Tips on appraising new construction homes

6 Tips for Appraising New Construction Homes

Excerpts: New construction is treated a little differently by lenders, FHA, and the GSEs. When appraising new construction homes, you must take into consideration certain features and attributes that don’t necessarily apply to re-sales. It requires more work, so you want to be sure that you are charging for your effort. However, perhaps more than that, you want to be sure you’re following the proper protocol. Stick to these best practices to ensure you cover all your bases.

3. Talk to multiple local builders You can gain valuable information from builders—as long as you talk to them now to evaluate current costs and value. Some of the best construction cost data is compiled by you as you complete new construction appraisal assignments. When appraising new proposed construction, the prior data can be reviewed for those construction projects that are most similar to the subject property in quality, size, and features and be used as cost data to support cost estimates for the current appraisal. As the cost of construction materials generally continue to spiral upwards, it may be necessary to adjust for time, depending on how old the cost data is.

To read more tips, click here

My comments: Well written and worth reading. New home construction appraisals can be tricky. I quit doing them a while ago – too many various hassles, but many appraisers like doing them. There are few new homes built in my area, except stacked condos. Land is too expensive.

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Crazy Appraisal Stories! We all have them!!

Crazy Appraisal Stories!

Excerpts: Not Just Measuring Homes and Taking Pictures
I went to appraise a home for a movie producer in Brentwood, California. I knocked on the door, and one of the producer’s boyfriends opened the door and invited me in. He was completely naked. He told me that whatever I do, don’t let the cat out. As I went room to room taking photos, I met another naked boyfriend. He also told me not to let the cat out. As I went to the second floor of the house, I met the producer who was also naked. He told me again, “don’t let the cat out.”
I’m approaching the rear patio door to take pics of the rear of the house. Outside I see a beautiful pure-bred Persian cat. I know I didn’t let the cat out but I sure as hell better get it back in the house. I started chasing the cat in the rear yard. Finally, I grabbed it, but not before it ripped my blouse and caused my hands to bleed. Huffing and puffing from the chase, I tossed the cat back into the house and closed the door. A few moments later one of the naked boyfriends came over and said “that’s the neighbor’s cat. Get him out of the house.” I then had to chase the cat again. Finally, I caught the cat and put him out of the house. I was left there panting with a torn blouse and bleeding hands, thinking appraising homes is definitely not just measuring homes, taking pics, and typing up forms.
-Mary Cummins
To read more, click here
My comments: Just For Fun! We’ve all got these stories!

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What is a “good” appraiser?

8 Characteristics of a Successful Real Estate Appraiser

Excerpt: Here are two:
Unbiased
The ability to form an unbiased, objective opinion of value is absolutely essential in this line of work. According to this survey, many appraisers agree that this is the single-most-important trait you need to have as a real estate appraiser. In order to provide trustworthy results and uphold the integrity of the appraisal profession, you must be unbiased. Otherwise, you risk losing your professional reputation.
Analytical
It’s important for appraisers to be analytical, as each appraisal assignment will require thorough analysis and critical thinking.
To read more, click here
My comments: I was hooked on science in my first science class: high school biology. I studied biology and chemistry in college. I learned to be objective and unbiased, analytical, and open to almost any possibility. I have used these skills in appraising. I have always been curious, which keeps me up on what is new and other ways of looking at appraising a property. As far as I know, relatively few appraisers have science degrees.

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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.

———————————————–

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.
—————————————————–
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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1004MC or 1004 ANSI

1004MC or 1004 ANSI

By George Dell, MAI

Excerpt: The 1004MC “market conditions” appraisal addendum was created by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require a form-based market analysis. This added to the traditional practice to collect a handful of ‘comps’ to opine and foretell market price. There are problems and unintended consequences.

The ANSI requirement is that residential appraisers measure houses according to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) method. This constraint can have good long-term results for consistency, if it is adopted by the full universe of participants. The requirement would have to include tax assessors, building permit agencies, real estate agents, investors, insurance companies, architects, contractors, and unlicensed appraisers. This part might take years, if ever.

We can take a quick look at some similarities, some differences, and where things may go…

To read more, click here

My comments: George and I talked about this and agreed to disagree. He is not the only one with doubts about ANSI. Most are appraisers, like George, who have never used it. I finally found a somewhat negative post about ANSI, instead of social media rants ;>

My opinion: This Standard is better than no standard. Appraisers have been using ANSI since 1996. I did not hear about problems with using it or with lender clients. Change is hard.

See the end of this newsletter for info on Appraisal Institute’s New 4 hour online ANSI class and an excellent ANSI webinar this Monday with Lyle Radke from Fannie being grilled by three appraisers! Two of them had negative comments.

ANSI Z765-2021 Resources for Appraisers

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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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Desktop appraisals okay for some Fannie Loans March 2022

Desktop appraisals okay for some Fannie Loans March 2022

Fannie announcement – About Desktop Appraisals

Beginning in March 2022, desktop appraisals will be an option for some loan transactions. This fact sheet provides high-level information on Fannie Mae’s requirements for desktop appraisals and answers some frequently asked questions. We’ll be adding information to the fact sheet, such as additional FAQs as needed.

Excerpts:

  • Use Form 1004 Desktop
  • Must include floor plan with interior walls.
  • The appraiser must have sufficient information to develop a credible report.

To read the fact sheet, click here

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Desktop Appraisal to Become the New Norm

by Isaac Peck, Editor, WorkingRe

Note: This article was written before the Fannie announcement above. 

Excerpts: A number of questions remain regarding how the GSEs will establish the eligibility criteria for what types of loans, transactions, and loan-to-value (LTV) ratios will qualify for these desktop valuations. For example, Thompson’s comments that such a move will provide relief on rural appraisals runs contrary to most conventional appraisal experience in the industry where appraisal waivers, hybrid appraisals, and other “alternative” valuation products have primarily been used in cookie-cutter, tract home neighborhoods where model-match comps are more readily available.

In fact, over the years many senior executives at the GSEs and at major lending institutions have acknowledged the need for traditional appraisals on rural properties—which are much more likely to have unique features and require more complex analysis.

There is also the question of whether the introduction of desktop appraisals will potentially lead to a broader range of alternative appraisal products into the mix. Given that some senior executives at Fannie Mae were predicting that hybrid appraisals would become mainstream by 2022, it is actually a little surprising that desktop appraisal assignments are the first alternative product to get a permanent place on the GSE’s valuation roster. Appraisers will just have to wait to see what the future holds!

To read more, click here

My comment: Interesting and worth reading about the background of Fannie’s change

Appraisal Completion Certifications – be careful

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