Appraising vs. the Public Good?

Has Appraising Failed the Public Good?

by Steven R. Smith, MSREA, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: The term Public Good is in the opening paragraph of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). An appraiser friend once wrote that our regulations and guidelines are intentionally ambiguous—and that may be. But what is crystal clear to me is that the industry has put the interests of its clients before the public good.

The Public Trust statement and the Ethics Rule have been largely ignored over the years with loan production put first…

What can an individual appraiser do to support the public good, even before they start an assignment? For me, the answer always has been to appraise the client and the appraisal assignment. There are some clients and assignments that simply should be avoided because of the wants, needs and desires of the client, with respect to the assignment results.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have known Steve Smith for a long time. To read more comments from Steve and other savvy appraisers, join the National Appraisers Forum, an email discussion group. I have been a member since it started. It is my “go-to” resource for appraisal topics. Moderated. Very different from Facebook and other appraiser online discussion groups where filling out forms and dealing with AMCs are discussed.

The future of residential appraising

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Appraisers and The Psycho Kitty

Favorite Crazy Appraisal Stories – The Psycho Kitty

Excerpt: Psycho Kitty

I had an appointment at a home in the country out in the woods. The access instructions said the cat MIGHT be caged. Got to the home and the cat was at the front door and hissed at me as I went in. I tried to make friends with the cat, but it didn’t work, so I ignored the cat and started my inspection.

As I came out of the first-floor master, he was waiting. He stood on his hind legs, teeth showing, hissing, and came at me. Once again, I used my clipboard and ran to the laundry room where I was able to shut the door. I was safe…

To read more strange and/or funny appraisal stories, click here

My comment: We all have appraisal stories, of course!! In my 45 years of appraising I have never been attacked by a cat. My creepiest cat encounter was appraising the home of a cat foster parent for a local animal shelter. Large outside cat enclosure full of cats, multiple cats on top of dressers and other places, looking at me (looked like they were hungry). I wish I could forget about all the cat eyes looking at me :<

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What are Pass through Bedrooms for Appraisals

Pass-through Bedrooms

Excerpts: This may not be a major problem if the house has sufficient bedrooms to match what is typical and expected in the neighborhood. It can have a negative impact on the marketability of the home if this arrangement reduces the number of usable bedrooms from what is typical.
The floor plan layout of a home can have an impact on its market value: The impact on value is determined from market data and how buyers perceive it. Did the home sell for less because it has a different floor plan than what is typical and expected?
The cost to fix can vary: Depending on the current floor plan configuration and the location of the bedroom in relation to other rooms the cost can vary widely and this should be taken into consideration when comparing it to the value added by fixing the problem.
Written for home owners with a good discussion of cost to cure vs. value added.
To read more, click here
For more analysis by Ryan Lundquist (from 2016) of what I often see, click here The image above is from Ryan’s article.
My comments: I have had many discussions with real estate agents and home owners about this issue. The number of bedrooms in a house can be a significant factor in many markets. In my market most homes were built prior to 1940 and have modifications, such as additions, over time. The pass through bedrooms can seldom be fixed. I usually call them “dens”.

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Complex Residential Properties for Appraisers

How to Identify a Residential Complex Property

Excerpts: A complex one-to-four family residential property is defined as a property that meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • The property to be appraised is atypical
  • The form of ownership is atypical
  • The market conditions are atypical

“Below we dig a little deeper into each type of complex property outlined above, providing detailed descriptions and examples of properties that would fall under each of the three categories.”

To read more, click here

My comments: This is the best explanation I have read about this issue. All appraisers encounter complex properties. You may or may not decide to accept the assignment. Always check the info you have on the property before accepting the assignment. Or, you find out after starting on the appraisal that it is more complex than you thought. I regularly turn down assignments because it will require more time, or I don’t want to “reinvent the wheel,” as I may never do another like it, etc.

Mortgage lending appraisals are very, very cyclical. When you are very busy, I recommend turning down these assignments to make more money. You will have lots of time during the slow period to accept these assignments.

In ancient history, before AMCs, I often did the tough ones for loyal clients as a favor. AMCs will go down the list, sometimes for days, trying to find an appraiser. One called me yesterday about a mixed-use property that their lender client said was residential. From online information, it looked like commercial on first floor. The issue was highest and best use, of course. I told them I did not know any commercial appraisers who work for AMCs, plus the fee would be over $2,000. You have to know that city’s local zoning regulations, requiring local expertise to determine the highest and best use.

The Bottom Line: Don’t Risk Your Appraisal License if it is too complicated for you!! I get many calls from appraisers having problems. This is always my answer. I have returned fees up to $2,000 after spending lots of hours on the assignment.

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Age adjustments in appraisals

Age adjustments in appraisals

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: Sometimes, two homes with wide age differences can have the same effective age. For instance, a thirty-year old home may have an effective age that is the same as a fifty-year old home, if the fifty-year old home has been renovated to a degree that is comparable to the younger home. If this is the case, while there is a relatively wide age gap, no age or condition adjustment may be supportable.

Once the home is lived in, it can never be considered “new” again. Subsequently, a new home typically has a higher market value than one that has already been lived in. The joyful homeowner makes these choices, the home is built, and they move in. Now starts the wear and tear. The degree of wear and tear depends much on the homeowner and how well they maintain their home. With new homes, typically homeowners go for a number of years without needing to do anything major to the property. However, at some point, they will need to.

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

My comment: Written for homeowners (an excellent marketing tool) but interesting comments for appraisers. I love Jamie’s blog posts!!

Humor for Appraisers

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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New sewer line increases value for appraisals?

My new sewer line adds huge value, right?

January 19, 2021, By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt: A new sewer line. That’s what 2020 gave my family as a parting gift before the year closed. Yep, just before Christmas, we had to replace our entire line at a whopping $13,688. I know that sounds crazy expensive, but we had four separate bids and went with the most reasonable one. In part it was so pricey because we had one hundred feet of the line under eighty feet of concrete.

The good news is my house is worth $13,688 more now, right?

To read more plus lots of appraiser comments click here

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on fees, house settling, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

 

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Crazy Appraiser Stories

Crazy Appraiser Stories

 

You’ve all got them… The crazy car chases, the surprising living conditions, the exotic assignments, and the unique collectors….

What we all need… Here is one brief humorous escape!!

The photo above is the Crazee Appraiser writing up his appraisal!

Here is one story:

This was a beautiful 3,200 sq ft home with all the extras. After measuring, I was standing by the fireplace, taking an interior photo, being careful not to step on the expensive rug next to the hearth. The lady of the house looked a little alarmed, so I had to ask, “Is everything okay?” “Oh yes, it’s just that the camera will have a click.” I’ve heard weirder things, so after assuring her it was a very quiet click, the button went down, the picture was taken, and the excitement started.

Something hit the back of my head, a soft, but very strong hit. The equivalent of a 10 mile an hour wind passed over my left shoulder, and a shadow landed on the other side of the sofa, which was 14’ in front of me. It seems that the fluffy 6’ rug was a once wild, African Savannah cat, stretching 6’ long as it napped on its belly. It looked like a leopard rug! With teeth longer than some fork tines, I was happy to let it hide in the bedroom, but she coaxed it out of hiding to demonstrate that it could easily jump 10’ high for a kitty treat.

– Carolyn S. Richards

For more stories, click here

My comment: We all need some appraiser fun to start the New Year!!

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Humor for appraisers

FREE appraisal business articles

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!

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Common Appraiser Violations

Two of the common appraiser violations – Use of inappropriate sales and Use of unsupported site value

Excerpt: When it comes to common appraisal violations, certain minor violations are very common. In this article, I outline several examples of less serious breaches of development STANDARD 1 and reporting STANDARD 2—and a few other types of violations, too. I have compiled these based on many years of personal experience in appraisal regulation, as well as feedback I have received from other states’ enforcement agencies. Once you’re aware of these common mishaps, you should be able to avoid them more easily.

1. Use of inappropriate sales

One of the big problems is the use of inappropriate sales in a sales comparison approach….

2. Use of unsupported site value

Another common violation is the use of unsupported site value in the cost approach. That’s something that a lot of boards have cited as a prevalent deficiency or shortcoming in appraisal reports.

To read more click here

My comment: useful information. Nothing new, but good reminders. Don’t get the “violation letter” from your state board!!

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!(Opens in a new browser tab)

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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80 ft. long train car is part of home: appraisal?

80-Foot-Long Train Car Is Part of Washington Home: appraisal?

Excerpts: The former passenger-train car is about 80 feet long, 12 feet wide, and has been incorporated into the rest of the residence.

“[The first owners] connected it to the house, so you walk from the kitchen out into this train,” Anderson explains.

“You walk past the kitchen island and into a hallway where there is stained glass—and you walk into the train.”

To read more and see lots of interesting photos click here:

My comment: Sorry, I would Just Say No on this appraisal. Too busy now is my excuse. But really the appraisal would drive me crazy!!

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Appraisal Process Challenges

The Most Challenging Part of the Appraisal Process

Appraisal Process Challenges
Excerpts: Number 1: Data analysis (34%)

“When comps are limited, or when sales prices vary by as much as 50% for what appear to be very similar properties in the same neighborhood (which seems to be more and more common in the Denver metro area), selecting the best comparable properties can be a very time consuming and stressful process.”

Number 2. Site value opinion (17%)

“I choose ‘Site Value Opinion’ as the most challenging since there are very few vacant land sales in the areas that I appraise in. With very few sales, it’s very difficult to provide an opinion of value for many sites.”

To read more comments from appraisers and the other 7 challenging parts of the appraisal process click here

My comment: Lots of good appraiser comments. Data Analysis is my number one choice also. Tract homes are sorta boring but can be a welcome break from all the non-tract homes I appraise. Also, with Covid, I don’t connect with real estate agents every week at open houses to find out what is happening (behind the data).

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!(Opens in a new browser tab)

Common Appraiser Violations(Opens in a new browser tab)

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

Read more!!