Seven Reasons iBuyer Direct Offers Are A Bad Deal for Home Sellers.

IBuyers (a moniker for platforms using new technology to make offers on homes and close quickly). Those IBuyer purchase offers aren’t designed to benefit the home seller; they are intended to benefit Corporate Shareholders. The Sellers are conditioned to get low offers and will pay equal or higher fees than from a typical Real Estate Broker and Agent.

1) Inaccurate valuations.  Zillow’s “Zestimate” is like all the other “Valuation”(Non-Appraisal) web sites. They simply exist to get eyeballs and personal information from their website for advertising or transaction purposes. 

2. Low Offers. No person, especially a Corporation that wants to purchase your home directly (With No Market Exposure) will not be offering you “Market Value.”

3. Serious Fees add up quickly. Most folks wince at the average 6% Fee Real Estate Agents Charge. Some Sellers have associated the iBuyer low offer to the average 6% Realtor fee.

Here’s the math: Not only will you, the seller, get a less than real market offer, there are Fees on top of that, like “Experience” Fees, Service Fees combined, exceeding what the Real Estate Agents would have charged you.

Still not convinced? When you sell your home, would you rather pay an agent who represents your interests or a company that serves their interests?

4. A majority of markets don’t need this ‘Service”. In many residential communities across the country, currently have tight Inventory, homeowners don’t even have to put money into updates or upgrades. Too many individuals want to buy homes.

5. Reducing Inventory will Raises Prices. Housing inventory continues to set record lows. Buyers are frustrated, bidding wars and home values escalate.

6. Home Buyers are Competing with Flippers. Investors don’t always flip houses for buyers. They often rent them out. Although not all renters are poor caretakers, there isn’t much incentive to put effort and care into a property.

Get enough renters on the street, and the curb appeal drops significantly. Renters come and go.

7. The negative effect of low offers. Imagine if two or three homes on your street are taking an instant offer. If this becomes a trend, appraisers may not be able to disregard the data.

Moreover, if you, the seller, make an immediate offer, you are messing with your neighbors’ home values.

That might not be your problem today, but it could be in the future.

Who benefits from instant home purchase offers? 

Instant home purchases are designed to benefit the IBuyer or investor under the guise of convenience to the seller.

How Can Sellers Protect Themselves?

 Contact a State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser. Their core mandate is to protect the Public Trust in Real Estate Transactions. The Average Fee for an independent Market Appraisal is 500.00, which is pennies on the dollar compared to paying the IBuyer Fees.

And, at the very least, interview a Licensed Real Estate Agent for a Comparative Marketing Analysis before accepting an instant offer. 

Taking the wrong exit on the aspiration highway

Ten Years After the Mortgage Meltdown; Banks will do anything to get around primarily, the cost and secondly the purpose of an appraisal. After all, the Big banks are certainly not making enough money as it is, correct?

Like many folks, I’d assume, most don’t keep up to date with the mortgage and banking industry. Moreover, I can confirm that there have been some very interesting $#*& Going down in the new and improved “valuation space” formerly known as Appraisal, that could jeopardize appraisal accuracy, so grab a cup of whatever you like, and let’s focus forward.

Background and Detail

There has been a five-year-long false narrative campaign that there is a shortage of appraisers that have resulted in longer turn times and higher fees.

Lenders and their AMC’s have been cherry picking the data that Appraiser numbers have declined and that therefore, there are not an adequate amount of active appraisers to meet the demands in the majority of “their” areas.

Who is this source that’s spreading these rumors?

What they’re not sharing is that since legislation went into effect post, 2007-2008 has spurred the creation and growth of “Third Party (Think of HMOs) Appraisal Management Companies (AMC’s) who have appropriated the Fee Appraisal industry like Temp Agencies. 

Systematically, fees paid to appraisers have been steadily “Compressed” as this was how the AMC’s idea of paying appraisers like giving them a minority percentage of the entire Appraiser fee paid by the bank for the Appraiser.

Well, there is a term for this. it’s called “Assumpsit,” which  in English is called “Unjust Enrichment.”) And this has and has been the main reason that many Appraisers refuse to work for these AMC’s. 

And the reaction from the AMC/Lending industry was to utilize the AMC and Lender Associations and lobby groups to implement an ongoing “Appraisal Shortage Fake News” cycle that has finally gained the The Appraisal  Standards Committee to eliminate the four year degree requirement for the Certified Residencial License and lower both the Class Room and Experience hours in 2017. 

Then in 2018, Fannie Mae began the Property Inspection Waiver, and there is Senate Bill 2155 which eliminates the need for an Appraisal in rural America, where it is especially needed.

All Players in the Real Estate Industry affected with “iBuyer, FrontDoor, Zillow Offers” the banks are finding ways to get around the appraisal process and or continuously finding ways to lower the cost of an appraisal to the bank.

This race to the bottom is a one-sided, self-serving pursuit of winner take all. Like the Chinese water torture fable, each of these disruptive business models not only serves to decrease the accuracy and reliability of the service of the appraisal, but for the Real Estate Agent and Lenders as it undermines Consumers and the integrity of NAR, and the financial institutions of our country.

Reader, I’d like to Introduce to you, three new, improved and Cheaper “Valuations” that the Lenders and FNMA are implementing since 2018.

Property Inspection Waivers (PIW), Hybrid Appraisals, and Appraisal Waivers.

1) Property Inspection Waivers- (PIW)In a PIW situation, when the traditional appraisal is not mandated, but instead the buyers’ property value is based on an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) by Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter (CU) program from the Independent Appraiser’s from across the country since 2014. 

There is very little daylight between Fannie Mae’s AVM and Zillow’s “Zestimate” because both rely on algorithms (not boots on the ground data) to base the value of your home and loan. 

Algorithms are both Deterministic ( producing the same output going through the same states) and Non-Deterministic ( will show different behaviors for the same input on different execution and there is a degree of randomness to it.)

Both FNMA and Zillow do not publish or share their methods to either to the Appraisers whos data they use, the Lender or the Consumer. Is that even ethical under statute or current business law? All this allows for margins of error when these fatalist Algorithms machines Appraise”your property.

However, has Fannie Mae factored that in if they’re their costs calculations? No Worries, Fannie Mae (A GSE who was bailed out by the taxpayers in 2009 have absolved themselves, including the originating Lender (as in your local lender) from any future lawsuits that may pop up in the future from current and prospective consumers. Misleading or am I too “judgy.” 

Let’s Summarize: The Government Backed FNMA is not Responsible. The Lender is not responsible, and There is no Appraiser to complain about or their E&O Insurance.

Which practitioner is potentially holding the “Bag”? Could it be the Buyers Agent and their Brokerage?

2) Hybrid AppraisalsA hybrid appraisal is where the functions of the appraisal process are divided up among farmed out to unknown parties, each with their ways of doing things.

The number crunching performed by a certified appraiser and is similar to a desktop appraisal. The Appraiser property observation is farmed out by AMC to a non-appraiser. Which, could be a real estate agent or some other type of property inspector, all who by the way are not familiar with each other’s Real Estate credentials or experience. 

The problem with this type of Fractured (Hybrid) appraisal is that if the property observation is performed by someone who does not hold a State Appraisal Credential and does not know what to look for in that context. 

Knowing what to look for is one of the most critical components of the trained Appraisers job, and the results of the observation get reconciled with the other parts of the professional appraiser. Which can impact the final opinion of value?

 3) Appraisal waivers in rural areas referenced at the top of this post, SB2155 allow the Lender to invoke not only a property inspection but eliminates the need for an appraisal by an unbiased third party appraiser.  What Could go wrong?

Most would state that this is just an example of the “dumbing” down of services across all industries. The Real Estate Industry for both Residential and Commercial is a 25 Trillion Dollar Annual Market, and the wolves are at the door.

In closing – For Home Buyers getting mortgages, before allowing the bank in your negotiations, that you will enable them to perform one of these types of Valuations (they are not appraisals), you should know that you as a Consumer are not achieving your due diligence and need to be aware and accept whatever the consequences.

As for Real Estate Broker’s and Agents and or E&O insurer if you have coverage for this under any of the three Valuation substitutes you’ve have read about today, and most importantly, create a very tight legal disclaimer. 

Home Buyers-Your Lender Wants an Algorithm to Appraise Your Home

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Currently, the terms “Artificial Intelligence,” and “Algorithms” have been sold to the masses as being objective, scientific and unfortunately accurate. What has been sold to us, is and has been, merely a marketing trick to intimidate consumers with accepting algorithms as gospel. A lot can go wrong when collectively, we put blind faith in big data.

If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now allow ‘Algorithms’ be the ‘Decider’ and not human appraisers for your next Home Loan – Then is it not logical that the laws be updated and enacted to properly reflect and acknowledge that the programmers and their Bosses who’ve signed off on them by holding them to the same level of accountability as both the Licensed and State Certified Real Estate Appraisers?

Algorithms are everywhere. They sort and separate the winners from the losers. The winners get the job or a good credit card offer. The losers don’t even get an interview, or they pay more for insurance. We’re being scored with secret formulas that we don’t understand that often don’t have systems of appeal.

That begs the question: What if the algorithms are wrong?
To build an algorithm, you need two things: you need data, what happened in the past, and a definition of success, the goal that you’re looking for and often hoping to repeat. You train an algorithm by looking, figuring out. The algorithm figures out what’s associated with success. What situation leads to success?

Algorithm’s; Artificial Intelligence are 21st-century machines. They require a human being to function. Therefore algorithm/A.I., cannot usurp the human mind. A machine can solve only “deterministic” problems. New data/information would be a surprise. A “deterministic algorithm” is an algorithm which, given a particular input, will always produce the same output, with the underlying machine always passing through the same sequence of states.” The second type: “nondeterministic algorithms” are often used to find an approximation to a solution, when the exact answer would be too costly to obtain using a deterministic one. A nondeterministic algorithm represents a single path stemming into many routes, some of which may arrive at the same output and some of which may arrive at different outputs.

  • However, both are just machines and require a human being to function.
  • Machines do not think
  • Computers lack creativity
  • Devices lack consciousness
  • Only human consciousness produces thinking.

Who are these human oracles from the Banks and their Coders programming these algorithms? What are their goals, their biases, responsibilities, and accountability? In an industry that has multiple regulatory requirements, how do they fly so low under the radar?

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