Author: Dustin Harris

Is a Model Home Considered Occupied or Vacant? 19

Is a Model Home Considered Occupied?

Two days later the underwriter emails you ordering you to change “vacant” to “occupied” since there is clearly furniture in the house… Here’s a situation you’ll run into once or twice in your career. There is a new subdivision. Now, new subdivisions sometimes have model homes. Model homes typically have furniture, fixtures, and equipment – usually upgraded. The subdivision has completed its sales program and the developer is now selling the model(s). Your job is to appraise one of the models, since the developer has it under contract to a retail buyer. You do your inspection thing, take pictures of...

Should Appraisers Pay to Be on AMCs Approved Appraiser List? 43

To Pay or Not To Pay, That is the Question

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. Recently, a new AMC asked me to...

Zestimate vs Appraiser... Will Zestimates Put Appraisers Out of Business? 19

Will Big Data Put Appraisers Out of Business?

Part of the boom in the availability of data has led to companies such as Trulia and Zillow who claim they can “Zestimate” a home’s value instantaneously. But can your potential customers trust such value? In the old days, if a homeowner really wanted to find out how much their property was worth in the current market, they called an appraiser. Our customers understood that a licenced and qualified appraiser is trained, experienced, knowledgeable, and unbiased in his or her own marketplace. In the past few years, the Information Age has flooded us with data; lots of data. Big data...

Pandemics Do Not Give Us a Get Out of Jail Free Card - Convoluted Times 25

Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card

It is not misleading to use a 1004 form for a desktop or a drive-by because, during these convoluted times… In talking with Tim Andersen, a USPAP instructor and long-experienced appraiser, I was reminded that, even in the time of C-19, USPAP applies, and appraisals must still be credible. Reports must still not mislead. USPAP has never required the appraiser to inspect the property. That is a lender construct. So long as your scope of work is clear relative the level of inspection you provided, and why that was your scope of work, you should not have a problem. Note...

Final Inspection When Not the Original Appraiser - Appraisers Blogs 26

Final When You’re Not the Original Appraiser

When You Complete a Final and Were Not the Original Appraiser First of all, let’s clear the air of any initial confusion that could be potentially floating around out there. It is absolutely okay for an appraiser to complete a final for a property when they were not the original appraiser on the original report. It is perhaps slightly more unusual, but completely ethical. However, there are a few issues that an appraiser could potentially run into if they are completing a final for a report where they were not the original appraiser. I am going to talk about one...

Is That an Arm’s-Length Transaction? The Necessary Analysis 14

Is That an Arm’s-Length Transaction?

USPAP does not define the term arm’s-length transaction. Fannie Mae also lacks such a definition. Yet, both of them call for the appraiser to use only arm’s-length transactions as comparable sales… How often do we appraisers get into the mode where we think we know it all? Occasionally, do we need to step back and look at the way we do things, just to make sure we are not missing something? Is what we know to be true and correct really true and correct? I raise this issue relative to the concept of what an arm’s-length transaction is. Are we...

Is an Appraisal Report Considered Intellectual Property? - Appraisers Blogs 8

Are Reports Intellectual Property?

Recently one of my Mastermind students asked about Intellectual Property. He told me that he’d had an associate leave his firm to go solo. Later, he was reading one of his former-associate’s reports and found the now-independent associate’s reports looked a lot like his in format, and even language. My student asked me if this was wrong. Well, I’m not a lawyer, but there are some sound issues to consider here. If you write something, if you are its author, it is your intellectual property. You can either trademark it (like a logo), or copyright it (like a novel). We...

Can We Stop Taking Comp Photos 65

Can We Stop Taking Comp Photos?

I personally do not think that appraisers should be required to take comp photos… First, before the hate mail starts rolling in, let me assure you that I understand the requirements surrounding comparable photos, and I do take them as an appraiser. I am not here to debate what the policies are, but I am here to question if those policies should be in place. I personally do not think that appraisers should be required to take comp photos. Modern technology has provided appraisers with a way to know as much about a property from the comfort of their own...

Complain About a Complaint Filed - Who Can Complain About Appraisals 71

Who Can Complain About Appraisals?

Time to get on my soapbox and complain about a complaint filed against me (not a charge, but merely a complaint). I did an appraisal of a multi-family property near my office. The property owner/borrower called me to complain about the appraisal since it came in far less than she thought it should (not unusual). Clearly, I could not answer her questions since she was not the client. This upset her greatly, so she filed a complaint with the State. The complaint had no basis in substance. In fact, the complaint was that my appraisal was too low. Since neither...

Different Properties on the Same Form? Are you Appraising the Bulk... 11

Different Properties on the Same Form?

Are you appraising the retail values of 10 sites to 10 different owners? Are you appraising the bulk or discounted market value of the 10 sites to a single purchaser? Can the Same Form Have More Than One Property on it? Lots of folks have asked me, “Dustin, can I appraise two different properties on the same appraisal report at the same time?”. Now understand I am not a USPAP instructor, I am an appraiser, so I’m going to answer this question as best I can. The question before us is legitimate, and one which I had to answer recently....

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