Appraisal News and Business Tips

Posts Tagged appraisal

What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

They are very different.
In the Free weekly emails, there is a very wide range of topics each week. They are links to online articles with brief excerpts. I write the short comments. I get lots of emails with information every day plus blog posts. I look for the most interesting topics and include them. I write the newsletter on Wednesday, to go out on Thursday. I do  not typically plan what is in the newsletters. It is very last minute, as I try to make the content as recent as possible, appropriate for a weekly newsletter. Weird homes and properties are typically the most popular topics. Plus business and appraisal “how to” tips. It  is advertiser supported.

The paid monthly newsletters are totally different. They are typically about a few appraisal and business topics. I sometimes work on an article idea for several years before finally writing up an article. I do the research and writing plus have guest authors. They are 1 to 10 pages long  and take a long time to write up. Since they are in PDF format, the newsletters can be any length. I have never taken ads.
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I started the free email newsletter in 1994 with 4 subscribers. Bruce Hahn still subscribes. It is advertiser supported.  One of my first advertisers was Liability Insurance Administrators, who runs an ad in every email.
The paid newsletter was started in June, 1992 with 250 subscribers, starting in print and shifting to PDF in 2008. There have never been any ads.

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Free Email Newsletter
This email newsletter is a digest of what other people have written, with excerpts, links, and my comments. I limit the length to about 5 topics. When it started it was short and text only with about 4,000 subscribers and an occasional ad. Getting often handwritten email addresses and managing the list was a hassle and took a lot of time. In 2008 I started using Constant Contact and it grew to over 17,000 subscribers.

Around 2013 I started taking paid ad emails on other days, separate from these emails. As number of ads expanded, I could spend more time on the email newsletters.

I subscribe to many news sources , get hundreds of emails and monitor online discussion groups. On Tuesday I spend 3-4 hours going through these emails looking for something interesting. Wednesday I write up the newsletter, which takes usually 5-7 hours. Plus, of course, lots of time reading blogs, facebook posts, email discussion groups, etc. It is sent out around 5AM Thursday and posted to this blog on Friday.

It is a lot of fun deciding what to put in the newsletter and finding out which topics are the most popular. Hint: weird houses are very popular. USPAP is not very popular, but I put it in so you know what is happening.

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Paid Monthly Newsletter

The paid newsletter started as a printed newsletter in 1992. The 12-18+ pages are print style PDFs with 3 columns and wordprocessing (1 column) formats. The articles are much longer than this email, from 1 to 8 (or more) pages for each topic.

Everything is original, not just a link. Most of the articles are written by myself, but I have always had contributors. I like to write about business topics, so there are lots of marketing, etc. articles. When there are hot topics, such as CU, AMCs, etc. I write about them. Plus other appraisal related topics, mostly done by contributors.

Ever since I got my MBA in 1980, I look at everything from a business point of view. I had been appraising for 5 years at that time, but never took even a basic economics class. I needed to learn more bout business to be a better appraiser. For unknown reasons I don’t like to write about appraisal topics, although I love discussing them with other appraisers!!

I never run out of topics to write about. I regularly get ideas by communicating with other appraisers by phone or email.
If there is a topic you would like to read about, send an email to ann@appraisaltoday.com

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If you want a free sample newsletter, send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com requesting it.
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Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
2033 Clement Ave. Suite 105
Alameda, CA 94501 Phone 510-865-8041
Fax 510-523-1138
Email   ann@appraisaltoday.com

2 GREAT ways to get into appraisal trouble. Tales From Barry Bates

If you really WANT to get in trouble here are 2 ways to do it, (eventually) guaranteed to succeed

Advertise your uniqueness!
More important than earning a living, providing support for your family or
serving the general public is to let the world know who you really are!
When meeting a homeowner or commercial building owner for the first time,
take a few minutes to explain your facial tattoos, your exotic mode of medieval
dress and your political positions as shown by the 188 bumper stickers on your car. Some straights are freaked out by creativity, so it’s worth taking the time to
calm them down.

When I was Chief Appraiser for The Money Store, I got a call from a
prospective borrower in one of the northern rural counties of California. I had just
added another appraiser to the panel in an effort to improve coverage. The borrower reported that although the appraiser was pleasant of demeanor and appeared to be knowledgeable, there was no question that she was living in her car.

When I called her, I had to cite that stuff in USPAP that talks about inspiring trust of appraisers among members of the public, and told her to reapply to the panel when she would be able to present a more conventional appearance. I didn’t hear from her afterwards, but, sure enough, she was a duly certified California appraiser.

Pump that value!
It’s a “win win” for everyone! I mean, you’d think so, right? What refi borrower
complains about a high appraisal? The lender sure won’t complain. Even in
appraising for a loan to purchase, it will flatter the owner and facilitate the
borrower’s deal, right?

Actually, wrongamundo, Buckwheat. By far, the most frequent complaint I
saw while at BREA (California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers) was inflation of value, tendered by the lender, the buyer, the seller, etc.

I recall one respondent, who appraised exclusively for VA lenders, assuring
me that he considered it his duty to make sure that if the veteran really wanted the property and his valuation could make it happen, he would find legitimate
comparable sales to support that sale price.

What was unclear was his understanding of the word “legitimate”. I guess it’s tough when another couple of grand is added to the price just for the VA guarantee, but doable, certainly, for someone with such a holy mandate.

As an 11-year Army veteran myself, I let him know that I appreciated his
devotion to cause, but I had to tell him that he was a crook. And that he should
reexamine his assumption of duty during his license suspension, during which he
had to find 25 hours of courses on ethics.

Editor’s notes: this is a very brief excerpt from Barry’s article in the December 2017 issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter. Click the graphic below for more info on the newsletter. Barry has had a wide variety of appraisal jobs over the past 40+ years, including a state regulator investigator. He is now retired from appraising but still giving his opinions!! Contact him at barrettbates@gmail.com

11-30-17 Newz// My Client the FBI, 50 Lane Traffic Jam,Third Party Inspections

China’s 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter’s Worst Nightmare

What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

Excerpts: Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded on Tuesday in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads. Some are dubbing the traffic jam a “carpocalypse,” while others are calling it “carmageddon.”:

China is no stranger to these ridiculous traffic jams, especially on national highways. In 2010, gridlock spanning more than 74 miles on the stretch between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Beijing left drivers with nowhere to go for a staggering 12 days. That time blame fell on everything from road construction to broken down cars and fender-benders.

My comment: Check out the photos. Wow! One of my nightmares is getting stuck in a big traffic jam, but I never thought about one as bad as this…

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/10/chinas-50-lane-traffic-jam-is-every-commuters-worst-nightmare/409639

A Mysterious Device Revealed

Excerpt: On Monday, I distributed a photo (see below), which was taken by a western US appraiser at the subject property, and asked if anyone could accurately describe what this device is:

The property owner was not at the property when the appraiser was there, and the appraiser was frankly stumped as to what this ‘thing’ is.

By late afternoon Monday, the appraiser was able to talk with the property owner, and was told about this contraption. Meanwhile, dozens of appraisers wrote back with suggestions or positive “it’s a” statements.

My comment: There was a fun email thread on this topic. To sign up for Dave Towne’s emails, send an email to dtowne@fidalgo.net He has been writing a lot recently about hybrid appraisals (non-appraiser does the site inspection). Very controversial. I am working on an article for this topic in the paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

Read more!!

7-6-17 Newz: Tech Trends in 1776 .Arms-length transactions .Zillow vs. McMansions

8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

Just For Fun!! Take a break from writing up those darn reports. Is there any appraiser who likes writing reports. Not me ;>

Excerpt: At that time, the “best” technology available was the printing press and the “best” social network required the use of “word of mouth” in Public Houses… But while all this was going on, there were a bunch of entrepreneurs and a few startups that changed the world.
  1. Underwater warfare
  2. Telling accurate time
  3. Underwater exploration
  4. Indoor plumbing
  5. Kitchen stove
  6. Electricity
  7. Mechanical motion
  8. Multitasking
My comment: check out this great article!! It is only 2 days after July 4, so I decided to include this very interesting article by Shelly Palmer one of my favorite tech writers!

Arm’s-Length Transactions, Market Value and Related Parties, Part 2 By Richard Heyn, SRA

Excerpt: So while a non-arm’s length transaction may be a red flag that can point to an above or below market value transaction, the bottom line is that ALTs may or may not take place at market value.
Another area of misconception among appraisers regarding ALTs involves the application of the term “related parties.” Unfortunately, the term “related parties” is not defined in any authoritative appraisal-related literature that I am aware. The term is, however, defined in accounting standards and by the Internal Revenue Service, most notably in the IRS guidelines for exchanges of like-kind properties.

My comment: the excerpt above is from part 2, above is the link for part 1. I have read several long threads online about this topic. Lots of confusion. Rich’s articles are Most Excellent. Read These Articles!

Read more!!

6-28-17 Newz// Octagon house craze, Reproducibility Crisis, AMC Technology Efficient?

Octagon House Craze in the 1800s

Excerpt: If you were a forward-thinking individualist in 1800s America, building an eight-sided abode was a great way to show it. The octagon house was a cutting-edge design at the time, believed to be a more efficient use of space, energy, and cost than the conventional square.

… Thousands of these geometric oddities were built by the time the trend hit its peak in the 1860s.

My comment: Wow!! I have never appraised an octagon house, but have seen a few from the outside. Have measured octagon turrets on Victorians.

Top cities where the number of million dollar homes is skyrocketing

Excerpt: In large swaths of the country, a cool million has mostly come to represent the new standard for good, upper-middle-class housing. “In more markets than ever before, the million-dollar mark is the new benchmark for that green lawn and white picket fence,” says Javier Vivas, manager of the realtor.com® economic research team.
  1. Denver CO
  2. Santa Rosa CA
  3. Boulder CO
  4. Truckee CA
Click here get the full list and read the comments on the cities – very interesting!!

My comment: In my small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a median price of around $850,000, many properties are listed just under $1,000,000 and sell over list. Starter homes are $750,000 to $800,000 (2 bedroom/1 bath, built before 1940, maybe updated kitchen and bath, 1000 sq.ft.) No, we did not get on the list. Already have too many over $1,000,000.. I am soo glad I bought my  house in 1985 for $135,000!!

Read more!!

3-22-17 Newz: AQB Degree and Experience .Raise Deminimus? .AMC High Consumer Fees

Are you paying unseen add-on fees for your appraisal?By Ken Harney, nationally syndicated real estate writer

Excerpt: Are you getting fleeced on appraisal charges when you buy a house or refinance? Could you be paying as much as double what the appraiser is receiving for actually doing the work, with the excess going to an undisclosed third party?

Many appraisers say yes. And they’re eager to let consumers know that when the appraisal charge is $500 or $800 or $1,000, they’re frequently being paid just a fraction of that. The rest is going to an “appraisal management” company…
Read the full article here and add your comments:
My comment: Finally, someone is writing about the AMC Consumer Ripoff!! I have been saying since 2008 that the best way to “fight” AMCs is to let consumers know they are getting ripped off!! Appraisers complain about how AMCs treat appraisers and low fees, but don’t seem to focus on consumers, who are paying much more.
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Read more!!

3-2-17 Newz .Appraiser identity theft .Data shows no appraiser shortage

HUD Fraud Alert: Appraiser Identity Theft

 Excerpt: Most of the schemes happened when an FHA roster appraiser provided his or her personal identification number (PIN) for the desktop appraisal software to a colleague or supervisor. Providing the PIN was often rationalized because

* It was needed to keep the process timely,
* A fast turnaround was requested by the lender, or
* It was a contingency for when the roster appraiser was away or unavailable.
While these actions may seem innocent enough, they raise severe risks for misuse because the appraiser can never be sure the PIN will only be used with his or her knowledge and for legitimate purposes. Over the last couple of years, OIG has received more than a dozen reports of identity theft by colleagues or supervisors. Following are some case examples of the various schemes.
The identity theft examples were in IL, CA and WA
Click here to read the 2-page Fraud Bulletin:

My comment: Read the bulletin for more info. There was a lot of this reported when trainees were used in the last boom. All the appraisers were sentenced to 3-5 years in prison.

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How much value does a huge backyard shop add?
Another good post from Ryan Lundquist!!

Read more!!

Do you like appraising?

Poll: Overall with all factors considered, do you like your job as a Real Estate Appraiser?
Thanks to www.appraisalport.com and Steve Costello for these great polls!!
Results, if you can’t read the graph above:
Yes           71%
No            18 %
Not sure   11%

My comment: I have been appraising for over 40 years and still love my profession (I don’t think of it as a job), but… The Rule of Self Employment: Appraising (or whatever you do) would be great except for those darn clients!! (If they give me any hassles, I kick them off my Approved Client List)

Many of us would like to get emailed appraisal orders with a good fee, a check in the mail before we start, a convenient appointment time (for us), we tell them the turn time, and we email the appraisal back. No questions later, of course ;>

5-12-16 Newz .Geographic competency .Killing home values .Fair housing

The Most Insane Property Description Ever

Short descriptions, click here for some humor!! Reminds me of the times I am driving to the subject, hoping the house ahead is not the one I am appraising… Probably not the Most Insane, but definitely reality-based!!

http://www.thebrokeagent.com/blog-1/2016/4/the-most-insane-property-description-ever

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These Neighborhood Amenities Can Kill Your Property Value

Excerpt: In real estate, the phrase “cash is king” is oft overused. However, if you’re struggling to sell a house in a bad ‘hood, then you already know that in reality, location is king. Purchasing a home in a great area, or an area that is up-and-coming, can help maximize the value of your home investment.

So what can tear your property value down faster than a tree through the roof? The following infographic from Realtor.com offers insight-and some will surprise you!

Link to original article:

http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/these-neighborhood-amenities-can-kill-your-property-value

My comment: Of course, the effect on value varies by location – cemeteries for example.

Read more!!

5-5-16 Newz .Using listings .CU update .Low inventory and stats

Collateral Underwriter Update from Fannie Mae

Source: Appraisal Buzz

Excerpt:

The Buzz staff recently asked Zach Dawson, Director of Collateral Policy and Strategy, Fannie Mae, to provide appraisers with an update on the development of Collateral Underwriter.

A few of the questions:

– Buzz: Can you bring us up to date on CU? What have you learned from this data initiative?

– Buzz: Can you tell us more about AQM and the objectives of that project?

– Buzz: How many appraisers does Fannie Mae refuse to accept appraisals from?

https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/collateral-underwriter-update/

My comment: Definitely hits the Hot Topics!! Nothing much new, but good to directly from Fannie Mae, in writing…

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Can Living Near a Starbucks Boost Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

It seems that being close to a Starbucks does have a marked effect on home values, particularly in the East, according to a Zillow report.

Between 1997 and 2014, homes within walking distance, or one-quarter mile, of a Starbucks appreciated 96 percent. Compared to the national average for the same time period, 65 percent, it seems having a barista close by is a smart real estate move.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2015/08/19/starbucks-boost-home-values/#4084f9eb2c70

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Does a new Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in Your Neighborhood Increase Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

A 2015 study by the real estate information company RealtyTrac analyzed this trend. The study included 4 million homes located in a ZIP code with either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s location, finding that average property values in a ZIP code with Trader Joe’s appreciated by about 40 percent since they were purchased, while homes with a Whole Foods in the ZIP code appreciated by nearly 34 percent, which matches the national average increase according to the survey.

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/does-the-new-whole-foods-in-your-neighborhood-increase-your-home-value

Read more!!