If you use XP today, what are your plans regarding upgrading your operating system and internet browser in 2014?

Poll Results from www.appraisalport.com
Go there to participate  the current poll!!
11/11/13

If you use XP today, what are your plans regarding upgrading your operating system and internet browser in 2014?

– I plan to upgrade XP to Windows 7 or 8 and use newer included IE browser, Chrome or Firefox. 573 votes 14%
– I plan to move to another platform such as Apple along with a Safari, Firefox or Chrome browser. 78 votes 1%
– I don’t plan to upgrade XP, but will move to a different browser like Chrome or Firefox. 284 votes 7%
– I’m not going to do anything and hope for the best. 601 votes 7%
– I have already upgraded my system(s). 2,220 votes 56%
– I am not sure what Operating System I use. 201 votes 5%

Total Votes: 3,957

My comment: wow. I am definitely behind!! Still using XP (too cheap to purchase new software and go through the extreme hassle of moving everything to a new computer;> Stuff going back to the early 90s, buying and installing new software, etc. etc. ;> But, I do plan to get a new computer and upgrade to Windows 8 in 2014… sometime. I have been using a macbook pro for 4 years for music and video. No hassles at all. I have a dual boot to PC and have had very few problems with it either, even though I run most of my business software on it. Few crashes and hassles on the pc side. In direct contrast, I spend about 2-3 hours per week, on average, hassling with my two desktop pcs. I guess finally, after 30 years, windows is coming close to the mac in reliability and east of use, so they say. My got first PC in 1980. Nothing but hassles since then.

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What appraisal designation(s) do you currently hold?

Poll results from www.appraisalport.com
Go there to participate  the current poll!!
7/29/13

What designation(s) do you currently hold?
MAI 49 votes .8%
SRA 491 votes 8%
IFA 82 votes 1.4%
ASA 24 votes .04%
Other 227 votes 4%
Two or more of the above. 92 votes 1.6%
AI associate member only 293 votes 5%
None, but state certified residential or general. 4087 votes 70%
None, but state licensed. 417 votes 7%
None, working as a trainee at this time. 50 votes 1.2%

Total Votes: 5,812

My comment: Once again, I am in the minority with an MAI and an SRA. Probably because I am an “old timer” who started before licensing and also because I have an MAI, which is very valuable for commercial appraising. No extra fee for having both designations.

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Review appraiser liability

By attorney Todd F. Stevens

Excerpts:
Here’s a trend in real estate law: attorneys are waking up to the potential liability of review appraisers. Couple this with the common misunderstanding among review appraisers that their risk is less than the author of the original report, and you get a burgeoning new area of litigation. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Another big myth is that reviewers have less liability than the original appraiser. In fact, I have heard some attorneys argue that reviewers have more liability than the original appraiser since reviewers have the “last” opportunity to correct any problems with the report. While I am unaware of any case precedent specifically addressing this issue, logic dictates that the liability of a reviewer and the original appraiser are the same.

My comment: a topic that appraisers who review appraisals don’t like to think about. This article was written several years ago and refers to mortgage brokers, but it applies now. The author defends appraisers.

http://www.keenlaw.com/topics/reviewappraisals.html

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AMC fees – going down?

Poll Results – www.appraisalport.com  survey 11/4/13

Have you noticed any change in the fees being paid by AMC’s since the market has slowed?

– No, fees seem about the same as before. 2,618 votes 52%
– Yes, the fees seem to have increased slightly. 464 votes 9%
– Yes, the fees seem to have decreased slightly. 1,419 votes 28%
– Not sure 488 votes 9%
Total Votes: 4,989

My comment: I am forecasting declining AMCs fees because loans have dropped. Keep up with fee changes at www.appraisaladvisor.com  which is now free to all appraisers!!
I have lots of tips on getting higher AMCs in my AMC Special Report – $20 and FREE to paid subscribers!!
go to www.appraisalport.com to take the current survey.

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Where does the bulk of your appraisal work come from?

Currently, where does the bulk of your appraisal work come from?
www.appraisalport.com  poll 10-28-13

Direct mortgage lenders 1,695 votes 32%
AMC’s 3,149 votes 59%
Legal/estate work 83 votes 2%
Expert witness 26 votes 0.5%
Condemnation 27 votes 0.5%
Other 366 votes 7%

Total Votes: 5,346

My comment: 91% of residential appraisers report that most of their work comes from lenders/AMCs. This poll may be a bit skewed as appraisalport is a lender portal. But, relatively few residential appraisers do non-lender work on a regular basis. (Not just when lender work is slow.) Visit www.appraisalport.com  and vote on the current poll!!

I have been writing about getting non-lender work since 1992. You can do it, if you want. But, if you have only done lender work, it can be hard to try something new. But, it is not really that hard. I have not done lender work since 2005 and turn down work every week. Subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today Newsletter or purchase one of my Special Reports on non-lending work.

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My appraiser E&O story

I always advise appraisers to contact their E&O insurance company when they have questions. Many are worried that if they call their insurance will be cancelled. I don’t know how often this happens. Probably not very often.

I had not worried much in the past. But now, I really worry about losing my state appraiser license. I don’t need my professional designations to do appraising but I need my state license, even though I don’t do any work for lenders. If you’re not licensed, you can’t get appraisal work.

I have only called my E&O company, Liability Insurance Administrator (LIA) twice. I have been with them for over 20 years. The first time was many years ago when I took interior photos of a property occupied by an attorney who had not paid rent for a long time. The appraisal was for legal purposes. I forget the details. The attorney demanded that I return the photos and the negatives. I called and they told me what to do.

The second time was last month. I appraised a 10 unit apartment building for an estate. The executor had called me a few months previously but decided to go with an appraiser who had a significantly lower fee. She wasn’t happy with the appraisal and decided to get another one from me. She was comparing my appraisal with the other appraisal. It got very awkward for me as the other appraiser did not appear to have much experience appraising apartments. She kept calling me with questions as she was trying to reconcile the two appraisals. She was nice and not aggressive but was a math major in college and didn’t understand why there would be differences. I was getting very uncomfortable. I decided to return the fee.

I had returned fees a few times over the years because of a non-lender appraisal that got too weird (crazy people mostly). But, I wanted to be sure I did it legally correct. I called Liability Insurance Administrators and spoke immediately with one of their attorneys who sent me a form letter asking for a signed release of the appraisal and that it would not be used. The client sent back half the fee and said it was for consulting as I did help her understand about appraisals.

What’s the business lesson for me? I now know to screen out anyone who is getting a “second appraisal” because they did not “like” the other appraisal. In a strange coincidence, a few weeks ago another executor called me for the same reason. I told her I was too backed up. I had never had anything like that happen before. Always something new. Appraising would be great except for those darn clients!!

What does this mean for you? Shopping for appraisers’ E&O insurance is not like shopping for car insurance. Don’t choose it only because it is the lowest cost. It is not worth risking your license. I know that appraisers get into into awkward situations regularly when doing lender work. Who will you call?

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Appraiser Survival Plan?

What is your plan to survive this period of slowed loan originations and appraisal volumes?
9/13/13 www.appraisalport.com poll

Nothing different – I’ll be OK. 2,925 votes 51%
Rely on spouse/relatives for any shortfall. 235 votes 4%
Take on some extra work outside of appraising. 593 votes 10%
Leave the appraisal profession for a different occupation. 558 votes 10%
Not sure yet. 1,438 votes 25%

Total Votes: 5,749

My comment: Somewhat encouraging. Of course, lender work goes up and down regularly!! Could be different results in a few months. Always too much or not enough work since I started my appraisal business in 1986. I have just the right amount of work for a couple of hours or maybe a day ;>

Go to www.appraisalport.com and vote on the current poll!!

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Statute of limitations for appraisals

Statute of limitations for appraisals
Why You Should Keep Your Workfile for 7 to 8 Years
By Peter Christensen, Liability Insurance Administrators, www.liability.com

Excerpt:

In 2013, many lawsuits against both residential and commercial appraisers continue to relate to appraisals performed years ago at the peak of the real estate price bubble, 2005 to mid-2008. These lawsuits are filed by borrowers, lenders, investors or the FDIC and typically allege that an appraiser’s inflated value resulted in the plaintiff borrowing, paying or loaning too much money.  The plaintiff blames its loss on the appraiser and sues for damages.

When reporting a claim like this to our office, one of the most common questions a defendant appraiser will ask us is about the applicable statute of limitations. The question is usually something like: “I did the appraisal in 2005, more than five years ago. I threw out the workfile because USPAP only requires me to keep files for five years. Won’t the lawsuit be dismissed based on the statute of limitations?” The answer to that question is almost always “probably not.”

The purpose of this Claim Alert is to clear up misconceptions that appraisers read and hear regarding statutes of limitations and to advise appraisers about the importance of retaining workfiles well beyond USPAP’s bare minimum recordkeeping requirement.  A good workfile is the appraiser’s defense tool kit when a claim comes in.  Without that workfile in hand, the appraiser’s defense counsel will usually be hampered in his or her ability to defend a claim.  Our advice on this issue is simple: keep your workfile for seven to eight years (unless a longer period is required under USPAP’s special requirement for assignments where the appraiser has provided testimony).  The discussion that follows should help you understand why.

My comment: Worth reading. You can be sued at any time, for anything, by anybody. Be careful out there. Have I always kept my files for over 5 years? No. Three years ago I significantly downsized my office at got rid of a lot of appraisal files  over 5 years old. Mistake!!!

http://www.liability.com/claim_alerts/statute-of-limitations-for-a-claim-against-an-appraiser.aspx

Alternative Valuation Products and USPAP

Appraisal Foundation issues Draft White Paper – Alternative Valuation Products and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

Excerpts:
“At the request of its Industry Advisory Council, The Appraisal Foundation has drafted the attached white paper on Alternative Valuation Products and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).“

“The white paper is intended to provide information to assist appraisers, users of appraisal services, and others, with a greater understanding of Alternative Valuation Products and their use in the marketplace. The paper also attempts to view these products in light of an appraiser’s USPAP obligations.“

“All interested parties are encouraged to comment in writing before the deadline of December 31, 2013. Respondents should be assured that each comment will be thoroughly read and considered.“

Included are BPOs, AVMs, CMAs,
– Appraiser Price Opinions (APOs)
– Reconciliation Review Non-Standard Desktop Valuations/Field – – Reviews Full inspection proprietary appraisal form (non-GSE form)

My comment: lenders have been looking for an alternative to an appraisal report for a long, long time. For many fee appraisers, the issue is a low fee, even if it is uspap compliant. FYI, the Industry Advisory Council is composed of representatives from lenders, AMCs, etc. Of course, it is not the total fee, but the per hour billing, that is most important. If you get $400 for a report and spend 8 hours (including travel time, stips, etc.) you make $50 per hour. If you spend 4 hours for a $250 appraisal fee, you also make $62.50 per hour. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the total fee.

Click here to read the 36-page document. The first 13 pages is the main section. The remainder is mostly excerpts from state laws.
https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/download.aspx?id=sf61dc8e04054957a#

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