Purpose of the Appraisal Report

John Pratt

John Pratt

Certified Real Estate Appraiser at Appraisal Services
Self employed since 1999. Banking Industry for over 20 years: Real Estate Loan Officer, Commercial Loan Officer, Manager Loan Dept, Senior Loan Officer in charge of Lending, Selft Self employed since 1999. President & CEO of an Independent Bank in California. Chief Financial Officer of 2 startup firms in Silicon Valley which raised over $5,000.000 in start up venture capital. He also conducts meeting which are open to all appraisers on a monthly basis with an open format discussing anything related to the appraisal industry.
John Pratt

Latest posts by John Pratt (see all)

Purpose of the Appraisal Report

We have lost track of the purpose of the appraisal process

This is an open letter to anyone who may have an interest in the residential real estate market. This includes buyers & sellers, homeowners, mortgage companies & brokers, real estate brokers & agent, loan officers, FHA/HUD, Fannie, Freddie and others.

We have lost track of the purpose of the appraisal process. The purpose of the appraisal process is to provide an opinion of the estimated value of the property. The appraiser is hired to provide his/her opinion of the estimated value of the property usually by the intended mortgagee. Federal & state laws and regulations prohibit the appraiser from discussing the completed appraisal with anyone except the client, usually the intended mortgagee. This means that the appraiser can not discuss the appraisal report with the buyer, seller, homeowner, real estate agent, loan officer or anyone else without the prior permission of the client.

The appraiser is required to provide an independent evaluation of the subject property without bias or influence from any outside entities including the intended mortgagee and all of the others cited above. It is a violation of both state & federal regulation for anyone to influence or attempt to influence the appraiser in the completion, development or conclusions of the appraisal report. You may disagree with the appraisers’ conclusions and even the content of the appraisal report however it is the appraisers’ opinion of the estimated value and no one can attempt to influence or change the conclusions in the report. The client (usually the intended mortgagee) may request the appraiser to correct errors & omissions which are in the report and may request additional information or clarification as long as it is not an attempt to influence or change the conclusions in the report. If the client is unhappy with the quality (not the conclusions) of the report they may get a second report.

USPAP , the appraisers bible, states that the appraiser is expected to perform valuation services competently in a manner that is independent, impartial, and objective. It goes on to state “An appraiser must perform assignments with impartiality, objective, and independence, and without accommodation of personal interests. Must not advocate the cause or interest of any party or issue.

Conclusion:

The opinion of estimated value is one person’s estimate, the appraiser, at a given time, the date of the appraisal, under the guidelines and instructions of the client and scope of work as outlined in the report. The fact that some parties may disagree with the conclusions in the report does not make the report bad or incorrect. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Other appraisers or individuals may come to a different opinion of value, however it is just their opinion. Appraisers are not hired to provide a report which accommodated the needs of the client or any other party.

Image credit flickr - Damien Pollet
John Pratt

John Pratt

Self employed since 1999. Banking Industry for over 20 years: Real Estate Loan Officer, Commercial Loan Officer, Manager Loan Dept, Senior Loan Officer in charge of Lending, Selft Self employed since 1999. President & CEO of an Independent Bank in California. Chief Financial Officer of 2 startup firms in Silicon Valley which raised over $5,000.000 in start up venture capital. He also conducts meeting which are open to all appraisers on a monthly basis with an open format discussing anything related to the appraisal industry.

You may also like...

37 Responses

  1. chris says:

    Please send this to EVERY realtor and make them take a 100 question test.

    One realtor just told me that market value is what the buyer offers to pay for the house. 19 year realtor !

    She did not like my response…lol.

    19

    0
  2. Carol Keehn says:

    I’m a little worried….I’ve reviewed some reports….and just heard from a couple appraisers, that if a signed purchase agreement proves that there is a willing buyer at the contracted price, then that is market value. I just saw 3 appraisers agree with that statement. My rebuttal then is….so why on earth do we need to do our job? Just take every contracted price and back it with a mortgage, viola! I do understand that markets have appreciating values, and that should always be addressed. Yet if a contracted price is not supportable by recent sales or by extrapolation of an obviously increasing market, then….??? The dilemma there was answered by “contracted price means willing buyer means market value”. I have a headache.

    18

    1
    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Carol respectfully, missing from your scenario are the conditions necessary to be a true open market transaction with a clearly defined “market value”.

      That you found three appraisers who agreed (conditionally, by chance?) does not mean you found three appraisers that are correct. Particularly where appraisers are so often selected for price and malleability rather than competency.

      The biggest factor affecting appraisal confusion today is the elimination of common sense from the  whole process from start to finish.

      We have been told for over 25 years now that modern computers and software can virtually eliminate the appraiser.

      In order to promote that erroneous belief, the software providers; not-at-risk lenders, commissioned promoters of Wall Street and international fraud; and the conglomerates that facilitate them have all used deliberate misdirection to create an environment where flawed binary processes are now seen to be “almost as good as a real appraisal”.

      Look at John’s verbiage. You and I know that his use of estimate of MV is intended to equate to ‘development of a credible opinion of MV’, but the powers that be in the background are perverting even this simple language that ALL competent appraisers understand.

      Once only a topic best suited to anal word smiths, the profession started with opinions of MV; then went to estimates; and now have come back to developing opinions again….UNLESS we are talking about “Evaluations”!

      Another effort to lower costs; increase speed and eliminate pesky property condition related appraisal issues.

      STOP the insanity NOW! Allow appraisers to determine what is necessary for a properly developed and supported opinion of market value.

      If the (myriad) clients do not like that, then let THEM take the burden for supporting the use and parsing of inferior ‘valuation products’ directly on their own shoulders where it belongs.

      Stop allowing them to be called any kind of appraisal at all and stop holding appraisers to any kind of standards when such garbage products are ordered. Clearly label them as NOT AN APPRAISAL!

      ELIMINATE ALL standards for their use. ALL! Since they are pure garbage to begin with, pretending they are anything else is itself the biggest deception of all. Passing the buck to the appraiser by telling us we can do such reports, BUT it is OUR responsibility to assure USPAP compliance promotes abuse and temptation since the fee will never be conducive to quality work.

      FNMA and the courts have extended the appraisers potential liability so far downstream with unintended (by the appraiser) users that it is no longer possible to communicate with or to each in a manner that is not (potentially) misleading or at best confusing.

      WHY do we continue to accept the written conditions drivel that is being promoted by FNMA? The same so called “experts” that brought us the worldwide economic collapse?

      There’s a reason they are still in conservatorship…THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED!

      Look at the trouble we have in just communicating through the AMC clerks to the purported underwriters about the minutiae of a report rather than its result.

      That brings us back to John’s well made point, that there are simply too many affected parties to the transaction that are ignorant of the appraisal process when it is properly performed.

      Unless I add another 25 to 50+- pages in each appraisal to ‘teach’ appraisal there is no way of making all these interests better informed. Then who would read them?

      Carol, my job is NOT to convince the two affected Realtors postulated in your scenario that market value differs from their perception. THEY have a motive for arguing the case. Refer them directly to FNMA or other users.

      John, one area of disagreement. A significant one though. All parties are prohibited from IMPROPERLY attempting to influence my development of an appraisal.

      They are NOT prohibited from trying to influence me at all. Often, that is their job AND fiduciary obligation to THEIR client(s).

      I almost always have my independently developed data when I go into the field. That does not mean it is improper for the local agent that knows the market like the back of his or her hand to share their views with me. I SHOULD consider their information! THAT is good appraisal practice and due diligence. They are supposed to try to influence me! THAT is being a good agent!

      What we all have to respect though is where the line is drawn. The MN broker, or TX builder, or GA loan officer should not try to pressure me though RELS or their ilk by subterfuge and phony reviews to support ordering second appraisals with ‘specially selected’ alternate sales “comparables”! Telling me that the payment clock does not start until the finished product is forwarded by the AMC to the lender after all revisions requests are addressed is another form of coercion or prohibited activity.

      Both would be prohibited…IF the feds had any desire to enforce that kind of coercion in the first place.

      22

      0
    • Dan says:

      Carol, the appraisers you mentioned must have been trained by this real estate agent!!!

      16

      2
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        That one is the oldest one in the book, perpetuated by realtors until the end of time apparently. The counter is simple; Collateralizable value by way of principals of substitution. The buyer was overpaying, as these other comparables clearly demonstrate via principals of substitution. If buyer wants the home, they have to pay cash over fair market. It is not the lenders responsibility to furnish additional cash over fair market, for a borrower to secure the deal.

        10

        0
      • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

        Matt, numismatic euphemisms aside, that is NOT what an appraiser is hired to do; NOR what any reputable lender does.

        I exclude ALL reverse mortgage lenders from this as I’ve yet to find one that is reputable.

        Anyway, lenders make money by making loans. Most are insured conventional (pmi); or insured FHA / Guaranteed VA. Frankly they don’t give a damn whether the value is at the high or low end of a supported range. It doesn’t change their costs or profits more than a very few dollars.

        Where you may find loan to value shenanigans is with commercial paper; portfolio loans, hard money and reverse mortgages where there IS a benefit to quoting fees on a higher LTV and then delivering a lower LTV loan. Otherwise, generally the higher the loan is; the higher the (nominally) the profit.

        0

        0
  3. Bill Johnson says:

    In todays environment Steve, who is the appraiser asking “Do you want a low or a high report”? Are we asking the borrower, the owner, or the agents, who are NOT our clients? Are we e-mailing the lenders general e-mail box as most don’t provide phone numbers in the engagement letter? With the loan officers and processors unknown to the appraiser, I again ask, who do we talk to about determining a low or high value? As a single number, an appraisal is neither an overvaluation or an undervaluation as it only gets perceived by other parties to be as such when their interests are added. In determining market value and the MOST PROBABLE PRICE (not the highest or lowest) a property should bring in an open market, what is the appraiser assuming as it relates to other closed sales. In part, WE ARE ASSUMING BOTH PARTIES WERE WELL INFORMED OR WELL ADVISED, but were they? If we assume both parties hired real estate agents and understand IT ONLY TAKES ON A NATIONAL AVERAGE 70 HOURS TO OBTAIN A LICENSE, what advice are the buyers and sellers getting?

    16

    0
    • Bill’s batting a 1,000 today!

      14

      0
  4. TOM D says:

    i truely miss the days when i could talk to anyone i wanted to. now the only person i can talk to is myself. talk about lone dogs, just roll the rock and seal the cave opening.

    i truely despise those WAMU appraisers who couldn’t be adults, and who couldn’t just say “NO”. that was the end of our independence to talk to anyone we wanted to talk to.

    some appraisers are very confused, or maybe so swayed by talking to someone involved in the transaction that they can’t decide on your own. personally, i think there are still just as many bad appraisers now as before. like the baby sitters we now have?

    the few here who care, can always visit my cave.

    13

    0
    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      I once thought that the appraisers who could say no were weak. I’ve since come to realize that it came down to pure unadulterated GREED. A lack of morals rather than a lack of spine.

      10

      0
      • Baggins - Still cradeling skippies Baggins - Still cradeling skippies says:

        Oh crap. As always happens when non appraisers try to understand what unbiased non advocate professional practice by the book is all about, the dialogue turns into price is not value 101. Buyer and seller both agree, and that is the market….  Such lunacy people are so ignorant of finances it’s shocking. So if buyer and seller get together and agree to defraud the bank, I guess because they struck a deal, that’s the market! And subsequently; that’s why biased advocates are not to be trusted with independent value research. It’s not rocket science, but these people who don’t get this are purely advocates, through and through. They are hard wired to be agents for the deal and nothing else. If you can’t walk from a deal, you’re the fish.

        Skippy on Board

        9

        0
    • Tom there is nothing is USPAP or Dodd Frank that says you cannot talk to an involved party. Just the opposite is inferred in contract analysis requirements. What is prohibited is discussing the clients personal non public information without their consent. The other parties we may meet or speak with are prohibited from using undue influence (meaning improper influence) to affect our development of an appraisal.

      IF the homeowner and agent truly believe the property to be worth “X” dollars, I EXPECT them to try to convince me! IF they do it by use of appropriate and relevant comparable sales, then I am grateful for the assistance in helping me assure I’ve considered ALL AVAILABLE data as required under USPAP. If they tell me about the direct FSBO across the street that was sold after three open houses and a for sale by owner sign being on the lawn for three weeks, I appreciate the information since it wont show in mls. I CAN walk across the street and attempt to interview the involved party myself.

      And, where they DO attempt inappropriate pressure I’m a former Marine, always wear my Big Boy pants to appraisals, have been in business over thirty years as a full time appraiser and am completely capable of either ignoring or declining to be pressured BY ANYONE.

      Once, in response to “I’m paying $3,000 for this appraisal and as far as I’m concerned I have paid for it to come it at the value I need.”

      “Dr. Anonymous, here is your three thousand dollar check back. When I return to the office I ‘ll let the owner know your views about what the payment of the fee means to you and I’ll ask if he prefers to cancel the order or if he can reassign it; or would prefer to do it himself. I cannot proceed under conditions where you tell me you believe my acceptance of a fee has guaranteed you a desired result.” Heck I had THAT conversation before FIRREA under The AIREA old USPAP.

      2

      0
  5. John Pratt says:

    I realize that my open letter to those involved in the sale of Real Estate did not go into detail on some of my comment. I did not want to write a book on the complete process of the appraisal. Yes I agree that the appraiser can accept information from the real estate agents and others regarding property information and possible comparable sales to support the sales contract price. However after the appraiser has gather the information, reviewed it and analyzed it, he /she must reach a conclusion independently of the  interest of all parties. The appraiser should gather as much information from whatever creditable sources that are available to arrive at creditable conclusion.  Thanks for all the comments, very interesting.

    11

    0
  6. Baggins Baggins says:

    It was a great article John.  Keep them coming in.

    8

    0
  7. chris says:

    The only people who determine WHAT market value is are REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS.

    No one else. Its what we do. Every day of our lives!

    3

    0
    • TOM D says:

      i disagree with you. buyers and sellers determine market value. we only affirm it mostly, deny it sometimes. why then do values keep going up, higher & higher over the long term, because appraisers are over market valuing.

      appraiser are basically here to stop value fraud. sorta like the walking police man preventing crime.

      good article, but some appraisal things becomes over reacted by many people who turn extreme in dictating the rules to appraisers, especially some non existent rule they think exists. sounds like the twilight zone.

      3

      1
    • Um, no. The only people that determine what market value is are the market participants. The only ones that verify and analyze the participants collective  actions and develop a credible opinion of what market value is based on the actions of those participants are appraisers.

      Brokers also probably have a pretty good idea of what market value is, as do the owners. Whether they will tell us that truthfully or not is another story.

      2

      0
  8. chris says:

    So what you saying is that the appraiser BETTER make the deal or he/she is not appraising for market value.

    Appraisers analysis the market and are SUPPOSE to appraise for market value,

    NOT COMMIT FRAUD TO REACH A SALES PRICE.

    That is what OUR jobs are. We appraise current market value with available data from the MARKETPLACE.

    4

    0
    • TOM D says:

      let’s s stop with the dramatics. i bet you’re appraised values verse sale prices is in the very high 95+% ok range. oh wow, you hitting the sale’s price 95+% of the time, you’re one of those appraisers hitting the realtors number.

      as they say, fraud? PLEEEZE. i can’t listen to you any more chris, on this cruise of the damned righteous.

      2

      5
  9. chris says:

    Sorry Tom you don’t understand. Market value is determined by the appraiser based on available data from the market place. it is an opinion. A buyer may want to live down the street from his brother and offer 20k more, so your saying the buyer offered market value?

    On our State exam, the question was…”Does sales price ever equal sales price”. The answer is No.

    You must NOT be an appraiser if this concept eludes you.

    Which apparently it does.

    And since “you cant listen to me anymore” your deaf, dumb and most likely blind.

    House values go up (or down) based on interest rates and salaries people make. Look at the graph of salary increasing in the country over 40 years and it almost exactly matches the increases in real estate values over 40 years.

    When people get paid more, they can afford more of a mortgage which in simple terms, they can offer more to buy a house and real estate sells higher….when interest rates are increasing, they cant AFFORD to offer more, so they have to offer less. Which drive down house values.

    No one but appraisers figure out what the market value is. Owners , buyers and real estate agents do not do appraisals. They aren’t trained. They can get close, but are not appraisers.

    3

    1
  10. clint says:

    Let’s say for example a home which is listed at the top of its value range gets multiple offers and has an accepted contract considerably above list price. Most Realtors and buyers will argue that multiple offers on a property demonstrates market value, but I disagree and here is why: When there are multiple offers on a property, the first buyer is likely acting logically and the second and each subsequent buyer are likely acting emotionally because they know there is already an offer on the property, so the first buyer is probably making an offer closer to market value; the second and subsequent buyers want to be the highest bidder and are likely acting on emotion rather than logic, willing to pay more because they want to “win” the bidding war. The final agreed upon contract as the result of a bidding war is likely not the most probable selling price; rather the highest price. Buyers can be properly informed, but don’t always make the most probable offers. This is another reason why it is necessary for the Appraiser to properly analyze the market and provide an independent, unbiased opinion of value; not simply appraise to the contract.

    4

    0
    • Clint there is a lot of merit in  your contention if this is a single event with an offer well above its asking price. “Well above” asking requires more proof of value in my mind. 10%? 20%?

      In cases where there is a demonstrated shortage of offerings; normal 90 day +- marketing periods have dropped down to 2 or 3 days or “as soon as the sign went up” and (credible) comments from agents like “this is the third or fifth house they made an offer on in this school district/Sub Area/City  but each time they have been outbid” become common there is a good chance that “market value” has or is going up.

      Measuring it and supporting it adequately becomes more difficult. If each of my closed sale comparables also showed a higher than asking price and currently pending sales are listed ‘close’ or above my subject property coupled with there being no active (similar) listings lower than the sale price I will look at the entire body of information. Especially where I can document an increase trend in closed sales.

      Where my highest unadjusted sale or listing was $490,000 and my highest adjusted sale or pending sale is $495,000 I HAVE and may again someday appraise at the pending sale price of $500,000 “giving dominant consideration to the subject pending sale itself which is 1% above the highest adjusted sale and 2% above the highest unadjusted sale but is 3% to 5% below the next lowest priced competitive comparable listing.”  Or alternately if no listings at all exist Id state the trend and market data support a value opinion rounded up to the next most significant market number; or at the sale price.

      Am I (improperly) appraising ‘to the sale price’? No, but the market data supports concluding at the sale price. I’m not so good as to be able to tell market participants that they are paying 1% above market value based on artificial lender constraints. I have made this argument direct to FNMA reviewers prior to loan funding and had them concur.

      Consider this twist-listed for $500,000 bidding started at the low ball offer of $475,000; jumped right away to $490k and had three at or above $500k but they took the $500k over the $510k because that higher priced guy wanted 10K in concessions and the sellers were concerned about his ability to qualify for the loan. Orange County California circa 2005-values were clearly still rising there for another year and a half to two+ years right up to November 2008.

      3

      0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

xml sitemap