Posts

When to Expect High Appraisal Fees and/or Appraisal Delays

We recently had a Texas transaction involving a large acreage with a 1 bedroom home and an accessory dwelling unit. It took us a few weeks just to find an appraiser willing to appraise the property (even though we shopped it very aggressively), and the fee was $1,000! The delay and the fee caught the […]Read More

Appraisal Conditions and Health & Safety Issues to Watch For!

Realtors are often frustrated about “condition” and “health & safety” issues that get called out by appraisers, and they come to us for guidance. They obviously want to avoid getting conditions called out by appraisers that will either cost too much to repair, delay closings or kill deals altogether. Our Appraisal Manager, Jennifer Muzzall, provided […]Read More

When Zillow Misleads Homeowners

First, I reluctantly have to admit that Zillow really does have impressive algorithms, that sometimes yield surprisingly accurate results. But, Zillow also often badly misleads homeowners, creating huge issues for lenders and agents alike. A few years ago, a friend of mine was irate when his appraisal came in $75,000 lower than Zillow’s “Zestimate®.” But […]Read More

No Appraisals For Loans Under $400,000; “New Home Premium;” Appraised Value’s Not Market Value

I want to share a few more interesting comments about appraisals today. On Wednesday I blogged about how appraisers can’t ignore comps that don’t support value. The agents wanted us to use dated comps and ignore more recent comps, but appraisers of course can’t do that b/c underwriters and reviewers will see the ignored comps […]Read More

Why ALL Lenders Must Pay Appraisers Extra and Promptly!

AGENT SENDS COMPETING LOAN OFFICER TO US FOR ADVICE An agent we know well recently referred another loan officer to us to get advice in regard to how to finance a Site Condo (a stand-alone unit on a condo lot) he had listed. The loan officer was having great difficulty obtaining financing for her client/buyer, […]Read More

How Much Is a Huge Lot Worth? Probably Less Than You Think

In response to this blog about the value of in-law units, I received numerous other appraisal-related inquiries including a few questions about lot-size. Agents are often frustrated b/c they think appraisers ignore or underestimate the value of larger lots. But, there is much more to the story. NEED COMPS IN SAME OR SIMILAR NEIGHBORHOOD TO […]Read More

Appraisers Need Ratified Contracts & Comps That Close Prior to Inspection

APPRAISERS NEED RATIFIED CONTRACTS This is a reminder that we need a fully ratified contract (signed by all parties) before we can order an appraisal. This is a regulatory requirement and many appraisers won’t even accept orders without ratified contracts. Appraisers need ratified contracts so they can review all the terms within it to see […]Read More

Comparable Sales Appraisers Can & CAN’T Use

Realtors often send our Appraisal Manager comparable sales (comps) to review for their upcoming appraisal appointments or for rebuttals when appraisals come in low. The problem is that we often cannot use the comps b/c they are so far outside of standard appraisal guidelines. This happened recently when an agent sent us comps that were […]Read More

Repairs Prior to Close or Prior to Owning the House

Appraisers often call out condition, health and safety, or repair issues that need to be addressed prior to close. Examples include missing floor coverings or water-heater straps, or peeling paint. If the repairs are minor, there is usually not a problem. Significant repairs present problems, however, because sellers often are unable to do them (REOs, […]Read More

When Zillow Misleads Homeowners! Why It Matters & What to Do?

I reluctantly have to admit that Zillow really does have impressive algorithms, that sometimes yield surprisingly accurate results. BUT, Zillow also often badly misleads homeowners, creating huge issues for lenders and agents alike. A few years ago, a friend of mine was irate when his appraisal came in $75,000 lower than Zillow’s “Zestimate.” But Zillow […]Read More

Adverse External Influences On Appraisals – Explained

“Adverse external influences” are structures or entities near a property that negatively affect its value. Appraisers often use the phrase “External Obsolescence” when describing these influences. Adverse influences include freeways, busy arterial through-streets, railroads, BART or mass transit trains, cemeteries, schools and commercial buildings or establishments. Real estate agents involved in transactions with external influences […]Read More

What Realtors Can Say To Appraisers- Anything; Comp Guidelines

Lenders are not ever allowed to communicate directly with appraisers. We are only allowed to order appraisals through our Appraisal Management Company, which in turn contacts the appraiser. Realtors, however, can communicate directly with appraisers and we highly recommend it. Realtors often ask us what they are “allowed to say.” Our answer is: “anything, as […]Read More

Warehouse Store Mortgage Screw Ups; Warning for Borrowers and Agents

One of our borrowers didn’t like the news we gave him so he went to a major warehouse store to get his mortgage. And – the entire situation is a great lesson on why Bay Area buyers should not go to a warehouse store to get a mortgage. :) Appraisal Issues: They used a national […]Read More

More Purchase Tips For Refi Guys; Giving Away JVM’s Playbook

On Friday, we provided tips to help refi guys close purchases now that rates are up. The tips included rush appraisals; reviewing contracts for addenda, reports and condition issues; and hiring a skilled appraisal manager. Several people, however, chastised us for “giving away JVM’s playbook.” We responded by saying: A. We always like to help; […]Read More

Created Full Time Appraisal Manager Position at JVM; Necessity & Scope

We recently created a full time Appraisal Manager Position at JVM, devoted exclusively to JVM’s appraisals. We are the only lender with an Appraisal Manager with this scope of duties and training. It is absolutely necessary, however, b/c appraising has become so complex, due to guidelines, shortages, CU scores, and the lack of comps in […]Read More

Flips Defined; Pay Off Consumer Debt to Qualify; Available Weekends!

A few reminders: 1. JVM Works Weekends. Here are a few quotes we got over the weekend from a favorite Berkeley Realtor: “Thanks for the speedy response!” and “Love working with a Lender who works on weekends. :)” We get similar quotes every weekend b/c real estate often takes place on weekends. We always have […]Read More

Great Email Illuminates Appraisal Issues; Business Decisions; Costs

Our Office Manager, Tiffany Nordgren, sent the below email last week. The email is excellent b/c of its clarity, but also b/c it illuminates many issues we currently face. 1. Appraiser Shortage. There are too few right now and everyone has to pay extra to get orders picked up. 2. Cost for Better Service: We […]Read More

Post TRID Turn-Times; Contingencies Same; COE 7 Days Longer

As mentioned, now that TRID is in effect we are requesting 21 day escrow periods instead of our usual 14 day escrow periods. We are working to move back to 14 day closings as soon as possible. TRID, however, is not affecting contingency periods. We are still 8 days for loans and appraisals. We can […]Read More

How To Buy A Flip – Property Bought & Re-Sold Within 90 Days

We have been seeing “Flips” surface again lately. Flips are properties that are purchased and re-sold within 90 days. Lenders go by “contract date” and not close of escrow. Hence, if you buy a property on October 1st, your contract to re-sell it must be dated after January 1st, to avoid “flip” status. Anytime a […]Read More

Appraisals Are Not Public Record; FHA Sometimes

We “inherited” a transaction from another lender today b/c their appraisal came in too low. That lender tried to convince the Realtors, however, that the low appraisal was effectively “public record” and that it would do no good to go to a new lender (the current lender was hoping to force the buyers and sellers […]Read More

“Flip” Rules Again – Selling 90 Days After Purchase

We still see the occasional “Flip” surface, although not nearly as often as we saw them in 2010-2012. A “Flip” once again is a property that is purchased (usually by investors) and re-sold within 90 days. FHA will not finance Flips at all. Conventional and Jumbo lenders will finance Flips, but they require two appraisals. […]Read More

Loans Are About Rules/Regulations & Not About “Making Sense”/Logic

We have a very strong borrower whose loan is held up right now b/c the appraiser is unable to find rental data (for a rent survey) that is necessary for an FHA triplex appraisal. We and the borrower (and the appraiser) are extremely frustrated b/c we all know market rents are much higher than available […]Read More

New CU Tool For Appraisals on 1/26: Much Ado About Nothing?

We are getting asked constantly about the consequences of Fannie/Freddie’s new Collateral Underwriting (CU) Tool coming into play on Jan. 26th. It is risk management software that will pull a list of 20 comparable sales and rank them in order of “risk.” Everyone’s fear is that every transaction will be delayed and appraisers will be […]Read More

Paying More Than Appraised Value? Why? Appraisal Not Market Value

Yesterday we pointed out how borrowers with large down payments sometimes use FHA or VA financing when appraisals come in low. Several realtors asked why borrowers are willing to pay over appraised value. There are several reasons that we have observed: (1) the buyer is a 27 year social media employee with $11 million in […]Read More

FHA Appraisals – Only One Is Allowed;Value Can’t Change w/ New Lender

We had a borrower leave us for an online lender about a month ago. The online lender screwed up the loan, and the appraisal came in low (despite ample comps that supported value). The borrower came back to us with 8 days left to close escrow, and we could have closed on time but for […]Read More

Why “Rush” All Appraisals? 5 Day Contingencies; Value

At JVM we order every purchase appraisal as a “rush” and absorb the rush-fee ourselves. There are two reasons for this: (1) 5 Day Appraisal Contingencies: We typically get appraisals back in 3 to 4 days, and this allows us to always remove appraisal contingencies in 5 days. We know that doing so makes purchase […]Read More

We Accept Appraisals Transferred From Other Lenders

We have several lending sources that accept transferred appraisals (appraisals ordered by or prepared for other lenders). This is significant b/c for years no lender would accept another lender’s appraisal, especially since HVCC guidelines went into place. Not having to order a new appraisal for a borrower seeking JVM’s superior rates, service or loan programs […]Read More

Appraised Value Is Not Market Value; Solution?

We have a transaction in which two buyers (both are clients of ours) are more than willing to pay $1.2 million for a property in Oakland with an appraised value of only $950,000. There are probably more buyers in the wings willing to pay a similar price. The appraisal came in so low b/c of […]Read More

FHA Properties Don’t Need to Be In Better Condition Than Conventional

A borrower in need of FHA financing called this week to ask about a property she wanted to buy. She was concerned that the property’s sloping floor and potential foundation issues would prevent her from getting FHA financing. We pointed out that the sloping floor and foundation issues, if clearly visible, will prevent her from […]Read More

Appraisals Good for 90 to 120 Days; Caveats

We sometimes have closings severely delayed b/c of repair issues, title issues, or unexpectedly large liens surfacing. In these situations, we are invariably asked how long the appraisal will remain valid. The general answer for conventional loans is 90 days. Loan documents must be drawn before the appraisal is 90 days. FHA lenders will draw […]Read More

What Realtors Can Say To Appraiser – Anything; Comp Guidelines

We, as a lender, are never allowed to communicate with appraisers in any manner. We can only order appraisals via a management company or some other independent “go-between.” Realtors, however, can communicate with appraisers and we highly recommend it. Realtors often ask us what they are “allowed to say.” Our answer is: “anything, as long […]Read More

Necessity of Rush Appraisals; JVM Pays Rush Fee

We order ALL of our appraisals as rushes. The extra fees for the rush-appraisals are substantial, but well worth it. JVM absorbs all extra fees. Our borrowers only get charged standard appraisal fees. We order and pay for rush appraisal fees b/c we: (1) get better quality work; (2) are more likely to get an […]Read More

Rush Appraisals No Matter What – Good for Values & Contingencies

We order all of our appraisals as a “rush,” absorbing the $150 to $250 rush fees ourselves; we do not charge the borrower. The reason is two-fold: (1) the extra fee tends to garner better quality work and a higher likelihood that the appraisal will come in at value/contract price; and (2) we want our […]Read More

Tighter Contingency Periods Necessary in Hot Markets; 5 to 7 Days

We beat this dead horse often and are doing so again b/c we are surprised by the number of buyers that continue to make offers with excessively long contingency periods. Our Realtor-partners constantly receive offers in multiple-offer situations with 17 and 30-day contingency periods. These buyers lose out again and again and wonder why, but […]Read More

Benefits of Smart/Friendly/Motivated Realtor: Higher Appraisal

The appraisals associated with our refinance loans come in lower than those associated with our purchases. This is partially because of our current hot market and because most appraisers really do make a good faith effort to support the contract price in their appraisal report. But it is also largely because our top agents do […]Read More

Refi Appraisals do NOT affect Property Taxes; Refi out of PMI

Many of our borrowers who are putting down less than 20% hope to refinance out of PMI (or out of their purchase-money-2nd) in 4 to 6 months. These borrowers hope to be able to take advantage of the many high-priced pending sales that cannot be used in appraisals now b/c appraisers only correlate to closed […]Read More

Repairs Prior to Close or Prior to Owning the House

Appraisers often call out condition, health and safety, or repair issues that need to be addressed prior to close. Examples include missing floor coverings or water-heater straps, or peeling paint. If the repairs are minor, there is usually not a problem. Significant repairs present problems, however, because sellers often are unable to do them (REOs, […]Read More

When VA /FHA Clearly Stronger Than Conventional? Large Down

We often have buyers willing to take VA or FHA financing even though they have substantial funds for down payments. The reason is that they are often bidding on properties that will be difficult to appraise because of the lack of closed comparable sales (necessary to “bracket” the purchase price). Sellers often want appraisal contingencies […]Read More

Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Appraisers look for Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors on every floor of every dwelling now, as CO detectors are required by law. If an appraiser does not find a CO detector, he “calls out” its absence. A CO detector then has to be installed, and the appraiser has to re-inspect, causing additional charges and delays. We […]Read More

Appraisal Comes In Low; Seller Won’t Budge; 90% Becomes 95% LTV

Because the market is so “hot”, sellers are refusing to budge on contract prices when appraisals come in low (sellers believe other buyers are waiting in the wings that will pay full price). In this situation, buyers simply have to come in with the extra funds to make up the difference between contract price and […]Read More

In Defense of Appraisers

Everyone has horror stories about appraisers missing or ignoring obvious comparable sales, correlating to the absolutely lowest end of the market, or calling out ridiculously insignificant condition issues. We have had hundreds of transactions blown up by incompetent appraisers. With that said, we are going to defend the many excellent appraisers still working in the […]Read More

Appraisal Horror Story – If Appraisers Only Knew the Damage Caused

We had an appraisal come in at $559,000 yesterday, a mere $2,000 below the purchase price of $561,000. It was the “2nd appraisal” for a transaction requiring two appraisals. We were confident about value, so we drew loan documents based on the first appraisal. In addition, the borrower had signed and we were ready to […]Read More

“Friendly” Appraiser Coaching Once Again

We had a transaction recently with a $410,000 price, but the most recent “model matches” sold for $370,000 or less. This of course made the appraisal a real concern. Fortunately, the realtors involved were very smart and affable, and they did a masterful of job of providing data to the appraiser and assisting the appraiser […]Read More