

Read more!!

5-3-18 Newz//Federal Enforcement of USPAP?, Public Restroom App, Unusual Houses & Buildings

How Lenders and Appraisers Can Work Better Together Through Increased Transparency

By Wes Costello
Excerpts: The relationship between lenders and appraisers has never been quite right. The association was scared by improprieties of the few that led to a fallout of the many, with each party retreating behind walls of mistrust and perceived regulatory requirement. Recently, communication is civil but has been described as resembling two parties of a legal arrangement who speak to each other on an as-needed basis….

Anyone who has directed appraisal management knows that they are only as good as the appraisers they partner with. This makes it vital to value each member of your appraisal panel as an integral partner in your company’s business.

My comment: Well written and worth reading, plus the comments, of course. The author is a Senior Vice President of Quality Management & Collateral Risk at AnnieMac Home Mortgage… He is a Pennsylvania Certified Real Estate Appraiser.

Public Restroom App by Charmin: Find Clean Bathrooms!

Excerpt: A clean nearby public bathroom can be hard to find. But not all restrooms are created equal.

With SitOrSquat we put clean public toilets on the map. Literally. Clean locations have a green “Sit” rating. Less desirable ones have a red “Squat.”

So, the next time nature calls and you need to find a nearby restroom, SitORSquat will help you know where to go.

My comment: Thanks to appraiser Jerry Walsh for this great tip. He has used it for years. I am downloading it today!! I coulda used this 40 years ago when I started appraising in rural areas….. Better than The Bushes or Behind A Tree ;>

Read more!!

4-26-18 Newz//Tristar Waivers Denied, Fannie Update, FHFA Paper on Value of AMCs Questioned

Technology or Human Logical Analysis? Who Wins?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA, CDEI
Excerpt: There is evidence that human judgment WINS – the appraiser opinion beats the AVM and other valuations based on technology. In fact, I have often heard that the qualified appraisal, based on the human logical analysis – is the “gold standard” for the industry. This appears to be true of client groups, and appears to be recognized in administrative law, our federal and state and “quasi-governmental” bodies such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Appraisal Foundation.

Even as we say this, the human model, the appraiser, continues to lose market share to other technologies and other “non-appraiser” value providers.

Worth reading at:

My comment: George Dell’s weekly blog posts are great, but short, as is appropriate for blogs. The May issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter will have a much longer article by George, “Will another profession replace appraisers?”

Uredd Rest Area (Ureddplassen)

Norway has built what may be the world’s most beautiful public toilet.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Norway’s newest landmark is a place of absurd beauty. The redesigned rest area, situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route, overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer.

Now this picturesque place is quickly gaining a stranger kind of fame, for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet the world over.

Check out the Fantastic Photos and short description at:

My comment: Wow!! What do I use in the field? Fast food, bushes, etc. ;> Sometimes a crummy restroom or smelly portable toilet in a public park… Please hit reply of you know any other great public restrooms…

Read more!!

3-1-18 Newz//”Just” a Residential Appraiser?, Turret Living, Price Fixing?

I Am Not “JUST” a Residential Appraiser

By Rachel Massey, SRA
Excerpt: There is no doubt that moving to obtaining a certified general appraisal license opens doors to varied and interesting work. If it is in one’s capacity to obtain this level, it is a great idea. That said, the idea of being “just” a residential appraiser has got to stop.

A good professional residential appraiser who studies the market, knows how to analyze and solve a problem, and can communicate effectively and succinctly, is a very valuable appraiser at that!

Worth reading, plus read the comments and post your opinion.
My comment: Rachel wrote a much longer, very interesting article for the paid Appraisal Today March issue: “What being designated means to me”
When I started appraising in the late 70s, residential was somehow considered “inferior”. I guess it has been going on for a very long time. I have always thought that residential appraisers are experts in one type of property: 1-4 units. If you are testifying in court on a single family home and the opposing attorney’s appraiser is an MAI who appraises a few times a year, you will blow them away!!

Read more!!

12/28/17 Newz//Home prices since 1870, Change your templates!!, Very unusual airports

CHANGE YOUR TEMPLATES!!, computer folders, etc.

  • Appraisal template(s) forms, and narrative appraisals, proposals/bids, etc.
  • Set up new (sub) folders on your computer for 2018, such as 2018fotos and 2018appraisals. Every year, starting January 1, I keep using 2017 on my personal checkbook. I am setting up  about 10 checks with the year already on them so I finally will get this right ;>
  • Note: this depends on what you have already set up. Or, maybe it is time to think about setting up folders if you have difficulty finding files.

RECORD YOUR 1/1/18 AUTO ODOMETER READING AND DON’T LOSE IT!!

For your mileage log. I also always go to my mechanic for oil change, etc. to get an “official” odometer reading, which the IRS prefers. I learned a lot after miserably failing my IRS audit of my “recreated” mileage log as I did not have one.

Is Your Life Integrated? – George Dell

Tools for work, tools for life.

Excerpt: This time of the year for many is a time of reflection and hope. My reflection today is how some principles of our profession may be principles of a successful life; what those principles may be, and how they’ve contributed to my joy and sense of satisfaction and service.

Very interesting. Worth reading!!

My comment: I have known George for many years. He has appraisal ideas I have never seen anywhere else. He is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today.

Read more!!

12-14-17 Newz, Underground Digs, AirBnB values, FHA loan limits and PACE

Digging into our drive to tunnel, bore, and head underground.
Just For Fun!!
Excerpt: The deepest tunnelers among animals, crocodiles that can burrow 39 feet down, cannot compete with us at all. Humans have traveled, in the deepest mine in the world, almost 2.5 miles underground (to say nothing of our boreholes, which go nearly three times deeper). The longest and deepest traffic tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, makes it possible to cross the Alps in 40 minutes or less. The world’s major cities are criss-crossed by tunnels carrying water, sewage, wires, and people. Montreal has an entire subterranean city for its residents to navigate in the cold winter.

My comment: Fascinating!! I have not appraised any properties with tunnels, but I have seen many (and traveled through some) over the years. Railroad and mass transit trains, abandoned tunnels to nowhere, underground parts of cities (mostly abandoned), old mining tunnels, etc. I have seen (and appraised) lots of basements though, some way below ground ;>

How much is Airbnb driving up home prices and rents

Excerpt: The researchers looked at rents and home prices in the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016. They found that a 10% increase in Airbnb listings leads to a 0.39% increase in rents and a 0.64% increase in house prices.

“That may sound minuscule, but between 2012 and 2016, rents rose by about 2.2% annually [on average in the 100 areas], so a 0.39% increase in that context isn’t very small at all,” says Dr. Edward Kung, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California Los Angeles and one of the study’s authors. The same is true for home prices, which rose by an average of about 4.8% annually in the 100 areas, he adds.

My comment:

Seems like Airbnb rentals are all over, such as my small city, not just in popular vacation spots. From an appraisal point of view, Airbnb rentals are tricky. More cities are regulating them. A lot more hassle than renting out an ADU for a year, for example. Tax issues for owners. To me, seems like it is business value rather than real estate value. Very confusing!!

Appraiserville from Jonathan Miller’s Housing Notes

Check out the topics below
– The Appraisal Industry Needs Better PR
No one knows what we do.
No one appreciates what we do.
– More on Tristar Bank in TN (you know, the one that shouldn’t be in the mortgage business)
– Loan origination graph 2006 to 2017
– The Next Appraisal Bombshell: Economic Growth Regulatory Reduction and Consumer Protection Act

Scroll down the page to Appraiserville, and maybe make a few stops along the way ;>

Read more!!

11-30-17 Newz// My Client the FBI, 50 Lane Traffic Jam,Third Party Inspections

China’s 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter’s Worst Nightmare

What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

Excerpts: Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded on Tuesday in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads. Some are dubbing the traffic jam a “carpocalypse,” while others are calling it “carmageddon.”:

China is no stranger to these ridiculous traffic jams, especially on national highways. In 2010, gridlock spanning more than 74 miles on the stretch between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Beijing left drivers with nowhere to go for a staggering 12 days. That time blame fell on everything from road construction to broken down cars and fender-benders.

My comment: Check out the photos. Wow! One of my nightmares is getting stuck in a big traffic jam, but I never thought about one as bad as this…

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/10/chinas-50-lane-traffic-jam-is-every-commuters-worst-nightmare/409639

A Mysterious Device Revealed

Excerpt: On Monday, I distributed a photo (see below), which was taken by a western US appraiser at the subject property, and asked if anyone could accurately describe what this device is:

The property owner was not at the property when the appraiser was there, and the appraiser was frankly stumped as to what this ‘thing’ is.

By late afternoon Monday, the appraiser was able to talk with the property owner, and was told about this contraption. Meanwhile, dozens of appraisers wrote back with suggestions or positive “it’s a” statements.

My comment: There was a fun email thread on this topic. To sign up for Dave Towne’s emails, send an email to dtowne@fidalgo.net He has been writing a lot recently about hybrid appraisals (non-appraiser does the site inspection). Very controversial. I am working on an article for this topic in the paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

Read more!!

11-16-17 Newz//:Value Of Additional Bedrooms, 13 Animal-Shaped Homes, Timber Towers

Architectural menagerie

13 animal-shaped buildings

Just For Fun!!
Excerpt: Novelty architecture can take on many fantastical forms – think municipal water towers done up like peaches and soft serve-shaped ice cream stands – but animal-shaped buildings are in a league of their own.

Often built as roadside attractions meant to lure motorists off the highway, these completely functional structures serve a greater purpose than just kitschy ornamentation. Some are truly mimetic – that is, the building is representative of its original purpose be it a poultry shop, seafood restaurant or woolen clothing boutique. Others are more symbolic, which is probably a good thing.

Here are a few:
– Big Sheep Wool Gallery – New Zealand
– Turtle Building – Niagara Falls
– Crocodile Hotel – Australia

Good fotos and write-ups at:

Why Timber Towers Are On the Rise in France

Excerpt: Spurred by concerns over climate change and the negative impacts of concrete manufacturing, architects and developers in France are increasingly turning to wood for their office towers and apartment complexes.

Concrete was praised through much of the 20th century for its flexibility, functionality, and relative affordability. In France, the material ushered in an era of bold modernist architecture including housing by Auguste Perret and Le Corbusier. Today, however, wood is lauded for its smaller environmental footprint and the speed with which buildings can be assembled.

Read more!!

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