Maybe it's Time to Get Out of the Basement!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Too many times we appraisers, especially the single person shops, get "tunnel vision" because we have no contact with our peers in the appraisal profession. We just keep plodding along in our everyday life doing the same thing, but even worse, thinking the same way. We get no external input to help us in our everyday appraiser life. What this does is makes us stagnant and our abilities to do our jobs as appraisers can become severely diminished. I learned this the hard way with my single man shop.

Back to the Basics

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In today’s, post mortgage apocalypse, market one would assume that the most important part of an appraisal is the accuracy of the estimate of value.  By virtue of the data being utilized, its uniformity in how it is presented, the crackdown on form-filling number pushing appraisers, and all the tools we have at our disposal, estimates of value should be more and more accurate every day.

Four Keys to Great Appraiser Customer Service

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We work in an interesting industry where, unless you do a majority of non-lender work, most of our human interactions do not occur with our actual clients. Instead, we communicate with the AMC and lenders through email and web-portals. Most appraisers spend a majority of their work time either in front of a computer, traveling, or inspecting homes. Typically, the only portion of that formula which includes human connection is with the home owner(s).

A New Year a New Fannie Mae Letter

Monday, January 6, 2014

I get it, appraising, especially residential-mortgage-use appraising, can be a thankless job. If you understand all that goes into properly developed reporting, it is hard to compete with the appraisers that perform poor due diligence and in turn, charge much less than the rest of us. They are great at checking boxes and making minimal commentary. They are rewarded for cutting corners, and appraisers that do the quality work are left at the margins. The new Fannie Mae Lender Letter may be a step in changing this.

It's a Wrap

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year End Wrap Up

I love this time of year. Of course what is not to like about the holidays? But it is nice to take a look back over the past year and reflect on accomplishments while simultaneously keeping an eye towards the future. I suppose if you aren’t careful, that means you would have each eye going in a different direction.

What are the Rules on Photographing Comparable Sales?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Years ago the standard of practice was that no comparable photographs were taken. It was expected that the appraiser viewed comparable sales from the street, but photos were not submitted. The certifications in today's appraisal reports did not exist, and there was no USPAP. The advent of comparable sale photographs as an exhibit to an appraisal report results, at least in part, from the practice of not driving the comparable sales.

Following Instructions

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I normally get very few revision requests, and usually for minor items. I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back, but to explain how surprised I was a few weeks ago when I received two revision requests in the same week. And they weren’t just any type of revision request: they were the dreaded “instruction” from an underwriter.

“Appraiser to include a second sale whose unadjusted sale price supports the opinion of value, and resubmit report.”

Third Party Oversight Summit Wrap Up

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wow, I am just recovering from my trip to Las Vegas to present at our Third Party Oversight Summit, along with Tony Pistilli at Axios, Peter Christensen of LIA Liability Insurance Administrators and Helge Hukari of Clear Capital. In spite of some crazy weather we had a packed house and actually oversold this event. Based upon our strong registrations and positive feedback we will be organizing a whole series on compliance next year. I wanted to take some time to let everyone know what was discussed at this event.