Author: Dustin Harris

USPAP Confidentiality Questions... Can Using a Contractor Be a Violation? 5

USPAP & Questions on Confidentiality

How can using such a contractor not be a violation? In the context of a real estate appraisal, especially a residential real estate appraisal for a lender thru an AMC, what is confidential? First, look at USPAP’s definition of confidential information (lines 105 – 108 in the 2018-2019 edition). It says “confidential information [is] information that is either…identified by the client as confidential when providing it to an appraiser and that is not available from any other source; or…classified as confidential or private by applicable law or regulation” (ibid; emphasis added). Notice confidentiality flows to the client, not to any...

Embarrassing Indeed! Inspections Can Sometimes Be Embarrassing... 9

Inspections Can Sometimes Be Embarrassing

Inspections can occasionally get embarrassing, right? It happens to all of us. That’s just part of the appraisal business. But that does not make things any easier or less embarrassing, does it. Let me tell you three stories. First is the house with the unique basement. It’s your typical single-family residence on the ground floor; nothing out of the ordinary, nothing embarrassing. Then I tell the owner I need to go into the basement to inspect it. He hesitantly says OK, so into the basement we go. It was not your typical basement. It looked like some kind of department...

New Client, Same Property... Allowed Options - Appraisers Blogs 2

New Client, Same Property

There is a problem that I would guess most appraisers run into on a somewhat frequent basis. Imagine the following scenario (it probably won’t be too hard since you have likely encountered something similar): You do an appraisal for Client A. Somewhere during the loan process, the loan is turned over or changed to Client B. Client B knows you recently completed an appraisal on the same property for Client A and asks for a copy of the appraisal in their name. What do you do next? It seems to me, at this point, you have at least four options:...

Cap on Fees & Appraiser Politics - Appraisers Blogs 32

Appraiser Politics

I doubt that appraisers would be as excited if a cap were placed on appraisers… Recently, I noticed many appraisers were excited about a new bill that was introduced in Virginia. This bill initially sounded favorable to me, but as I examined it more closely, I quickly became concerned with the excitement that was building up around it in the appraiser community. Laws in general are typically difficult to understand, and they can look better at first glance than they actually are. It is important for us to analyze new laws carefully before we advocate for them. Senate Bill 655...

How To Charge Cancellation Fees - 'We Cancelled, Didn’t the Bank Tell You?' 8

How To Charge Cancellation Fees

A-Clients who have no qualms paying cancellation fees… You’ve been driving for more than an hour and a half to your appraisal appointment. So, you decide to call the client and let them know you’re almost there – only for you to get told, ‘We cancelled, didn’t the bank tell you?’ For those involved in real estate appraisal, this is an all too common experience. The flip side is that they get just as angry when the bank cancels and we don’t call them to inform them. So let me share some tips with you on how to effectively deal...

Difference Between Price, Cost and Value... What It's Worth 5

Price vs Value

The buyer never actually pays what something is worth… Nobody can deny that there are a lot of issues plaguing the appraisal industry at the moment. I want to talk about one issue that I sometimes see: the incorrect usage of extremely important terms. Many real estate professionals use certain terms interchangeably, even when they have significantly different definitions. Appraisers, unfortunately, are not immune in this crime against clarity. Today, I want to get back to basics and look at the actual definitions of three absolutely crucial terms in our industry: price, cost and value. I think you’ll agree these...

Photo of Comps When People or Children Are Present - Standing Rule 54

Did That Guy Just Take a Picture of My Kids?

Looking at the tricky question of taking photo of comps when people are present… I want to talk to you today about something most of us appraisers do on a daily basis – taking comparable photos. Now, I don’t want to get into the whole “Are comps a waste of time? Do they actually serve any purpose?” debate. That’s gone on long enough and it isn’t going to stop any time soon. Instead, I want to try and clear up what is and isn’t actually required from your FHA comps; specifically, we’re going to be looking at the tricky question...

The Way Things Used To Be - Appraisal fees unchanged in two decades 125

The Way Things Used To Be

“We haven’t had a raise in two decades.” Give me a break! It’s a common complaint in our industry that real estate appraisers haven’t had a raise in two decades. The argument goes that twenty years ago, the standard fee for an appraisal was $350. Fast forward twenty years and it’s still $350. That’s a great sound bite, but the actual logic is deeply flawed. In real terms, we’ve had a huge raise thanks to the massively reduced amount of time we spend on our appraisals. It’s something I’ve written about before (Never Had a Raise in 20 Years), but...

Do Third Party Inspectors Violate USPAP 5

Do Third-Party Inspectors Violate USPAP

It was recently brought to my attention, by a reputable appraiser I might add, that the use of third-party inspectors may be a violation of USPAP. Or more specifically, that an appraiser relying on a third-party inspector for information (without knowing their name), may be a violation of USPAP. For example, there are several (and growing) companies who are providing clients with what are being postulated as “hybrid appraisals” or “hybrid reports.” The definition, as far as I can discern, is that a third-party inspector ‘inspects’ the property (usually an exterior from the street – which is why there are...

Driver for Appraisal Inspections? Do You Need an Appraiser Driver? 9

Do You Need an Appraiser Driver?

Using a Driver for Appraisal Inspections… Anyone who’s followed me for a while knows that I have three main aims. I want to help real estate appraisers make their business more efficient, more effective, and generate more money. People almost always assume that making more money relies only on cutting costs. This is completely inaccurate. If you become more efficient and more effective, and work smarter instead of working harder, then you’ll start boosting your income. In the past, one of the ways in which I’ve made my work more efficient, and in effect spent money to make more money,...

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