Did you go on a snipe hunt as a child? Did your friends play this trick on you? We’ve probably all been on a snipe hunt, so we’ve all learned that, though there is a bird called a snipe, a snipe hunt is basically a practical joke. How is this a practical joke? You spend a lot of time and a lot of effort preparing for, then going on this escapade. Yet, despite all of this preparation in time, there is no payoff because you are probably not going to catch a snipe. You’ve wasted a lot of time and effort and everyone else has had a good laugh at your expense. Now, how is this applicable to us today during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?
It seems that just about every day we get a new form, a new set of instructions, a new scope of work, a new certification, etc, from either the GSEs or our lender-clients. We invest a great deal of time to read and understand them, and then to incorporate them into our day-to-day appraisal activities. Yet, despite this investment of time and effort, we still end up with the appraisal looking more-or-less the way it looked before. This can be both overwhelming and frustrating.
Here are four ideas you can use to keep up with the changes that are occurring to real estate appraisal during the Covid-19 pandemic. Implementing these four ideas will, this some extent, help you feel less overwhelmed and less frustrated.
- Document everything. In addition to what we would normally keep in the work file, this also refers to how we comply with the various directives that come from the GSE’s, as well as various lenders. Let me refer you to my inspection cheat sheet, which is available to download as a member of my All Star Team (free with coupon code FREE30ALLSTAR). This cheat sheet will help you distinguish between the requirements of the GSEs, HUD and VA, and so forth.
- Checklists. The secret here is to reduce the items on the checklist to their barest, simplest components so that you do not become overwhelmed with the quantity of details that must be part of the typical appraisal and appraisal report.
- Better quality control. Because the way we appraise has changed from what it was, we need to be aware that what we report to our clients is absolutely accurate. This has always been true. However, in these times of fewer inspections, of other people providing data, it remains our ethical responsibility to keep our appraisals credible and our reports non-misleading. If it is necessary to put another set of eyes on a report to guarantee your quality control, this is a step you should take.
- Open Communication. This means communications with others in your office (or your contractors), as well as clients. Really, this is part of #3, better quality control. In these times of insecurity, it is extremely important no question your staff or contractors may have goes unanswered. For example: to inspect or not to inspect? Fannie Mae says you will inspect the interior of the property. VA, however, leaves the scope of work up to you. Therefore, it would be silly, it would be a snipe hunt, to go to all the work to appraise a property merely to learn it was a Fannie Mae loan, yet you did not inspect the interior. So, open communication with your staff and contractors (Daily! Hourly!) is more important now than ever.
Our time, our expertise, are too important, to hard-won, to waste them on snipe hunts.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 532 Going on a Covid-19 Snipe Hunt