Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 11:16 PM 8 Comments
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Someone was recommended to call our firm the other day to get an appraisal of their apartment.
My senior appraiser recapped the conversation as follows:
I just had the pleasure of speaking with [redact] and I do use that term loosely. He is not a very professional individual and I feel like we should not accept the assignment no matter who referred the work or fee.
Essentially, the highlights were:
telling the appraiser how he would like the apartment appraised and which comps we can use.
he doesn’t want a “piece of sh*t” appraisal done by some form filler using any comps that are not larger than his apartment.
he wants only sales that are larger and no further east than [his location].
he said we were going to send over the sales in advance which he would approve us to use.
Our appraiser maintained his composure and simply let the person do what they do best – rant.
We passed on the golden opportunity to work for this person. Who needs to work this badly, even in this economy? – and accept an assignment from a crackpot like this? Good grief.
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 -Thursday, September 23, 2010, 10:02 PM 4 Comments
Here’s a ditty from a few years ago I forgot about until someone recently sent me the link. A clear explanation of the subprime crisis via Wall Street using humor as a vehicle. It is still surprisingly relevant.
The post-crash bounce in global
housing markets is set to slow
considerably in 2011. However, lower
price growth across the world masks
improving fortunes in Europe and
a more sustainable rate of market
performance in Asia.
Some of the issues many markets are facing include reduced government aid, increased government control, tight credit and high debt levels.
Please read the entire article – it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic – I think my jaw remained dropped for the entire read.
As head of Ally’s foreclosure document processing team, 41-year-old Jeffrey Stephan was legally required to review cases to make sure the proceedings were justified and the information was accurate. He was also required to sign in the presence of a notary.
In a sworn deposition, he testified that he did neither.
The reason may be the sheer volume of the documents he had to hand-sign: 10,000 a month. Stephan had been at that job for five years.
A few thoughts:
His signing hand must be a muscle laden sculpture of rippling strength.
This provides more evidence that absence of due diligence was rampant.
Peoples lives could have been ruined in the name of (illegal) bureaucratic efficiency.
No checks and balances or process review existed, so what else was FUBAR?
I don’t see this guy as rogue at all – he was too busy signing documents.
If this ran rampant at GMAC, how many other servicers took shortcuts?
Attorneys are salivating at a new tool to stop foreclosures from happening.
A temporary drop in foreclosure inventory may occur until this is sorted out.
Is advertising for a pen company such as Pilot or Bic in the offing for Mr. Stephan?
I’m guessing he didn’t use a signature stamp because an original signature was required to prevent someone from simply signing off on the documents. Wouldn’t the signer wonder what his liability was?
Just when I thought I had heard it all. Good grief.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 4:22 PM Comments Off
It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth on Curbed, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate.
ast week I looked at weekly inventory levels for pre-war and post-war apartments since the end of 2008. This week I expanded the analysis to break out listing inventory by number of bedrooms (and bring back my ovals) and note the periods that saw some of the more notable changes in activity up through this week. I excluded 4+ bedrooms because the data set is so thin and the numbers were all over the map as a result. To the observations!…
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 10:22 AM Comments Off
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Census released it’s housing starts this morning (although I am not sure how since the pdf that provides the info hasn’t been updated at the time of this post).
Home starts are seeking a bottom after falling off sharply since the expiration in the spring of a tax break for new- and existing-home buyers. The data suggest that the bottom may have been reached at 539,000 in June. Housing starts totaled 679,000 in April prior to the expiration of the government subsidy.
When you look at the chart in relation to data going back to 1959, a 10.5% increase this is clearly misleading. The starts, as suggested in the Marketwatch summary, seems to be trying to find a bottom, bouncing along since early 2009.
January 2006 was the recent peak and current activity is 26.3% as much as peak – or peak was 3.8 times more than current levels.
I had trouble with believing a major league spat like this could be explained in such a one sided way and even worse, making the assumption that Appraisal Members weren’t savvy enough to pick up on the spin. This violated Public Relations Rule #1 (like an appraisal, incidentally) FULL DISCLOSURE.
As a result of the post, I was able to have an informative discussion with the Chairman of The Appraisal Foundation, David C. Wilkes, who actually drove into NYC to meet me directly and lay out the situation on my podcast. I had hoped to receive the same eagerness to clear the air from President Sellers.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Friday, September 17, 2010, 8:40 AM 1 Comment
Was invited to the Happening Now show on Fox News to talk about today’s RealtyTrac foreclosure numbers – was interviewed by Jenna Lee this afternoon – she just moved over from FBN. I knew her back when she was a report for a NYC paper. I like the new set for the new show including its one quirk. When I was interviewed, I sat in a “high chair” looking over a bunch of staffers with my back turned to the set. Apparently they do that when they have multiple guests appear in their own panels on the screen. My quip at the end got the news room chuckling although it’s not picked up on the audio.
Lenders foreclosed on 95,364 U.S. properties in August, the highest monthly total in the history of the report and about 2 percent higher than the previous peak of 93,777 bank repossessions (REOs) in May 2010. August REO activity increased 3 percent from the previous month and was up 25 percent from August 2009 — the ninth straight month where REOs have increased on a year-over-year basis.
Two problems with pumping billions more into the housing market:
The housing market is far bigger than our resources can handle
At the moment the incentives are remove, the market falls.
The idea that housing market conditions will be jump started by new government incentives is laughable. This is residual thinking from the boom when housing was seen as leading the economy. That’s backwards. Respect the power of the market, let it clear and focus on job creation.
I’m not quite ready to use the word “haunted” in my housing language, but I had a nice chat with Brian Sullivan and Mandy Drury of CNBC TV’s ‘Street Signs’ – 30 Rock is always quick walk from my office... Read More