Appraising in Delaware, the Blog...

here is no doubt that the things that we consume/buy such as gas, food, homes, etc fluctuate constantly. What are the driving forces behind them? How does it all connect with appraising? 


It’s all about math and calculations. Every single thing that we purchase has a price that is set by supply and demand, quality, cost to make among other things. And each company has to calculate this information alongside what their hard/soft costs for the company to determine their pricing. This plays exactly into what we need to do as appraisers so that we can afford the costs of the job and still bring back money for our families. 


What are hard and soft costs? Hard costs are the things that are always there and never really change (they follow the typical increases but you can plan these out). Think about your office rental, payroll, MLS/AMC Fees and other bills. The soft costs are harder to plan for, they are your gas (to and from the inspection sites), taxes, paper and ink fees, etc. It’s easiest if you go back and look over 3-4 months of costs to get an idea of what your costs are. It can be in depth and take some time but it is honestly worth it, especially if you are new to the business. 


It’s also smart to think about the competition. You don’t want to be the lowest quote but you typically don’t want to be the highest either. Most people will look for someone in the middle because the saying “you get what you pay for” is so true! You just don’t want to outbid yourself.


When you add these together you can begin to piece together, which won’t happen overnight, a pricing for your appraisals that will get things paid and also allow you to bring home a check. Obviously, over time you will be able to have more wiggle room in your pricing because you will have the time and work to show that you know your stuff! You may be surprised how much a $10 - $25 increase can help you out in the long run and when you have proven your worth your customers will be willing to pay the money. 



Communication is key in our daily lives, it helps us move forward, get things done and conquer each day. Without communication we would be constantly running into our friends or families plans, misunderstanding them and generally having a difficult time. 


We see it all the time in the appraisal world, even when we have good communication the clients want to know everything. They want to know when appointments are scheduled, when the inspection is done, when you think you will be getting the report back among a number of other things. And the emails ping in daily asking you about all of these things can get overwhelming, especially if you are working without an assistant. 


Shouldn’t they trust you to get the work done when you promised? Isn’t it annoying that they are constantly breathing down your neck? Sure! It would be a big fat lie if I said no. But the saying “one bad apple ruins the bunch” is true. We may be doing all we can to get our work submitted in a timely manner and we may be updating as much as possible but even still the emails come in because at some point someone cut corners and now we must all be reminded. 


So while it can be difficult and sometimes angering to get an update email for the 4th or 5th time just grin and bear it. Communicate as openly as possible and keep doing the hard work you know you can do. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask for more from the clients who tend to make working for them a little more difficult. Ask for an extra $50 or $100 when you know that your time will be taken up by questions and revisions and emails that might not actually be needed. Your time is precious, get what you deserve. 



Posted by Patti Persia on November 23rd, 2021 9:12 AMLeave a Comment

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August 4th, 2021 11:23 AM

Appraising is a business that includes busy times as well as slower times and it’s always a good idea to have a back up list of “to do’s” for the times when there is a lull in the work coming in. Especially when you have employees working underneath you that are there to help out. You are paying them, usually hourly, and you want to get something out of that. 


The list doesn’t have to be incredibly specific but should give an outline of the most important things to work on and then it can trickle down to the less important stuff that usually won’t get touched by most, if any of your employees, because every slow down picks back up. 


Here are a few things we do around the office when things slow down for us:


  • Checking the accounting and following up on any overdue payments

  • Blogs

  • Updating E&O, coverage, upcoming vacation times and other information with AMC’s 

  • Update email templates

  • Update social media

  • Organize folders

  • Delete/Organize files that are no longer used

  • Clean office area and desks

  • Check in with other blogs to see what peers are saying


Anything that can help things move smoother when the appraisals start rolling in and allow your employees to be an asset to the company are always worth adding to the list. What are some of your back up list items?



July 1st, 2021 11:38 AM

Working with AMCs is not something you can easily get past in the appraisal world these days. Here are a few tips to help you get more requests, better pay and a higher rating with the AMCs that you are using. 


1. Update them Frequently


Being routine in your updates, say for appointments or completing inspections, so that they are always in the know. You can choose to do them at a specific time each day or you can find someone to help you with these (perfect reason to hire an assistant!). Keeping your AMCs up to date will make their lives easier and will help you build a good relationship with them


2. Be Ready to Say Yes


Be ready to take on any report they might send your way if at all possible. 


3. Keep You Work Manageable (Know Your Limits)


Don’t say yes to more than what you can do in a timely manner and don’t make your coverage area too wide. If you take on more than you think you can do you will run yourself thin and your turn times and work will struggle. And, it is much better to have a small area that you cover and can become well versed in rather than a larger work area and you know little about the areas. Also, when you are covering a larger amount of space your appointments will inevitably end up being further and further away from each other, taking time away from you completing the reports. 


4. Respond Quickly and Completely to Revision Requests


Scores will be given out on how many revisions you get and how quickly they are fixed. AMCs do not want to have to continually resend requests for updates. Most of all, be polite and professional when responding. They will thank you for this. 


5. Keep Your Profile Up to Date


Knowing when your insurance/E&O and license update and make sure you let the AMCs know when they change. Also, let them know when you are coming up on breaks/vacations where you will not be available to take on new work. Depending on how many AMCs you work with this can be timely so if you have an assistant have them do the work for you!



Posted in:Appraiser and tagged: appraiserappraisalAMC
Posted by Patti Persia on July 1st, 2021 11:38 AMLeave a Comment

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June 15th, 2021 11:25 AM
Appraisers are looking for an array of things that can help them calculate the overall price of your home. They are there to review everything from the outside to the inside of your home. They may even use other homes in the area to compare to your home to.

The most important parts of the home are going to be the foundation, roof and walls. The simple explanation is that without those three things being in tip top shape a home can become inhabitable quickly. A foundation problem can cause issues with your doors, walls and can lead to settling or further cracking of the foundation. The roof must be in working condition to help prevent leaks, it can also stop the rusting of drains and fireplaces or mold on surfaces of the home.

The size of property will also have an effect on the price of a home. First and foremost, the more land you have the more space you have to a bigger home, which means you have the ability to have more bedrooms and bathrooms in the home. These extra bedrooms and bathrooms can quickly add up. A larger lot also means you have room for additions such as a pool, garage, deck, etc.

Updates in the home will also add equity to the home. These do not need to be time consuming or expensive updates. A simple update to paint jobs, light fixtures, floors, windows or countertops can really impress those who see them. You also don’t want to forget that things like pools, fireplaces, garages and even security systems can increase the price of your home.

A homes location and age are also very important. A safe, central location to schools, beaches and cities are desired. People want to have a home that feels safe to be in, especially when they are a growing family. Being close to desirable areas is also important because people want to be able to get to places such as stores, hospitals and even vacation spots or airports without too much trouble.

When all of these things come together appraisers are able to calculate a fair price for the home you are looking to buy or sell. They must take everything into consideration, the good and the bad. So when you are going into a buying or selling a home it is important to keep all of these things on your radar so you can know where the appraiser will be looking.

I’m not sure that there is an answer specifically for that question. It’s all in what an appraiser  wants to get out of their business. Most of the time appraisers are their own boss, they make  the rules and so they can set certain criteria for when and how they want to work. They are the  rule makers for their minimum bid.  

Now these may be different for each appraiser but for my office we are looking at these things  while making a bid – no matter the type: 

- Scope of Work 

- Who’s the Client? 

- Are they easy to work with? 

- Do we get a lot of work from them? 

- What is our current demand? 

- How far away/Distance to subject? 

- Is there anything complex about the assignment (we tend to stay away from these but  there is certainly a price/time for such assignments) 

- Are they waterfront? 

Again, this is not the end all be all list for our office but it’s the beginning stages of how we  decide what we want to charge. You have to know your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for it.  On the flip side, don’t be afraid to go a little lower every now and then when the work is easy (you know you’ve had homes that were almost identical to a recent report you’ve done at least  once!!). 



Posted by Patti Persia on June 2nd, 2021 11:52 AMLeave a Comment

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May 10th, 2021 11:55 AM

We all own homes of some sort, right? And it’s easy to forget, as an appraiser, that as  homeowners even we get excited about upgrades to our homes that might not have an effect  on the price of our home. We’ve all had those borrowers who want to show us every new  gadget or upgrade they might have – from a new pool to something as small as a new fan.  

It’s true that those may not mean anything to us when we are wearing our appraiser hats but  think back to a fun upgrade you’ve made in your home. Was it new lighting? New paint?  Honestly it can be anything but whatever it was made you happy and gave your home  something new that could bring you joy.  

Our job is to be as even keel as possible when it comes to naming our final price for the home,  but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy the borrower’s happiness for their new upgrade. You might even  get an idea for your own home!  



Think about a time you went to a well frequented restaurant or bar and you had the best  service, what did you do? Probably told a few friends about it and made sure to go back. You  may have even asked for the same person to serve you. Now think about a time when you had  really rotten service, your waiter or waitress was rude, they forgot things, your order was  wrong and overall your experience left you wanting a whole lot more. What did you do then?  You more than likely told everyone you knew, you wrote reviews and asked for the manager  and swore you would never go back.  

We are no different in our appraisal world, especially is we are working with private/personal  appraisals. In our office we do estates, divorces, potential listing prices and a lot more and  while it is always important to make a good impression while working those personal appraisals  are 100% the most important when it comes to good customer service. They are your repeat  customers and they are the ones who will talk about you to friends and neighbors if they ever  need an appraiser.  

Yes, we won’t always get it right and we cannot make everyone happy but when you do the  work comes to you. And if it’s possible, if there is a bad taste left for a client going the extra  mile in talking to them and explaining how you got to your final number can go a long way. It’s  all about taking time and being up front about information.



Posted by Patti Persia on April 26th, 2021 10:59 AMLeave a Comment

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As I’m sure most appraisers have read throughout a multitude of appraising blogs, and we  know in the back of our minds – we are solitary creatures most of the time. We enjoy being  busy, staying in control and outside of the actual inspection we like to keep our contact with  other people to a minimum – at least face to face. It’s our thing you could say.  

This means that on way too many occasions we are running ourselves ragged and end up  turning down work that could be making us more money, improving relationships with AMC’s  and allowing us to do more personal appraisals for word-of-mouth advertisement.

Of course, there are things that come with having employees like vacation time, teaching them  the ropes, insurance, figuring out how you want to be as a boss – the list is endless. But if you  think about the amount of time even just one employee could save you the benefits are  endless.  

Just picture all of the things you could be handing over to someone else. Answering phones,  setting up appointments, handling the data input, following up with clients – it’s another  endless list of small things that add up big time.  

If you are on the verge of deciding whether or not having staff under you is right, this is your  sign. It doesn’t have to start off big, just one person for even just a few hours a day could be  more than enough to take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Allow you time to breathe  and really dig in further to the parts of appraising that you love. 



Posted in:General and tagged: appraiser
Posted by Patti Persia on April 15th, 2021 9:33 AMLeave a Comment

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March 29th, 2021 11:49 AM

The life of an appraiser is almost always buzzing in one way or another. When your job revolves  around homes and what’s considered new or intriguing you are always on the lookout for the  things that catch your eye. Not to mention an outing to the grocery store can double as a time  to stake out comps or get a feel for a neighborhood you might be doing an appraisal for.  

It’s easy to get wrapped up in go, go, go but at some point, you need to take a break. It’s  important to find something you enjoy and give your mind and body some time to just relax,  especially in this market. At least in our area, we are getting so many requests that we are  struggling to find a place to put them.  

So, if nothing else just schedule an hour of “you” time. Take off your appraiser hat and enjoy  your family, friends, or even a night out on the town so that you can come back the next day  ready to push forward.  


Posted by Patti Persia on March 29th, 2021 11:49 AMLeave a Comment

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February 9th, 2021 11:05 AM

 

Could you buy a house for $800? In the 1920s you could, just call Sears for a free catalogue. Do you know any Sears homes?


Posted by Patti Persia on February 9th, 2021 11:05 AMLeave a Comment

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The quick and easy answer is yes they can. I know it may be difficult news to swallow because typically being an appraiser gives you a lot of wiggle room on everything from schedule to fees and even dress codes. It’s a good job to be in if you like to make your own decisions. 


Now this will vary from AMC to AMC and will be a much bigger issue in cities or towns with higher profile people. On average, our appraiser here in Delaware can do as she pleases with her dress code, especially during covid because a lot of the homes are empty or she has been doing a lot of drive by appraisals. We also don’t have a ton of celebrities or billionaires who may require a more professional look here in Delaware, although we do our best to be professional no matter the client. 


The one good thing is that as business owners and the one in control of the appraisals, we can say no if we feel the AMC’s are asking too much. Yes, we may be losing a client or appraisal fee or an AMC depending on how strict the ask is (are they going to ask this every time or was it a one time deal). But there are a ton of AMC’s, local banks and even personal appraisals that will come along. 


So do what feels right to you as the appraiser. If the AMC is asking for a suit and tie and it’s because it’s a high profile individual that will typically mean more work for you in the long run - not just the comfort of choosing your clothes so if you think you deserve more in compensation ask. If you don’t want to do it, just say no.



Posted by Patti Persia on February 1st, 2021 11:06 AMLeave a Comment

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January 4th, 2021 10:57 AM
Having a stranger come into your home can be uneasy on the best of days, but knowing you have an appraiser coming in to look around your home can have even the most relaxed people feeling a little anxious. It is always best to have a quick checklist to go over to help calm anxiety.

The most important thing you can do is to clean, so lets start there. It seems simple enough but a clean home will give off a completely different vibe than one that has not be thoroughly cleaned. If a home has piles of laundry laying around, dishes in the sink or paperwork on the counters it can be hard to fully see the home for how beautiful it could be. It is a huge distraction and does not allow the appraiser to take in the home completely. A good deep clean can make a world of difference.

Along with cleaning it’s never a bad idea to do some landscaping and cleaning up outside either. The landscape itself is not technically a part of the process, but having a clean yard, the grass cut, trimmed trees and some fresh mulch will also make things easier for everyone involved. Pictures are taken on both the inside and outside of the home and are quick reminders to the appraiser of the home. You will want these pictures to be a reminder of how beautiful your home is.

If you have any easy and quick repairs that you can do it would be another boost to the overall look. It can be as easy as replacing a missing board in a fence or repainting scuff marks on the wall. These repairs do not need to take days or cost you a ton of money, just remember that 30 minutes of your time here and there can really make a difference. There is a $500 rule you hear about in the appraising world; this rule says that most appraisers will measure the value of your home in increments of $500 and a few hours spent repairing a few different things can add $500 to the overall appraisal. Do that a couple of times and you are gaining or losing a good chunk of money.

Know the worth of your work. These days homeowners are always upgrading or finding ways to better their home. If you keep track of these upgrades and their costs you can easily share them with your appraiser. These can include, but are not limited to pools, appliances, solar panels and decks.

In these trying days of covid things have changed a bit for all of us and that does include appraisers. It was typical for appraisers to come in and interview homeowners to find out all of the information that they needed, and it was easy to know that someone would be home for access to the home. Now appraisers are typically doing most, if not all, of the interview process via phone calls, emails or texting. Be prepared for different modes of communication and remember to keep in touch – it can be difficult to get and keep the ball rolling if you aren’t able to be contacted easily.

 

If you're a home seller or a real estate agent and haven't been able to sell your home, consider getting an appraisal!

1. Get Accurate Square Footage For an Accurate Price
If you don't know what the accurate heated and unheated living area of the home is, you will not be able to determine the most accurate value for it. So getting an appraisal will help.

2. Take Into Consideration Solds and Listings That Have Occurred Since the Listing
If you want to sell your home, then getting a more accurate list price that reflects the current market will help you. If there are other similar homes for sale that are priced more competitively than yours, they're probably going to sell more quickly.

3. Get a Fresh Set of Eyes From an Unbiased Third Party
Bringing in an appraiser who has a fresh and unbiased perspective on your home could result in arriving at a price that is based on the market rather than what you think your house may be worth.
4. Use a Floor Plan as a Selling Tool
Knowing where rooms are located and the flow of the home can help buyers envision where their stuff will go, which can help sell your home quicker!
5. Market it as a "Pre-appraised" Home
A home seller will have peace of mind knowing that the likelihood of their deal falling through due to a low appraisal will be decreased by getting a pre-listing appraisal.


Posted by Patti Persia on October 27th, 2020 10:17 AMLeave a Comment

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October 13th, 2020 11:53 AM
Although you may not always get a choice in your appraiser, there are instances where you do. It can be difficult to know who to go with, and although you may think there is no wrong answer, you may want to think again.

Clients who are needing appraisals for estates, refinancing, divorces, etc. will get to do some research and have the ability to “shop around”. What you may not think about while doing so is finding a local appraiser versus someone better known in an area that is not close to where you are.

Hometown appraisers have an in-depth knowledge about the area the home is located in. They know where the best schools are, if areas are safe and they will even have better personal insight into the things that are most attractive about the town and surrounding areas. They can also easily get firsthand experience with the areas and drive through the towns to have a better grasp of what neighboring houses look like.

Sure, all things can be googled but when you have someone who knows the ins and outs of your neighborhood, close attractions and has probably seen other homes in your area it would be tough to beat the amount of knowledge they can bring to your appraisal.

This isn’t to say appraisers cannot travel for work. There are unique opportunities where unusual properties may pop up and finding an appraiser with certain credentials would be beneficial.

The fact of the matter is, finding someone who is informed about the area is important. It also takes time to perfect the craft of appraising, since there is no 100% correct formula, the amount of time in the business can really make a difference between a poor appraisal versus an exceptional appraisal.

Posted by Patti Persia on October 13th, 2020 11:53 AMLeave a Comment

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August 17th, 2017 5:19 PM
A FNMA appraisal report form can’t be completed if inspection access is denied to the appraiser. If the appraiser is denied access to any area of the property, the appraiser must stop the assignment and not complete the report until access to all areas have been provided.

Posted by Patti Persia on August 17th, 2017 5:19 PMLeave a Comment

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A home appraisal is the process of evaluating a piece real estate (can be a residential, commercial or industrial building built on land) and all it’s features to come up with a value of that property. An appraisal is normally performed by a professional appraiser who is trained to provide their opinion as to the value of the real estate and its building.

A home inspection is the process whereby a home inspector examines a home and all its major components to determine the quality of the components and also provides estimates of the longevity and usefulness of the components.


Posted by Patti Persia on August 17th, 2017 5:16 PMLeave a Comment

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July 13th, 2017 11:46 AM

A home appraisal consists of these three components:

1. A Physical Examination of the Property- 
The physical inspection at the house may take an appraiser as little as 30 minutes to perform or could take as long as two to three hours. This depends on the size of the house, known as Gross Living Area (GLA) and also the design of the home. An artsy Contemporary style home takes longer to measure than a standard rectangular Colonial home. Physical visits are usually brief when a home is in average to very good condition. However the inspection can take a bit longer if the property is in fair or even poor condition as there are more things the appraiser must observe and notate.

2. Selecting Comparables - 
Next, finding the most recent/similar sales that are located approximately within a mile of the property, and that have closed within the past 6 months, are what every appraiser is seeking!!! These properties are used to establish an accurate opinion of value. The appraiser will locate the most appropriate and comparable sales to be included in his appraisal report.

3. Completing The Appraisal Report - 
After a thorough physical examination of the property and locating the best comparable sales available, the appraiser will start entering all of this data into a standard appraisal report form. Once all of the data is entered, the appraiser evaluates all of this information so he can arrive at his final estimate of market value. Fortunately, almost all residential properties require only short form reports, usually 10 pages or less. Appraisers often can complete a report in about 5 hours. Depending on the appraiser's workload and on the complexity of the property, an appraisal report should be completed and delivered to the lender in about seven to ten days



If you were a forward-thinking individualist in 1800s America, building an eight-sided abode was a great way to show it. The octagon house was a cutting-edge design at the time, believed to be a more efficient use of space, energy, and cost than the conventional square.

  T.M. Younglove Octagon House.

Read more here ... http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/octagon-houses


Question: How do appraisers account for a difference in year built? Do appraisers give an adjustment when to comps there is an age difference? 

Read more here ... http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2015/06/01/how-do-appraisers-account-for-a-difference-in-age-between-comps/?utm_content=bufferbc904&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer


June 28th, 2017 2:46 PM
Estate Settlements: A good attorney or accountant can help direct you toward the type of value needed for your estate, and a company like mine (real estate appraisals) already knows what questions to ask you. Your circumstances may be very difficult understandably, so the hope is that at least the professionals around you can help to smooth over some of the details like this so you don’t have to think too much about them.

Posted by Patti Persia on June 28th, 2017 2:46 PMLeave a Comment

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Patented in 1951, Geodesic homes are the most efficient home design on the market. They use 1/3 less lumber than traditional homes. Save an average of 30% on your heating and cooling bill. They are also almost disaster proof due to the strength of their design.

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