Why is the Appraisal Under Sales Price?

Top Ways to Defend Your Work When the Appraised Value Comes in Under Sales Price

Excerpt: As a real estate appraiser, you’ve likely encountered assignments in which the purchase price is not supported by the available comps. So, what are the best ways to address complaints and requests in these situations? To find out, we (McKissock) asked appraisers, “What’s your top tip for defending your work when the appraised value comes in under sales price?” Here’s what they said…
How to prevent and prepare for complaints and requests
Many survey respondents emphasized the importance of making sure your work is as detailed and well-supported as possible—by means of careful comparable selection and analysis, thorough documentation, and clear explanation of why the available comps do not support the contract price…
To read more, click here
My comments: Lots of good ideas. Worth reading
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The Last Remaining Flying Saucer Homes

All the 1960s Futuro Houses left in the world
Excerpt: The Futuro was a product of its times: when Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed the little alien-looking abodes in 1968, the postwar economic boom was in full swing, time-saving home gadgets promised a leisure-filled vision of the future, and society was transfixed by the Space Race.
Spaceship architecture was in vogue, but nothing hit the nail on the head quite like these UFO houses. Ironically, that may be what ultimately led to the Futuro’s failure.
To read more and see more photos, click here
My comment: Good to see there are still some of these very unique homes to see! There are a few left in the U.S. See the map at the bottom of the post.
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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Freeman House Listed in Hollywood Hills for $4.25M

Excerpts: Two-bedroom, 2,884-square-foot home built in 1928 on a steep hillside with excellent views.
Key tenets of Wright’s designs visible in the Freeman House include an open floor plan, a floor-to-ceiling hearth, and the concrete-block detailing. Over the years, the owners hosted notable Hollywood types as well as numerous political and social salons. The legendary actor Clark Gable was reportedly a tenant at one time.
“There is going to be a conservation easement,” says the listing agent, “so it has to be conserved in the original condition. The new owner has to be passionate about architecture and committed to the restoration.”
My comment: Lots of photos, including unusual wall coverings and exteriors. Very unique, of course!! It will be fascinating to see who buys it, how many offers there are, and what it sells for. Of course, Beverly Hills is a good place for expensive, unusual homes with a Hollywood connection. In my city, a semi-decrepit waterfront home where Jack London stayed (maybe) is semi-famous ;>
To read more and see lots of very interesting photos, click here
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Increasing Diversity in Appraisal Profession

By Robert Murphy
Excerpt: The Urban Institute recently released a blog post entitled – Increasing Diversity in the Appraisal Profession Combined with Short-Term Solutions Can Help Address Valuation Bias for Homeowners of Color.
This article addresses several issues with the real estate appraisal profession that are worthy of further examination and comment.
The article accurately notes the lack of diversity in the appraisal profession. This comes as no surprise, especially when considering the article also notes an overall lack of diversity in the real estate sector.
To read more, click here
My comments: This post discusses issues in the Urban Institute article. The author, Bob Murphy, was the Director, Property Valuation and Eligibility, for Fannie Mae from Oct 2000 – Sep 2015 and is very experienced and knowledgeable.
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Appraisals in Rapidly Changing Markets

By Scott Reuter, Single-Family Chief Appraisal Officer, Freddie Mac
Excerpts: Our ongoing oversight routines reveal data that indicates the current trend in appraised values coming in below contract price has risen from an annual average of 7-9% (2013-2019) to 20% nationwide in April and May 2021. And the peak that we typically see in the late spring (generally the result of seasonal upward swings in price coupled with use of “winter sales”) has only increased in the summer months.
Our data also indicates a conservative trend in the overall net adjustments, suggesting appraiser behavior that is designed to not appear overly aggressive or excessive. For example, a market conditions adjustment might be offset by under-adjusting elsewhere. Recognizing and adjusting for increases in any amount is perfectly acceptable, provided the appraiser has developed adequate market support using a recognized method (e.g., analysis of repeat sales, market trend analysis, etc.).
To read more, click here
My comments: The article is worth reading, with good summaries of techniques for appraisers. The author, Scott Reuter, is Freddie Mac’s Single-Family chief appraiser and director of valuation. He is a certified general appraiser with over 30 years of experience in valuation, appraisal and collateral risk management concerns. Thanks to subscriber Joe Lynch for this link.
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Have home prices started to crest this year?

July 26, 2021, By Ryan Lundquist
Are prices finally starting to slow? Can it really be happening? Have home prices likely started to crest for the year? The answer is YES. Here are two quick things on my mind. These trends are for the Sacramento region, but I suspect many markets across the country are starting to show similar stats (or will soon).
Four Quick Takeaways
1) Not the same: The temperature of the housing market is not the same in every price range and neighborhood. In other words, it’s possible for prices to be doing different things in different areas, so it would be a huge mistake to assume prices are dipping everywhere.
2) Not dull: The housing market is still moving very fast and it’s super competitive.
To read Takeaways 3 and 4, plus more, click here
My comments: Ryan has some good graphs to use when analyzing what is happening in your market. Written for real estate agents but very relevant for appraisers. I am hearing more about the market maybe peaking or slowing down around the country. As we all know, prices go up and down. No one really knows when the peak occurs until after prices start dropping.
For example, I sold my house in May 2008 for $1,000,000. The market was slow, and there had been some price declines in the previous year. I had no idea they would drop like a rock after that time even though I appraised in the local market every day. I was very, very lucky to sell my home before the crash!
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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 paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. I have been following this data since 1993. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 5.7 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 28, 2021) – Mortgage applications increased 5.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 23, 2021.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 10 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 18 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“The 10-year Treasury yield fell last week, as investors grew concerned about increasing COVID-19 case counts and the downside risks to the current economic recovery. Refinance applications jumped, as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate declined to its lowest level since February 2021, and the 15-year rate fell to another record low dating back to 1990,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Refinances for conventional loans increased over 11%. With over 95% of refinance applications for fixed rate mortgages, borrowers are looking to secure a lower rate for the life of their loan.”
Added Kan, “The purchase index decreased for the second week in a row to its lowest level since May 2020, and has now declined on an annual basis for the past three months. Potential buyers continue to be put off by extremely high home prices and increased competition. The FHFA reported yesterday that May home prices were 18% higher than a year ago, continuing a seven-month trend of unprecedented home-price growth.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 67.2 percent of total applications from 64.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.6 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.1 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 9.8 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.01 percent from 3.11 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.43 (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 $548,250) decreased to 3.11 percent from 3.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.32 (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 3.03 percent from 3.08 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 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 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.36 percent, the lowest level in the history of the survey, from 2.46 percent, with points unchanged at 0.30 (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 increased to 2.81 percent from 2.74 percent, with points increasing to 0.23 from 0.19 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.
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Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501
Phone 510-865- 8041

Bias in Housing is Not Appraisers’ Fault

Racial Bias in Real Estate: Is it the Appraisers’ Fault?
The best analysis I have ever read. 

By Maureen Sweeney, SRA

Bias in Housing is Not Appraisers’ Fault

Excerpt: The appraiser must be independent, impartial, and objective. In a mortgage transaction, the appraiser evaluates the property that is to be used as collateral in a mortgage finance transaction. The appraisal is provided to the lender, who uses the appraisal as one of the many criteria used to underwrite the loan and determine if a mortgage loan will be funded or not. Contrary to what some may believe, the appraiser does not make underwriting or lending decisions.

Discrimination, including the long list of anti-cultural, anti-national, and anti-ethnic terms, is a multi-layered, multi-cultural, and multi-generational issue. The systematic, historic, and institutional causes of the various business and government policies and practices need to be addressed and cured. We do not blame the doctor for a cancer diagnosis.

We do not blame the journalist as the cause of the natural disaster that is reported on the evening news. Why is the appraiser blamed for reporting on the real estate market?

To read more, click here

My comment: By far the best, understandable analysis I have read. No whining or ranting. Many appraiser comments and forwarding. Comprehensive post with many references. I had not heard about some of the references. Appraisers are not the problem. We have been told for many decades to be knowledgeable and aware of Fair Housing issues.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Intended users, Fannie Update, Statisticsunusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Zoning and Appraisals

The Infamous History of Zoning in the Housing Industry (Video)

Excerpts: History of zoning in the housing industry and how past practices shape the problems we are currently experienced today.

What was the purpose of zoning in the very beginning? How exactly were these practices harmful to people of color? What are some of the problems we see today because of this? These questions and much more will be answered.

To watch the video, click here

My comment: A controversial topic. Today this often involves “downzoning,” allowing for properties to have more than one unit or more density – apartments, condos and townhomes.

Experts Say Zoning Changes Are Most Effective Path to Boost Housing Supply for a More-Balanced Market

Excerpt: A Zillow survey of economists and other real estate experts finds high costs are expected to slow construction and may lower homeownership among today’s 30-somethings. Relaxing zoning rules is what the panel says would be most productive to increase new housing supply.

Other ways include:

  • Ease the land subdivision process for landowners
  • Relax local review regulations for projects of a certain size
  • Accelerate adoption of new construction technologies (e.g., modular building, 3D printing of certain components)

To read more, including details and the full list of survey suggestions, click here

Zoning in the Appraisal Process

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, slowing market?, appraisal business, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appraisers and The Psycho Kitty

Favorite Crazy Appraisal Stories – The Psycho Kitty

Excerpt: Psycho Kitty

I had an appointment at a home in the country out in the woods. The access instructions said the cat MIGHT be caged. Got to the home and the cat was at the front door and hissed at me as I went in. I tried to make friends with the cat, but it didn’t work, so I ignored the cat and started my inspection.

As I came out of the first-floor master, he was waiting. He stood on his hind legs, teeth showing, hissing, and came at me. Once again, I used my clipboard and ran to the laundry room where I was able to shut the door. I was safe…

To read more strange and/or funny appraisal stories, click here

My comment: We all have appraisal stories, of course!! In my 45 years of appraising I have never been attacked by a cat. My creepiest cat encounter was appraising the home of a cat foster parent for a local animal shelter. Large outside cat enclosure full of cats, multiple cats on top of dressers and other places, looking at me (looked like they were hungry). I wish I could forget about all the cat eyes looking at me :<

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on psycho kitty, waivers, value vs. price, hot market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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What’s Happening in Appraisal Now?

The State of the Appraisal Industry

Jonathan Miller speaks about new appraisers and other topics 

Video – 29 minutes

Miller is an excellent speaker and worth listening to. He discusses mostly getting new appraisers (first 15 minutes or so), after commercial break, discusses tips on non-lender work and other issues.

My comments: I don’t like the term “appraisal industry” and prefer “appraisal profession.” I am an “old-timer” of 45 years and have always thought of myself as being in a profession.

I have been reading Miller’s Housing Notes for a long time. Lots of graphs from his markets, and he often has fun, strange, and controversial comments on appraisal issues.

To subscribe to his posts, click here

 

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, FHA and Fannie changes, crazy real estate market, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appraisal Waivers Almost 50% of Fannie/Freddie Loans

An explosion of appraisal waivers. Is that good or bad?

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: Appraisal waivers have really exploded in recent years – especially during the pandemic. But how many are there exactly? Let’s look at actual numbers to walk away with some perspective. These stats are from January 2021 from AEI.

  • 47.4% of all Freddie Mac loans had a waiver
  • 44.5% of all Fannie Mae loans had a waiver
  • Waivers are far more common during refinances
  • Only 10-12% of purchases had an appraisal waiver in January
  • Non cash-out refinances have the most waivers (67-69%)
  • The higher your loan-to-value, the lower your chance of a waiver
  • Waivers have seen a dramatic increase during the pandemic

2) Seeing numbers: What real estate professionals experience with appraisal waivers with their clients can really vary. For instance, if you work with FHA borrowers putting very little down, you probably don’t see many waivers, but if you work with conventional buyers putting 30-40% down, you’re going to see more. This is why seeing actual stats is so important.

Read more of Ryan’s comments, see graphs, plus over 25 appraiser comments: click here 

To read the AEI report, click here

My comments: I wrote about this in the February issue of the monthly Appraisal Today. Also included is data on which states are doing the most, and least, alternative appraisals. I spent a lot of time trying to get any statistics from Fannie without success. I knew waivers were going way up, especially for purchases. AEI reports have the analysis

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, Trip fees, waivers, solar, AVMs, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Age adjustments in appraisals

Age adjustments in appraisals

By Jamie Owen

Excerpts: Sometimes, two homes with wide age differences can have the same effective age. For instance, a thirty-year old home may have an effective age that is the same as a fifty-year old home, if the fifty-year old home has been renovated to a degree that is comparable to the younger home. If this is the case, while there is a relatively wide age gap, no age or condition adjustment may be supportable.

Once the home is lived in, it can never be considered “new” again. Subsequently, a new home typically has a higher market value than one that has already been lived in. The joyful homeowner makes these choices, the home is built, and they move in. Now starts the wear and tear. The degree of wear and tear depends much on the homeowner and how well they maintain their home. With new homes, typically homeowners go for a number of years without needing to do anything major to the property. However, at some point, they will need to.

To read more and see some fun animated gifs and a video, click here

My comment: Written for homeowners (an excellent marketing tool) but interesting comments for appraisers. I love Jamie’s blog posts!!

Humor for Appraisers

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on srange homes, adjustments, market changes, client pressure, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

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Real Estate Agents and Comparable Sales – Tips for Appraisers

Agents and Comparable Sales – Tips for Appraisers

Excerpts: When real estate agents provide relevant comparable sales to appraisers, it certainly benefits both parties. Agents can ensure that appraisers are reviewing comparables that match their properties and, hopefully, meet the seller’s desired price.

Additionally, while appraisers still must verify the information, it can save them time. Here are some dos and don’ts to follow as agents and appraisers work together on establishing comps for appraisal properties.

One of the tips: Don’t go outside the neighborhood

Other neighborhoods may be less or more desirable, and that can affect overall value. Comparable sales should come from only the direct neighborhood in which the house is located—even if that means choosing homes that are slightly smaller or bigger to use as a comparison. Agents should never use sales from a “better” neighborhood to boost the value of an appraisal property.

To read more tips, click here

My comments: All appraisers get comps from agents sometimes. Unfortunately, many are not useful. I always ask if an agent has any sales or listings for me. Agents are often experts in their particular area and know what is happening. Appraisers work in a much wider area usually. Whenever I speak with agents, I tell them how to select comps, especially pending sales, using some of the criteria above.

This does not apply to the sales provided by AMCs, of course, which require a response and often wasted time for the appraiser. Most are generated by computer algorithms or occasionally a review appraiser that knows nothing about the local market.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

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Common Appraiser Violations

Two of the common appraiser violations – Use of inappropriate sales and Use of unsupported site value

Excerpt: When it comes to common appraisal violations, certain minor violations are very common. In this article, I outline several examples of less serious breaches of development STANDARD 1 and reporting STANDARD 2—and a few other types of violations, too. I have compiled these based on many years of personal experience in appraisal regulation, as well as feedback I have received from other states’ enforcement agencies. Once you’re aware of these common mishaps, you should be able to avoid them more easily.

1. Use of inappropriate sales

One of the big problems is the use of inappropriate sales in a sales comparison approach….

2. Use of unsupported site value

Another common violation is the use of unsupported site value in the cost approach. That’s something that a lot of boards have cited as a prevalent deficiency or shortcoming in appraisal reports.

To read more click here

My comment: useful information. Nothing new, but good reminders. Don’t get the “violation letter” from your state board!!

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!(Opens in a new browser tab)

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

Read more!!

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

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… Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

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!! A very good discussion of methods. I have used all of them except the 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.

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Common Appraiser Violations(Opens in a new browser tab)

Read more!!