NEWZ// 2-4-16 – Adjustments-Unwanted mansions-Why homeowners don’t refi-Loan buybacks

 5 Reasons Homeowners are not Taking Advantage of Refi Opportunities

Excerpts:

Historically low mortgage rates have been circling the housing market for several years now. Low mortgage rates present opportunities for homeowners to refinance their homes, but recent data and analysis shows that they are not taking advantage of billions of dollars in savings.

Although the number of refinancers may appear to be large, it is actually down from over 7 million in April 2015. Black Knight reports that interest rates were under 3.7 percent during this time, and the 20-year rate was 3.96.

Black Knight Data & Analytics SVP Ben Graboske explained, “This population is diminishing, and as mortgage interest rates rise, it will only continue to shrink further.”

Here are the five:

Lower credit scores and income.

Hassle and upfront expense.

Not enough equity.

Inconsistent job history.

Lack of assets.  

Lots more info plus a link to the original study.

http://www.themreport.com/news/data/01-25-2016/5-reasons-homeowners-are-not-taking-advantage-of-refi-opportunities

My comment: interesting analysis plus a link to the nerdwallet full analysis. I have always wondered why so few people are not doing refis with rates still at historic lows.

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 CU Quick Guide Videos Now AvailableNew short videos (~4 min) show how to easily use the Collateral Underwriter® (CU™) web application to research common messages. Watch the Quick Guide Intro to the Comp Selection Message to see how to use CU to review appraisals with a material difference between the appraiser-provided and CU model-selected comparable sale rankings. The Quick Guide to Data Discrepancy Messages shows how to quickly view other appraiser observations when there is a discrepancy in reported data (either from what the appraiser previously reported or from what other appraisers have reported.) Want to learn how other lenders have leveraged CU? Review this new Housing Industry Forum article which details how lenders that maximize the use of CU have been able to make the underwriting process more efficient while improving appraisal quality and reducing appraisal-related loan defects.Additional CU live webinar dates are also now available:

CU User Interface Basic Training: Feb 10, 2016 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET

CU User Interface Advanced Training: Feb. 18, 2016 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET

Maximize your Appraisal Review Efficiency and Effectiveness with CU: Feb. 24, 2016 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET

For more information on CU visit the CU web page. 

My comment: see how CU works, from the lender side. 

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America’s Most Unwanted: The Neverland Ranch and Other Unsold $100 Million Mega-Mansions

Excerpt:

Michael Jackson’s $100 million Neverland-formally known as Sycamore Valley Ranch-is still stuck on the block.

Listed last May (sans the King of Pop’s amusement park), the 2,698-acre compound in Los Olivos showcases a 12,598-square-foot, French Normandy-style main house with six bedrooms and nine baths. Other structures include three separate guesthouses, a 5,500-square-foot movie theater with a stage, numerous barns, animal shelter facilities, and a maintenance shop.

Check them all out at:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kristintablang/2016/01/26/100-million-mega-mansions-for-sale-neverland-ranch-jeff-greene-rancho-san-carlos-palazzo-di-amore-le-palais-royal

My comment: if they ever do sell… very, very long exposure times!

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Adjustments – “Support” vs. “Proof, what should you do?

New in the FEBRUARY 2016 issue of the paid Appraisal Today

Adjustments Part 1 – Are you making too many adjustments? Lots of ideas, research, etc.

– Support vs. proof for adjustments by Bob Keith. A very good explanation of Scope Creep on adjustments. He is the former Executive Director 

of the Oregon State Appraisal Board and is a consultant for appraisers with state board complaints

Identifying Residential Architectural Styles by Mark Nadeau,SRA, Book review. Read my review to decide if you want to buy the book.                        

Two good, practical residential books, with very good tips on adjustments  Book reviews. 

The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, 6th Edition – Read my review to decide if you want to buy this book. 

Cancel at any time. For any reason!!

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Fannie, Freddie Unveil New Appeals Process for Loan Repurchases

Excerpt:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unveiled an appeals process Tuesday that will allow an independent arbitrator to resolve disputes between lenders and the government-sponsored enterprises over loan repurchase demands.

The new independent dispute resolution process, which was approved by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and endorsed by the Mortgage Bankers Association, is an effort to provide lenders more certainty that they won’t later face costly repurchase requests if a loan goes bad.

http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/secondary/fannie-freddie-unveil-new-appeals-process-for-loan-repurchases-1071121-1.html

My comment: Maybe lenders will be less paranoid about appraisals causing buybacks and cut back on Excessive Appraisal Requirements.

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One-third of realty transactions are plagued by delays, some of them fatal By Ken Harney

Excerpt:

According to the study, of the 32 percent that experienced delays, 46 percent were triggered by “financing issues,” which is up from 40 percent during the first half of 2015. Appraisal-related problems caused 21 percent of the delays and home-inspection issues in 14 percent. Of the nearly 1 of every 16 (6 percent) of deals that turned into total disasters and fell through, home inspection and financing were the primary culprits. Sixteen percent went south because of the appraisal.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/one-third-of-realty-transactions-are-plagued-by-delays-some-of-them-fatal/2016/01/19/0d74d684-beb9-11e5-83d4-42e3bceea902_story.html 

My comment: maybe that’s why some AMCs are pressuring/asking for more when you “come in” under the sales price. Their clients, the lenders, don’t like deals falling through…

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Study finds discrepancies between reported and actual home sales prices By Ken Harney

Are some realty agents hyping the pricing information on closed sales they report to their local multiple listing service, or MLS? And if so, should you care?

A first-of-its-kind study by appraisal and real estate experts suggests that maybe they are and maybe you should. Researchers compared closing documents – which are supposed to indicate the final price in sales transactions – with the prices that agents actually reported to their MLS and found that in nearly 1 of every 11 cases (8.75 percent) there were discrepancies. Overstatements of final price exceeded understatements by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. In one case, the price reported to the MLS was 21.4 percent above the actual closing price.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/study-finds-discrepancies-between-reported-and-actual-sales-prices/2016/01/26/86d11660-c435-11e5-a4aa-f25866ba0dc6_story.html

My comment: And AMCs worry about discrepancies on public records and appraisers on GLA!! Another reason Big Data (CU) fails and needs appraiser input. 

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HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to www.mbaa.org 

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm  or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications decreased 2.6 percent from one week earlier 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 3, 2016) – Mortgage applications decreased 2.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 29, 2016.  The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the Martin Luther King holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week.  The Refinance Index increased 0.3 percent from the previous week to its highest level since October 2015.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.2 percent of total applications from 59.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.9 percent from 12.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged from 11.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to its lowest level since October 2015, 3.97 percent, from 4.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from  0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.  This is the fourth straight weekly decrease for this rate.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to its lowest level since April 2015,  3.84 percent, from 3.89 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.25 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  This is the fourth straight weekly decrease for this rate.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.80 percent from 3.83 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.22 percent from 3.28 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.00 percent from 3.09 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100

 
To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter  go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm  or call 800-839-0227. 

 

NEWZ// 1-28-16 Not C-R fees-fined/AI twitter hacked/Building permits?/50 castles/adjustments

 

50 castles in 50 states

Excerpt:

The United States of America is not typically thought of as a land of castles, and with good reason-the uniting of the American states coincided, not coincidentally, with the beginning of the end of the era in which kings and queens ruled over everything, holing up in huge fortified houses so that the peasants and/or invading barbarians couldn’t kill them.

But in a way, that’s too bad, because the U.S.A. is a land of excess, and there’s nothing more excessive than a castle. And there are some castles in this country-maybe more than you’d expect-which range from (mostly) vanity projects, to mini golf courses, to even a few places that originally served some military purpose. Not only that, but many of them are currently for sale. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a castle of your own, you could, for as little as a few hundred thousand dollars, or as much as a over ten million. (If you want to have your wedding in a castle, the options are even more vast.) In fact, we found a castle in every state in the U.S.A

Here are a few:

– This Illinois Castle Costs a Mere $795,000

– Majestic Castle in the Adirondacks Offers Turrets, Knights, and – Secret Passageways for $12.8M

– Ludicrous $4.9M Texas Castle Really Loves Turrets

My comment: Photos and links for more info for all 50 castles!!

Easy to view – scroll down the page, no excessive popup ads.

Check it out at:

http://curbed.com/tags/castle

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Appraisal volume starts to lose momentum

Reverses last week’s rise

Posted January 26, 2016

 

Excerpts:

Appraisal volume erased most of last week’s rise, falling 4.1% for the week of Jan. 17, the most recent report from a la mode, an appraisal forms software company that tracks appraisal volume throughout the country, showed.

A week ago, appraisal volume grew 5%, following a strong surge the week prior.

“While appraisal volume started the year with a strong recovery from the Christmas and New Year slump, it has not seen the energy that mortgage applications have shown. This is perplexing but could be because of lenders still getting used to the new TRID procedures and delaying ordering appraisals or just that the applications are falling out and not turning into mortgages,” he continued.

Click here to read other comments and see the data.

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36111-appraisal-volume-starts-to-lose-momentum 

My comment: this report is posted every week. Please also see the MBA Weekly Mortgage Loan Origination volume report at the end of every weekly email newsletter, posted on Friday. Appraisal ordering follows originations, so MBA is slightly ahead of the a la mode report.

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POLL: Do you check to see if permits were pulled on remodeling on subject properties?

Source: www.appraisalport.com Vote in their current poll: 

Do you consider appraisal trade groups important to the industry?

My comment: A controversial topic. I’m not surprised at the results. However, if permits are online and free I don’t know why appraisers would not get them. In my city, free online records only go back to about 1970. Most of the homes were built before 1940. It costs $15.25 to get a full permit history and it can take up to a week to get it. The old records are a bit flakey, such as “remodeling” or something else very obscure. Lots and lots of unpermitted work in my city. But, in nearby cities with a lot of tract homes built since 1950, work without permits is not done very often. I was told by a lender’s chief appraiser many years ago not to pull permits so the borrower would “not get into trouble”.For quite awhile, I have been pulling the old permits when needed and run the online permits on all properties. In other cities, if something does not “look right”, such as an addition, I pull the permits. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS TOPIC? POST YOUR COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com !

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Coming in the February 2015 Appraisal Today paid newsletter, available Monday, Feb. 1 

Adjustments, Part 1 – Are you making too many adjustments 

Huge change in supporting adjustments since Fannie’s CU started looking at them. State regulators also want to see adjustment support – don’t get sanctioned. Some reviewers want to see support. Etc. 

Some of the topics: 

– How are appraisers supporting adjustments?

– What are the most frequent adjustments?

– What are state appraisal boards looking for?

– What is CU looking for?

– Do adjustments really make a difference in the final value?

– Qualitative vs. Quantitative adjustments

– The best adjustment sources of information

Part 2 will be on types of adjustments. 

FREE TIP: 

NO ADJUSTMENT SUPPORT METHOD WILL WORK FOR ALL ADJUSTMENTS.  

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Appraisal Institute falls victim to Twitter hack

Posted January 22, 2016, last Thursday

Excerpt:

Instead of tweets about the appraisal industry, tweets emanating from the Appraisal Institute’s account for the last 18 hours or so have more to do with Playboy Magazine, Hooters, David Hasselhoff, links to “sexy” videos, and other inappropriate tweets. 

Among other tweets, the hacked Appraisal Institute account tweeted out “to all staff and employees: because its so warm out today, you have to work an extra 2 hours pretending to do actual work” and “new company policy in effect: at social gatherings and events, having fun during such events is forbidden. Unless authorized.”

 As of last Friday: “It appears that the Appraisal Institute Twitter hacking of 2016 is now over, but we’ll always have the screenshots.”

Very interesting. All the old tweets were lost, except for re-tweets. See lots more, including some of the tweets at:

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36086

 Comments from the Appraisal Institute: ” The Appraisal Institute’s Twitter account and YouTube channel were compromised last week. Twitter has since been restored, temporarily using the handle: @RealAI_National. We’re in the process of restoring our YouTube channel.” Regarding who did it: “We are investigating the matter and have no further comment at this time.”

 

My comments: I knew I shoulda re-subscribed to the AI twitter feed!! I originally subscribed in 2010 but have not been getting any tweets. I have never had any twitter feed I subscribe to get hacked… I think that the AI will get a lot of new Twitter subscribers, including me!! Subscribe to @RealAI_National. Currently 3,936 followers.  

At the bottom of the article is a comment post by Jason Constantine: “This was the work of one, former disgruntled employee with a shady criminal past. He was jaded because he was replaced with another programmer and wouldn’t take a background check. Can’t prove it but he’s hacked me several times in the past.” Makes sense to me. You don’t get much notoriety from hacking the AI. When you read the tweets in the article, it definitely sounds like an employee. Some are sorta funny ;             

 
To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter  go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm  or call 800-839-0227. 

 

 

AMC Fined Over C&R Fees

Excerpts:

The Louisiana Real Estate Appraisal Board (LREAB) has again taken action to ensure that Customary and Reasonable (C&R) Fees are being paid by AMCs and lenders in the state.

On December 8, 2015, after a hearing that lasted over 12 hours and was closely watched and attended by appraisers, AMCs, and lenders alike, the Board ruled against iMortgage Services, LLC and issued a Final Order that included a fine of $10,000 and a six-month license suspension. The suspension was stayed, provided that iMortgage provides a C&R compliance plan to the Board no later than March 21, 2016 

In contrast to Louisiana’s previous C&R enforcement action involving Coester VMS, where there was no admission of guilt by Coester, this is the first judgement against an AMC that leaves no question on the determination of guilt. The Board’s final order establishes that iMortgage failed to comply with Louisiana law and violated the C&R fee requirements set in place by the Board.

Demonstrating the glacial speed at which many state board investigations operate, the initial complaint against iMortgage was filed two years ago in January 2014 after iMortgage sent out an appraisal order for a full 1004MC FHA appraisal with a fee of $200. The investigation was not opened until May 2014, with the hearing taking place in December 2015.

My comment: Almost 300 postings at http://appraisersforum.com/ . Search for AMC Fined For Not Paying C&R Fees. Warning: lots of chit chat, etc, typical for AIforum Just wade through them to get to what you want. Comments also posted after the article. 

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Very interesting workingre article. Read more here:

http://www.workingre.com/AMC-fined-over-cr-fees 

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HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to www.mbaa.org 

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm  or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 8.8 percent from one week earlier 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 27, 2015) – Mortgage applications increased 8.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 22, 2016.  This week’s results include an adjustment to account for the Martin Luther King holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 8.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week.  The Refinance Index increased 11 percent from the previous week.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week and was 22 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

 

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 59.0 percent of total applications from 59.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.7 percent from 13.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.1 percent from 10.8 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to its lowest level since October 2015, 4.02 percent, from 4.06 percent, with points decreasing to 0.40 from  0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.89 percent from 3.93 percent, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.83 percent from 3.86 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.28 percent from 3.29 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.09 percent from 3.20 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.18 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey, please visit www.mba.org/WeeklyApps, contact mbaresearch@mba.org.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100

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Statistics and Appraisal Data

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Statistics and Appraisal Data

The key to any statistical analysis is DATA, DATA, DATA!! Single family real estate data is not very reliable or consistent, and not enough is available in many areas, as we all know.

CU is the most significant attempt to get more useful data by requiring appraisers do use specific coding and criteria. However, real estate is local, local, local. Even the number of bedrooms varies a lot as there are different criteria for determining what is a bedroom, even in the same city. Three appraisers measuring the same house will probably not have the same square footage, as I learned doing relocation appraisals.

9/20 Update.  CU (Collateral Underwriter) has let Fannie obtain lots of data from appraisals. Unfortunately, the data is not available to appraisers. Fannie uses the data to analyze report reliability. 

With CU, this is becoming more obvious as there are sometimes wide variations in how appraisers code factors. For example, why do condition ratings vary? How accurate is MLS? Is public records accurate? What is the best source?

Now that regression software is popular with appraisers for getting adjustments, I have been thinking about why it is often not very reliable. To understand even simple regression requires knowledge.

My first statistics class was in 1963. The first time I used multiple regression was in graduate business school in 1979, when I did a mini-thesis on factors in REIT stock volatility using SPSS.I used a remote university mainframe that kept blowing up and erasing my data. There were no data issues. Doing multiple regression analysis on real estate housing data was not possible. Way too much lack of usable data.

Since I started my Appraisal Today newsletter in 1992, I have been writing about AVMs. The less data that is available, the less reliable the value.

As we all know, AVMs work well in a conforming home in a large tract of similar homes, built in the past 10 years. After that, the accuracy and reliability goes down fast. Just check what Zillow’s Zestimate against your appraised value.

Fannie warning letters – GLA adjustments and lots more coming(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Today newsletter

Appraisers not getting access to their own data on CU

There is a petition and a letter being circulated about appraisers getting access to CU, particularly the Web interface which lists comps. This is unlikely for many reasons, which I write about in my paid newsletter.

More important (and more likely to occur) is: Why don’t appraisers get access to subject and comp physical characteristics from the CU database, which was provided by appraisers using UAD?

For example, which appraisers are able to measure their comp GLAs? Not many. This data would really help appraisers do better appraisals. We can always look at MLS interior photos and interview agents, buyers, and sellers for other information we need, such as condition. When the MLS listing says “contractor special” or “fixer” that is a good indicator of condition.

The only reason I have heard is that appraisers vary widely and there are too many differences. GLA is a good example. This has has always varied among appraisers. When I used the old CMDC appraiser database in the late 1980s, sometimes there were more than one source of GLA on a property. I have done relocation appraisals since 1986. It was very seldom that the 2 or 3 appraisers have the same GLA. The “rule of thumb” was up to a 5% difference in GLA was ok.

How many appraisers are “fudging” their dimensions to make their GLA match public records and avoid “stips”? Hopefully, CU will change this. Maybe CU will notice how many appraisers just use public records and how many use their own measurements.

I am really hoping that Fannie allows appraisers to get property characteristic information. It will help all of us – Fannie, lenders, AMCs, appraisers, reviewers, etc.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Fannie warning letters – GLA adjustments and lots more coming

Fannie warning letters-GLA adjustments

Fannie has been sending out warning letters to appraisers about variations in Q and C ratings. Now they are sending out letters about using low GLA adjustments. According to people who attended, or heard about a recent speech that Bob Parsons of Fannie Mae gave an appraisal conference, $25 per sq.ft. Seems to be used by lots of appraisers for lots of properties that vary widely in size, etc. I wasn’t at the speech and don’t know what was actually said, but $25 per sq.ft. Was used in a large number of appraisals.

A quote from a recent email I received: “A friend of mine just got a letter from Fannie Mae stating that they have been monitoring his reports for 6 months. In that time they said he used $35 Psf for gla adjustments 14 times. This is a warning. Further action may be required if this continues.” I haven’t seen any of the letters myself but have been hearing about them for a few months. This The last two sentences have been pretty common in the warning letters sent about Q and C adjustments, which are a lot more shakey to support and are much more controversial.

Hmm… In my area, the San Francisco Bay Area, with a median home price of $601,000 in October, 2014, slightly down from June as many markets have slowed down. San Franciso’s median home price is around $1,000,000. I hope no one there is using $25 per sq.ft.!! Except maybe in neighborhoods with relatively low home prices or some lower priced condos condos. In my small city of 75,000 population the median price in October 2014 was $690,000. Our prices are around the median for the area. Very few homes or condos under $300,000.

Sq.ft. is one of the easiest adjustments to support, as compared with lots of other features. For many years, it has been one of the few almost always reliable adjustments when using regression analysis. You can sometimes even use matched pairs. I have no idea why appraisers don’t try to figure out an appropriate adjustment.

This is just a start. Read info on Fannie’s UCDP Fannie Mae Appraisal Messaging Change Notification” – link below, with a list of all of the appraisal data that Fannie is looking at below.

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Dave Towne on Collateral Underwriter
Thanks to appraiser Dave Towne (again) for his Most Interesting Comments:

Appraisers……..

Many know by now that the GSE’s…primarily FannieMae……..have instituted a new ‘appraisal scoring’ procedure based on an electronic read of your reports ……….. specifically on a SFR 1004 or the Condo 1073Those are the only forms currently being analyzed by the CU process.

On Nov. 18, 2014, FNMA released a document named “UCDP Fannie Mae Appraisal Messaging Change Notification” which you can find here:  https://www.fanniemae.com/content/release_notes/ucdp-change-notification-01262015.pdf

I encourage all appraisers to actually read this document … all 11 pages.

When you do read this document, you will learn that your reports are being compared to your peer’s reports, and to your other reports, and to some unidentified ‘model’ FNMA uses.

Some of the ‘checks’ being performed by the CU process include these:

The reported GLA is materially different than what has been reported by other appraisers.

The reported lot size is materially different than what has been reported by other appraisers.

The condition rating is significantly different than what has been reported by any other appraiser.

The quality rating is significantly different than what has been reported by any other appraiser.

Here are a few that can cause real concern among appraisers:

The GLA adjustment is larger than peer and model adjustments.

The GLA adjustment is smaller than peer and model adjustments.

The view adjustment is materially different from peer and model adjustments.

And I just love this one:

The appraiser-provided comparables are materially different than themodel-selected comparables.

It’s time for appraisers to get serious about meeting your peers in person, compare notes, and develop a regional adjustment chart for all variables … much like that yellow legal pad paper you were handed when you got in this business …. that paper with the ‘required’ adjustment amounts on it for almost all items.

Oh … and when you get that knuckle slapping letter from FNMA saying your adjustments or comparables don’t match the ‘model’ be sure to get the specifics and pass on ‘model info’ to your peers.

Yep, appraising real property and developing an opinio

My comment: Fannie, please send me all my adjustments. Then I won’t get questioned by my state regulator (hopefully), underwriters, reviewers, etc. I would really like to know what adjustment to be made for all the unusual features in the homes I typically appraise – most built before 1930 and many built before 1910 with all types of additions, remodeling, etc. Even tract homes have stuff like converted garages, original kitchen and baths, inlaw units in rear, views, etc. Of course, I have been using regression since the 1970s on homes and very few adjustments are very reliable. I wonder how Fannie is going to do it.

I remember commercial appraisers used to talk about getting cap rates from bottom of a stone monument ;> Maybe we are still looking for that darn piece of stone!!

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Dave Towne on Big Data, Hedonic Regression, etc.

Appraisers………

The new Collateral Underwriter electronic review process developed by FannieMae has many appraisers on edge. This will become the ‘ultimate authority’ or gold standard for reviewing appraisal reports as of January 26, 2015 …. at least as far as FNMA is concerned. Your reports will either ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, depending on many factors. Some of those factors are outside your immediate control.

“Big Data” is one giant pile of stuff that is being put into the CU pot, stirred together like a stew. Except there is no master chef involved that ‘we’ can interact with. Instead we have a bunch of secret sous chefs each contributing a chunk of meat, a bit of spice, some chopped carrots, and a few potatoes. None of them, or us, really knows the actual CU recipe, because part of what’s in the stew is a ‘model’ of something unknown. But some of that Big Data in the CU stew could be yours … or it might be data provided by your peer appraisers who work in your area – that your reports will be compared against. Not too tasty you say? Just add more pepper.

An aspect of this Big Data stew is Census Tract home price analysis, which is compared against your appraised property value. As an exercise, everyone reading this immediately write the neighborhood description using N, S, E & W directionals for the census tract in which your home residence is located. What? You don’t know the boundaries of your census tract? For shame! Some people using the CU stew might think you are deficient because you don’t know price trends in the exact census tract of the appraised property.

Then we have Hedonic Regression. It’s not a bad thing. But it’s becoming the buzz words of our appraisal adjustment process. It’s a ‘background component’ in the CU process, moving farther forward, faster than some might expect.

Bet you didn’t know that the adjustment grid is a form of Hedonic Regression! It’s a way a certain property’s components of value are itemized separately. By using Hedonic Regression, the individual value of the adjustable components can be calculated and plugged into the adjustment grid. In theory, this can lead to a more accurate property value.

The folks at Bradford Software were among the first to begin promoting use of regression techniques by appraisers. In other ways, the other appraisal software companies and some independent developers have been working on individual processes to make “Regression” more palatable and useful to appraisers. Bradford, and the independent developers, have either report software, or separate spreadsheets, that can help calculate property adjustable components, which in turn can lead to a more credible and supportable opinion of value for the appraised property.

The days of “I’ve been an appraiser for 27 years, so I know what this house is worth” are rapidly coming to an end. The Big Data CU stew is overtaking appraising like the snow avalanches that have closed State Highway 20 in north Washington State in the Cascade Mountain range, not far from where I sit in my cozy bathrobe and bunny slippers.

My observation in this process is that appraisers, as a group, are not statisticians by training and are somewhat scared of that term – even though ‘we’ deal with lots of statistics and data. Thus, appraisers don’t have a clear understanding of what “Regression” is, or does. As a result, ‘we’ have been reluctant to embrace this ‘actually old’ technology in modern appraisal reports. And ‘we’ certainly are skittish about FNMA’s soon to be released (to lenders only) Collateral Underwriter which will analyze reports using “Regression.”

Another perspective on this topic is from this blog: http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/32165-does-fannie-mae-support-appraisers  This one is written by one of the regression spreadsheet developers, currently available to appraisers.

And for info on Hedonic Regression: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_regression

My comment: When I first started doing residential lender appraisals in 1986, we used census tract maps to find the code. Later, the codes were available on computers and we did not use maps. However, I found that they were very good for defining neighborhoods. I guess we all forgot about them since few, if any, appraisers look at the maps. I still have my old census tract books.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Where Did All the Good Appraisers Go?

Where Did All the Good Appraisers Go?

By Hamp Thomas, Institute of Housing Technologies

Excerpt:

As appraisal fees go downward, quality is going in the same direction. The best appraisers, who have invested years and years in building their careers don’t want to work for a company that they have to check in with every 12 hours, and get treated like a school kid in the principal’s office. An untrained and unlicensed person on the other end of the phone is making their schedule and deciding who gets paid what. And guess what – it’s going to get worse… The best appraisers are finding other types of appraisal work (that values their craft), and the appraisers that work on mortgage loans are often the newer licensees or trainees. If all this Reform we’re talking about is still hoping for higher quality appraisals for use in mortgage lending, we’re in deep trouble. The best appraisers are leaving mortgage appraising as fast as they can.

Appraisers get together and discuss how “bass ackwards” all this “reform” is, and why something that is so logical has been stretched far enough that the government is biting; hook, line, and sinker… If you want a higher quality product, you have to pay more. Look around. Do the best doctors get paid more? How about the best mechanics? The best architects? The best teachers and speakers? The best attorneys? People seek out the best and they are in such great demand, they command higher fees. This is nothing new, it’s just the way the system is supposed to work. So why do we think that appraisals should be different? The lenders, and government officials, and AMC’s think appraisers can be paid less, be required to do more work in each report, and then the quality of appraisals will go up? Come on, this is not rocket science. In most cases, when you add a middleman to any process the price goes up and the quality goes down. Ask Walmart…

http://www.housemeasures.com/ArticlePages/Where-Did-All-the-Good-Appraisers-Go–.html

My comment: AMCs, and the lenders that hire them, see all appraisers as the same. Why not go for the lowest fee? Yes, there are direct lenders who care, and big lenders who have “special lists” of experienced and well trained appraisers, typically for high end homes or people who are top bank customers. Those appraisers are paid much more than the appraisers who compete on fee.
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