9-18-20 Newz: Funny Agent Photos – House with a Train – Refi Forecast

80-Foot-Long Train Car Is Part of Washington Home

Excerpts: The former passenger-train car is about 80 feet long, 12 feet wide, and has been incorporated into the rest of the residence.

“[The first owners] connected it to the house, so you walk from the kitchen out into this train,” Anderson explains.

“You walk past the kitchen island and into a hallway where there is stained glass—and you walk into the train.”

To read more and see lots of interesting photos click here:

My comment: Sorry, I would Just Say No on this appraisal. Too busy now is my excuse. But really the appraisal would drive me crazy!!

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Random Thoughts of an Appraiser

By Matt Simmons

Excerpts: Always makes me laugh when I see a subject-to appraisal with “subject to inspection.” That’s all? Doesn’t matter what the result of the inspection is? Perhaps an adjective that conditions the appraisal on the OUTCOME of the inspection would be a good idea.

Read more!!

9-11-20 Newz: Racial Bias and Appraisers? – Appraisal Process Challenges – House With 11 Domes

The Most Challenging Part of the Appraisal Process

Excerpts: Number 1: Data analysis (34%)

“When comps are limited, or when sales prices vary by as much as 50% for what appear to be very similar properties in the same neighborhood (which seems to be more and more common in the Denver metro area), selecting the best comparable properties can be a very time consuming and stressful process.”

Number 2. Site value opinion (17%)

“I choose ‘Site Value Opinion’ as the most challenging since there are very few vacant land sales in the areas that I appraise in. With very few sales, it’s very difficult to provide an opinion of value for many sites.”

To read more comments from appraisers and the other 7 challenging parts of the appraisal process click here

My comment: Lots of good appraiser comments. Data Analysis is my number one choice also. Tract homes are sorta boring but can be a welcome break from all the non-tract homes I appraise. Also, with Covid, I don’t connect with real estate agents every week at open houses to find out what is happening (behind the data).

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11 connected Domes in Australian house!!

Just For Fun! What We All Need!!!

Excerpt: With 11 domes and twenty rooms across 1,050-square metres (10,925 sq.ft.) of floor space, this house, or spaceship, is a “world first”.

It’s situated on half a hectare (0.74 acres), with multiple balconies and a wine cellar.

To see lots of very interesting photos click here

My comment: I tried to count the domes myself but gave up! I have never seen, or heard of, a house with this many connected domes. I definitely would need to use a builder or architect drawing!! I would go crazee trying to measure this house…..

Read more!!

9-4-20 Newz: Humor – Castle in Ohio – Appraising Weird Stuff

How to Handle the Weird Stuff: Appraisal Methods from an Experienced Florida Appraiser

Excerpt: Going further away or back in time

One method is to go further back in time for comparable sales.. Another method is to use sales that are more distant to find data to utilize. Both of these techniques have long been available to appraisers. When using these appraisal methods, most often a comparison is made between properties with similar characteristics to the question at hand to extract a ratio/percentage which is then brought current or to the locale and applied. This could work for the above illustration with only four houses on leased land and no similar nearby sales. Most appraisers are familiar with and have utilized these techniques,

Well written and worth reading. To read more, click here

My comments: Lots of good tips. All of us are asked to appraise the “weird ones”. Of course, sometimes we don’t know a house is weird until we drive up and see it!! Very good discussion of methods. I have used all of them except depreciated cost, which is a good method. Plus, lots of tips on doing them for lenders. Of course, sometimes I just say “no” as it will take too long.

I have learned that they often are money losers due to the increased time. This is what can happen with lender UAD appraisals for AMCs due to the excessive amount of questions and trying to fit the appraisal on the form. I sometimes accept the weird ones for

non-lender work with no time pressures. They can be very interesting and challenging.

Read more!!

8-28-20 Newz: Pay to Be on AMC List – Dirty vs. Disheveled Homes – Top 10 Appraiser Blogs

Should appraisers pay to be on an AMC approved appraiser list?

By Dustin Harris

Excerpt: Should appraisers pay to be on an AMC’s approved appraiser list? Is this one way to get new clients? If an AMC solicited you, would you check it out? Now, I work for some AMCs that, frankly, you might not choose to work for. That’s fine. It’s a choice we all make. Understand that most of the areas I work are rural, so AMCs are generally willing to pay more because of this. Some AMC are very demanding. Yet, when I meet those demands, I get a lot of well-paying jobs from them.

To read more, plus lots of appraiser comments, and listen to the podcast, click here

My comment: A never ending very controversial topic ever since AMCs took over residential lender appraisals after the mortgage crash around 2008!

Read more!!

8-7-20 Newz: What type of clients do you have? – Rotating Dome Home – Fannie Solar Panel Update

Survey: Which Appraisal Clients Make Up the Majority of Your Client Base?

Excerpt: What types of clients do property appraisers serve? Do most of their assignments come from lenders vs. non-lenders? To help answer these questions, we recently asked our real estate appraisal community, “What type of appraisal client makes up the majority of your client base?”

While most appraisers said that the majority of their work comes from lenders (most often through AMCs), some said the bulk of their client base is made up of other types of appraisal clients, such as attorneys or private individuals.

To read the results and appraiser comments click here

Read more!!

7-24-20 Newz: Difficult Clients – ANSI sq.ft. Standards Changing – 10 Private Islands

Advice for Working with Difficult Clients

Excerpt: Even if the bulk of your appraisals are fairly cut and dried, and require minimal interaction with a human client, any appraiser will occasionally have to work with a difficult client. The assignment might require you to work with a specialty property that is hard to appraise, or with a client who is personally disagreeable, or exceptionally exacting, or who has an agenda that you don’t understand or can’t go along with. Here are some tips for working with difficult clients. Three of the topics:

– Working with AMCs and banks: Time management

– Working with non-lenders: Expectations management

– Deal with complaints immediately

To read the tips, click here

My comment: Some great, practical tips!! Maybe I will try some of them instead of Firing clients, my most popular option ;>

My motto: Appraising would be great except for the darn clients!!

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Will Big Data Put Appraisers Out of Business?

By Dustin Harris

Although Zillow (and other similar companies) keep their algorithms proprietary, they do give us enough information that we can get a pretty good idea as to where the data comes from. For example, according to Zillow’s own website, “we use public and user-provided data for house attributes, and some areas report more data than others.”

As an appraiser for over two decades, I see a blaring problem here. Very few areas have accurate public information for size, quality, condition, and other important features of houses. As you know, these are features that can dramatically affect an accurate value. This is especially true in non-disclosure states where I work such as Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. As for user-provided data? This is information coming from places like the home owner themselves. Nothing biased there. If Zillow depends on good data to provide good estimates, the phrase “garbage in – garbage out” comes to mind.

To read more, click here

My comment: Real estate data is overall poor, except for a maybe conforming newer subdivisions. No standardization for public records. MLS data provided by real estate agents. Most data not standardized. That means human appraisers will be needed.

Read more!!

6-10-20 Newz: Another New Fannie Update; Suburban Definition?

How to Tell If You Live in the Suburbs

Excerpts: The U.S. hasn’t had a formal definition for what constitutes a suburb. A new data analysis comes closer to defining America’s most popular neighborhood type.

The United States is a land of suburbs, with just one problem: No one’s quite clear what a “suburb” is.

It’s a question of semantics with real-world implications, as government programs, political campaigns and developers try to spend money in the “suburbs,” where a majority of Americans say they live despite the category having no formal definition.

For some people, it’s obvious: A suburb is a smaller city on the periphery of a larger city. Or it’s a sprawling neighborhood filled with vast swathes of single-family homes. Still other more dated conceptions of suburbia in the popular mind involve the people who live there: allegedly white, middle class and socially homogenous.

Now a new team of researchers believe they’ve cracked the code…

To read more, click here

My comments: Of course, if you do residential lender appraisals this is a Very Big Issue due to lender “requirements” such as no rural properties. Lots and lots of online discussion about this for a long time. Post this topic on your favorite Internet chat site or email list… and wait for the wide variety of opinions!!

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My Favorite Definitions

(This has been floating around for many years…)

Rural  Suburban  Urban

  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors can’t see you… it’s rural.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors call the cops on you… it’s suburban.
  • If you stand naked on the front porch and the neighbors ignore you… it’s urban.

There are other variations, of course, that are not suitable for this newsletter ;>

Read more!!

7-3-20 Newz: New Fannie Update – Street Name Values – Converted Church

Fannie Mae Appraisal Update June 2020

Excerpts from Section on Impact of COVID-19 on appraisals

Through mid-May, about 15% of Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®) appraisals completed after our announcement used the flexibilities, either desktop or exterior-only. As you know, circumstances vary widely across the country, and the uptake of the flexibilities reflects this. The highest percentages of appraisals using the flexibilities are around 40% in some northeastern states, while the lowest percentages are around 10% in some of the less impacted states…

We found that appraisers have used the flexibilities correctly about 90% of the time. Appraisers have done a great job identifying external obsolescence for desktops and exterior-only appraisals, as well as leveraging their local knowledge, maps, aerial photos, and other data sources. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that, although not required, about 35% of nontraditional reports include a sketch pulled from prior reports,

assessors records, or other sources. Also, the supporting comments in the nontraditional reports have been even better on average than those in traditional reports.

Worth reading. 5 pages and well written. Also includes comments on “one mile rule” and flood zones. To read more, click here

My comments: There are very few of these done in the Bay Area. 10% sounds about right. However, now we are now in a major virus surge in some states – opened too soon and people in some areas did not do social distancing, hand washing and wear face coverings. Use of the alternative reports may increase in some states, and decrease in the northeast.

These appraisals are not easy to learn how to do, and are very different than doing full 1004 with interior inspections. In the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today I have lots of information on them, including useful references. See the ad below.

Read more!!

6-26-20 Newz: Lot Size Mistakes – Reconsideration of Value- Unusual Mailboxes

Lot size mistakes 

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: I’ve seen it happen twice lately where Tax Records lists the lot size, but it’s actually incorrect. In one instance Realist showed the lot was five acres when in fact it was only two acres. In another example it said two acres when it was less than one. Yikes.

My advice? Thankfully most of the time we can trust the lot size in Tax Records, but it’s still a good idea to quickly double-check just to be sure. After all, listing the wrong lot size in MLS or an appraisal could lead to litigation, right? What we can do is view the plat map to see if there is anything abnormal as well as try to piece together the lot size (easy to do if it’s a rectangle)…

To read more, click here

Short with good map illustrations. Plus many, many appraiser comments. I guess it is a hot topic!!

My comments: Also check out Ryan’s local recent market video for some good ideas on how to show market conditions. Plus, all his graphs illustrating his local market.

When I want to know the lot dimensions to determine lot size, I always get a copy of the legal description (usually from the recorded deed). Assessor’s office maps are for assessment purposes and do not always match the legal description. Google Maps is a good way to determine parcel size if the site boundaries are clear.

When an owner asks about lot dimensions and lot line locations (usually a dispute with a neighbor), I always give the same answer: “I Always Assume the Fences Are Not on the Property Line. Hire A Surveyor! ”

Read more!!

6-12-20 Newz: AMC Fined $2.8 Million – Terrible Agent Photos – Accuracy of Opinions

Can You Measure the Accuracy of An Opinion?

Excerpt: Two appraisals are completed on the same property. Each appraiser has a different opinion of the market value. Which one is accurate? Can they both be accurate?

Occasionally, I read articles or hear of companies that refer to the appraiser’s “accuracy rate”. I’ve always wondered how this is possible to measure. After all, an appraisal is an opinion of market value. Interestingly, if you look up the word “opinion” on www.dictionary.com, one of the definitions is, “a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.” Another is, “The formal expression of a professional judgement”. Can an opinion, or a person’s professional judgement be measured?

To read more, click here

My comment: I used to do a lot of relocation appraisals, where 2 or 3 appraisals were done on the same home. If the appraisals had the same values, it was suspicious. We were usually within 5%. Our accuracy was judged on how close we were to the sales price 60-90 days in the future. Very challenging appraisals!!

Read more!!