Cost Approach – When to Use in Appraisals

Fannie Mae and the Cost Approach

Excerpt: We often receive questions from appraisers regarding Fannie Mae and the cost approach. For example: “I’m appraising a property and have been instructed to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines. I understand that Fannie Mae requires the sales comparison approach, but what if there aren’t enough good comps? Can I use the cost approach as the primary method of valuation?”

Answer: No!

In order to comply with Fannie Mae guidelines, the sales comparison approach must be the primary method used to determine the value. In fact, Fannie Mae will not purchase a mortgage on a property if the cost approach is the primary or only method of valuation used.

Quite simply, if there isn’t enough data for the appraiser to develop a reliable opinion of value by the sales comparison approach, the mortgage will not be marketable to Fannie Mae.

However…

To read more, click here

My comment: I included this article plus the one below, which both address the Cost Approach’s common appraisal questions.

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The Cost Approach: An Underutilized Approach to Value

Excerpt: In residential appraising, the cost approach and the income approach have in many cases become less utilized in favor of sole reliance on the sales comparison approach.

There are occasions when the income approach can be the primary indicator of value for residential properties, such as developments with a high percentage of homes owned by investors.

The fact that Fannie Mae won’t accept reports that rely solely on the cost approach, with a few rare exceptions, doesn’t mean that approach can’t be the primary indicator of value. It just means Fannie Mae won’t buy that loan.

To read more, click here 

My comments: I started with an assessor’s office in the 1970s. At that time, my county was changing from only using the Cost Approach for decades to a sales-based approach. I never liked to use only the Cost Approach when I started doing fee appraisals.

In my area, there are very few land sales. There has not been one for over 20 years in my city. Depreciation is always iffy when appraising Victorian homes built before 1915.

But, I always use the Cost Approach for new construction to determine the financial feasibility of custom homes. I use a few land sales from other cities. If the new proposed home is on a vacant parcel, I go back to when the parcel was purchased, sometimes many years ago, and do a market condition adjustment.

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So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions

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Appraisers: How to Spend Less Time on Email

Appraisers: How to spend less time on Email

Excerpts: Many appraisers report that they’d like to spend less time on email. The task of providing status emails eats up time in the workday and tends to be more complex and time-consuming than typing a quick email reply. Status requests from AMCs typically require you to log in to their system and go through the process of updating the order status on their website. Simple enough, but if you are doing this several times a day for multiple orders, it interrupts your workflow and decreases your productivity.

2. Only check email twice a day, at designated times

Set aside two short time windows for email (15 or 30 minutes each). Do not read or reply to emails outside of those time windows. For the rest of the day, turn off email notifications on your phone, etc., so that incoming emails won’t interrupt your work. You can add a note to your email signature letting people know that they can reach you by phone if they need to get in touch on an urgent matter.

To read all 7 ways, click here

My comments: I regularly write about managing your emails in my monthly newsletter, including getting to Inbox Zero. This blog post is the best I have ever read, as it is specifically for practicing appraisers.

How to Manage Your Email

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Residential Appraisals and Airbnb Income?

Residential Appraisals and Airbnb Income?

By Julie Friess, SRA, AI-RRS, MA

Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights! State appraisal boards ARE disciplining appraisers across the country for improperly using the business income (Short term Rental – STR) from Airbnbs on the residential 1007 Fannie Mae form.

Lenders and AMCs want residential appraisers to value these properties as both the real estate and the business values of these properties – Wrong!!

 

Some of the topics:

• USPAP issues

• GRM is an Income Approach that applies to homes with long long-term tenants, not homes with many Short Term Rentals.

• Functional Obsolescence

• External Obsolescence

• Covid-19 Pandemic and Airbnb’s

The photo below has an exterior entrance to a bedroom, typical for an Airbnb remodeling.

To read more, click here

My comments: This mainly applies to cities where many homes are being converted to Airbnbs, including exterior doors for bedrooms (see foto below) and expanding the number of bedrooms. In popular vacation areas, such as Sedona, AZ, where Julie lives, investors purchase homes and do extensive remodels to turn them into Airbnbs with Airbnb management companies handling everything for them (clean up, new furnishing, and renting).

Julie does not include short-term rental income (STR) in her appraisals of homes with Airbnbs. I posted her article on my website so that everyone can read it. I have a few of my comments, of course!! I’m a commercial appraiser and know how hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are appraised. The appraisals include separate values for real estate, fixtures, and Going Concern (business income and expenses).

Julie speaks about this topic regularly on our weekly Clubhouse meetup, Real Estate Appraisal Questions, every Thursday at 2 PM Pacific Time (audio-only social media). All the sessions are recorded. The May 12, 2022 session was “Residential 1004/1007 Form Appraising & AirBnB Income”.

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Borrower Keeps Calling Appraiser

Borrower Keeps Calling Appraiser

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Appraisers – The Past and The Future

Appraisers – The Past and The Future

The Path that Brought Us Here

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: A wise man by the name of Jim Irish, former chief appraiser for the Federal Reserve Bank out of Topeka, Kansas, once told me something very profound: “The government is rarely proactive but always reactive.” Translation: laws, rules, and guidelines are usually developed after a problem smacks us upside the head. Since hearing this, I have found that it also applies to large enterprises.

Appraisers continued to tell lenders that they drove by each of the comparables used in the report. Years later, when lenders, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and the VA spot-checked reports, they found out that the condition or location of many comparables didn’t match what was reported. So, the reactive response was to require the appraiser to affirm, under penalty of perjury (which stands to this day), and provide original photographs of each comparable.

Failure to inspect triggered client engagement letters stating the absolute requirement to personally inspect each of the comparables, provide original photographs, and create a system that inspects the photographs and can tell when a photograph is used twice or sourced from the MLS or county—clients know who’s lying to them and fees are lower because of it.

To read more, click here

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Prepare for Change

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: In my career, I’ve been through four major changes in the market and our business, so what’s about to happen isn’t my first rodeo. I’m going to point out some things that will make a few people angry. However, I’m trying to help by pointing out how you can become better and profit from the change.

Waivers

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow “appraisal waivers” (loans where no appraisal is required), and in the past, waivers were limited to fewer than 5% of the loans they purchased from lenders. However, their waivers have increased to 48% of their loan purchases over the past year. Imagine that 48% of the loans no longer require an inspection or appraisal.

Prior to 2022, Fannie Mae’s UAD system reviewed approximately 20,000 appraisals a day produced by approximately 40,000 appraisers. This indicates that appraisers were providing one appraisal every other day. Now, consider that waivers reduce the rate to an appraisal once every 4 days. Ouch.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have known Richard Hagar for a long time. He can sometimes be negative or even harsh but has good ideas

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

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PAVE Appraiser Bashing

PAVE Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity

By McKissock, March 23, 2022
Two of the more controversial recommendations:
Excerpts:
Inform Federal Housing Administration (FHA) borrowers about the process to request a reconsideration of a valuation when the initial valuation is lower than expected.
Perhaps the most far-reaching recommendation for action is number 1.6, which states, “Develop a legislative proposal that modernizes the governance structure of the appraisal industry to improve transparency and public participation in the establishment of appraisal standards and appraiser qualification criteria, and to advance diversity in the profession.” Translation: Amend FIRREA to remove references to The Appraisal Foundation and transfer the Foundation’s authority to write appraisal standards and qualifications to the Appraisal Subcommittee or another federal government entity.
As of this writing, no proposed legislation related to the PAVE recommendations has been introduced. Because committees in both the Senate and the House are holding hearings, a bill (or, more likely, bills) can be expected very soon. Stay tuned.
Short and worth reading. To read more, including links to the full PAVE report and the summary, click here
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AEI’s Comments on PAVE Report
Excerpt: The Brookings and Freddie Mac studies are not based on rigorous data analysis. Most importantly, they conflate race with socio-economic status (SES), i.e. income, buying power, marriage rates, credit scores, etc. Race-based gaps found in the Brookings and Freddie Mac studies either entirely or substantially disappear when adjusting for differences in SES. Furthermore, our analyses show that similar gaps are present in majority White or White-only tracts across different SES levels, raising serious questions regarding a race-based explanation.
To read more, click here
My comment: American Enterprise Institute is a conservative “think tank” and has also supported the appraisers’ side on other issues.
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Congress Committee Meetings on Appraisal Bias

Strengthening Oversight and Equity in the Appraisal Process
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Appraiser Witness: James Park, Executive Director Appraisal Subcommittee
To watch, click here
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Devalued, Denied, and Disrespected: How Home Appraisal Bias and Discrimination Are Hurting Homeowners and Communities of Color Tuesday, March 29, 2022

House Financial Services Committee

Appraiser speakers:
  • Pledger M. Bishop, III, President, Appraisal Institute
  • David S. Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation
  • Dean Kelker, Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, SingleSource Property Solutions, on behalf of the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association
To watch, click here
My comments: I was not able to watch either of these meetings before writing this newsletter.
Jonathan Miller attended the virtual March 24 meeting and had comments on the March 24 and 29 hearings. To read his comments, click here Scroll down to “James Park”
His blog post for today (usually sent around 11 AM EST) may have comments on the March 29 meeting. To read his comments, click here. Search for “devalued” (Hopefully, this link works.)

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Desktop appraisals – Lots of Info Available!

Desktop appraisals – Lots of Info Available
Fannie and Freddie started using Desktops on March 19, 2022

Both a floor plan and a building sketch with dimensions and GLA calculations are required. ANSI is not required.

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March 2022 Fannie Mae Appraiser Update: 

Link to March Appraiser Update, click here:

Link to “About Desktop Appraisals” PDF with 5 pages of information, click here Watch the Noble Appraiser explore the benefits of performing desktop appraisals:
The Desktop Appraisal Discovery Link to Noble Appraiser on desktops video, click here 

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McKissock: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Desktop Appraisals: Your Questions Answered

Excerpts: In January 2022, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a desktop appraisal option that goes live in mid-March 2022. In various articles and opinion pieces, some claim that desktop appraisals will solve the appraiser shortage and modernize the appraisal process, while others claim that they will cause the demise of the appraisal profession.

Here are a few of the 16 questions answered

  • What is a desktop appraisal?
  • Does USPAP require me to complete an inspection?
  • What data sources are used for identifying the subject’s relevant characteristics?
  • Are there any state restrictions?
  • Must I be competent in the subject’s market area?
  • Are extraordinary assumptions allowed?
  • Does the limited scope of work mitigate my liability?
  • Won’t these types of valuations be risky for the lender

To read more, click here

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Bradford Software Webinar Floor Plans for Desktops – Discover Your Options with 7 Floor Plan Providers March 24, 2022 (1 hour, 34 minutes), with comments from Scott Reuter of Freddie Mac.

It was recorded and is available at https://vimeo.com/692030955

I did not have time to watch it yesterday.

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My comments on the above resources: What’s the best resource(s) for you?

Noble appraiser video is short (3 min. 34 seconds) understandable and very informative. Fannie Mae is “the source” for desktops. McKissock’s Q and A post is well written, understandable with short answers.

Bradford’s video has demos of 7 app providers for floor plans and sketches.

If lenders will use them much is very uncertain. The Covid desktops were never widely adopted. No one knows now which cell phone apps will be used, who will use them, and their accuracy (tested by an independent company). Minimum of an IPhone 12 Pro, with LIDAR camera. Appraisers who have tested them say the floor plans are good, but sketches with dimensions and floor plans may not be accurate on complicated home designs.

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Fannie’s New Desktop Appraisal FAQs

Fannie’s New Desktop FAQs

Timeline and 19 FAQs From an email received 3-8-22
“Desktop appraisals will be offered in Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for eligible transactions starting March 19. Are you ready?
We’ve updated the About desktop appraisals fact sheet with an expanded frequently asked questions section.
Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions, and please continue to Contact us with your appraisal related comments and questions.”
To read the FAQs, click here
My comment: Reading the original Fannie document is good, such as a timeline list, additional verifications, inspections, CU, etc.
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McKissock has an excellent blog post answering many practical questions, including some in the Fannie FAQs and many other questions.
Topics include:
  • What data sources are used for identifying the subject’s relevant characteristics?
  • Are there any state restrictions?
  • Must I be competent in the subject’s market area?
  • Are extraordinary assumptions allowed?
  • Does the limited scope of work mitigate my liability?
  • What is the difference between a sketch and a floor plan?
  • How do I get a floor plan?
  • Does the floor plan need to be verified?
  • Does the property need to be measured per ANSI measurement standards per Fannie Mae’s requirements?
To read more, click here
My comment: Read both the Fannie FAQs and McKissock blog post. How often will desktops be used? It will take a while before they may be widely adopted. See last week’s newsletter. When are we going to get some ANSI FAQs????

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Fannie Wants Desktop Appraisals with Floor Plans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to launch remote desktop appraisals in 2022

Desktop appraisals with floor plans

Excerpt:
Beginning March 19, 2022, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will accept remote desktop appraisals nationwide on eligible transactions without the appraiser ever stepping foot on the subject property, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced.
To read more, click here
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Link to FHFA announcement 10/18/21 with more information,click here
My comments: When they submit loan applications, lenders receive a list of appraisal types available for their loans, including waivers. Lenders did not widely choose the desktop Covid appraisals. They preferred full appraisals.
I ran an ad for Cubicasa (floor plan app) on Tuesday this week and got some appraiser complaints. I will be testing it soon and hopefully will be able to use it in my appraisals.
Many anticipate that lender adoption will be slow, including Lyle Radke from Fannie and a group email posting from an appraiser who recently attended a state Mortgage Bankers’ meeting. He said:
“I was on a 4 appraiser panel with +/-60 LO’s representing 20 different lenders. I asked for a show of hands-on how many would be offering Desktop or Hybrid appraisals on March 19… There was not a single hand raised. “
“When we discussed the Desktop and Hybrids, most had no idea about the differences in the two products… All 4 of us thought that the turn time “might” be reduced by 1-2 business days. So, based on a small sample, this may not be as much of a problem as some appraisers think. “

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Neighborhood Boundaries for Appraisals

Gentrification, neighborhood boundaries, and bias

By Ryan Lundquist 

Excerpts: Photo used with permission (thanks, Vicky).

Sometimes, crossing the street can make all the difference for value. In short, if we don’t understand where a neighborhood starts and ends, we might choose the wrong comps.

Q&A #3 How do we know neighborhood boundaries?

Okay, this is a big question, and it could easily be a dissertation. For starters, let’s consider what Fannie Mae says about neighborhoods:

Fannie Mae: “The appraiser should provide an outline of the neighborhood boundaries, which should be clearly delineated using ‘North,’ ‘South’, ‘East,’ and ‘West’. These boundaries may include but are not limited to streets, legally recognized neighborhood boundaries, waterways, or other natural boundaries that define the separation of one neighborhood from another. Appraisers should not reference a map or other addendum as the only example of the neighborhood boundaries.”

Other thoughts (mine): I think sometimes we focus only on major streets, but let’s also consider school boundaries and even how neighborhood associations or city websites define areas. But also, where would residents themselves draw the lines? And where would buyers be hunting for a home before shopping somewhere else? All these things could be clues.

To read more and see lots of maps and graphs, click here

My comments: Excellent analysis of specific neighborhood boundaries with maps and graphs, of course. Worth reading. The Jan. and Feb issues of the monthly Appraisal Today has this article: Does my neighborhood really need to be analyzed? Parts I II By Tim Andersen, MAI. The best neighborhood explanations I have ever read!!

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