Too many appraisers?

How can we fix the excess of appraisers?

Too many appraisers?

By George Dell, SRA, MAI

Easy — we do what we have always done, each time . . .

Excerpts: 1) We will raise the standards (“cost of entry”). 2) We will make it harder to become an appraiser; 3) Let the lower fees discourage newcomer appraisers.

In past issues of the Analogue Blog, we have considered the “five forces of friction” on the advancement of appraisal. Here we consider how these “frictions” will behave as appraisal demand has dropped, just as each of the five forces have found ways to reduce or “eliminate” the need for valuation expertise. Recall the five forces of friction: practices, standards, education, regulation, and client expectation.

This blog considers how each friction will respond to this “excess” of appraisers.

Practices:

Current practice is still embedded in the concepts of 8 ½ X 14 paper forms, spreadsheets, or narrative explanation of the opinion of the person (appraiser, evaluator) or automation programmer. Practices will continue to evolve toward objective data selection and predictive models. But this evolvement will continue to stay behind the inherent potential of applied data science. Habitual practice of “comparing comps” over “measuring markets” will prevail (in the absence of change in the other “frictions”).

To read more, click here

My comments: Of course, lots of politicians, appraiser organizations, appraisers and others are complaining now about an appraiser shortage and trying to recruit trainees. This is the past. Loan applications are way down, the lowest in 22 years. What was your business like before the pandemic? Not much work probably compared with 2020-2022. The Inevitable Cyclicality of Mortgage Lending. I hope you saved up lots of money over the past few years!

Non-lender Appraisals Good fees and few hassles
Purchase vs. refi appraisals

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Tips on appraising new construction homes

6 Tips for Appraising New Construction Homes

Excerpts: New construction is treated a little differently by lenders, FHA, and the GSEs. When appraising new construction homes, you must take into consideration certain features and attributes that don’t necessarily apply to re-sales. It requires more work, so you want to be sure that you are charging for your effort. However, perhaps more than that, you want to be sure you’re following the proper protocol. Stick to these best practices to ensure you cover all your bases.

3. Talk to multiple local builders You can gain valuable information from builders—as long as you talk to them now to evaluate current costs and value. Some of the best construction cost data is compiled by you as you complete new construction appraisal assignments. When appraising new proposed construction, the prior data can be reviewed for those construction projects that are most similar to the subject property in quality, size, and features and be used as cost data to support cost estimates for the current appraisal. As the cost of construction materials generally continue to spiral upwards, it may be necessary to adjust for time, depending on how old the cost data is.

To read more tips, click here

My comments: Well written and worth reading. New home construction appraisals can be tricky. I quit doing them a while ago – too many various hassles, but many appraisers like doing them. There are few new homes built in my area, except stacked condos. Land is too expensive.

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CubiCasa – Home Measurement From Inside A House

CubiCasa and a Desktop Mess – an appraiser’s experience

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: I called the listing agent on the property I was to appraise and asked if they knew how an appraiser might go about obtaining a floor plan (for my desktop appraisal). She had no idea and had never heard of this type of thing being needed. I was really at a dead end here. I called the bank and explained the situation. They ended up converting the assignment to a traditional type of appraisal so that I could just make the inspection myself.

I called the chief appraiser of the bank that ordered the appraisal. I know him well and have worked together with him on some complex assignments. He said the whole thing is a mess. Some appraisers are submitting reports where they have the listing agent hand-draw the interior walls on copies of the county auditor’s sketch outline. This is also a no-no. Fannie Mae will accept nothing hand-drawn in terms of the sketch…

I decided to test CubiCasa. I downloaded the software to my iPhone 11… I must tell you that I was very impressed! The scan took 15 minutes to do. By the way, I measured the home also. It took about 15 minutes for me to measure the home. But it would have taken a lot longer if I had to add walls and doors!

In less than a day, the sketch was sent to me via email, and it was awesome! It was professional-looking and had all the data that I needed. Its measurements were within 15 square feet of mine on a home that was just over 2,400 square feet. It also broke down the square footage of each floor and the dimensions of each room and its gross living area calculations.

I have been using it and then comparing my measurements with its measurements. It is consistently within 1-3% of my measurements. The 3% variance is with larger homes with complex angles and tricky areas to measure. In my view, that’s pretty good!

To read more and see a fun video and animated gifs, click here

My comments: Desktop appraisals are a new type of assignment for appraisers. I wrote about CubiCasa and Desktops in recent newsletters. I tested it and spoke with knowledgeable people. I am using it. No more exterior measurements!

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Fannie ANSI Update – 19 New FAQs

Fannie ANSI FAQs Update

Updated Standardized Property Measurement Guidelines – 19 new FAQs, 5 Pages

Excerpt from the short Fannie email sent 3-15-22 at 8 AM (Pacific time): “…Are you ready? We’ve updated the Standardized Property Measuring Guidelines fact sheet to include more answers to your frequently asked questions. Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions.”
My comment: There are no changes to the first page, including comps measured differently and the exception process. Links are included for references in Fannie’s Selling Guide in the Guidelines.
FAQ topics include:
Q5. When common practice in the local market differs from the ANSI standard, can the appraiser modify the subject’s GLA to conform to local custom?
Q8. The ANSI standard specifically notes that the definition of above and below grade could cause some houses to have no above-grade finished square footage.
How should appraisers report GLA in this scenario?
Q9. How will lenders know that appraisers used the ANSI standard?
Q15. Will appraiser adherence to the ANSI standard cause confusion when the subject GLA differs from other sources such as MLS or public record?
Q16. How should appraisers account for rooms located in above-grade finished areas that do not qualify as GLA under the ANSI standard?
Q18. The GLA of comparables available to appraisers may not be based on the ANSI standard. How should appraisers manage this issue?
Q19. How should appraisers value finished areas that the ANSI standard does not include in GLA, such as where the ceiling height is less than 7 feet?
To download the PDF to read the answers and other FAQs,  click here
My comments: Read This Document! I have been waiting for an update to the one-page original Fannie document since it was first released about 3 months ago. There are many, many issues when using ANSI for lenders and AMCs. Appraisers sent many questions to Fannie and made comments during webinars with Fannie.
If you’re looking for a class, webinar, or other ANSI info, go to www.appraisaltoday.com/ANSI

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AMC Mergers and Acquisition for Appraisers

AMC Mergers and Acquisition – Someone has a positive view of residential lender appraising!

Nationwide Property & Appraisal Services purchased by investment firm Arcapita Group Holdings

Excerpts: The deal gives Arcapita an AMC that serves mortgage lenders in all 50 states, has a network of over 15,000 licensed appraisers, and grossed $144 million in revenue in 2021.

“We were attracted by Nationwide’s highly cash generative business, experienced management team, and strong base of clients across the country,” Arcapita CEO Atif Abdulmalik said in a statement. “Close to 50% of Nationwide’s customers have maintained their relationship with the company for over six years, highlighting the longevity of its customer relationships, and the company benefits from a free cash flow conversion rate of over 99%.”

The AMC has acquired five other companies since Corridor bought a stake in Nationwide in 2016. In June, Nationwide acquired Portland, Oregon-based First Choice Appraisal Management, expanding its reach into the Pacific Northwest.

Other large financial firms are also putting money into the appraisal management space, which is highly fractured.

In October, private holding group StoicLane acquired control of the appraisal management company Lender’s Valuation Services (LVS).

To read more, click here

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Class Valuation purchases Metro-West 

Excerpt: In a press statement, Class Valuation said Metro-West, founded in 1987, is the largest independent residential appraisal firm in the country, with staff appraisers in over 80 U.S. metros.

Class Valuation, which itself is owned by private equity firm Gridiron Capital, said the acquisition of Metro-West would fit into its larger strategy of fusing tech tools such as automation and 3D measurements to help clear the well-documented capacity issues in appraisal.

“One area of focus for us has been the growth of a staff appraiser network and building out a nation-wide trainee program,” John Fraas, CEO of Class Valuation, said in a statement.

This is the fifth acquisition Class Valuation has made in the last 12 months, and the seventh in recent years. In September, Class Valuation acquired Kansas City, Missouri-based Pendo Management for an undisclosed sum.

There’s been a surge in private equity investment in the U.S. appraisal space over the last two years.

To read more, click here

My comments: The investors see money to be made in appraisals. What will they think when it inevitably crashes again, like it always does. I wish I had an AMC I could sell to investors ;>

If you work for any of these AMCs, keep close track of your billings, so they don’t get lost in any accounting mergers. No one knows, of course, if their appraisal management will change.

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Appraisal Obsolete? Now or in the Future?

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Desktop appraisals okay for some Fannie Loans March 2022

Desktop appraisals okay for some Fannie Loans March 2022

Fannie announcement – About Desktop Appraisals

Beginning in March 2022, desktop appraisals will be an option for some loan transactions. This fact sheet provides high-level information on Fannie Mae’s requirements for desktop appraisals and answers some frequently asked questions. We’ll be adding information to the fact sheet, such as additional FAQs as needed.

Excerpts:

  • Use Form 1004 Desktop
  • Must include floor plan with interior walls.
  • The appraiser must have sufficient information to develop a credible report.

To read the fact sheet, click here

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Desktop Appraisal to Become the New Norm

by Isaac Peck, Editor, WorkingRe

Note: This article was written before the Fannie announcement above. 

Excerpts: A number of questions remain regarding how the GSEs will establish the eligibility criteria for what types of loans, transactions, and loan-to-value (LTV) ratios will qualify for these desktop valuations. For example, Thompson’s comments that such a move will provide relief on rural appraisals runs contrary to most conventional appraisal experience in the industry where appraisal waivers, hybrid appraisals, and other “alternative” valuation products have primarily been used in cookie-cutter, tract home neighborhoods where model-match comps are more readily available.

In fact, over the years many senior executives at the GSEs and at major lending institutions have acknowledged the need for traditional appraisals on rural properties—which are much more likely to have unique features and require more complex analysis.

There is also the question of whether the introduction of desktop appraisals will potentially lead to a broader range of alternative appraisal products into the mix. Given that some senior executives at Fannie Mae were predicting that hybrid appraisals would become mainstream by 2022, it is actually a little surprising that desktop appraisal assignments are the first alternative product to get a permanent place on the GSE’s valuation roster. Appraisers will just have to wait to see what the future holds!

To read more, click here

My comment: Interesting and worth reading about the background of Fannie’s change

Appraisal Completion Certifications – be careful

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Appraisal Obsolete? Now or in the Future?

Is Appraisal Obsolete?

By George Dell

Excerpts: You’d think client/user expectation would follow wise professional leadership. Hah!

Innovation and leadership in knowledge and education has declined. The profession and its key organizations have long lost their default position. Pride in designations are diminished. Replaced by licensing, outdated appraisal processes, echoed education, and octopus-like regulation. These are built upon subjective, belief-based ‘credibility’ standards. Each of these re-reinforce what clients want and expect. Why?

USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) is edited every two or three years. New updates may simply undo prior updates. Chugga chugga.

Appraisers are required to repeat the same education and repurchase the USPAP book every two years, even when changes take place over a three-year period. And pay fees for the privilege. “Automated valuations,” “evaluations,” and “waivered” ways do not have such taxes and ‘regulatory guidance.’ This creates a market advantage for the lesser-quality product!

To read more, click here

My comment: I agree, unfortunately. I love the use of “octopus”: very descriptive

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How Do Driveways Affect Appraised Value?

What’s The Size of Your Driveway?

By Jamie Owen
Excerpt: It really depends on how the appraiser is looking at it. Are they reporting the width of the driveway, the depth, or how many cars can fit on the driveway?
Most appraisers reflect the width of the driveway. Why? For one thing, many lenders prefer the driveway size to be reported this way. This is likely because it is less subjective. For instance, if the appraiser reports the driveway size based upon the number of cars that can fit on it, what kind of automobile are they using for their measurement? After all, a driveway may be able to accommodate a larger number of smaller cars than bigger ones.
Does it affect value? As is the case with nearly every aspect of a home, the answer is, it depends.
For instance, in high-density neighborhoods where street parking is limited, the size of the driveway could make a difference in value. On the other hand, in other high-density neighborhoods, many homeowners may use public transportation. If this is the norm for the neighborhood, the size of the driveway may not have any impact on value.
To read more and see fun animated gif, click here
My comments: Worth reading. Lots of topics are covered. Check out the fun animated gifs, etc.
In San Francisco, for example, off-street parking is at a premium in many neighborhoods. My brother bought a house 25 years ago with no off-street parking (primarily single family homes). I warned him, but he really wanted the house. It was a hassle then, but now, it is very difficult to find parking as many neighbors rent rooms to tenants with cars.
A significant issue with ADUs is where will the car(s) park? Will they take up the neighbors’ on-street parking?
I moved to San Francisco in 1968 and worked in a lab 20 miles away. The closest parking was 2-3 long blocks away when I got home from work. I moved from Tulsa, OK, where there was lots of parking everywhere. I never lived in a place without off-street parking again!
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Appraisals Obsolete Now or Later?

Is Appraisal Obsolete?

By George Dell SRA, MAI, ASA, CRE
Excerpt: Obsolete! Such a harsh word. Can it be?
Is the problem convolution?
Does it mean I will soon be obsolete? Not needed? Not loved? Terrible. What can be done?
Yet all the little signs are pointing that way. “Automated” valuation models have much of the market, and continue to gain. Other valuation methods and appraisal exempted transactions continue to grow. Evaluations, desktops, hybrids, auto-measurements, non-appraiser inspections, broker opinions.
To read more, click here
My comment: Another different perspective from George Dell! Check out “Appraisal startup Aloft closes $20M Series A” above! Not the first, and not the last, appraisal-related company to get millions in funding. Who needs experienced field appraisers when we have AVMs, hybrids, etc.?

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Fannie Requiring Appraisal Floor Plans Coming?

Are Floor Plans in Your Future?

By Dave Towne
Excerpts: In the Selling/Servicer Guides of FNMA and Freddie Mac, both GSE’s identify a ‘sketch’ to be a diagram of the subject as measured by the appraiser which shows exterior walls, and includes the dimensions. That’s it. They don’t even say that room labels are needed, but most appraisers include those.
Including a ‘sketch’ in reports as an exhibit is an additional Assignment Condition, beyond what USPAP requires in Standard 2, per the Assumption and Limiting Conditions on the residential forms. Both GSE’s require a more detailed diagram including interior wall locations when interior design abnormalities are discovered, and reported – which they call a “Floor Plan”.
I’ve talked with representatives from both GSE’s recently. Their line of thinking, at the present time, is a “Floor Plan” should be provided as an exhibit in the appraisal report even though the report signing appraiser was not physically present at the subject property when data was gathered. Their line of thinking is also slanted to having third parties provide the subject property data, believing appraisers are more valuable as ‘analysts instead of as observers and detailers of the property characteristics.
Thus the evolution to the new 1004 (Desktop) and 1004 (Hybrid) report forms, with different Scope of Work and Assumption and Limiting Condition statements in each version. (These forms are in your software forms package now.)
To read more and watch the video, click here
My comments: Read this post, watch Danny Wiley’s remarks in a video, and read many appraiser comments. Quite a while ago, Fannie started requiring detailed floor plans. This did not last very long, but I continued doing rough floor plans manually. I still do them but do not include the floor plans in the appraisal sketch. It keeps me from missing a small room, bathroom, etc. Of course, when there are floor plan functional problems, I put the details in the appraisal sketch. In my area, tandem rooms are common (usually from additions). They cannot be included as bedrooms.
When I used to do relocation appraisals, I always included a full interior floor plan with walls and doors. This was standard practice in my area. Doing an interior floor plan with walls and doors takes a lot of time, both measuring and using my sketch software.

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