What is a Competent Appraiser?

“Damn Right I’m a Competent Appraiser…Aren’t I?”

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: To appraise a property, and then report it according to USPAP, is a requirement USPAP demands and the states enforce. All too often, reviewers see in reports boilerplate (especially in the reconciliation) such as: “In my professional opinion, the value of the subject is $XXXXXX”. In the light of competency, look closely at SR1-6(a) and (b), the reconciliation standards rule. What is a Competent Appraiser?

If there is nothing more in the reconciliation than this single (essentially meaningless) sentence, the appraiser has not complied with SR1-5(a) and (b), thus evidenced a lack of competency. In turn, the appraiser certified to a lie, in that, in not complying, the appraiser omitted preparing the report in accordance with Standards 1 and 2 of USPAP. To add insult to injury, the appraiser has violated SR2-1(b) in that the above statement and certification, with no other context or explanation, are misleading. Three serious USPAP violations might stem from these 11-words.

Therefore, relative to the concept of competency, the deeper meaning is that the above 11-words are capable of generating three charges from the state. In addition, they can generate questions from reviewers. When appraisers appraise the property credibly, and then report the results of that appraisal in a non-misleading manner, they avoid both attention from reviewers and from the state. Thus, in turn, they save not only time and money, they show themselves to be competent. They appear more professional. Professionals can and do charge more for their time and efforts, right? Let us, therefore, be professionals.

My NOTE: This blog post starts with USPAP competency standards and includes an analysis of Competency and the Fannie forms Neighborhood section.

To read more, click here

My comment: Tim Andersen is definitely a USPAP Expert! He writes, speaks, teaches classes, etc. on USPAP topics. He also helps appraisers get their appraisals more USPAP complaint. He focuses on residential appraisal issues – state boards, reviewers, AMCs, etc.

Appraisal Humor

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Previous Career Before Appraising

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 liked 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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The future of residential appraising(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Join the National Appraisers Online Forum

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 for me to follow the threads, so I don’t go there very often. But, it may work for you. Join the National Appraisers Online Forum!

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.

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What is Risk for Appraisers?

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…

Now, we worry about What is Risk for Appraisers?

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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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Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out?

Are Human Appraisers Being Phased Out? Federal Regulators Vote to Loosen Requirements

Excerpt: What’s that drone doing hovering over a property?

Soon that sight may be the norm on homes for sale.

The days of human appraisers may be coming to an end for homes priced under $400,000, if regulation proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve gets approved.
Previously, only homes valued under $250,000 could be purchased or sold without the use of a human appraiser. That threshold is potentially being raised to $400,000, opening up more business for drone-monitored and computer-generated home valuations. The vote is nearly there, awaiting expected agreement from the Federal Reserve before the regulation takes effect.

While the appraisal industry is concerned the change could negatively impact real estate at large, the brokerage side of the business predicts the threshold hike should have minimal effects on homeownership and the home-buying experience.

Comments from many sides of the issue and lots of comments by readers.

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Measuring Bi-level homes square footage

 

GLA Issues When Appraising Split & Bi-Levels… Where The Ground Meets the Wall

Excerpt: When it comes to appraising split-level and bi-level dwellings, trying to calculate the gross living area (GLA) can be tricky. If you’re trying to figure out what the gross living area of one of these types of homes is, there are some important things to consider. For example, where the ground meets the exterior wall of a particular level. Measuring Bi-level homes square footage is tricky.

In real estate, the line at which the ground intersects with the foundation of a home, is called a grade or grade line. Did you know that where the ground meets the exterior wall of a level, can have a direct impact on value? How so? Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it, shall we?…

To read more, click here

My comment: Very comprehensive, well written, article. Don’t miss the fun “split” video at the end. Hint: be sure to watch until 1 minute mark.Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

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Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals

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Will the last appraiser turn out the light?

Is the Appraisal Profession Dying?

By George Dell, MAI

Excerpts:
Yes. Appraisal as we know it is dying.
Can it be saved? No.
So what should I do? What should “we” do?

The data has already been gathered. The analytics software is free. The pictures have already been taken. “Let’s Make a Deal!”

Analysis requires judgment. Human generalization is enhanced by computation. Complete data can be enhanced/cleaned as well as “confirming a comp.” A point value is an inherent part of a predictive value distribution. A documented, reproducible result is the most credible, believable answer.

My comments: I believe that human appraisals will still be needed. There are times that a human appraiser is needed to interpret results, and “go beyond” the data for Highest and Best Use, Unusual properties, etc. Lenders will move to computerized risk management, once investors will accept this. Most residential lender valuations will not need humans as the value of an individual property in investors’ portfolios is not critical. Of course, when the market inevitably crashes, there will be no appraisers to sue to recover some of the lost money. Maybe our E&O premiums will go down.

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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.

Raise appraisal deminimus to $2 million or $5 million?

 

Should we raise the deminimus to $2 million? Or $5 million?

By George Dell
Excerpt: To simplify this discussion, let’s note two facts:  Appraisers can perform ‘evaluations’, normally using the same scope of work as an unlicensed “evaluator”.  What’s the difference?  It appears to me that there is one key difference.  The question is then:  Which part of the service is not required?  Is it the integrity/ethics, or the performance (such as using the right data and analysis)?

It appears to me that since unlicensed persons can charge less, have less tax/fee burden (for licensing, education, and errors/omissions insurance- the less ethical, less responsible ‘evaluator’ can always outbid the licensed appraiser every time.

Read the full blog post and appraiser comments. What do you think? Add your comments.

My comments: Interesting analysis by George, of course!! Credit unions are proposing to raise the commercial deminimus to $1,000,000. I didn’t know they made commercial loans. Guess they forgot about the commercial crash in the late 1980s.
As long as Fannie and Freddie (and their investors) require res appraisals, it won’t have a big effect on residential. The FIRREA deminimus in 1989 was $200,000. No effect on much of anything, even though we thought the Sky Was Falling.

The usual Mortgage Cycle: Good Business = lower requirements. Bad Business = higher requirements.

 

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MLS Manipulation: appraisers watch for it

The broker who extorted “The Jills” exposed an industry secret: MLS manipulation is widespread

Excerpt: When One Sotheby’s agent Kevin Tomlinson was charged with extorting Coldwell Banker star brokers “the Jills” over manipulating the Multiple Listing Service, it exposed what many agents claim is a common practice in the industry. This one, however, was particularly egregious, market pros said.

My comment: nothing new for appraisers. When I googled “MLS manipulation” lots of links came up.

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