Author: Dustin Harris

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The Humility to Ask

I was recently asked by a local lender to appraise 14 vacant lots. Though the lots were all quite similar, 14 separate appraisals were needed (obviously, a large discount was given for the multiplicity). Once a value was established for each individual lot, the lender came back and now wanted a ‘bulk value’ for 10 of the lots. Hmmm. That certainly changes things. Per USPAP in fact, we now have a new assignment. As I inquired to the bank and got more information, it was clear that I was out of my element. The lender did not just need a total...

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Can’t We All Just Get Along?

“Our investigation and the Board’s review concluded that the evidence did not reveal a violation of the Board’s laws and rules governing the practice of Real Estate Appraising. The Board has, therefore, closed the file in this matter.” That is how the most recent complaint against me ended. The ordeal began last spring. I have been called upon multiple times from my current clients to please be willing to go to a new area. It is an area with few appraisers, and there is a need. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a drive for me so I have avoided...

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“Serial” Podcast & Your Appraisal Workfile

Podcast a growing medium Podcasts are a growing medium for both education and entertainment. Research shows it has grown over 25% per year for the past few years. As an appraiser, I find myself spending a lot of time at my computer as well as traveling to and from appraisal inspections. I discovered podcasting about a year ago and have not turned on talk radio since. Podcasting allows me to specifically pick the topics I want to hear and listen to them when I have the time to listen. I love ‘em. Recently, a few friends of mine turned me...

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If I Cannot Support a Small Adjustment, I Just do not Make it

I am more circumspect about the adjustments I make. The most feared date in the appraisal industry has come. January 26, 2015 arrived with much trepidation and trembling amongst myself and my appraiser colleagues. The day of the Collateral Underwriter (CU) had finally arrived. Yet, it turned out to be a pretty typical day for most. We are now over a week removed from the CU and I have yet to receive even one CU-related revision request. I guess that means one of two things; either I am an incredibly talented appraiser who uses all the best comps and supports every one...

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Dave Biggers, You Owe Me an Apology

Normally, I like Dave Biggers. I think a la mode — like other appraisal software companies — has always been (and will likely always be) an advocate for appraisers. I am not saying any of that has changed, but I feel like Mr. Biggers owes me, and all appraisers, an apology. Ever since I first heard of Collateral Underwriting (CU), I have been a bit — and at times, much — overwhelmed at what it might mean to me and my peers. Frankly, there have been times that I have been downright scared of what CU might do to my thriving appraisal...

HOA not equal to PUD 3

HOA Does Not Necessarily Equal PUD

HOA Fees but no PUD? It happened again this week. An appraisal was done, the report was turned into the AMC, and this was the revision request: “A preliminary review of your appraisal indicates that the HOA fee was filled out, but the PUD box and PUD section was left blank. Please fill out the PUD information and resend the report at your earliest convenience.” Ugh! I opened up the report and wrote a quick sentence or two in the Additional Comments section explaining that the subject has HOA fees for the private road maintenance, but it was not located...

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Appraiser and Client Trust Factor

We are professionals and should be treated with the same respect and trust that other professionals are afforded. Relationships are important. The bonds we form with a spouse, children, friends, or business associates can be powerful and a strength. When trust is broken, however, deep challenges emerge.  Divorce, separation, or permanent dissolution can be the end result when someone’s integrity is on the line. The trust factor between an appraiser and the client is essential if professionalism and continued business is to be amicable. Last month, I wrote an article about taking drive-by and comp pictures. The comment boards lit up. Most appraisers agreed...

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Drive By Comp Pictures and Appraisers Safety

Rethinking Drive By Comp Pictures I posted the following true (and scary) experience on Facebook a few days ago: “I just had to file a police report. I was taking a picture of a house from the street for a drive-by pre-foreclosure. The owner ran out of the home and stood in front of my car. He demanded to know what I was doing. He walked around to the driver’s window, and I calmly explained to him that I was taking a picture for the bank. He got very verbally abusive and demanded to know why. I told him it was...

Why Most Purchase Appraisals SHOULD come in Just Above the Purchase Price 3

Why Most Purchase Appraisals SHOULD come in Just Above the Purchase Price

“…You come in just above the purchase price…” How many times have you had this comment from someone who knows relatively little about the appraisal process, “I am not so sure about you appraisers. Seems like every time there is a purchase transaction needing an appraisal, you come in just above the purchase price. If the house is selling for $200,000, you come in at $202,000. If it is selling for $450,000, you come in at $460,000. Seems a little rigged to me.” Ever had a client get really upset when you asked to see the purchase contract before you...

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Real Estate Appraiser Lifestyle

I cannot help but wonder why more appraisers do not jump ship and find another career if it is so bad out there. Now, I am not without compassion. I know it is not as easy as trading in your clipboard for a spatula. Changing jobs is a difficult process and does not happen without much consternation and heartache. However, I tend to think that so many of us are sticking it out because…

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