What is Included in Appraisal GLA (sq.ft.)?

Stairway to Confusion – What is Included in GLA?

by C. Brett Bowen
Excerpt: There has been considerable discussion over the years about gross living area (GLA) measurement standards. The ANSI Z765 standard gets the lion’s share of the attention, and is the most widely referenced standard in the industry by far. It can also be the most difficult to interpret, particularly when it comes to stairs. Here’s why.
It is primarily important to recognize two very important facts:
 1) a standard is nothing more than the definition of a unit of comparison
 2) it is the appraiser’s responsibility to be consistent with that definition.
First, what do I mean when I say that a standard is nothing more than the definition of the unit of comparison? The unit of comparison for something is critical to the understanding of that thing.
Second, as an appraiser, consistency with the definition is actually more important than which definition is chosen.
To read more, click here
My comment: Worth reading. I have seldom used ANSI. The standards were developed for new home construction. I have appraised many homes on hillsides, with often only the garage at street level (or just a driveway). Many historic homes, on level streets, have different types of “basements” converted to living area: above grade, partly below grade, etc. If I worked in suburbia, ANSI would work better. I use what the local market tells me.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, sfr zoning, german appraisers, GLA, etc.

 

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What AMCs Say to Appraisers and How to Respond

What AMCs say to appraisers and How to Respond

By Steven W. Vehmeier

Excerpts: A student contacted me with the following dilemma concerning an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) request: “I told the Management Company that I cannot mark the Zoning Compliance as ‘Legal’ if the report is marked “as-is,” because this would not be true for the current “as-is” condition of the subject on the effective date of the appraisal. The AMC insists that as long as I disclose in the addendum that the zoning is currently ‘illegal,’ then I can mark on the first page as ‘Legal.’”

Taking the matter to the source can be accomplished by: 1) personal research of the appropriate documents, which is sometimes faster, or 2) emailing the controlling entity for their official answer. Notice I didn’t say to phone them. I want the answer in writing to pass on to the client/AMC.

To read more, click here

My comment: Some Most Excellent and practical tips!! My bottom-line advice: Fire the AMC! We all know there is always another AMC that is desperate for appraisers today. Now is a good time to shop for one that is easy to work for. You could check in appraisal online groups to see what they say. If they are not competitors, hopefully, you can get some good ideas. Be sure to post your location.

What to Do When Your Appraisal Is Under Review

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, FHA, Fannie, E&O, liability, time adjustments, price per sq.ft. mortgage origination stats, etc.

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What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?

Question: Can it count in the square footage?

Roof detail house

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: Can you include it in the square footage? I get questions like this almost every week. Is it okay to count an accessory dwelling in the living area? What about a pool house? How about a man cave or she shed? Let’s talk about this.

The straight dope: It’s tempting to lump something else in the backyard into the square footage, but that’s not appropriate per ANSI measuring standards. Suppose you have to walk outside of the house into something else that is not directly accessible to the house. In that case, we’re really dealing with something that isn’t considered to be a part of the main house…

To read more, click here

My comments: Written for homeowners, but has some good remarks on square footage, such as “lumped square footage” in MLS. What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage can be tricky and controversial. It can also vary by geographic area.

How accurate is the reported square footage from the tax records in your primary service area?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Marketing and Management Tips for Appraisers

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Working with difficult appraisal clients

Advice for Working with Difficult Appraisal 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!!

Which Appraisal Clients are used the most?(Opens in a new browser tab)

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

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Favorite parts of the appraisal process

What’s your favorite part of the appraisal process?

Excerpt:

Number 1. Data collection and property description (38%)

“The best part is the property review. I enjoy seeing what people have done to their properties and talking to them about their homes.”

“I enjoy viewing/observing the subject home.”

“Detective work”

“Each dwelling is different, and not every appraiser takes the time to clarify the differences in the dwellings. The quality, the construction, the egresses, and especially the correct way to calculate GLA or measure a dwelling.”

Number 2. Data analysis (27%)…

To read more about favorites, click here

My comment: I love working in the field, so my choice is Number 1. But, my very best choice is getting paid ;>

Which Appraisal Clients are used the most?(Opens in a new browser tab)

What is the farthest you have traveled to complete an appraisal and still be considered geographically competent?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

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Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals

13516718 – white wood texture with natural patterns

Tax Records is not the definitive source for square footage!

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt:

Why is the appraiser saying it’s only 1,400 sq ft? Tax Records shows the home is 600 sq ft larger. This issue comes up ALL the time, so let’s talk about it. Tax records and Square Footage in Appraisals is a hot topic.

The truth: The Assessor’s records are generally reliable, but I’m just saying sometimes they’re not. Why is this? At times it’s as simple as the original builder not turning in accurate information when a house was built. Or maybe an owner took out permits but official records were never updated. Of course we’ve all seen instances where the tax roll shows two units on one lot, but there’s really just one house nowadays. Let’s not forget sometimes owners do an addition without permits, so the Assessor might actually be correct even though the house is technically larger or has even sold on MLS as a larger home. For reference, here are ten reasons why an appraiser’s sketch might be different.

For lots of comments and more info, click here

My comment: This one of the main reasons that AVMs will never be very successful for all homes. Over and over again, statistical analysis shows GLA is the most important physical feature overall.

Also, how bedrooms are determined varies a lot, depending on the local market and can vary over time. The assessor number of bedrooms may not match the appraiser’s. For example, tandem rooms. Finished basements can vary also.

I started appraising at a CA assessor’s office in 1976. In CA, State Board of Equalization regulated county assessors offices, so the procedures and terminology are very similar all over the state. However, GLA from the assessor may have different requirements than other sources, such as ANSI.

Proposition 13 passed in 1979, which only allowed an annual 2% increase in assessment per year, unless there was a sale or improvements (determined by permits). Over time, the information has become more and more out of date.

Data is not available for smaller counties if the assessor says it is confidential. Until the 90s, my county did not release any data, so I had to “guesstimate” on square footage for sales and listings. We finally got it when an MAI was elected assessor.

In the early 90s, I researched assessors records around the country. In some small rural counties the records were kept at the assessor’s home. They were not digitized and available for purchase by data companies.

Appraisers need to know which areas are not accurate. Sometimes GLA is “political”. Within a city, accuracy can vary. In my city the least accurate records are in the “Gold Coast” with many of the city’s larger, historic homes. In other nearby cities, some properties have low GLAs to keep the property taxes lower.

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?(Opens in a new browser tab)

How accurate is the reported square footage from the tax records in your primary service area?(Opens in a new browser tab)

10 reasons why public records and the appraiser’s square footage can differ(Opens in a new browser tab)

To read about lots more appraisal topics, continue reading below!

 

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Geographic competency for appraisers

At What Point Does an Appraiser Need Geographic Competency?

Excerpt: It seems that some, and I emphasize some, agents are of the mindset that if the appraiser’s office is not in relatively close proximity to the property being appraised, or if the appraiser doesn’t live in a nearby area, that they do not possess geographic competency. And they may be right.

However, the appraiser’s office location or where they live, in relation to the property being appraised, has little if anything to do with geographic competency!

To be geographically competent simply means that the appraiser has the skills and resources needed in order to competently complete the assignment, in harmony with the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

My comments: Why has this become so important? Once again, Lenders Run Appraising. AMCs do what they say. They put restrictions on how far away appraisers could be from their offices. Similar to the restrictions on how far away, or recent, comps should be.

Before USPAP and lender meddling, I used to appraise a large geographic area. If you are an experienced appraiser it is not hard to figure out neighborhoods, positive and negative factors, and read MLS for clues. Plus, contact local real estate agents and appraisers if needed.

I have been doing appraisals only in my small city for the past 2-3 years. The longer I appraise, the more I realized what I don’t know. I can hardly keep up with my very local market. Maybe I should only appraise within 2 blocks of my office ;> I go on tour every week but sometimes I miss a house if there area lot to see. Of course, that is always my best comp!!

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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Agent square footage and sales prices for appraisers

Agent’s Source Of Square Footage May Affect Sale Price

Excerpts: If you use county tax assessor information as a square footage source in your listings you may want to rethink this. I recently did a study to see how homes sold based on where the agent got their information from and I have to say what I found was intriguing. Agent square footage and sales prices for appraisers is important.

The Greater Alabama MLS, of which I am a member, provides the source of square footage information that is included in the listing. The four sources include tax records, seller, building plans, and appraiser.

Below the article are links to some other good posts by the author on this topic.

My comment: Very interesting analysis and graphs. My MLS is the same, except “other” is included and tax records is the default. Tax records are iffy in California as Prop 13 passed in 1979 and records have not been updated since then, unless there is new construction. Also, what assessors include in GLA can differ from what the current market does. Some neighborhoods and properties are reasonably accurate and some are way off in my small city.

I have done a lot of relocation appraisals, where 2 or 3 appraisers appraise the same house. If we had the same square footage it was sorta suspicious… Some measure to the half foot, rounding up or down, some use decimals, etc. It is not exact.

I can really see a demand for using appraiser measurements. I will be writing an article in my paid newsletter soon about this topic. There are a few appraisers who do them, including discussing pricing and liability.

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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New 1004 appraisal form?

 

To Form or Not To Form? What will it be? A new 1004?

By George Dell
Excerpt: What’s the difference between a form and a data entry page? Will “forms software” even be necessary? Will the result require less appraiser expertise – or more? Will it encourage the “form-filler” people, or will it require some real understanding of problem identification, data selection, predictive methods, and communication? Will the transmittal require both an electronic data stream and human actionable views?

Will it require appraisers at all? Or will the “data analysts” simply create the ultimate model.

These are big questions. From my point of view, some of the answers are obvious. But first, let’s outline how we can even ask the right questions . . .

My comment: Fannie Mae has been planning on revising the forms. I have known George for quite a while, heard him speak and taken his class. Looks like people are finally starting to pay attention to what he says about stats, data, etc.!! His blog posts are fine, but sometimes you want more. The September issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have George’s 6 page article, “Why, Why, Why? Why do we put “stats”, “graphs”, “data,” and “science” together?”

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

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

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7/26/18// Newz .Funny Appraisal Ad, IL C/R Survey, Basements and GLA

The best appraisal ad I have ever seen – cats playing instruments, song appraisal re-title contest, etc.

 Just For Fun!

Short Excerpt: … submit a favorite song title– be it classical, jazz, rock, religious, country, or whatever- adapted to the appraisal business. Here are a few examples for starters (with a little literary license):
  • Appraising Pink Houses (John Cougar Mellencamp)
  • Measuring the House that Built Me (Miranda Lambert)
  • What Goes Up, Must Come Down (Spinning Wheel by Blood Sweat & Tears, describing the housing market)
  • Everything Happens to Me (Frank Sinatra)
Subject  line: Wednesday Wild Ideas from Intercorp
If you didn’t open it, or “opted out” of getting ads, Click here to read the full “ad” and see the cats!!

My comments: I have been doing ads for my newsletters since 1992. Boring. Boring. Boring. Yesterday’s Intercorp ad was the best I have ever seen!! Of course, my favorite is the cat playing cello. I play electric cello so I can amplify and use effects in my experimental music band, playing together for 8 years ;> Here’s link to a gig:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk8zXPJ6hVA

AI Education

Great Spaces: Lakefront Living Goes Luxe

Just For More Fun!

Excerpt: To celebrate summer, in this month’s edition of Great Spaces, we’re highlighting some seriously serene lakefront properties, from Minnesota all the way to sunny Florida.
Click here to see the fotos:

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