Drainage Problems Can Damage Foundations – Appraisers Check It

Watch out for drainage problems when doing your appraisals!! 

When I first heard about the collapse of the Florida condo tower, I immediately thought about a drainage problem. Previous engineering reports revealed the problems – pool leaks, water not draining properly, etc. The condo building was constructed before building codes were changed to help avoid their problem. No one knows why the building started collapsing. Drainage Problems Can Damage Foundations

Limestone is under all of Florida. In parts of South Florida, the porous limestone is not good for foundations as there is less soil covering the limestone. I have seen many videos of saltwater intrusion flooding streets. The water came up through the limestone, caused by sea-level rise.

—————————-

I always check for any drainage problems at homes. They are relatively easy to spot and can cause significant damage. I appraise many hillside homes, which can easily have problems. I look at where the gutter water drains and how it is moved away from the foundation. Sloping floors are another indication of possible foundation problems.

When I go into an unfinished basement, I look for water problems. One good indication is that everything is raised from the floor. Also, water stains on the lower part of the concrete. The water is coming through the foundation. A sump pump can help.

————————–

Properties I have appraised with obvious drainage problems:

– 2 story home on a hillside. Saw radiating cracks inside on both floors in the same corner. At the corner outside of the home was a small round drainage catchment about 1 ft. in diameter, without a way to drain it away from the house. The water came through the rear of the foundation because there was no drainage system.

– Home on a hillside that was moving down the hill. Standing water under the house. Unlevel floors. Big foundation cracks. Known area of problems. Relocation appraisal with two appraisers. The other appraiser did not mention anything.

Note: A good fix for hillside homes is a “french drain” in the ground that takes the water to the sides of the home, with plastic pipe to keep the water from the sides of the foundation.

– Duplex I own on a mostly level site. Tenants mentioned water coming inside the garage on one side. They had moved everything near that side of the garage off the floor. Both units were on level ground with raised foundations. The front garage was on a slight downslope. I replaced the gutters and drains so the water drained away from the foundation. I regularly check for any problems during the winter rains. No foundation damage, fortunately.

————————————–

To read an excellent article on how and why concrete fails, Click here.

Modern concrete lifespan is roughly 50-100 years. The Florida condo building is 40 years old. “Concrete is poured around steel rebar, which gives it tensile strength. But tiny cracks — found in all concrete — cause water to start rusting the steel, which then expands, cracking the concrete.”

Photos of the Surfside basement taken before the collapse show steel rebar breaking all the way through the concrete to the point at which it is fully exposed to the salty and humid Florida air.”

We definitely have a significant infrastructure problem. Replacing concrete is very expensive: building foundations, bridges, freeways, etc.

I have watched several documentaries about what happens if there are no humans to maintain buildings, roads, bridges, etc. The roofs fail first, and water comes inside. Concrete and steel are damaged by water. Roads break down. Bridges collapse. When doing appraisals, I always tell the owners to be sure their roof does not leak. When they see stains in the ceilings, the roof has already started leaking.

Read more!!

What Types of Sales For Appraisals

Arm’s Length or Another Type of Sale? The 7 Sale Types Explained

What types of sales for appraisals

Excerpts: As a real estate appraiser, whether you’re considering the current terms of sale or analyzing previous sales of the subject property or comparable sales, it is imperative to know whether a sale is an arms-length transaction or a different type of sale. Sales due to a job relocation, estate settlement, foreclosure, or divorce may sell for less than the property’s market value.

By knowing the type of sale, you are better able to reconcile a current opinion of market value that falls above or below a current or recent transaction for the subject property.

Here are the seven valid sale types, explained in detail below:

  • REO sale
  • Short sale
  • Court ordered sale
  • Estate sale
  • Relocation sale
  • Non-arm’s length sale
  • Arm’s length sale

To read more, click here

My comment: Worth reviewing. Some good tips, especially for today’s crazy sales market!

Using home’s previous sales in appraisals

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 FHA regs, USPAP, State Boards, appraisal business, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

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

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 psycho kitty, waivers, value vs. price, hot market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

Fannie says appraisal “forms” are going away

Fannie Mae is Not Developing New Appraisal Forms

By Dustin Harris 

Excerpt: Some of my colleagues have asked me, “What will the new forms look like?” Again, and I know it is a bit nit-picky, but there are no new forms. Rather, the GSEs are developing a cloud-based electronic container that will be used to report our findings rather than filling out a form and sending it in. Weird, I know, but it has its positives.

Currently, an appraiser needs to determine the proper scope of work to know which form is best for the situation. If it is a condo, it is likely a 1073. Single family residence, a 1004 or 2055.

To read more, click here

My comments: Nothing much new, of course. I have been writing about Fannie Modernization in the monthly newsletter and this newsletter for a while. Last week’s weekly newsletter had a brief Fannie Update – mostly the new timeline to 2024.

I also hear that Fannie will require a lot more data with more time required to fill out the online “form.” I can’t wait until we don’t have to decide which form to use! Especially since some “reviewers” and AMCs don’t really understand this.

A good example is how Turbo Tax software works. Instead of looking at every part of your printed tax return, it only shows what is relevant. For example, if you are filing as a single person or married. A single person would not have to look at the single vs. married part of the return.

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, crazy market now, adjustments, what fannie wants, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions

So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions!
So Few Answers! Such Low Fees!

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: It is clear most appraisers do not like to do the Cost approach. Generally, we are not too familiar with it. So, it is clear that most appraisers, because of this, do not appreciate the deep analytical power the Cost approach really has. So Many Appraisal Cost Approach Questions!

Therefore, I’m going to ask you 10 questions on the Cost approach (and stuff related to it). After you’ve finished reading them, you probably will still not like to tackle the Cost approach. Nevertheless, you just may have a better understanding of, and appreciation for, its powerful analytical capacities.

First Question: On the 1004 form is the indication that Fannie Mae does not require the Cost Approach to Value. Where does the form instruct the appraiser not to complete the analytics of the Cost approach?

To read the other questions and answers click here

My comment: Appraisers, including myself, seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Cost Approach. But, it can be useful. Tim’s much longer article “But Fannie Mae says I don’t have to do the Cost Approach!!” will be in the September issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

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

Read more!!

Appraising the White House

18 Historic Homes that Would Be Fascinating to Appraise

Excerpt: Historic homes make for complex and interesting appraisal subjects. As one appraiser said, “I love unusual properties, and the challenge they present to appraise. I have always loved appraising large, older properties. They take us back to another world back in time.” We recently asked our appraisal community, “What famous historic home would you want to appraise?” Here’s what they said.
A few of the homes:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
The White House
Norman Bates “Psycho” House
Graceland
To read the full list plus many comments click here
My comment: For me, none of the above ;> Too difficult!

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

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

Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

Why do appraisers hit the sales price?

By George Dell

Excerpt: A recent study includes a graph which shows that some 90% of appraisals hit the sale price exactly, or were higher, while only some 10% were below the sale price (when the sale price is known).

Is this a bias on the part of appraisers, or is the bias the cause of the system? What could possibly cause this strong upside skew?

First, ignore the ongoing pressures from the entire ‘loan industry’ to make the loan, make the commission, make the quota, make the bonus, and look successful. Ignore the claimed purpose of the public trust (of our quasi-governmental standards and licensing quagmire).

The goal of protecting the public trust failed, and will fail again— this time with different excuses and blaming— but it will fail again.

Let’s look at some underlying economic truths and social/governmental policy. What economics and public policies come into play here? Three come to mind immediately:

To read the full, very interesting post click here

My comment: When I started my appraisal business in 1986, I was told by local very experienced appraisers to appraise at the sales price or I may be kicked off a lender’s approved list. Of course, since I was trained at an assessor’s office, I was shocked and refused to do this… There was always another lender client I could get.

Dell’s blog has very short posts. My June paid newsletter will have a much longer article written by him: “Old Versus New: Conflict or Opportunity?” It has a brief look into the past, including a photo of an acoustic coupler for connecting to remote sites. Plus, of course, comments on the future! I remember 30 baud transmission rates in the early 1980s connecting from my home PC to my company’s servers;>

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

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


Read more!!

Residential Appraisal Errors

25 Common Errors in Appraisal Reports

A compilation of the most common errors and deficiencies found in appraisal reports by reviewers, regulators, and appraisal boards. Residential Appraisal Errors

Here are a few:
– Not providing enough analysis for the intended user or reader to understand the report properly.
– Inconsistencies between the description of the subject property in the improvements section and the photographs, sketch, sales comparison grid, and other areas in the report.
– Inappropriate use of boilerplate commentary in the appraisal report to describe the neighborhood or to explain the reconciliation of the sales comparison approach.
– Failure to summarize the analysis and rational that supports the Highest and Best Use opinion.
– Not complying with the most current USPAP.
Read the full list here:

My comments: Reminders are always good. For unknown reasons, I don’t see much CE or writing on these problems. These apply to all appraisals because we are licensed, not just lender appraisals.
It was soooo nice in the “old days” before licensing ;> Two Rules: Tell the  truth and disclose what is bad. No USPAP changing every two years, overzealous appraisal boards, renewal fees, etc.. Of course, the reason we have licensing is the lender mess in 1989, resulting in FIRREA,  regarding bad commercial property development loans by S&Ls
——————————————————————————-

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

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

Read more!!

Reliable MLS Data important for appraisals

The Importance Of Accurate MLS Information

Accurate MLS Information Is Necessary For Reliable Appraisals

By Tom Horn

Excerpt: Topics include
– Accurate MLS Information Helps With Adjustments
– Square Footage Should Be Accurate
– You Can’t Measure It If It’s Not Described
Read the full article plus the comments.

My comment: Written for real estate agents. Maybe you can use some of it in your appraisal blog focusing on real estate agents. Of course, with Big Data, MLS inaccuracies are propagated and used for AVMs, including CU’s AVM.
—————————————————————————

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

Generally speaking, how accurate do you find MLS data in your area?

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

Read more!!

Non-lender Appraisals Good fees and few hassles

Private Appraisal Work, the Final Frontier

By Rachel Massey

Author’s Note: Private appraisals aren’t really the “final frontier” for appraisers but it is a good metaphor. Private work for courts and disputes predates modern lending appraisals, so they should actually be considered the “first” frontier…but never let a good Star Trek saying go to waste!

As mortgage work has started to slow down in large swaths of the country, and likely will continue to do so, the temptation to move into the private arena is appealing. This is an area where our work is valued by those who need it the most. Private work is not lending work, and there are different requirements for different clients. Intended use and users rule supreme. Do I have the patience to walk someone through the process who is not experienced? Maybe yes, maybe no. This is not a place where I would want to spout off a bunch of expletives to a client who bothers me, but instead try to step back and ask whether I need to explain it differently so it is understandable. The onus is on me, the appraiser, to help my client understand.

My comment: A good intro to non-lender work. Marketing and client communication is very different. I have written many articles about non-lender work since 1992 in my paid newsletter.

The article “Should you do non-lender work? Pluses and minuses of both lender appraisals and each different type of non-lender appraisal.” Is in the October 2018 issue and can help you decide if non-lender work will work for you.

Appraisal Business Tips including non-lender work

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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

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

————————————————————————–

 

Read more!!