3-27-20 Newz: Fannie Update/Resources – 1004 for drivebys, forms changes, inspection, etc.

NOTE: This information is changing on a daily, and often hourly, basis. The amount of information is almost overwhelming. What you read today may change tomorrow. Most of the info below is summary with more details in the monthly newsletter next week. Also, lots more on personal COVID-19 such as data availability, safety, etc. I am spending 10+ hours per day trying to keep track of it so I can let you know.

Per Fannie, this is a “fluid event”. There are many questions about health and safety for the appraiser and the borrower (and their contacts if infected) when doing interior inspections.

There is lots of appraisal misinformation online. It is not a good source unless it includes a link to the correct information or the source that can be located online. I only use email chat groups that I have used for many years, such as National Appraisers Forum To read more, click here

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3-13-20 Coronavirus & Inspections – AVMs & Wonder Bread – Toilet Race

Appraiser’s (Changing) Role

Q&A with Mark Verrett, Chief Innovation Officer at Accurity Valuation

Excerpts: WRE: How can appraisers adapt to meet the profession demands?

Verrett: I think there are several ways to adapt to these challenges. The first is to work toward diversifying your practice away from 100 percent mortgage business niches. Our firm is a leader in green valuation, rural valuation, valuation consulting and litigation support and we help our offices diversify into those spaces. However, this solution isn’t for everyone….

To directly take on the challenges facing appraiser relevancy in the mortgage space, significant change is required. Appraisers need to unite to create a like-minded national voice that is not rejecting proposed changes for the profession, but rather working with stakeholders (regulators, lenders, clients, etc.) in conceptualizing, testing, tweaking, and ultimately modernizing the appraisal process on the mortgage side.

The appraisal community has a tough assignment in their role in this modernization. To be useful in the discussion, we need to challenge ourselves to be creative and open-minded, yet diligent in maintaining or, even better, improving the quality of the valuation being produced. I think it is extremely important for appraisers to listen and understand the needs of their clients and to creatively develop solutions that meet those needs.

Worth reading with some good ideas. To read more, click here

My comment: Accurity has franchisees and some very savvy appraiser officers and directors.

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1-17-20 Newz: Appraisal Creep – Spot Value – MLS Most Popular Words – Competency

Appraisal Creep – The Hidden Reason Why House Prices Are Too High 

Excerpts: Appraisal values should not be influenced by the price of the listing, but could a bias exist that proves otherwise? “Does the typical appraisal protect you from overpaying for a house?” asks John Wake in his article, The Hidden Reason Why House Prices Are Too High (And Income Growth Is Too Low) — Appraisal Creep.

The study looked at houses where two appraisals were done, one after they were foreclosed on and Fannie took ownership, and a second appraisal when they were under contract. Both appraisals were done within 6 months of each other and no repairs were made to the houses in the meantime. After adjusting for general house price appreciation between the first and second appraisals, the study found the second appraisals were 4.2% higher than the first appraisals…

The study made a few suggestions. The one I mentioned in the Forbes.com piece was not giving the appraiser the contract price. On one hand, the contract price holds a lot of information in it. On the other hand, releasing the contract price seems to skew the resulting appraisals a lot.

Appraisal Buzz short interview To read more, click here

Read lots more analysis and graphs in his very good Forbes article, To read more, click here

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11-22-19 Newz: Appraisal Fees – Previous Careers – Dungeon

What Was Your Previous Career Before You Got Into Appraisal?

Excerpts:

The Top 3

  • Real estate sales (14%)
  • Mortgage lending (8%)
  • Insurance (5%)
  • Assistant or admin work (5%)
  • Banking (1%)
  • Others: 63%

To read more, click here Check out the respondent comments and a list of some of the many previous careers

My comment: I was a chemist before I started appraising. Really like learning about science in school, but 7 years of lab work was too boring. I felt trapped inside. Saw an ad for “appraiser assistant” at the local county offices. “Work in the field.” I had never heard of it, so read a book about it at the library (1974). I got the job and still love appraising!! I didn’t see many science careers on the “Other” list. But, I think it prepared me well for appraising as I was trained to be very objective and analytical.

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11-8-19 Newz: Zestimates – Fee Transparency – Science and Appraising

National Appraisers Forum

By Dave Towne

Excerpt: Appraisers, if you would like to learn from highly qualified peers (other than me! :), post questions, or offer your own comments, consider joining the FREE group, National Appraisers Forum (NAF). Use this link.

This is one of the best appraiser groups as all commentary is respectful. While not everyone always agrees with certain points, the discussions are not demeaning. There is a wealth of info participants share freely on a wide number of topics. The group has several moderators who monitor the posting activity.

One key point, NAF participants are not anonymous. You must use your name (at a bare minimum) when participating, which is required when signing up… Moderators are asking that anyone who wants to join should give their name as licensed, the state they are in, and their license number.

To read more, click here

My comments: This is my favorite appraiser online group! I get many emails from various sources for this newsletter and have been a member of many online communication places. Before the internet was widely available, I hosted live chats on aol and compuserve. Since then I have watched many online places. Unfortunately, just like any other topic, sometimes the groups end up doing lots of “flaming” (attacking another participants, etc.), negative comments, off topic, politics, etc. I quit going to these places.

Of all the groups I have subscribed to, National Appraisers Forum is the best for me. I have been a member since it started, or soon after. No complaining about AMCs, off topic, trolling and flaming, etc. The founder, Steve Smith, and the moderators keep it this way. Regular contributors are “high end” appraisers with many years of experience. Hot topics are often discussed.

There are well managed appraisal groups on Facebook, but it is too hard to for me to follow the threads, so I don’t go there very often. But, it may work for you.

Another major factor is that you must use your real name, so we know who is commenting. Allowing anonymous postings can easily decay into a mess.

I will be updating my article ” How to connect with other appraisers online. What’s the best group for you? ” in a future issue of the paid Appraisal Today discussing other email chat groups, how to find other groups or start your own, Facebook, etc.

Read more!!

10-18-19 Newz: What is Risk? – Fascinating Islands – Fees – Data Standards

What’s all this stuff about risk?

By George Dell

We seem to be hearing stuff about risk recently. Why?

Back in the old days, before internet but after the wheel – It was my challenge as a new appraiser to scratch together four or five comps, then put three of them on a form, or perhaps even all five on a table. We called the table a ‘grid,’ presumably because it looked like the grid on a bird cage.

I soon discovered I was free to fly around inside the grid cage all I wanted. I adjusted to what I had. I learned to live inside the cage.

Then flying electrons came. They flew right through the grid. There were many. Sometimes even a dozen or more. All claiming to be comp messages. It was too much. I had the five. Should be enough. Yep. That’s what my trainer said. That’s what my appraiser education said. And sure enough, it was on my test for my new appraiser license…

To read more, click here

My comment: Next month’s paid Appraisal Today will have a long article, “Adjust your adjustment, or adjust your attitude?  The Hype and the Reality” by George Dell. Very interesting!

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9-13-19 Newz: FRT issues – Why Suburbs Look the Same!

Fuggerei

In this truly magical place, rent hasn’t been raised since the year 1520! Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: After minting coins for the Vatican and making a name for himself as one of Europe’s greatest early entrepreneurs, Jakob Fugger (aka “Jakob the Rich”) turned his eye toward those in need. What emerged from this vision has persisted as the world’s oldest charitable social housing complex.
In the year 1517, construction began on Fugger’s vision for what would become the golden-walled enclave of Fuggerei, which he created as a way of providing affordable homes for day laborers, artisans and their families. Though it sustained heavy damage during a bombing raid in WWII, the community was restored to its pre-raid condition, where it has remained uninterruptedly inhabited since its founding in 1520. The city-within-a-city consists of private residences including 67 houses, 147 apartments, St. Mark’s Church, and an administrative building.
To read more, click here

My Comment: Wow!! Really gives me a perspective on rent control here in California and in my small city. Rents are increasing all over the country.

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8-16-19 Newz: Refi Mania – Paper vs. Google Maps – GLA Split/Bi-level homes

Refis Way Up: Almost 20 Million Homeowners Could See A Mortgage Rate Drop

According to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinances have doubled since late. They’re now at their highest point since mid-2016.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage application volume, rose 21.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended August 9.

Freddie Mac shows the average rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage is just 3.6% — a 15-point decrease from one week prior.

To read more, click here

My comment: Don’t work for cheap fees! Make money while you can!!

See below for the full MBA report on the refi boom.

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2-7-19 Newz: Appraisal Dying?- Dangerous Roads- Wrong Algorithms

What If the Algorithms Are Wrong?

Excerpt: Algorithms are everywhere…
Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.”

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code. It’s really different from what you think most people think of algorithms. They think algorithms are objective and true and scientific. That’s a marketing trick. It’s also a marketing trick to intimidate you with algorithms, to make you trust and fear algorithms because you trust and fear mathematics. A lot can go wrong when we put blind faith in big data…”

Check out the video of the Ted Talk: 15 minutes and well worth watching. “The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End” I love Ted Talks and have subscribed to the Ted Radio Hour Podcast for a long time.

My comments: Remember the Recent Mortgage Crash The Data Did Not Predict? Why? They did not include data from the Great Depression, the last time real estate markets crashed all over the country.

Who was saying something was wrong? Whistleblower Appraisers. Appraiser Petitions fell on deaf ears. Some appraisers spoke the truth and lost their appraisal businesses and/or were blackballed by lenders.

Read more!!

The Future of Residential Lender Appraisers

What if you don’t want to do desktop bifurcated appraisals or do the very tough appraisals that don’t work for AVMs? Or wait, once again, for the lender market to finally come back.

There are many forces trying to get field appraisers out of doing full valuations for mortgage loans. Automation and Artificial Intelligence will increase this trend, as it has done in other professions. For example, Quicken software dramatically decreased demand for manual bookkeepers. Once lenders can determine which properties will work well with an AVM, and they will, there will be fewer human appraisals.

Recently, several appraisers emailed and called me saying their non-lender work would go down due to fee competition from desperate lender appraisals. Yes, this does happen in downturns, especially when it first starts going down fast. Estate appraisals are easy, and this market is affected. Plus other non-lender markets.

What is the answer? The only answer I know is to do litigation support. In my area, there are very few residential appraisers who will testify in court. When they go up against an MAI who does 1-2, or fewer, residential appraisals per year, they win. Good demand, repeat business, fees much, much higher than any other type of appraisal business, respected as an expert. Almost the opposite of AMC appraisals.

Why are residential appraisers very reluctant to do Expert Witness court testimony? Fear of the unknown I guess. I did them in the past and had no problems with testifying as an expert in court or in a deposition.

Next month in my monthly paid newsletter, I will have an article on Litigation Support and Court Testimony.  I have been writing a lot about doing non-lender work. There are lots of options, but this is by far the most profitable with very little competition.