Alternative Appraisals Cleveland Appraisal Industry & Trends

Alternative Appraisals: Curbside Appraisals, Drive-By Appraisals, Desktop Appraisals, Hybrid…

Due to COVID-19, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Accepting Alternative Appraisals Until May 17th, 2020

On March 23rd the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, released a rule directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow alternative appraisals as a result of the coronavirus outbreak through May 17th, 2020.  (FHFA News Release)
"To allow for homes to be bought, sold, and refinanced as our nation deals with the challenges of the coronavirus, the Enterprises will leverage appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages" the news release reads.
The FHFA failed to define what "alternative appraisals" specifically are, leaving most in the industry to assume the concept is clear enough and that an appraisal without an interior inspection is the safest measures for both the home owners and the appraisers.  Alternative appraisals could be either drive-by appraisals, desktop appraisals, hybrid appraisals or a curbside appraisal.  At Fast Appraisals our team of Cleveland home appraisers has been efficiently delivering alternative appraisal products for years. They typically have a much faster turn-around time and cost less so are usually the preferred valuation approach for tax appeal appraisals and appraisals needed for probate, estate valuation or divorce.

Alternative Appraisal Products Safer for Coronavirus Concerns and Include Appraiser's Expertise - AVMs Do Not

An alternative appraisal report, like a desktop appraisal, drive-by appraisal or curbside appraisal is prepared with the same comparable sales data and adjustments to derive at the market value as a complete appraisal - however in a drive-by appraisal the exterior photos are taken from the street and in a desktop appraisal the photos are pulled from online resources available to appraisers - in both cases, no physical contact is made with the customer. In a curbside appraisal, the appraisers at Cleveland Home Appraisals coordinate with the customer to use FaceTime on the company tablets to get a clear picture of the interior and exterior of the home. Our appraisers offer virtual appraising with the FaceTime app for customers that have iPhones, iPads, Zoom or another videotelephony service they can use to connect with our appraisers. The contact person walks around house, directed by the appraiser while the appraiser takes screenshots. Our appraisers include screen shots from the FaceTime appraisal in the alternative appraisal report that can help justify relevant adjustments made.   The customer can also include photos or other elements that can be verified if they feel more information is needed to assist the appraiser in calculating the most accurate market value.

AVMs Not Considered Evidence-Based Alternative Appraisal Products

AVMs, an automated valuation model, does not include the expertise and knowledge of an appraiser and although they can be used by lenders to get a quick idea of market data, they do not incorporate on site property inspections, exterior property inspections or a licensed/certified appraisers expertise of the nuances in each town and city in our Greater Cleveland Akron area.  AVMs are likely not included as an "alternative appraisal" product because of their lack of accuracy and the availability of more accurate, evidence-based, market valuations by a licensed/certified appraiser with the more accurate alternative appraisal products like desktop appraisals, drive-by appraisals and curbside / virtual appraisals.

Cleveland Home Appraisals Offers Reliable Appraisal Alternatives

Since the coronavirus concerns have shaken-up the industry, mortgage lenders and stakeholders are encouraged to move forward, with prudence, to use reliable  " appraisal alternatives." Although many Cleveland and Akron area appraisers may not be equipped to offer these appraisal alternative products, the appraisers at Cleveland Home Appraisals are experienced and proficient at fast turn-times and reliable valuations whether you choose a desktop appraisal, drive-by appraisal, hybrid appraisal, curbside appraisal or any modification of a virtual appraisal without physical contact.  Call our appraisal team at  216-932-4663 or fill out our appraisal order form to request a quote and turn around time.
Appealing Property Tax Bankruptcy Appraisals

Expert Witness Testimony: 4 Tips for Appraisers Going to…

At Fast Appraisals we have a lot of respect for all our fellow real estate appraisers and we know that going to court to provide expert witness testimony for an appraisal report you prepared can be very intimidating.  I’m in and out of court a few times a month to provide testimony on appraisals we’ve prepared for tax appeals, bankruptcies and divorce and although I like the break-up of normal appraiser monotony, I see other appraisers who look petrified or distressed, so I’ve prepared a few tips for fellow appraisers being called to testify on one of their reports.  (Inspired by Appraisal for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Providing Expert Witness Testimony, providing testimony against another appraiser with a very different value.)

1) Use Professional Courtesy

Don’t attack the other appraiser. Instead, focus on analysis of the other report – the facts and experiences. In my case I had actually talked with the other appraiser prior to the hearing in the waiting room. I have a lot of respect for our appraiser peers and he didn’t want to even be there. And although we’re two people with conflicting agendas, meaning we’re both explaining why our report is more credible, it’s best to remain professional and there’s no need to take things personal. I actually don’t mind going to court at all – I consider it part of my professional outreach and appreciate the change in scenery from time to time.

2) Expert Witness Testimony

As appraisers we are not obligated to testify as an expert witness as part of providing the report. We are the most qualified to testify about the report we prepared and I would recommend you do, but make sure to get paid as an expert witness. We don’t have to show up to court without a subpoena and if we are subpoenaed we still get paid as an expert witness. If we are not getting paid as an expert witness, we are obligated to only discuss the report in front of us from a factual standpoint. However, the party requesting your support on their behalf should be happy to pay you a professional rate. In this case neither one of was was subpoenaed and the other party, if they did not show up (on three days notice) would have either resulted in a continuance and long delays or they would have had to go without their expertise.

3) Have Confidence in Your Appraisal Report

As long as a credible, quality, appraisal report is provided from the beginning, we as appraisers should have confidence in supporting our decisions in court. Remember, it’s not our job to arrive at a predetermined value but to look at all the data and help people make decisions to move on and resolve issues – whether it’s to appeal tax values, settle a divorce, an estate or a bankruptcy. The system, although not perfect, seems to work very well.

4) Be Prepared but Not Over-Prepared

Overall, knowing what to expect is important to helping the hearing go smooth. Prepare yourself mentally to be a confident witness who’s objective is to deliver helpful information for the court to determine the value of the property. But don’t over-prepare or over-analyze your report or beat yourself up or second guess a decision to use a comp or make an adjustment. Just relax and explain why you made the decisions you made that resulted in the value you delivered. In this case when I didn’t have the answers in front of me or on the top of my head, I simply said so. I did feel sympathy for my peer in this case. It was his first time appearing in court as an expert witness on his own appraisal report and he knew my credentials were superior than his in this particular case – which can certainly establish you as a superior witness when it’s one expert’s opinion against another.

Related Posts Discussing Court Appearances:

Appraisal for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Providing Expert Witness Testimony.

The Property Tax Appeal Process: An Appraiser’s Perspective

Divorce Appraisal in Cleveland Divorce Appraisal

Do You Need a Home Appraisal for Your Divorce?

Appraisal for DivorceThe process of going through a divorce is generally not pleasurable – but assessing the value of your property doesn’t have to be a hurdle.  Although a divorce will require a professional assessment of what your marital property is worth, the property valuation for your divorce can be a simple process.  At Cleveland Home Appraisals (aka FAST Appraisals) we have been working with home owners throughout Northeast Ohio – including Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Medina, Lorain and Summit counties to provide quality home appraisal reports in divorce cases for many years.

Expert Testimony – Divorce Appraisal

The majority of home valuations we deliver at Cleveland Home Appraisals for the divorce process are completed quickly and without the need for a court appearance.  However, when a court appearance is necessary, our certified appraisers also deliver expert divorce appraisal testimony where we support our reports at a hearing and/or with additional supporting market valuation data.

Although we work on a number of divorce case appraisals and most are not contested, whether the case is contested or collaborative, Cleveland Home Appraisals (also doing business as FAST Appraisals) consistently gathers all the information possible to present the most thorough report.

Multiple Valuations: Marriage, Property Improvements and Divorce

A recent divorce case we worked on in Cuyahoga county required multiple valuations over the course of the marriage.

1.  Property Value at the Time of the Marriage:  Assessing the property value at the time of the marriage requires research to determine a Retrospective Appraisal, or the value of the property based on a date in the past.

2.  Value of Improvements Made During Marriage:  Determining the value of improvements made during the time of the marriage will involve gathering details of all home improvements made and the impact they would have on the value of the property.  The value of home improvements are typically more difficult for parties to agree on and can seem more subjective, however when our certified home appraisers provide supportive, detailed valuations and adjustments, the data can be compelling.

3.  Value of Property at Time of Divorce:  Whether one of the parties is keeping the home, or the property is being sold to divide proceeds, an appraisal of the home’s market value at the time of the divorce will likely be required .

Appraisal to Determine if Home Can be Sold

Lastly, a recent divorce appraisal case for Cleveland Home Appraisals was in order to determine if the home owned by the couple could be sold for an amount that would cover mortgages and fees.  The couple going through the divorce preferred to acquire a certified real estate appraisal rather than consult with a realtor in order to determine from an unbiased source what the home’s market value was.  In this particular case, our certified appraisers worked directly with the attorneys and determined the sale of the property was definitely a feasible option for the home owners.

The team at Cleveland Home Appraisals  specializes in working with home owners, attorneys and lending professionals to provide quality home appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate appraisals, tax appeal, pre-listing appraisals and more throughout the Greater Cleveland area.  Contact Cleveland Home Appraisal for a professional property valuation of your home for a divorce appraisal.
by calling us at 216-932-4663, or fill out the contact us form on our SERVICES page. Give as much information as you can, and we’ll get back in touch with you to process the appraisal order.

Divorce Appraisal
Home Appraisal in the Divorce Proceedings
Call Now Button