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Rural data collection

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Scott Wigal

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2003
We appraise several areas without benefit of MLS in rural WV & have been struggling for years with obtaining sales data specifics. Although the courthouse records are available, we find ourselves at the mercy of RE agents who have developed a "monopoly" on specific info. not available from public records (sq ft, room count, financing terms, etc. etc)

In some larger areas, a single RE broker will control nearly all sales & listing information. We've kept a good relationship with some of the RE companies in some areas, but others attempt to "control" the market by "controlling" info. provided to appraisers. (I might ad, there are only a couple of us able to function in these areas due to the data collection problems)

Anybody else encountered this situation & have suggestions for leveling the playing field?
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Are your courthouse records current and fairly complete? I ran into that situation when I first came home, the real estate agents went "on strike" for about 3 months and would not provide me any information. So I called the buyer or seller on every sale, have to anyway with the FSBOs which are the majority of sales here. Then the realtors finally started talking about a computer system. During those three months I also attended all their meetings, talked very pleasantly to them, brought home made cookies and banana bread to their offices (still do). After they finally became computerized, I created statistics for them that I show up at their door every few months with, the statistics show the total sales, length of days on market, original asking price (including most of the FSBOs), etc. Now after 5 years they answer any question I ask, and start calling for their statistics if I get behind. I also go through the local weekly paper, keep an eye out for FSBO signs any and every where, match all those up to assessor's records which I put into my computerized data. That is how I develop my statistics. It just takes lots of "farming" in areas that are not computerized or have any information readily available. Have your realtors considered becoming computerized? A small company out of St George, UT has developed a system for small Boards of Realtors (my area has only 21 agents), some of the other boards have way less. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth by the realtors here but a few realtors were able to convince the board to try it. Now they have become very dependant on their system (and mine).
 

Bobby Bucks

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
North Dakota
Scott I met a guy a few years ago who is an appraiser and broker in coal country....I believe he was in
western Pennsylvania. He had a system which might be of help to you. The county he covered had
one small town and was for the most part very rural. He made a habit of previewing every new
listing whenever possible. While there he would pull the tape and do a room count. This seemed
to me like a huge waste of time, but he assured me it only took a few minutes and was worth every moment. The area had very
few sales, most of his data was very accurate since it was based on his own interior inspection and
most importantly, he loved the fact that he never had to “beg” for questionable data from the
listing office. In most markets this would not be practical but this guy sweared by it. Hope this
helps.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Are the county records available by phone. We have one county (Johnson County) that is still in the 20th century with sketchy on-line data. I have to call quite often and get living area and age data quite often. I am always polite, apologetic, thankful and very gracious when I call them, because they have to "go pull the card" to get this information. I always explain that I hate to bother them and I send them over gift certificates for area restaurants every three months or so. They are always helpful and remember me every time I call. I always ask if they input the information in the computer when I call, and they explain that although that would probably speed up the process, they are not allowed. I have also sent them my sketches on new home construction, that they have no data on yet. I haven't visited that county office in years.


Another helpful suggestion, is to ask the listing agent for the name of the appraiser that appraised that sale. I realize sometimes they will have no idea, but many times they know exactly who appraised the property. Just call the appraiser and ask him/her. I rarely run into another appraiser who will not disclose their SF totals, room count and condition information on a property they appraised.
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Yes, I can understand that PA appraiser. I don't measure every sale, but I go to every open house a realtor has, knock on doors and sometimes the owner takes me on a tour, I do get copies of the property record cards from the assessor's office which has a sketch that I eyeball the house from the street. Sometimes that sketch is what helps me find a house since quite frequently there isn't any street names or house numbers. Every time I find a sale or a new listing, I take photos, drive or walk around the house several times from every angle. And I might do that several times before I finally use as a comparable--some have never been used, but I have all the info anyway. I also file everything in my office by assessor's parcel number, so when I pull that APN I have all the history for the past almost 7 years, including any notes that have been written and a list of every photo I have taken during those years. Eventually I might get an appraisal order on one, then that info is also filed in APN order, so I have a floor plan and specific info. All that sounds time consuming, and I get way behind in filing at times, but I have been able to complete more appraisals here per year as a 1 person office, than I did in Phoenix, with everything computerized and clerical staff to research, assemble, package, send out the door. And I would cringe now if I saw an old Phoenix appraisal, because I know it is wrong since I was dependant on information from reporting services, etc. Actually, that APN filing system is the second most important procedure in my office, after my computerized data base that I have created. My main county has about 350 residential sales per year and my second county between 20-30 sales per year. And the two populated areas are so far apart, that the twain of information almost never meets.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Anybody else encountered this situation & have suggestions for leveling the playing field?

I'm assuming you are in a non-disclosure state? What about the local banks? Many loans and refis are going thru them. Locally I can get a deed and mortgage list with the lenders name. I call the banks, ask for the loan officer and find out if they have a copy of an appraisal and will share the info. I tell them all I need is the URAR page 1 and/or the appraisers name. I have a good relationship with almost every appraiser around, so I don't hesitate to call and ask....offering what I have to anyone should they call. It is perfectly legal for the bank to share this info with whomever and there is no propritory data on that page to my recollection anyway.

Otherwise my recommendation is just "gutting it out" and dialing and smiling. You will get your share of phone slams in the ear, But....I drive by and stop. I also find that a woman will get more responses than a man. The younger the better, as sexist as that sounds. Even little old ladies seem less threatened by some young girl stopping and asking to take a picture. We have 4 of us to "divvy" the workload out. Also share info with 4 other nearby offices. 9 appraisers in all. Somebody knows who or someone who knows someone to call.

The gist is you need to create a database - I suggest using the tax parcel number to sort and search with. This database is good for years and years. I have a number of properties that I have appraised or used for comps 3 and even 4 times. One about 6 miles N of me has sold every two years since I started in business - twice without being listed.
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Become lic. RE agent, if you do not have it, start a MLS.

Also, we worked with the lenders to gather the subject info (when they had some staff appraisers.

Ask other appraisers to download subject info on disks, WWW, etc and share.

It will not be easy.

Try to get the assessor to online their data.

Ed in the sticks
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I forgot:

micro film the cards.

Obtain copy of all deeds.

Ask the credit reporting service for copy.

Trained monkey can appraise-it takes a real appraiser to research.

ed, who has done all the above.
 

Karl

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
From in my opinion a not so famous quote I FEEL YOUR PAIN. All the above are very good ideas. Most of all just be as nice as U can be to those that can give U information. Catalog it & update it, we get micro fish every two weeks from a title company for all sales in the county. This particular Title company gets priority on anything they need our help on.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
I worked a several county rural area for years. I and the other appraisers joined the local Board of Realtors, developed a card system for the realtors to use to record their sales data on (we provided the cards for them and they allowed us to copy the data). About once a month I would go by and update my files. By keeping a good relationship with the realtors, they realized that they needed me as much as I needed them. The system was finally replaed by a MLS but worked well.

Roger
 
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