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The Owner is Packing (and not guns....)

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Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
OK - here is a verrrry good question for everybody. It didn't happen to me, but another appraiser that I know.

Appraisal for a refi.....in a rural area. Inspection reveals cardboard boxes packed and taped. Clothes still hanging in MBR, but a bed in one of the other bedrooms only. Some furniture. It kind of appeared that they may be planning on moving (it was owner occupied) but perhaps they were just "packing up things" for Goodwill? Appraiser did not want to be nosy and ask about the boxes and the bed in anther bedroom, but should the question have been asked? Where do you draw the line between privacy and nosiness. Should the client be told?

Only guesses at this point, but it is a good question...even if nothing is apparently affecting the marketability, and if there are no For Sale signs in the front yard, where do you draw the line?
 

aprazer

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
How do you usually determine if a property is listed for sale? Every 1004 aks you to analyze any current listing. I make it a point to ask every homeowner "have you listed the property in the past year?" In the analysis/history section I indicate the owners reply-"according to the owner...."

I think that pretty much covers you, as long as you have done an MLS search. What more can you do?
I love the owner that says 'No", and then you find the realtor sign on the side of the garage.

About ten years ago I was working on staff for bank, first week there I sit down with L/O and my report(I know, not supposed to happen) and he asks me if borrower met me at property. I tell him someone else let me in. He wants specifics-OK, woman in her late 20's had a toddler. He says-borrower is a 65 year old guy-who is the woman? I of course did not ask this woman why she was there and her relationship to borrower, so I don't have anything else to add.
L/O insists I call borrower and grill him. L/O Wants to charge borrower higher rate for non-owner occupied property. I balked but head of lending also agrees I should call.
That was the single most uncomfortable phone call I have ever made in this business. Borrower insists he lives there-finally said "give me the loan based on my application or I will go elsewhere"

Those in charge were not pleased that I didn't get an admission out of the borrower. I started to look for a new job the next day.
 

Wally Jones

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I go back to my initial training where I was taught that the appraiser should try to function as the eyes and ears of the underwriter and just report the facts. In the situation you describe, I'd probably talk to the underwriter and describe what I saw and let them decide if it means anything significant. I wouldn't include this information in the report since it doesn't appear to have any effect on value. Could be as you said, getting stuff together for a sale, or ready for storage, or a divorce is in the works and one of 'em is moving out, or a child has grown up and is leaving the nest or any of a number of things that may be none of our business.

However, this might be a good arguement for including interior photos with a report. 8)
 

Chris Harrison

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Utah
How about a few simple questions I typiclly ask?

1. How long have you owen the property?

2. Have you had the property up for sale in the last 3 years?

3. Are there any repairs in progress that I should be made aware of?

4. When was the last time you had the home appraised?

Thank you and have a good day :)
 

Charlotte Dixon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
I would have asked:
Are you moving?

Maybe a college kid is moving back in, or moving out. Or maybe a mother-in-law/father in-law is moving in (or out). At any rate, I don't think a straight forward question is out of line under the circumstances. At least we could mention that in the addendum.

Comments Regarding Sales History: Numerous taped boxes were noted in the bedroom area. The appraiser asked if the borrower was moving and he/she stated that their daughter was moving out.

At least we asked. I think it's always better to ask a pointed question regarding such a matter. The borrower has already revealed all his/her personal financial information, and may have even provided divorce papers. I certainly wouldn't worry about appearing nosey. Now, we know the lender and underwriter won't read the addendum anyway, but we can sleep at night.
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I find that most of the time, home owners will volunteer info like: "Oh I am sorry for the boxes. Please excuse them, my kid is leaving for college this weekend."

If they didn't volunteer an explanation, I would ask. After asking, if they still didn’t 'splain, I would note so in my report.
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Oh, I agree that I would have been brazen enough to ask...."are you moving? I noticed all the boxes".... But if you didn't...then what? Actually we could repeat everything in the report and perhaps the report could then be misleading since they were just weird people who liked things in boxes and didn't sleep in the master bedroom. Makes you think, doesn't it? I'm afraid after all these years I am pretty brazen as well and would ask almost anything! The owners could lie and we could relay on their lie. Perhaps I'm trying to think too deeply this week!
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Get the loan, pocket the money, move out of town!
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Make sure your report is thorough, since your results may be tested in a month or two.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Ask if the home is listed and if they are the owner Beyond that, that's the end of it. Whether you think they are moving is irrelivant. It's as of the date of appraisal. There may be a divorce or separation. There may be other issues. The bottom line is that if they are the owner-occupant or renter and if the home is listed.

None of the other stuff is your business.

Roger
 
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