How To Appraise Rural Properties

How To Appraise Rural Properties

Excerpts: Appraising residential properties in rural areas can be both challenging and rewarding. Unlike the standardized expectations of urban and suburban properties, rural properties often present unique characteristics that require a nuanced approach to valuation. Whether you’re a seasoned appraiser or new to the field, having a better understanding of rural properties is essential for providing credible appraisals. In this guide, we’ll explore what defines a rural property, the challenges appraisers face, reasons for conducting rural appraisals, strategies for finding comparables, and tips for writing a compliant appraisal report.

  • Defining rural properties – USDA and GSEs
  • Challenges of appraising rural properties
  • Appraising rural properties presents unique challenges due to their diverse characteristics and market dynamics.

Topics include:

  • Diverse property types and uses
  • Unique property characteristics
  • Limited market activity and more
  • Writing your rural property appraisal report – good ideas

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading, if only to find out about rural appraising. Well written. There are relatively few residential lender appraisals available now. This is an excellent diversification opportunity, with little competition from other appraisers or the GSEs use of other ways to get a value without human appraisers.

What if there are few rural areas near you?

You can expand your area to include rural appraisals to get more business.

When I worked for a northern California assessor’s office with rural areas I learned a lot about almond growing (the main crop) and other ag topics. It is not hard to learn the valuation factors. I had niece who had several horses for many years where she lived. There are equestrian facilities within 5 miles from my house in Oakland hills and in farther out Bay Area cities with larger lots. You may have some similar rural experience now!

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers has a specialty in Rural Appraising, but it requires a Certified General. There may be seminars available. Another reason for upgrading!

Urban, Suburban, Rural in Appraisals

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Superadequacy Adjustments for Appraisals

How to Account for a Superadequacy

By: McKissock

Excerpts: What is superadequacy?

Per The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, 6th Ed., superadequacy is defined as “an excess in the capacity or quality of a structure or structural component; determined by market standards.” It’s a type of functional obsolescence in which the structure or one of its components is overly improved to a capacity or quality than a prudent buyer or owner would build or pay.

While we provide more detailed illustrations below, a simple example would be a 5,000 square foot luxury home built in a neighborhood comprised of two and three-bedroom mid-century ranch homes.

Example #1: Superadequate custom fireplace

Example #2: Superadequate 12-car garage

To read more, Click Here

My comments: Although the blog post references luxury homes, this can occur anywhere. Have you ever driven closer and closer to your subject and noticed that the homes are much smaller or have standard designs? You keep getting closer, hoping it is not your subject. It Is! This definitely has happened to me. Large unusual additions, two large kitchens, very extensive landscaping, etc.

Maybe you were busy and forgot to check it out in public records, MLS or speaking with the owner or agent (if a sale) when scheduling the appointment.

Market Your Appraisal Services: 59 Ways to Get More Business Now

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Appraisals: Using Comps Across a Freeway?

Pulling comps from the other side of the freeway

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: It can be a REALLY bad idea to pull comps from the other side of the freeway, but not always. Today I have some thoughts about location, comp selection, and lenders freaking out when schools are mentioned in appraisal reports.

I don’t normally pull comps across a highway

In so many cases it’s an awful idea to cross a major road or highway to pull comps because a highway sometimes separates markets that are far different in age, square footage, lot size, architecture, price point, school district, etc….

But, crossing the highway does work here

With that said, I want to show you an example of a local neighborhood where I have zero hesitation about pulling comps from both sides of the highway. The areas north and south of Highway 50 below represent the College-Glen area…

Why it’s no biggie to pull comps like this

A) Prices are similar: Prices are similar on each side of the highway. I’ve found this when pulling comps through the years, and I’ve also shown this when making graphs. I will say the north side tends to have a slightly larger square footage than the south side (same with west vs east), which is something to consider when we compare stats. But it’s still not a major difference.

B) Buyer Behavior …

C) School System …

To read lots more, plus maps and many appraiser comments, Click Here


Why Comp Photos in Appraisals?

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What level appraiser are you?

How to Level Up as an Appraiser

By Conrad Meertins Jr.

Excerpts: The key is not the letters but the competency or skill. For example, are you competent to prepare an entire appraisal from start to finish? You might answer, “Absolutely!” But what if the appraisal form was completely blank with no boilerplate text? Do you still feel the same level of assuredness? What if you could not use the URAR form at all, but still had to produce an appraisal report that could stand up in court? Are your legs shaking? These questions help us to start to gauge our current level.

The three levels that we are going to discuss are “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Pro.” Now, we could go deep and say that there are levels within the levels, but for now we will keep it simple and explore these three main levels. Some view each level as a stepping stone, and some view each level as a permanent parking space. It’s your choice which level you choose to pursue. The goal here is for us to evaluate which level we are at and determine which level we want to achieve.

Level 1 – Beginner

This is where we all start. There is no shame in this level. Depending on how you were trained, at the beginner level you typically view appraisals as forms — forms with checkboxes to be checked or left blank. If all the right boxes are checked and your report is signed with a value, mission accomplished!

Level 2 – Intermediate

At the intermediate level, you realize there is more to appraising real estate than checking boxes. Here is where you provide more explanations. If you say the market is stable, perhaps you add a sentence or two to expound on that. If you say that comp #1 was the best comp, you add a sentence explaining why. If you don’t adjust for the subject being on a busy road, you add a sentence about the neutral impact of the busy road and a comparable to support that conclusion—before being prompted to do so by the underwriter.

Level 3 – Pro

There is a subtle difference between Level 2 and Level 3. But one indicator that you have crossed the line from intermediate to pro is understanding how all the pieces fit together. For example, you understand that you do not need a form to produce an appraisal.

To read more, click here

My comments: Hybrid Appraisals are coming fast for lender appraisals, when any “human” appraisals are done. Full appraisals that Level 1 and most Level 2 appraisers cannot do will be done by Level 3 appraisers. I am writing two long articles for the November issue about Hybrid Desktops and Property Data Collectors. Both positive and negative sides for appraisers. If you want to continue to do AMC appraisals, this is an option.

What if you don’t want to do either one? If you have done AMC lender appraising only, you only appraise homes that conform to GSE requirements. You have a low skill level.

If I did lender work now, I would be in the “top tier” to be called when other appraisers said no. For as long as I have been appraising, lenders had special lists for the tough ones, or for a valuable bank client that borrows money from the bank and has large deposits.

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2024 USPAP For Appraisers

2024 USPAP

Source: Appraisal Foundation

The 2024 Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice is now available for purchase in physical and digital formats.

This year, for the first time, you can purchase just the book of USPAP standards for $35. This covers all Definitions, Rules, and Standards.

We also have a new product launching this year. All Advisory Opinions, Frequently Asked Questions and the recently launched Reference Manual will now be part of a standalone publication called the 2024 USPAP Guidance and Reference Manual.

This change reflects the maturation of USPAP, resulting in longer effective dates. The ASB will continue to review USPAP for changes when necessary but will shift much of its focus to providing more guidance to the marketplace. Appraisers can now buy one set of USPAP standards and keep that publication on their bookshelf for as long as that edition is effective and purchase just the Guidance and Reference Manual as needed for coursework and updates.

If you like having the USPAP standards and guidance material linked, we still have you covered. You can also purchase a linked digital version of the eUSPAP and Guidance and Reference Manual and get seamless access across both documents.

To read the full letter, click here

My comments: USPAP 2024 is effective January 1, 2024. I’ve been waiting for a very long time for longer than 2 years between effective dates. Also, there is no ending date for the 2024 version.

When USPAP started, it was very exciting as appraisers had to decide what needed to be changed or added. Lots of people wanted to be on the ASB. Over time, I quit following the updates as there were few significant changes.

2024-2025 USPAP 7-Hour Update Course is being approved or is approved, in the states. I assume a new class will be required every two years in the future. Gotta keep that money coming into the Appraisal Foundation, I guess…

I really hated the classes when there was not much to say except a rehash of the past. I taught USPAP before the ASB told you what to teach. It was my favorite class as we could focus on issues in our current market. Of course, now there is appraiser discrimination, the current hot topic. Personally, I think there is very, very little intentional discrimination by appraisers, compared with the intentional discrimination by lenders (and others). “Red Lining” still exists, some are in the same locations.


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NAR Member Survey on Appraisal Data Collectors

NAR  Member Survey on Data Collectors

Excerpts: In May 2023, NAR surveyed its members pertaining to data collectors in the appraisal process. Here are a few of the many survey results.

Survey respondents

Sales agents accounted for the largest proportion, with 45% of participants holding this license. Brokers followed with 24%, and appraisal-certified professionals comprised 14% of the respondents. Broker-Associates and Appraisal Licensees accounted for 13% and two percent, respectively, while the remaining two percent reported holding other types of real estate licenses.

According to the survey responses, the majority of participants (76%) perceive the quality of property data collected by data collectors to be lower than that collected by appraisers themselves. Conversely, 23% of respondents believe that the quality of data collected by data collectors is comparable to that of appraisers.

The survey findings indicate that 30% of respondents reported that a data collector had given them the impression that they were the appraiser or had a role other than merely collecting property data.

Fifty-one percent of respondents expressed safety concerns with the data collection process.

To read more, click here

My comments: Now we know what NAR members think about it. Not very positive. I was surprised at how negative they were. Read the full report. Very interesting. I am working on an article on Hybrid Appraisals for the November issue of Appraisal Today. To me, the big issue is who is doing the inspections. Only appraisers do the appraisals. I see very different levels of inspectors.

Before Covid, I talked with various AMC upper-level managers who were testing it. What they were doing about inspectors had a wide range. They included appraisers, real estate agents, and someone with a week, a month, or online video training. They should definitely not be paid the same. An AMC can offer different levels to their clients, depending on how much reliability their lender customers want or need.

On a more positive side, I have done thousands of drive by appraisals since 1986. I drove by the house and looked at what was nearby, etc. For example, I’m appraising a Victorian built before 1910. There is no way to know what the inside looks like or the foundation (many are brick). Using MLS photos is a joke, as real estate agents don’t take photos of defects. A buyer gets a seller’s disclosure statement for that information. I would be more comfortable if someone used an app that was set up to take specific photos, do floor plan, etc. At least I would have some independent photos.

Data Collectors: Appraisers vs. Uber Drivers

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NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

In July 2023, NAR Research conducted a survey of all 9,800 appraiser members and 50,000 randomly-selected residential-focused non-appraiser members.

The survey results had a comparison of 2022 and 2023, which was very interesting.

  • Appraiser Topics
  • Greatest challenges in business
  • Lesser challenges with business
  • Valuations
  • Comfort with valuation tools
  • Radius in which appraisals are conducted
  • Radius by area type (rural, small town, urban, resort, suburban)
  • How often asked to conduct appraisals outside geographic area/Property type of expertise

Sample: Greatest challenges in business

(AMCs) in general among their greatest challenges. This year, this option was broken into three separate AMC-related issues. Forty-four percent cite at least one of these, with 28 percent specifically citing AMC requests for revisions.

This year, however, the single greatest challenge, cited by almost half (47 percent), is “fee pressures,” which, based on comments, is also related in many cases to pressure from AMCs. This is up sharply from 27 percent last year.

One-quarter (26 percent) cite technology fees (not an option in 2022). Appraisers are less likely this year to cite expanding regulations/interpretations of regulations, lender requirements, pressure from real estate agents/brokers, and liability concerns.

The 21 percent who cite other challenges are most likely to cite lack of business/slow market, rising interest rates, low fees, and to reiterate pressure from AMCs.

A very good graphic is included for each section.

To read the report, click here

My comments: Read the appraiser sections in the long report. Fortunately, appraiser results are in the first section. I read the full survey. Most of the questions were for all NAR members, both appraisers and non-appraiser members. Some may be of interest to you. Much of the appraiser results were what we already sort of suspected, but it is good to see actual survey results.

NAR Appraisal Survey 2022

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Appraising Airbnb Properties

Problems When Appraising Airbnb & VRBO Properties

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: Residential appraisers are being asked to appraise these properties, along with their elevated income, as “typical” residential properties. These requests involve homes in numerous vacation spots ranging from Sedona, San Diego, Montana, Lake Tahoe, to Miami, New York, Seattle, New England, and every vacation spot in between.

Appraisers are being told by their AMC clients and loan officers to appraise these as residential properties. They are told it’s fine to use the total yearly income and “simply divide by 12” to produce a monthly income that can be used to value these places using a Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM). But is it really that simple? Short answer—no. Long answer—it’s complicated.

First of all, the value of an STR has three major components:

1) the real estate,

2) personal property, and

3) the business.

The business side includes replacing worn out or damaged furniture, window coverings, bedspreads, towels, the property’s internet listings, credit card processing, weekly cleaning, and daily management decisions involved with running the STR business. On top of that, what if the credit card is stolen and the last party animal damaged the house or fell off the deck and wants to sue the owner for a defective deck railing? STRs are far more than real estate; they include a business also known as a “growing concern” or intangible property.

To read more, click here

My comments: If you want to know more, before (or after) accepting an Airbnb appraisal, definitely read this article. The article is one of the best I have read, and includes many of the AMC, USPAP, GSE, etc. issues. The article has a link to Richard’s webinar on the topic. I have known Richard Hagar for many years. He is one of my go-to appraisers for these types of issues. He is an excellent teacher. Taking his classes is definitely worth the time.

Residential Appraisals and Airbnb Income?

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ChatGPT for Appraisers

ChatGPT: Valuable Tool or a Replacement for Real Estate Appraisers?

by Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach

Excerpts: ChatGPT: A Game-Changer for Appraisal Work

For those who have embraced it, ChatGPT has been transforming multiple aspects of appraisal work, such as:

Appraisal Work:

  • Writing narrative
  • Market analysis
  • Market-specific information
  • Descriptions of adjustments
  • Terminology
  • ResearchMarketing:
  • Creating lists
  •  Writing emails and messages to current and potential clients
  • Crafting blogs
  • Strategizing networking and relationship development
  • Writing presentations for ‘lunch and learn’ events with real estate agents
  • Crafting the perfect apology letter when you upset a key loan officer in your small town
  • To read lots more, click here
  • My comments: Many thanks to Dustin for writing this article! I have not had time to use it, but have been reading and watching demos about how it can be used for appraisers for awhile. It definitely can be very useful, as Dustin explains. It can be tricky at first to use, but Dustin explains it.

I recently had to renew my California Driver’s license, as I am over 70 and had to do a written exam and eye test. I had difficulty setting up an appointment and clicked on “Chatbot”. It was much friendlier than any other Chat support I have used. I recognized the use of software similar to ChatGPT.

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Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

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Appraiser Liability Risks

This Is Where Appraisal Liability Risks Lie (Plus Tips on How to Avoid Them)

By: McKissock

Excerpts: While it’s difficult for a litigant to win a judgment against an appraiser, that doesn’t spare appraisers the inconvenience of being sued, which can be costly, time-consuming, and harmful to one’s reputation even if the suit fails.

Attorney Peter Christensen, general counsel at the Christensen Law Firm in Bozeman, Montana, notes that lawsuits against individual residential appraisers, or small residential AMCs, are fairly rare, and successful suits rarer still. However, it’s a good idea to know where the risks lie—and how to avoid them.

Topics include:

  • USPAP and state laws
  • Types of lawsuits brought to appraisers
  • Disclosures and disclaimers to reduce appraisal liability risks

To read more, click here

My comments: Peter Christensen is very knowledgeable. Well written, short, and worth reading. As we all (should) know, any person or company. can sue you for any reason at any time.!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on AVMs and AI, good appraisal book,  Real estate market, Fannie, non-lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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