Appraisals & Valuation Category

How to Address Encroachments & Easements

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

One of the most common issues with real estate are boundary disputes. In GA there is no legal requirement for a survey when a property transfers, buyers have a due diligence period and any research must be done in this window of time. While most buyers fail to have a survey completed, there numerous reasons to consider purchasing one, the most obvious is to discover potential encroachments. If an encroachment is found on a survey, there are essentially five options for...Read More

East Cobb, Roswell & Alpharetta Show Marked Appreciation since 2011

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

What's old is new; Any national housing reports are nonsense in our opinion, as are reports on cities like Atlanta. It's impossible to call a market with such a large and open pool of data. We however, routinely pull data to see trends at the local level, down to the elementary school or subdivision level. There are pockets in the Metro Atlanta market that have demonstrated resiliency, three of those are East Cobb, Roswell and Alpharetta. We isolated the "upper/second" value...Read More

Appraisers Are Not Radioactive, You Can Work With Them

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The real estate crash hit the appraisal industry harder than any other. The end result has been even more controversy as many experienced appraisers left the mortgage related side and those that remained become almost "radioactive". The role of an appraiser, how they work and their relationship with agents is arguably as tempestuous as it has ever been. This is in large part to an incredible lack of understanding on how to communicate and work with an appraiser. In short, communication with appraisers is fine as long as...Read More

What is “Value in Use” & Why is it Often Different than “Value”?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The concept of what adds “value” to a home is at best, subjective. One buyer may place a high “value” on a pool while another may see that as a reason to eliminate the home from consideration. Price and cost does not always equal value and there can be any number of reasons why. The most common ones reinforce a basic truth found in all real estate; this is not an exact science and the number of variables – especially...Read More

Often Missed Value Influences on Lake Homes

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Value influences on “normal” properties are many, when buyers begin the evaluation process on secondary or vacation homes they exponentially multiply. Of course those normal concerns are there (condition, area, appeal) but due to the unique nature of vacation homes and specific desires of buyers, characteristics that are often held in a lower priority or even absent with “normal” homes become important. Lake Sidney Lanier is located in the in NE part of the greater metro Atlanta market. It is is...Read More

Should Sellers Get a Pre-Listing Appraisal?

Does having a home “pre-appraised” make a difference? Is this money well spent by the average seller? Do buyers and buyer agents care; or are pre- listing appraisals not considered credible? Will a seller provided appraisal be accepted as “impartial” by a buyer?  A few things immediately come to mind when a seller provide appraisal is pushed front and center: What is the relationship of the agent to the appraiser? Seller to the appraiser? What was the stated purpose of the appraisal? What is the...Read More

Agents and Appraisers See the Current Market Differently

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The real estate band wagon is playing loudly and the media continues to trumpet the good news about a recovery. Under the hood and on the street, the jubilation is tempered; appraisers seem to be unconvinced that this is a legitimate recovery. When asked, "What is your current level of confidence in the housing market?" 49.6% of respondents answered mild or moderately strong. 14.5% answered mild or moderately weak in the survey. The survey was completed by United States Appraisals' nationwide panel of...Read More

Hire an Appraiser as a Listing Consultant

Should a home seller get a prelisting appraisal? Only if its usefulness is kept in context, otherwise it’s likely to be a waste of money. Many times, having an appraiser as a “consultant” is far better than having them complete just an appraisal. Typically, sellers say the main reasons for ordering prelisting appraisals include: Consulting appraisers can provide significant benefit to home sellers throughout the home selling process. To get an accurate list price. In real estate, the 80/20 rule is more like...Read More

Bank of America Appraisals Reviewed in India

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Bank of America Corp has opened a unit in India to handle the work of reviewing appraisal reports as they try to rebuild their share of the U.S. mortgage market at a lower cost. Unskilled reviewers in the new Bangalore office follow checklists to determine if appraisals are complete according to a Bloomberg article. Workers in the new Bangalore office follow checklists to determine if appraisals are complete, said the people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment. The firm also eliminated jobs...Read More

Should a Home Seller Waive the Appraisal Contingency?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

A buyer waiving the appraisal contingency is occasionally seen, but what about waiving it as a seller? Opinionated sellers are out there, but how many are willing to actually put their confidence to the test and sell the home if it appraises for less than the contract price? We’ve touched on the strategy of buyer’s waiving the appraisal contingency in a very competitive market, what happens when the tables are turned? We know as we’ve had this happen. Three times in...Read More

Blowing Housing Bubbles in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Is there an Atlanta housing bubble developing? Google “housing bubble” and you will see reports both for and against. Here in metro Atlanta, we also have a split decision as several markets are active at levels not seen in years while others remain stagnant. As in the past, those Atlanta real estate markets running hot are those with strong locational appeal and well regarded, high performing schools. There are many factors at play right now that are fueling this market; taken...Read More

Is It Wise to Waive the Appraisal Contingency?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Is it wise to waive the appraisal contingency? Appraisals continues to cause aggita among many in the home buying process, is the answer to eliminate it? Current offers reflect the “now” while appraisals reflect the “then”; an inherent conflict especially in a transitional market. It was easy to see appraisal issues coming - in fact this was noted as a likely problem last fall. Waiving the appraisal contingency is done to present a more streamlined, competitive offer - one that will...Read More

Ideas to Avoid Appraisal Problems

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Appraisals continue to be a potential issue with every contract; we expect this to worsen come the Atlanta spring ’13 housing market. What if agents and sellers calmly considered options before problems arose; took a step back to think ahead? What if instead of trying to fight a losing battle after a contract is submitted, appraisers were consulted prior to the event? What if sellers went in with something to legitimately challenge a low appraisal with? Like another appraisal? Atlanta homeowners...Read More

Are Appraisers Holding Back the Recovery?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The appraisal conundrum continues to rage, we expect this is just a glimpse of what we’ll see come spring. Continued smothering appraisal underwriting, a shortage of closed sales available for use as comps and sellers expecting higher prices due to the “improving” Atlanta market will combine for a testy spring home selling season. But the apparent disconnect between appraisers and agents need not wait for spring. Appraisals have been blamed on derailing a lot of sales in recent years. In fact,...Read More

How Many Atlanta Home Sales are Lost Due to Low Appraisals?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The issue of "low appraisals" and deals being "lost" in the Atlanta real estate market because of poor appraisal quality is one that isn't going away anytime soon. Agents continue to share stories of seemingly solid Atlanta real estate agreements gone bad as a result of an appraisal that failed to support the contract price. The consequences are not pleasant and some deals will fall apart, other times sellers accept less to get the deal done, buyers add cash to increase the down payment...Read More

Do Street Names Make a Difference on Asking Prices?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The street name of a neighborhood can affect the asking price on a home, at least according to a new survey by Trulia. Trulia analyzed the median asking price per square foot among various types of address suffixes, like “Lane” and “Park.” Street addresses with the words “Boulevard,” “Place,” and “Road” were found to have higher average asking prices than homes with addresses ending in “Avenue,” “Drive,” or “Street,” according to the Trulia study. For example, homes that were located on...Read More

Appraisers Not at Fault for “Low” Appraisals

Appraisers are a maligned group, on the hit list for agents, owners, buyers and sellers. There are appraisers that shouldn't be in the field - just as there are agents that should be either. What needs to be remembered though, is that appraisers do not act in a vacuum; requirements and oversight come down from higher. It's easy to fire shots at appraisers; it's also a waste of time. The target of the uproar should be the underwriting process, loan regulators...Read More

Are Appraisers ‘Scared’ to Report Rising Prices?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Issues with “low” appraisals continue to haunt the real estate recovery and they remain a thorn in the side of the real estate industry. The National Association of Realtors polled its members and found that 33 percent of agents had appraisal problems during May ’12. In Atlanta, problems with appraisals are exacerbated by the constant bashing from national data services like Case-Shiller. They note that Atlanta was the worst performing city they track form 3/11 to 3/12 with a 17.7...Read More

County Official and Appraisers Investigated by the State in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

  Appraisal issues have been at the center of the real estate boom and bust. In the current environment, appraisal issues continue to be front and center when contracts go bad. Much of problem can be attributed to the “help” provided by Washington but just as much blame belongs on the industry itself; incompetent, lazy and dishonest appraisers remain in the field contributing to the problems.  Well perhaps in Atlanta, some positive movement is starting. The AJC broke a story that yet...Read More

Spilling Tears Over Bad Appraisals – Stop Already

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Can the real estate industry please stop spilling tears over bad appraisals - stop already! Katie Cosner of AGBeat posted a well done article about "bad appraisals", hitting the very same things I've been hammering for years. The disconnect between agents and appraisers (and now builders as well) inexplicably remains. To be sure, variables exist with any appraisal and they are subjective to a point - but one thing really is central to every appraisal - COMPARABLE DATA. If agents,...Read More

Increase Your Home’s Value $24K by Adding a Fireplace – yeah sure

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Thanks NAHB for this heapin' helpin' of dumb; this "survey" they completed will only add to the disconnect between appraisers, agents and buyers/sellers. Everyone wants "numbers" when it comes to housing, but assigning a "value" to home differences based upon NATIONAL or even REGIONAL "surveys and studies" does no one any good. Considering this "study" with any degree of legitimacy is as wise as this officer inspecting weapons. I know the study is filled with disclaimers...and I'm certain as much attention will...Read More

Decoding the Wide Variations in House Appraisals

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Real estate appraisals continue to be a major hurdle in this market. This NY Times article relates a situation that many buyers, sellers and owners have; the wide variation in getting what is considered a "fair or reasonable" appraisal. I recently decided to refinance a condominium my wife and I owned in Florida and quickly got caught up in the frustrating and often baffling world of real estate appraisals. The appraisal for the condo initially came in at exactly the dollar amount...Read More

Appraisal Problems? Thank Washington’s Micromanagment

Once again appraisers are in the cross hairs, the incessant screaming is that we're "killing deals" and hampering any real estate recovery chatter is heating up. Low appraisals, incorrect appraisals or appraisers not being familiar with the area in which they work are the topics of conversation around the real estate water coolers. Most of it is total nonsense for several reasons: Appraiser fees have been significantly cut while requirements have increased. Now more than ever to make a living they...Read More

A Low Appraisal, Now What?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As if there weren't enough land mines to dodge and punji pits to avoid in the current Atlanta real estate market, we continue to see a steady increase in the number of appraisal issues. Low appraisals are most common with refinance loans but over the last year appraisal challenges continue to increase on the sales side. The struggling Atlanta real estate market is similar to the national one; 10 percent of the nation’s Realtors said they had sales canceled because appraisals...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate Market Still Hammered by Foreclosures

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The funk remains on the Atlanta real estate market as distressed homes and foreclosures continue to be a drag on the recovery. Of course, let's not forget the continued anemic economy and abhorrent attitude of banks and lenders as they enjoy the handouts that they received. Inman News just published an article specifically about the current state of the Atlanta real estate market, I was fortunate enough to be an integral part of that along with a few other experienced brokers...Read More

You Are Not Smarter Than the Market

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There are an infinite number of ways to say “don’t be stupid”. You can tell a kid “that stove is hot” but unfortunately, many times the lesson isn’t learned until that kid gets a third degree burn on his hand. Here’s the real estate equivalent warning – “You are not smarter than the market”. In the last two weeks, two sellers tried to out flank the local Atlanta real estate market; they are now both licking their wounds and realizing that...Read More

Marietta Foreclosure “OJ’ed” w/Knife & Hammer

Here's a Marietta foreclosure home that has several of the normal issues - mold, extensive water damage, rats chewing through siding, drywall damage..... The take away here is the refrigerator and knife work completed by the former owner...toss in the smashed patio door and destroyed lower level bathroom for fun. The outside video is worth a look as it shows clearly the impact of water constantly running down driveways and impacting the garage doors and siding. This is a home that...Read More

Buckets O’Cat Litter – an Especially Disgusting Foreclosure

In keeping with my policy of "sharing the fun", get a load of this Atlanta area foreclosure. They seemed to have been fans of cats - not fans of clean. There were many overflowing litter boxes, multiple empty buckets of cat litter and a few heavy duty trash bags filled with used cat litter laying around. But like salt goes with pepper, over flowing litter boxes goes nicely with cat hair and filth. Cruise this video and try to figure out...Read More

Dirty Diapers & Moldy Atlanta Foreclosure Videos

Never a dull moment when it comes to appraising homes. Here are a couple of videos of homes that buyers interested in "foreclosure gold" may want to watch, this is what some look like before they hit the market. Keep in mind, these are sold "as is - where is" and no disclosures are provided. Here's a "typical" distressed home with all the expected trappings....lots of trash and garbage, in need of significant work; pretty much run of the mill. The...Read More

What’s in a Name? A New Start for Murder Heights

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

What's in a name? The real estate industry deserves an extended flogging for the creative abuse of the truth in so many way....pull out any community description and read about "gorgeous water views" (aka sewerage treatment plants) or "adjacent to expansive greenspace" (aka large cemetery) and "walk to public transportation" (or just stick you arm out the window and lose it to the train). Baltimore builder Lawrence Vitali isn't one to play word games; he's a no nonsense, tough businessman who calls...Read More

Atlanta Foreclosures, Dog Feces & Just Good Ole’ Vandalism

I’ve taken to carrying a Flip video camera in my truck and I’ve started to shoot the more “interesting” things I see while out appraising homes. Over the years I’ve seen some crazy things from Sakrete (quick set concrete mix) poured into toilets, to flooded homes, to homes literally axed apart, to homes set up to hydroponically grow pot, to one of the best to this day – a townhouse in Albany NY that had about two feet of soil...Read More

Rat Infested Lake Home Foreclosure

Over the last several years of this real estate slump, the idea of buying foreclosure homes for “pennies on the dollar” has been planted firmly in the minds of many buyers. Like cockroaches, the skeevy infomercial masters altered their DNA and started pumping out “can’t miss programs” to buy and flip these homes. Cable and network news toss out the 30 second “buy distressed homes and save thousands” blasts on a regular basis. And don’t get me started on the...Read More

Foreclosures Cranking Up Again

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The foreclosure train appears to be starting to move again, GMAC and BOA are restarting the engines. James Olecki, a spokesperson for GMAC Mortgage’s parent company Ally Financial said his company has found “no evidence of inappropriate foreclosures to date” and plans to move forward with taking possession of properties where borrowers have failed to make payments on the mortgage. BOA says it has found no instances in which a homeowner was wrongly foreclosed upon and has begun the process...Read More

Refinance and Purchase Appraisals – Not the Same

So is an appraisal an appraisal? That depends. This post will focus on the subtle (not so subtle in my opinion) differences in the “types” of appraisal. Although all are “appraisals”, the reason for an appraisal to be completed can influence the outcome.  Refinance appraisals typically reflect an opinion of value based upon the most recent and comparable sales. Lenders are no longer permitted to influence the appraiser; there will not be a “target” number. Obviously the market has shifted and...Read More

Tony Soprano and Appraisals

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Most of you know that in addition to being a broker I’m also a certified appraiser. Clearly appraisers played a key role in bringing about this horrible market, the streets should still be running red with the heads of those that participated. Of course this didn’t happen, what did was the installation of “management firms” designed to “help insulate” appraisers from lender pressure. When Washington wants to “help”….run.  This is a good article but one only needs to head to Atlanta...Read More

Frozen Foreclosures and Wasted Tax Dollars

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Here's a snapshot of your tax dollars at work....I was assigned this property to appraise as part of the foreclosure process. I completed the "drive by" appraisal in Dec, just after this home was foreclosed and vacated. Several weeks later (early Jan) I was asked to complete the interior inspection and finalize the appraisal. Early Jan brought record lows to the Atlanta area, the results of which were clear as I walked up to this home. Despite being vacated some 45...Read More