Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, February 28, 2011, 9:10 AM 2 Comments
Guest Columnist: Cecil Simon
Cecil has been a New York general state certified appraiser since 1992. He has contributed an article that is of great concern to many in the appraisal profession and parallels the matter that got me hopping mad a few months ago with the Appraisal Institute leadership though his issue is with AQB. Like me, Cecil was an appraiser before the licensing law in 1989 and in fact wrote Congress about this matter as early as 1986.
February 26, 2011
Dear Mr. Miller:
I recently had the opportunity to read the new Core Competency requirements for the Appraisal Institute’s MAI designation, and the education changes since 1990. Comparing the course requirements for the MAI with those for General Certification confirm my suspicions that the Appraisal Institute’s control of the Appraisal Qualifications Board, has been at the root of the lack of any serious attempt to meet the mandate set by FIRREA.
It was fascinating to watch the course requirements for the MAI metastasize from 267 hours in 1990 to 482 in 2010, an increase of 215 hours. This has occurred without any change in the theory and methodology of Real Property Valuation. Keep in mind that those 267 hours probably produced seventy percent of the current leadership of both the New York Chapter and the national leadership, and the 344 hours at the end of 2007 as much as ninety percent, all very competent practitioners.
It is clear that the Appraisal Institute did not think that it needed more time to better prepare its candidate members, since the Level II exams did not change, what did change was the creation of a series of courses from what was formerly Basic Income Capitalization (310) and General Applications (320) into a number of thirty hour courses to make up the three hundred hours for Certified General. Thus courses that were formerly taught in forty hours became equivalent to sixty and ninety hours.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 11:01 PM 6 Comments
This past Sunday I drove to Philly from New York and was 4 blocks away from my destination: The Counselors of Real Estate Conference. As I passed through the intersection at 15th Street and Vine, a young kid blew through a red light and hit my car hard without warning and then ran into an SUV.
My car was rocked and I had no idea what happened. I pulled over, numb and saw the two other cars in the intersection. I scrambled out of my car and called 911 for help. The other cars were able to limp out of the intersection to safety. No one was hurt but I’ll spare all the details.
And then something happened that I hadn’t expected.
The kid driving one of the cars came up to me and apologized profusely – he was talking to his brother and friend in his car and wasn’t paying attention. He turned away from the road and when he turned back, he hit my car. If I had entered the intersection less than a second later, he would have t-boned me at 45 mph instead of shearing off my bumper and I probably wouldn’t be typing this post.
His honesty cleared the air and made all three of us with damaged cars actually relax despite the stress of the situation. We ended up chatting sports, etc. for the next few hours as the state and city police tried to figure out who had jurisdiction at the intersection.
The fact that this happened (it was the first time a car I was driving was hit by another car) was especially ironic because I was on an ethics panel discussion at the CRE conference the following day. Not the “how do I not get in trouble” ethics, but rather the “how do I be a better professional” ethics.
Business ethics remain a challenge in todays post-credit crunch meltdown. Anyone that lived through the credit boom and its “flexible morality” is probably involved in rebuilding the system (a scary thought) – but hopefully with better values (no pun intended).
The recent mortgage debacle is an example of the moral flexibility rampant in our financial services industry – surprisingly, much of that flexibility seems to be on temporary hiatus rather than a structural change.
I chime in on the topic as well for the post. This topic is a hot button for many. I know it’s one of the reasons I moved to the town I live in when I left Manhattan in the late 1980’s. I actually looked at per capita spending per school district and kid per classroom ratios just for my own edification – it correlated closely with housing prices.
This is going to get more confusing over the coming as municipalities start raising taxes and (have started) cutting services, as student classroom ratios rise and school building improvement plans are delayed.
We’re going to “learn” first hand that it is also going to temper housing price growth in many markets.
The release date falls on the day after I turn 50 so find it in your hearts to cut me some slack (important note: 25 years before appraising + 25 years appraising = a balanced life) as I hobble from spreadsheet to spreadsheet.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 7:10 PM 5 Comments
In an economic downturn, many people take the opportunity to reinvent or reinvest in themselves and go back to school, take classes, seminars etc.
There is a lot of conflicting information and statements made on the housing market these days. We launched MillerQA to provide an easy way for busy professionals to gain insights on the housing market that may help them or their clients make more informed decisions. And obtain continuing education credits at the same time.*
*Application for accreditation of this program in New York is currently pending. Real estate agents, attorneys and accountants can visit millerqa.com for continuing education status.
A little background…
Two years ago, John Cicero, my partner in our commercial valuation firm Miller Cicero suggested we create a seminar program since he has taught property valuation at NYU and Baruch and I speak more than 50 times a year on market conditions in the NYC metro area and the national housing market. We got busy with other things and two years went by. My wife Cheryl and my sister Dina, co-founders of our appraisal firm Miller Samuel and I began to kick this idea around again. So I called my friend Karen van de Vrande, former Chief Marketing Officer for Prudential Douglas Elliman to join us and help make this idea happen. All 5 of us spent the next 4 months brainstorming.
We learned two things:
we get along
we need make the experience interactive.
Thus, MillerQA was born. The “QA” represents Q&A sessions after each presentation and the commitment to making this an interactive experience.
John came up with a cool idea of adding iClickers to our seminars so the audience can participate, something his kids use in college. And my wife came up with our mantra:
I have been told it still gets some use – or at least the concept is used today.
In many ways it is very similar to the method I developed for valuing outdoor space. There is a diminishing return on a portion of the space based on its relationship to the adjoining apartment or in this case, its proximity to the street (frontage).
This seems to support my other theory: There is no “rule-of thumb” about “rules-of-thumb.”
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Sunday, September 13, 2009, 8:39 PM 1 Comment
Guest Appraiser Columnist: Joe Palumbo, SRA
Palumbo On USPAP is written by a long time appraisal colleague and friend who is also an Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) certified instructor and a user of appraisal services. Joe is well-versed on the ever changing landscape of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice [USPAP] and I am fortunate to have his contributions here. View his earlier handiwork on Soapbox and his recent interview on The Housing Helix.
I received a call the other day from an appraiser who had recently completed an appraisal for my organization. The file had gone through â€œreviewâ€ and there were no â€œhitchesâ€. The appraiser was calling only to ask me some questions about my â€œsuggestionsâ€ regarding some of the redundant and unnecessary commentary in the report, including some technically incorrect labeling. He was very polite in seeking some guidance, and we chatted for 25 minutes or so. I said â€œif time is money, I think I can save you someâ€. He was eager to engage me in this discussion, probably because it had nothing to do with the appraisal he submitted but more because he said he was always looking to streamline the process to be more productive. He recognized my name from both working with us in the past as well as from an article I had written this year for an industry magazine so he was aware of the potential for me to quote USPAP which, of course, I will ONLY do if absolutely necessary. Anyway, I started to tell him about the aggregate changes that have taken place over the several years and some of the retired terms and concepts. His reply was â€œgee I get so bored in that USPAP class it is hard to absorb anythingâ€. â€œYesâ€. I said, â€œI understandâ€. â€œ Imagine how difficult it is for me to present what has a reputation for being boringâ€. â€œtoo many changesâ€ he saidâ€¦â€I cannot keep upâ€. Again I said, â€œI understandâ€.
Imagine what I go throughâ€¦. Itâ€™s mandatory for me to understand that stuff; being bored is not an option when you are a speaker or instructor â€. â€œLet me give you some tipsâ€ I said: â€œ USPAP changes every two years and those changes will always effective occur at the beginning (January) of the third yearâ€. â€œThe reason for the changes are because appraisers and users of appraisal services ask questions, raise new issues, revisit old issues under new circumstances or because the Standards Board observes something as not applicable, no longer meaningful or something new as pertinent and topicalâ€. USPAP is a working document an evolutionary doctrine that will change with the needs of the business. All you need to do is pick up a few past issues and look inside. Hindsight will really be 20/20 because looking backwards will reveal what was needed most of the time. Along the way the ASB will provide public exposure drafts (with specific rationale) and obtain public comment. Once changes are decided the summary of changes will be made available a few months prior to implementation and when the new edition is published there are a few pages dedicated to what the changes are. Other professions have to deal with similar issues as it relates to CE, changes in laws or regulations. While too much change can be cited as confusing and time consuming it is arguable that not changing at all can be considered detrimental. One cannot argue that todayâ€™s issues are different than those from five or ten years ago. Change is a scary word for most people and that is part of the challenge.
Letâ€™s be fair here, being bored in the classroom is not exclusive to USPAP. I took some pretty boring classes myself during the past 43 years: college courses, appraisal courses, on-line courses. â€œBoringâ€ can also be an instructor attribute and one can suffer through some tough classes even if the material commends excitement. I remember my Economics class at the University of Marylandâ€¦ 8 AM or somethingâ€¦with 100 or so students. Boring stuff for an 18 year old but I had a great animated instructor who did his best to make the supply curve interesting. I am glad he did because despite my boredom, I did learn somethingâ€¦and I did not have to sit in the front row and take 10 pages of notes each class. I also had history teacher in high school, who despite being boring herself, DID manage to successfully explain the nuts and bolts of the Confederacy. Whatâ€™s not boring? It really boils down what you absorb and IF you want to pay attention. In todayâ€™s world we go to the movies with IPODS in our ears and we text while we watch. I see the same in classes: newspapers, laptops and magazines. It seems as if we set ourselves up for minimum absorption capabilities.
Getting back to my appraiser friend from the other day. He was very appreciative that we were able to trim his â€œcannedâ€ addendum from 2.5 pages to 1 page. We eliminated terms from his report that are no longer considered up to date or not accurate (limited appraisal, Departure Provision/Rule) and crafted an appropriate â€œ2009â€ type reconciliation. â€œWOWâ€, â€œI guess really need to pay a little attention because I missed all this stuff! â€œYesâ€, I said “but imagine what you could absorb if you wanted to.”
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, January 15, 2009, 2:36 PM 6 Comments
Here’s a quick video snippet of the last two panels of the 2009 New York Inman Connect conference which is always a great time. I was invited to speak at the main session for the last panel of the conference.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, September 10, 2008, 11:00 AM 1 Comment
The 4th New Development Forum held by The Real Deal magazine, led by publisher Amir Korangy packed the house yet again, the second consecutive year the event was hosted at this venue.
Larry Silverstein, the storied developer and owner of the World Trade site, shared insight and his vision for the downtown market. After all, tomorrow is 9/11.
I was initially concerned because most of the panelists have commercial rather than residential real estate backgrounds. But they spoke in the context of both and it was very informative. I did miss Mark Zandi, founder of Economy.com whom I greatly admire for his analytical insights, who had to cancel at the last minute.
Stream of consciousness:
Amir, you are unable to think small. Congratulations once again for pulling off another one.
Stuart – I met your parents – don’t worry, I put in a good word.
Lauren – keep the web site going, but still call.
Brian – You’ve got the richest voice in business news television and can moderate with the best of them.
Cathy – the plum color worked – thanks for keeping me in my place.
Since Publisher Amir Korangy knows how to pack content into his magazine, there’s no doubt he’ll pack ‘em into Lincoln Center for another sell out. He lined up a group of interesting guests and with the housing and credit markets in turmoil, this event will prove especially informative.
Had a fun interview with Tom and Sara this morning on the always MUST watch/listen Bloomberg Surveillance. We talked housing, rentals, vacancy and inventory. An added bonus was the addition of Adam Davidson – co-founder and co-host of Planet Money... Read More