Author: Dustin Harris

Be Nice or Be Quiet... The Online World of Social Media - Appraisers Blogs 6

Be Nice or Be Quiet

It’s never helpful for anyone to be mean. Even when we’re “anonymous” and hiding behind a keyboard, we need to be nice… Back in the 1980’s an American minister by the name of Robert Fulghum published a series of essays in a book titled All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. One lesson that we should have all learned back in kindergarten, or before, is to “be nice”. Many of us did learn to be nice, but some of us need to re-learn that same lesson. The online world of social media (Facebook, forums, etc.) has made...

Being Liberal with Values Hurts the Homeowner 7

Being Liberal with Values Hurts Homeowners

Why can’t it just be accurate instead of “conservative” or “liberal?” Just be precise in the way you do your job… Some people might say a public forum isn’t the place to air this dirty laundry, but this is not really a public forum. Of my thousands of readers, very few of them are not in real estate appraisal. Right now, I’m talking to the bad apples. Maybe you’re in a situation where you want a lot of volume and want to be the go-to person for the local mortgage company or local bank, and you want to keep them...

CPA Is Not Banned from Performing Services He's Qualified. Why Are We? 11

Why Are Appraisers Banned?

I just got out of an interesting conversation I had with my CPA. Eventually, our conversation veered onto the topic of work. I was curious about what it takes to get into his field (not that I’m interested in getting into it at all). We talked about our respective professions and about changes occurring in the real estate appraisal field. We got into talking about what it means to be a CPA, which is different than being an accountant. A CPA is an accountant, but an accountant isn’t always a CPA. He said anyone can hang up a shingle and...

Do Appraisers Have the Right to Refuse to Provide Service to AMCs? 18

I Reserve the Right Not to Serve You Anymore

Dude, I Reserve the Right Not to Serve You Anymore! OK, let’s face it: real estate appraisers are in the service business. We provide a service – real estate appraisals. We provide those services to anybody willing to pay for them. That’s what service providers do. To which you say, “Dustin, you have a deep grasp of the obvious.” Well, let’s go a little deeper. Part of what I do is stay in touch with local real estate brokers and appraisers. Some of us have a local restaurant we frequent. At the front door is a sign letting all patrons...

Can an AMC Tell Appraisers How to Dress? 25

Can an AMC Tell Appraisers How to Dress?

I recently saw a Facebook post where an appraiser was quite upset and offended that an AMC asked him to dress professionally for an appraisal walkthrough. Now, this was a request that was made up front as one of the conditions for accepting the order. Reading the post, it sounded like this appraiser was upset for two reasons. One, he was offended that the AMC was implying that he does not take his job seriously enough or dress professionally enough. Two, he felt like the AMC did not have a right to tell him how to do his job (i.e....

How Does the Presence of Sex Offenders Affect Appraised Value? 9

Sex Offenders & Appraised Value

“You know there is a half-way house for sex offenders in the neighborhood, don’t you? It’s about two blocks away from the subject”.. OK. You’re well and truly involved with your research on a job that’s already late. You think you’ve got all your due diligence-bases covered. But you call the broker to confirm on last detail and she asks you, “You know there is a half-way house for sex offenders in the neighborhood, don’t you? It’s about two blocks away from the subject”. Needless to say, you are taken aback! No, you had no clue there was such a facility two blocks away from...

Pictures in Private Neighborhoods Can be Tricky 11

Photos in Gated Communities Can be Tricky

Let’s talk about assignments in private neighborhoods, gated communities, or secure communities. Rich folks buy, sell, and refinance their homes, too, so they need appraisals. You have an assignment in a security community. There is security at the entrances, you must be on security’s authorized visitor list to get in, and your permission to enter this private community extends solely to visit your subject. So, here is the question: while inside this gated, secure community, do you also drive around and take photos of the comps? Now, even though you are reading this, I can see you looking at me...

Is a Model Home Considered Occupied or Vacant? 28

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? 47

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? 21

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...

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