Appraisers: How to Manage Your Emails

The Mailbox is Full and Cannot Accept Any Messages at this Time. Goodbye. How to Manage Your Emails

By Paul Ryll

Excerpts: My mother told me today that she called last night and was greeted with, ‘The mailbox is full and cannot accept any messages at this time. Goodbye.’

I get a few telemarketers’ messages. Rarely is there a message from a friend or family member. I would say about 90% of the voicemails that I receive are from an irate homeowner worried about a rate lock or a stressed out realtor wondering if they are going to close on time.

AMCs

Assuring that the appraiser has the correct contact information for an inspection is very important. There have been numerous instances in which I have not been able to get ahold of a contact for an inspection only to find out weeks later that the AMC gave me the wrong contact information.

Communicating quickly with the lender is an issue with the appraisal process. I’ve requested guidance on assignments from the lender in which the answer came after the due date. Most recently, I had a detached condo that was ordered on a 1004 which needed to be switched to a 1073. The closing date came and went before I got the go-ahead from the lender.

Have one point of contact for an assignment. Nothing is more frustrating than 17 people calling me on one revision because the employees of the company don’t research to see if I have been contacted or read the notes in the assignment.

To read more, click here

My comments: Slow now? Work on organizing your emails. I have many email folders with automated inbox filtering, which helps a lot. Very good tips in the article. Written in 2-22 but is still very relevant today. I don’t see much written about appraisers and emails. I have always had a landline for business calls and a cell phone for personal calls. Having both on one cell phone is chaos, IMHO.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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What Do Appraisers Look For in a Sales Contract?

What Do Appraisers Look For in a Sales Contract?

Why must an appraiser be given a copy of the sales contract? First and foremost, Standards Rule 1-5 in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) states that we are to: “analyze all agreements of sale.” That’s the real reason why—because USPAP says so.

Secondly, the appraiser is likely familiar with the local real estate contract forms, customary terms, and conditions of real estate transactions in the area, and might be able to identify irregularities and comment on them.

Thirdly, and more importantly, there may be provisions in the contract that identify concessions, non-real property items included in the sale, or other unusual conditions that would give the appraiser the opportunity to comment on or explain in the appraisal report as to why there is a difference between the indicated market value of the subject property and the contract price.

To read many practical tips, click here

My comments: Worth reading. Answers a lot of appraiser questions. Of course, I have always preferred not knowing the sales price as it seems like a conflict for an objective, unbiased appraisal.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Appraiser Adjustment Tools

What Tools Do You Use to Support Your Appraisal Adjustments?

McKissock Survey

Excerpts: Here’s a tally of the most popular answers—tools that were either selected or written in by multiple respondents. We’ve included “paired sales/matched pair analysis” in the list as well, even though it’s a method rather than a digital or software tool, because it was mentioned by so many appraisers.

In addition to the top answers listed above, we received many other write-in responses. Other methods and tools that our survey participants said they use to support appraisal adjustments include:

    • Market knowledge/research
    • Market extraction
  • Manual sales comparison
  • Regression analysis
  • Segmented market analysis

To read more, click here

My comments: First survey for this topic I have ever seen. Very interesting. Don’t miss the appraisers’ comments!

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What Appraisers Wish Real Estate Agents Understood

What Appraisers Wish Real Estate Agents Understood

McKissock Survey

Question: “What’s one thing you wish real estate agents knew about the appraisal process?

Top 10 most common answers

  1. The appraisal process is complex and takes time
  2. Appraisers do not assign value
  3. Appraisers are unbiased and must follow guidelines
  4. Appraisers need their input and cooperation
  5. How to select appropriate sales comps
  6. The importance of providing accurate and detailed info in their listings
  7. How to determine correct GLA (gross living area)
  8. How renovations and upgrades affect value
  9. How to prepare for the appraisal appointment
  10. FHA/VA/USDA guidelines

To read all the appraiser comments, click here

My comments: The appraiser comments are worth reading. I will always remember when, many years ago, a top local real estate agent asked me why I was driving around taking photos of homes. Of course, most people confuse real estate agents with appraisers. We have done a very poor job of telling the general public what we do and that we are are objective and unbiased. We need a good Appraiser PR Campaign!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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What is a residential complex property?

How to Identify a Residential Complex Property

By: McKissock December 16, 2022

Excerpts: The property to be appraised is atypical

In this case, the property is an outlier, oddball, or not common for the particular area. Of all the characteristics that can make a property complex, physical features are the ones that are most obvious. Some of the key physical features that can make an appraisal assignment complex include:

The form of ownership is atypical

In this case, circumstances involving ownership are uncommon or make the appraisal more complex. For example: The owner doesn’t own property rights on a waterfront property.

The market conditions are atypical

In this case, unique market conditions increase the complexity of the appraisal. For example:

The property is located in an area where there are no other sales.

There is no market for the house; no sales are occurring for some reason (e.g., the property is near a nuclear site cleanup).

Note: the link to the complementary post, “How to Pull Comps on a Complex Property,” is included in this blog post.

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading with good tips. I published “Tips for dealing with complex residential appraisals” in the November issue, much longer with many more tips and examples.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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How to Reduce Appraisal Revision Requests

How to Reduce Appraisal Revision Requests

By Clear Capital November 14, 2022

Excerpts:

To cut down on appraisal revision requests, it is important to keep these best practices in mind:

Communicate in a timely manner

Address the request thoroughly and professionally. Add additional commentary where appropriate.

Ask questions. If you disagree with the request for appraisal submissions or have concerns or need clarification, please reach out for clarification.

1. Explain ‘How’, not ‘Why’ in the appraisal report

The most common frustrations arise when the appraiser focuses more on the type of adjustments made while the reader would look for the ‘how’ in the appraisal report. For example, if a positive or negative adjustment was applied in the report, the reader wants to know how the adjustment was determined.

“How did you determine that the subject comparable was inferior or superior in condition? Don’t leave the ‘how’ part out while applying adjustments. Be sure to address those questions; it will certainly help you in the long run.” says Ken Folven, Senior Director, Appraisal Quality Assurance at Clear Capital

2. Reduce lengthy commentary

In some cases, appraisers provide lengthy boilerplate commentary in an attempt to avoid a revision request. This strategy often backfires because parties involved in the lending process cannot find the specific information they are looking for in the report. Inconsistent commentary can result in common requests for revision.

Prior to submission, read the letter of engagement in detail, which highlights the customer-specific information, and make sure to include all required information in your report. Organize your commentary and explain your comparable selection process briefly.

“I always recommend organizing commentary by adjustment rather than by comparable and make it a habit to review the pre-delivery rules,” says Khan.

Derek Mitchell, a California-based Senior Appraiser at Clear Capital, has a different approach: “I use a lot of characteristic-based comments as opposed to comparable-based comments because it cuts down on the amount of writing that I have to do and the amount of reading the reviewer has to do,” Mitchell says. “It tends to get redundant when you’re just talking about different comparables but the same characteristics.”

In addition, staying up-to-date with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and GSE guidelines and industry requirements also goes a long way in drafting error-free reports that would otherwise create unnecessary revision requests.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good practical tips. We all hate revisions unless maybe it was because we forgot to put the value in. I did this sometimes in appraisals for a local bank ;> Your clients hate them also. They take appraisers too much time and can sometimes make you very upset, which interrupts your workflow.

What Causes Appraisal Revisions?

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Practical Tips for Working With AMCs

Appraisers Share Their Best Tips for Working with AMCs

By McKissock

Excerpts: In a nutshell, our survey respondents recommended that you should:

1) do your research and get to know the AMCs,

2) build a relationship with them,

3) treat the relationship as a partnership, and

4) prioritize communication.

Build a relationship

“Be personable so they remember you.”

“Make yourself known by being efficient as well as timely with your reports. Be friendly—even when you feel like the UW’s question may be redundant or was already answered in the report. I promise you that this will make you known in your area.”

“Have a very responsive credo. Keep them up to date in every step of the report so that they can keep the Lender (and the Buyer/Seller/Realtor/Closing Attorneys when applicable) all in the loop on the progress of the report. Remember when they look good and trust you—you look good

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

“Update the orders quickly.”

“Keep them informed.”

“Over communicate!”

“Always communicate—even if it feels like too much. Our office updates AMCs on every scheduling attempt with details, every inspection appointment set and completion, and any materials needed ASAP in the assignment. They really appreciate it, and it ensures you can complete assignments on time as you had planned (no one likes waiting for a legal description only to have it show up on your day of 4 inspections!). It’s truly a win-win.”

“Stay in communication. Appraisers tend to get annoyed with constant emails from the AMC about inspection date, completion, report submission, etc. I make it a point to update them and answer their emails ASAP. In my opinion, that’s good business. And if you do need more time, more info, they are more willing to oblige.”

To read more, click here

My comments: Read this blog post with practical tips from practicing appraisers. It can help you get more business from AMCs (and other lender clients). Savvy appraisers I know who mostly do non-lender work also have a limited number of carefully vetted AMCs they work for, plus a few local lenders and “private” lenders.

Advertising Disclaimer: McKissock is one of my regular email advertisers. I keep my advertising clients and this newsletter’s content separate. But, McKissock’s blog posts are short, well written, and popular with readers, so I include them regularly.

LIA runs an informational ad at the top of each email newsletter. The ads regularly get the largest number of “hits,” indicating that readers like them. We all like free Liability advice!

Practical real estate appraisal writing tips for AMC questions

Reconsideration of value and Appraisers

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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VA Update for Appraisers

VA Update for Appraisers

Interview with VA’s Chief Appraiser

By Isaac Peck

Excerpts: …the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), is known throughout the valuation community for respecting the work of appraisers and maintaining reasonable fee schedules.

The questions:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are making desktop appraisals a permanent fixture in their valuation offerings. Is the VA looking at these types of valuations and what are some of the considerations?
  • There’s been a lot of buzz about measuring homes to ANSI standards in the appraisal industry–what can you tell us about the VA’s stance on ANSI? Do you anticipate requiring ANSI on VA appraisals in the future?
  • There is a lot of concern about discriminatory appraisals—what is the VA doing to protect Veterans from discrimination and what are your thoughts on the topic?
  • What’s new at the VA? Any final thoughts?

To read the answers and more, click here

My comments: I have always strongly recommended doing VA appraisals, especially since AMCs took over other lenders’ appraisal management. VA wants you to help veterans. Lenders want to make more money. I wrote a long article about VA in the past, available to paid subscribers. I interviewed VA appraisal employees, fee appraisers who liked VA, and other appraisers who did not want to work for VA.

Appraisers and local market analysis

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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Appraisals and Water Frontage

Appraisals and Water Frontage

Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpts:

What about an off-site water view?

In a large townhouse-style condominium complex, there were only eight units that had water views. The view was of a section of the Intracoastal Waterway. It was from the second floor only, and over a six-foot high concrete block wall and across an open field. The builder charged more for those units because of the partial view.

My research discovered that the open field had just been purchased by a group that was building a four-level high-and-dry boat storage building. That bit of news made quite a few folks very unhappy and had a distinct impact on the value of those units. The moral of this story is that when you see open land between your subject property and the water, review ownership and the local building and zoning department’s comprehensive land use plan.

Water rights play a major role

With many water fronting properties, the topics of “riparian and/or littoral rights” (and the “prior appropriation doctrine” in the western states) come into play, along with several other issues. Those topics are fodder for other lengthy blog posts all by themselves. Appraisers should familiarize themselves with their state laws regarding water frontage and related rights, as they can vary from state to state.

Among the rights that come with real property ownership is the right to exclude others. When oceans, lakes, bayous, estuaries, rivers, streams, and ponds are involved, this right is a large part of what property purchasers are paying for.

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading, especially the last section “Final thoughts on the topic.”

I have lived in my island city for 42 years and had two waterfront homes, with docks, during the first 30 years. Both had many water related issues. One was on a tidal canal and built around 1943. Over time many homes along the waterfront, including mine, had non-permitted structures built over the water. The canal was owned by the state with an unclear easement for building beyond the rear lot line. The property owners asked me to do appraisals on the homes, including the rear structures but did not like my very high fee. It was so complicated the state and the city gave up trying to straighten it out.

The other home, built in 1946, faced a small bay off an outlet to a large part of San Francisco Bay. The large rear part of the lot was owned by the state and the city, which was leased to the homeowner. When the state said they were considering giving public waterfront access along the rear of all the homes unless we paid an annual lease fee, based on the extra lot square footage, we agreed to pay it.

I always wondered what other appraisers thought about these issues. They may not have even recognized or asked about them. Appraisers called very rarely.

I will never forget one of my first house appraisals here. The owner said it had a Bay view but did not mention you had to stand on the toilet to see through the window. After that, I told them the view had to be from a chair that you sat in!

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Green Home Appraisals – Ideas for Appraisers

5 Tips for Appraising Green Homes

By McKissock

Excerpts:

1. Consider each home on a case-by-case basis

You must independently determine whether there is sufficient information available to develop a reliable opinion of market value for each individual property. That will depend on the extent of the differences between the green home and other types of houses in the neighborhood. It will also depend on the number of such properties that have already been sold in the neighborhood.

5. Compare improvements to those in the neighborhood

Any improvements should conform to the neighborhood in terms of age, type, design, and materials used for their construction. If there is market resistance to a green home property because its improvements are not compatible with the neighborhood or with the requirements of the competitive market because of adequacy of plumbing, heating, or electrical services; design; quality; size; condition; or any other reason directly related to market demand, address the impact to the value and marketability of the subject property.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have “Mediterranean” (mild) weather, without much solar. If you live in an area with high summer and/or low winter temperatures, there are probably more solar installations. Many classes are offered by various appraisal CE providers. Check with education providers, such as McKissock, the Appraisal Institute, and local offerings.

What are Pass through Bedrooms for Appraisals

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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