Thu Feb 25 13:05:01 UTC 2010

House Prices Fall Modestly in the Fourth Quarter

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), released the new fourth quarter figures today and one of the significant findings were as follows: *  Of the nine Census Divisions, the Mountain and Pacific Divisions experienced the most significant price movements in the latest quarter.  While prices fell 1.3 percent in the Mountain Division, typical price increases were 1.5 percent in the Pacific Division So, it appears things are looking up slightly based on the FHFA's report.  FHFA analyzes the combined mortgage records of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which form the nation's largest database of conventional, conforming mortgage transactions.  The conforming loan limit for mortgages purchased since the beginning of 2006 has been $417,000. To see the report in its entirety, simple type in the following URL in your browser: http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=85. You can also email FHFAinfo@FHFA.gov for a printed copy of the report. Note:  The next quarterly report which will include the data for the first quarter of 2010 will be released May 25, 2010.  The nex monthly index will be released earlier and on March 23, 2010. This is a good resource when looking to see how the market is doing not only in Flagstaff, but around the country as well.

Thu Sep 17 13:15:47 UTC 2009

Geographic Competency

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Geographic Competency has really been in the headlines and blogs alot lately.  I know of some appraisers who belong to as many as 5 MLS databases and do appraisals in excess of 2 hours or more away.  I have seen some out of the area appraisals lately and they definitely need to work on their knowledge of the markets they work in.  I had a review done lately by a PHX appraiser and he used two bank owned property sales and one seller motivated sale that was priced like a short sale...all because they were from the past 90 days perhaps?  How can those be truly comparable? I won't go out of my area and refer other appraisers every week that I have met in continuing education classes just trying to assist the companies with appraisers within the market area they need assignments done. And finally, in speaking of competency........you have got to check out the following weird and wild buildings!  All would definitely be FUN appraisals, without a doubt! http://my.opera.com/nitinjadhav/blog/show.dml/2978280

Wed May 27 00:48:50 UTC 2009

FHA & Declining Markets

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Well, like my mother used to say, if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything.  So....for those of you watching my post.......I have been very quiet.  The media seems to say enough for all of us! Anyway, in the interest of keeping everyone informed, just when I was grasping the new HVCC and the 1004MC form, then HUD goes and adds more to the "mix" Hidden in Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2009-09 - dated 3/23/09 regarding HUD's adoption of the 1004MC Form, HUD explaines how they want their appraisals completed if the subject is in a declining market.  It is important to note that the new 1004MC offers insight and guidance to lenders and how the appraiser supports his or her interpretation of the subject property being in a declining market.  Here are the changes an appraiser must now start focusing on when completing an FHA appraisal in a declining market: *Must have at least 2 comparable sales that have closed within the past 90 days.  If this is not possible, then the appraiser MUST explain this lack of recent data. *Must include a minimum of 2 active and/or pending listings in the sales grid. *The appraiser is to insure that the active listings and/or pending sales have been exposed to the market for a reasonable period to avoid over-priced indicators. *Active listings MUST be adjusted for typical list-to-sale price ratios for the market. *Include the original list price, revised list prices and dates, and total days on market for all listings used. *Reconcile all comparable's closed sales, pending sales, and active listings.  If the active listings and pending sales adjust out lower than the closed sales, the appraiser should consider time adjustments to the comparable sales. and finally... *All data from the local MLS must be verified by a second source (this has always been required) And.......you wonder why it takes us sooooo long to get our appraisal orders done?!?!

Wed Apr 01 00:09:54 UTC 2009

HVCC Is Coming!

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Things are constantly changing so fast it makes you want to just unplug your TV, radios, and sit in a quiet place until things settle down!  Which brings us to the HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct).  When we first heard about it back in March of 2008, it seemed like we all received an onslaught of emails and newsletter "blips" about the pros and cons practically every day!  So, we strived to stay on top and keep current with all the constant changes. I know I have been inundated with requests to "explain" the HVCC and what it means in a "nutshell", so thanks to a terrific seminar yesterday with Jay K Delich, SRA, SCRP, IFA, which I was fortunate to attend, here it is: HVCC Here are a few major points: *CMA's and Comp Requests will not be allowed. *Mortgage brokers will not be allowed to order appraisals. *Mortgage brokers or loan officers cannot request specific appraisers. *COD payment for appraisals will not be allowed. *Value pressure on appraisers will not be allowed. *Owner's values or hoped for values cannot be communicated *Blacklisting" cannot be done without notice to the appraiser *"Value Shopping" by the lender is not allowed. *Withholding timely payment is prohibited. *Borrowers must be supplied a copy of any appraisal. *Required 10% re-appraisal or review of reports. *Lenders will be held accountable for appraisal quality. *LENDERS will be REQUIRED to report appraisers to State Boards of Real Estate Appraisers if appraiser misconduct is suspected. And, finally, the lender MUST provide a copy of the appraisal to the borrower not less than 3 (three) BUSINESS days prior to closing.

Wed Dec 31 20:36:54 UTC 2008

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Well, the Christmas and Holiday Season is a special time for each and every one of us to reflect upon what has transpired over the past year in all facets of our lives.  You know, the foreclosures, the loss of jobs, etc. Our business certainly was a huge part of it, but soooo much more should be considered which is much more valuable, such as our family and friends. As December 2008 comes to a close, we all know one thing for sure; this has been an excruciatingly tough year for everyone.  It has been a huge test of courage, endurance and resiliience right across the continent.  It takes great strength to overcome these challenges along with a well-focused positive mindset. Well, we're all still here smiling and reading others blog posts and posting comments of our own which has helped us all to survive and "pull through" and we are all stronger, better and more willing to provide that extra customer service that seemed to get lost a couple of years ago.  We have gotten smarter too, letting sellers know when prices are unrealistic, helping buyers obtain first time financing and really bringing our best foot forward! Let's hope the new year will bring peace, prosperity, and despite all present market conditions, we will overcome all of it together, arm in arm, and rise to the top triumphantly.  My goal for the upcoming year is "Everything will be fine in 2009!"  What's yours? I wish you and yours the very best of everything in 2009!

Fri Jul 11 19:38:28 UTC 2008

HVCC: Home Valuation Code of Conduct

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

By now, your've probably heard alot about the HVCC, which sprang out of a March 3rd agreement reached between the Attorney General of New York (Andrew Cuomo), Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and is scheduled to take effect by next January. In the settlement agreement, those parties agreed to address issues of appraisal coercion and independence in exchange for the Attorney General's office terminating its investigation.  The agreement stated that the HVCC would be the standard of conduct following by the parties, and would be complemented and overseen by a newly formed Institute.  This Institute, called Independent Valuation Protection Institute or IVPI would be funded jointly by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a period of 28 months and would maintain a complaint hotline for appraisers, consumers, and other parties. The main goal of the HVCC is eliminating mortgage broker-ordered appraisals, prohibiting appraiser coercion, and reducing the use of appraisals prepared in-house or through captive appraisal management companies in underwriting mortgages. At first glance, it may seem like an appraiser's dream, as both the HVCC and the agreement lead off with languange stating the need for quality appraisals completed free of any coercion on the part of the lender or any other party, for that matter.  But of course, you need to look further.  Just take a look into many of the business periodicals and online forums which clearly reflect anxiety about the agreement.  Many fear that the HVCC will hurt small businesses without really solving the mortgage industry's problems.  Other concerns include the possible downsizing or even dismantling of lenders' in-house appraisal departments, loss of work by appraisers whose business depends heavily on brokers and/or lenders, and increasing bureaucratic costs if appraisal management companies gain importance. Well, all of the parties have some work to do.  If , the agreement instructs, they consider comments, criticisms, recommendations, etc., obtained during the comment period in good faith, then a positive win win outcome should emerge.  Until then, I along with the industry, await......

Sat May 10 21:59:18 UTC 2008

Mortgage Fraud "Exposed"

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Sorry I haven't written in a while, but my beloved dog, XENA, was very ill and passed away this past Monday evening.  It was the saddest day of my life.  She gave my husband and I fourteen great years together and we miss her very much.  I am grateful we were blessed to have her in our life.  I'm also grateful for the lessons the animals teach us 'humans'.  The world needs more unconditional love and honesty. Which brings me to my point.  Check out the FBI's website at http://www.fbi.gov/page2/dec05/mortgagefraud121405.htm which displays an interesting photo of a home in Detroit, inflated by flipping, that sold for $25,000 one day, and a whopping $250,000 the next.  You would not want to have been the buyer or the lender on this one!  Just wait til you see it for yourself.  While you're there, take a look at some of the other photographs "exposed" on the website as well. I am glad these dishonest appraisers were indicted and I'm glad to see that the Federal Government is stepping up enforcement of mortgage frauds involving inflated prices for real estate. Maybe they should have gotten a dog instead of a license!

Sat May 10 21:27:34 UTC 2008

Pricing a Home for Sale Based on Statistical Information

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Last month, the Flagstaff Women's Council of Realtor's asked me to speak at their monthly meeting.  The topic, "Persuading sellers to price a home for sale according to statistical information based on appraising methods", really showed me how serious they are about truly helping their sellers price their home right.  I have to admit I really put together some great information for them and they have provided feedback that they have been more successful with their listing presentations and in pricing properties. I have been asked to do several appraisals to establish a listing price and I appreciate the opportunity to assist the local realtors.  As part of the overall marketing strategy, an appraisal really will give the ultimate credibility to your asking price.  You need defensible and supportable documentation that provides an accurate determination of a property's value in order to provide an equitable solution to all parties.

Thu Mar 20 00:24:14 UTC 2008

Home Valuations Flatten Out

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Hello Again!   Sorry it's been awhile, but with the interest rates continually going up and down, alot of people are refinancing........and yes........I've had several REO appraisals to do too!  The Arizona Daily Sun is reporting that after two years of double-digit increases, many local neighborhoods see values decline.  What's interesting, is the local assessor's office is reporting that the West side of town is down, but the east side is up!  That's exactly what I have been trying to tell people for months, that it all depends on what market area you are in.  So many people read the "doom and gloom" articles and then assume that it is city or state wide and that just isn't true.  What I'm finding is that alot of the newer subdivisions with an oversupply of homes are where valuations have gone down significantly and the more established neighborhoods are the ones holding steady.Assessor's Office Appraisers try to compare sales of similar homes from the SAME neighborhood, based on data from sales affidavits, to get an idea of home market values.  They then aim for a full cash value that is about 80 percent of the actual market value, meaning the value of someone's home listed on their property valuation card.  Property tax rates are then adjusted so that taxing entities collect only what state law says they are entitled to. So....this year's essentially flat valuations mean tax rates may stay flat too.  New construction will help local agencies raise additional revenues without raising tax rates.

Thu Jan 10 12:54:51 UTC 2008

Property Management Stories

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Happy New Year Everyone!   Did alot of you make some resolutions already?   How many have you kept or broken?   LOL!Well, as for me, I made several important ones this year.  Some professional and some personal and of course, they are equally difficult of course!  I made a vow to keep attending as much education as possible to stay on top of the Real Estate & Real Estate Appraisal Industry this year and stay appraised of what my local market is up to, so when out of state referrals continue to call me, I can give them up-to-date information at a moment's notice.My personal goal this year is to finish two of my unfinished tasks, one of which I could use your help.  I did property management for over 25 years and decided that alot of new property managers as well as seasoned managers would LOVE to have a quick reference guide for those urgent decisions and details they have to handle everyday.  For instance, what do you do if you have a murder or death in your rental property?  Do you know the steps to take?  Or, what about the difficult troubled tenant who wakes you up in the middle of the night with bomb threats and is always in the local newspaper?  Yes, these have happened to me and I still remember thinking back then, "I sure wish I knew somewhere to look for answers to this!"  So, here I am years later, the book is almost done and I have one section left unfinished, which is bizarre rental stories from other property managers and brokers and agents that would help others reading this quick reference guide.  But please, don't submit your story if you don't want it to be published and let me know if you want your first name and city mentioned or how you want to be recognized, if at all!  I have some people who even gave me their cellular phone number to publish, so if a future reader wants to call and ask questions, they can get ahold of him!  Now that is dedication!!  I can't wait to hear from you so I can finish this book !Oh, and that second unfinished task is to complete the family scrapbook/cookbook to pass down to family members to enjoy in the years to come and that is moving along VERY SLOWLY.In 2008, may you have Friends that care, Love to share, Health to spare, and Buyers and Sellers to get you THERE ...(to your own goals this year)!

Tue Dec 25 23:09:55 UTC 2007

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday!  I hope this day found you with your family and friends which are much more important than our work, aren't they?  Then, of course, we have the upcoming NEW YEAR.   What will it bring?   There are so many changes in the market, even FHA and VA, (long standing government programs) are back in full swing.  Well, depending on how long you have been in the business, you may have never written or presented a conctract with one of these two types of government financing.  Alot of people in real estate who have been around awhile share their awful experiences and how "difficult it was to close!"  That's really not true at all.  There are just some basics that HAVE to be done such as full documentation of everything including employment, pay stubs and the infamous W2's.  Self-employed borrowers have to typically show at minimum two years of their recent federal tax returns.  So, borrower's need to be prepared and have their recent bank statements and all their pertinent documentation ready and available.  That way, you keep the financing end of it very simple and it's a nice surprise when you don't ACTUALLY need all the documentation in the final stages.  You know the old saying, be prepared and you shall not fear!   The same goes with government financing........just have all your forms in order and it will be "a breeze!"As for me, one of my new year goals is to obtain my FHA training to complete FHA appraisal assignments as the limits have been raised and another raise is proposed, so I can assist those obtaining this financing opportunity!Here's to you and I wish you a PROSPEROUS New Year!

Mon Nov 26 09:11:22 UTC 2007

Manufactured Housing Conversions

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Well, the past two weeks have really been eventful.   Just when I thought I had experienced about every housing type out there, I recently received new information I feel compelled to pass along.   I have done appraisals on several hybrids, (manufactured housing with stick built additions), and they are not atypical for our area as several people have them.    About a year ago, I had to do an appraisal for one that was converted to a single family residential property.   As a matter of fact, they even produced a letter from the County stating such and they were appropriately placed in the higher tax bracket.  I completed the appraisal, attaching a copy of the letter and the property sold a couple of months later.    Well, in today's market, it's much more difficult to find financing on manufactured homes, let alone hybrids!   I completed an appraisal for one such propery who had been told by 4 different lenders since June of this year, that refinancing the property would be "no problem!"  However, in every single case, the final outcome was the loan was NOT approved.   So, after being informed of this, I decided to contact the powers that be and found out that a Manufactured Home is always considered a Manufactured home no matter what re-classification may occur by the local Assessor's Office.  It appears that once a Manufactured home is listed in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac database, that it must always be considered a manufactured improvement regardless if the property added thousands of square feet of livable area!  The only way that the manufactured property can TRULY be reclassified, is if it is removed from the property and the property owner has to sign an affidavit indicating such!  I also was told that once a re-classification is completed in our county, it can never be reversed, so now the poor property owner who thinks that they are improving their property for the better are really hurting themselves by paying the higher tax and decreasing their financing opportunities.    I would love to hear about any experiences you have had with "Hybrids" that have been "Re-classified".

Tue Oct 23 20:05:52 UTC 2007

Mortgage Fraud Class

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend Mr. Richard Hagar's class.  Mr. Hagar has decades of real estate experience and is now using his knowledge to instruct the lending industry, agents, prosecutors, investigators, and state agencies.  He consults with the Assistant Attorneys General, as well as provides litigation support in State and Federal cases regarding real estate and mortgage fraud.  He is also the co-author of the Washington Mortgage Brokers Practices Act (RCW  19.146).  I was so greatful for him taking the time to put together this class!The all day course covered the following topics:   (1)  What triggers a State and FBI investigation; (2) Who's being investigated for fraud;  (3) The names of people convicted in the area;  (4)  Defining real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, and lender pressure:   (5)  Learning how to make small changes in your business that will reduce your risk;  (6)  Understanding and recognizing a fraudulent transaction;  (7)  How computers are now being employed to locate fraudulent transactions by agents - learn how it works.So, in general, the state and the FBI are investigating Real Estate Agents, Appraisers, and Mortgage Brokers and it is IMPERATIVE that you know what they are looking for!  I found out that some agents are making mistakes without even realizing it!  And...then they end up going to jail!  One gal was the top-selling agent for the past several years and she no longer has a license!!  To be honest, I couldn't believe what was going on in our industry!  If you have the opportunity to attend any of his seminars...........make it a point to go!  You learn quite alot of valuable information and receive continuing education credit at the same time.  Fraud is becoming a major problem in many areas.  Numerous criminal investigators are underway looking at agents, appraisers and mortgage insiders.  This class provided factual information, examples, and knowledge on how to identify the common mistakes that professionals are making every day.  This is a great opportunity to learn where the boundaries lie.  For information on upcoming seminars/courses:  see www.richardhagar.com

Thu Sep 27 14:55:04 UTC 2007

For Sale By Owner, (FSBO) Appraisals

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

As you've likely discovered, selling your home yourself and not using a realtor is hard work.  Let me tell you how I can help you sell it faster and for the right price.A professional appraisal can shorten your time-to-sale and make sale negotiations easier.  It can give credibility to your asking price and can effectively end haggling.  When you have a current appraisal on your home, prospective buyers feel confident in your residence and in their ability to secure the financing to buy your home.A professional appraisal is an independent third party's opinion of your home's value.  When you show the home, the appraisal is a concrete selling tool, showing potential buyers that your are serious about your price and about selling.I have several years experience appraising homes in Coconino & Yavapai county and I have a very good understanding of the local markets.  I'd love to discuss how an appraisal can help you sell your home more quickly. So, if you are determined NOT to utilize a realtor, which I always suggest first because Realtors are really marketing your home to all the other realtors to get your home sold, then I look forward to talking to you about your home and helping you price it right. And, if you decide to use a realtor, then I look forward to talking to BOTH of you!

Tue Sep 25 13:07:44 UTC 2007

Industry Tools & Data to Monitor Current Market Conditions

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

According to Fannie Mae (FNMA) which can be found at Internet site:  (www.efanniemae.com(, the following applies to appraisers.  "It is expected that the appraiser will utilize generally accepted appraisal standards and the appraisal report forms which require the appraiser to research, analyze, and report on the factors in the neighborhood that may affect the market value or marketability of the properties in the market area."       FNMA goes on to state that the appraiser is ultimately responsible for leveraging industry tools and data to monitor the market conditions to ensure that the appraisal reflects an accurate indication of value.  FNMA provides several possible sources for information to aid in the process to address market values and/or supply and demand.  These data sources include OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Oversight) index (www.OFHEO.gov), NAR (National Association of Realtors) (www.realtor.org) statistics on changes in median prices and S&P/Case Shiller Index (www2.standardandpoors.com).  There are others available, but perhaps not on a national basis.  It is the appraiser's responsibility to utilize those data sources that are deemed to be appropriate and to utilize the information to develop an informed value conclusion.  The value conclusion would need to consider the current market and the potential of an over supply of dwellings being available and the possibility of value decreases.

Tue Aug 28 16:06:15 UTC 2007

Reasons to get an appraisal

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Every year, countless people in the United States buy, sell, or refinance their own slice of the American Dream.  Most, if not all, of these transactions include a simple line item for an appraisal.  It has become an understood and accepted part of a real estate transaction.  "Let's bring in the expert and make sure we're not spending too much on this property!"But this isn't the ONLY reason to get an appraisal.  There are a variety of reasons to obtain a real estate appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser.   Some examples are: Purchase of a Home, Refinance or get a Home Equity Loan, PMI Removal, Divorce Settlement, Estate Liquidation, Relocation, Home Improvement Evaluation, and of course, selling a home.   That's why I stay in contact with the real estate agents involved in every transaction to see what comparable sales they utilized to price their listings and work with them to provide a defensible supportable valuation.  Why anyone would rely on a computer to tell them how much a property is worth is beyond me?!?

Thu Aug 23 00:37:41 UTC 2007

Appraisals Important in Today's Real Estate

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

An appraisal as part of your overall marketing strategy will give the ultimate credibility to your asking price.  You'll have fewer hassles with offers and counter-offers.  Plus, you won't be selling yourself short on unique properties without an accurate and current appraisal.It's your best line of defense in staying ahead of the competition, by knowing what's sold in the immediate area and what's truly comparable to your listing.  I'm happy to answer any questions regarding appraisals in today's market.  As a matter of fact, I offer a $100.00 discount to any referrals from ActiveRain!

Wed Aug 22 09:31:01 UTC 2007

Flagstaff Attorneys Utilize Appraisers Everyday

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

As an attorney handling a divorce or asset division, you need solid defensible documentation that provides an accurate determination of a property's value in order to provide an equitable solution to all the parties.

Thu Aug 16 17:22:41 UTC 2007

Selling A Home

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Whether you choose to sell your home on your own or use the assistance of a real estate agent (which is what I always suggest), a professional appraisal can help you or your clients make a better educated decision when determining your selling price.  This is because the appraiser has no vested interest in what amount the house sells for.  It's easy for an appraiser to step in and give you the information to assist you in making YOUR decision using current up-to-date market data.

Wed Aug 15 16:52:58 UTC 2007

Finally....

Posted by: Dusty Rhoton

Well, after 4 1/2 years with one appraisal company..........I have finally went out on my own!  But there is soooo much to do! ....Purchase software......notify clients of the change.........but everything will be fine as long as I stay TRUE to my ethics and professionalism, right?  You know what they say, "Watch your character.....it becomes your destiny!"  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!