RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Has Federal Intervention Improved Home Appraisals?

August 18, 2016 12:21 am


Have home appraisals become more accurate in the years since the enactment of Dodd-Frank?

For homebuyers, an inaccurate home valuation can derail the opportunity to obtain a mortgage; for homeowners, it can spoil the chance to refinance.

The answer, according to an analysis by Bankrate.com, is murky.

Dodd-Frank was expected to result in more reliable appraisals, Appraisal Institute spokesman Ken Chitester told Bankrate—one provision, the elimination of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), was aimed at clearing up confusion over who can present information to an appraiser and discouraging lenders from placing pressure on appraisers to value properties at a certain price.

The HVCC, however, had unintended consequences. According to Bankrate, many more appraisals were ordered through appraisal management companies (AMCs), which were dispatching appraisers to properties far afield from the neighborhoods they knew well. As a result, these appraisers were undervaluing homes, putting countless potential sales in jeopardy.

Under Dodd-Frank, REALTORS®, homebuyers and home sellers can consult with an appraiser—but this newfound permission requires some basic knowledge on the part of the consumer, Richard Koestner, partner at Iowa-based Koestner, McGivern & Associates, told Bankrate.

Koestner recommends homebuyers and home sellers ask:

• How long have you been an appraiser?
• How many appraisals have you completed?
• How often do you appraise homes in this area?
• How familiar are you with the local market?
• Where do you get the data that you use in your appraisal reports?

Asking these questions can help homebuyers and home sellers not only assess an appraisers’ qualifications, but also understand the home appraisal process.

For more on home appraisals, or to learn how much your home is worth, contact a real estate professional in your area.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Not to Pack for Your Next Vacation

August 17, 2016 2:12 am


Airlines have begun charging for checked bags, travel security measures have tightened… what’s a vacationer to do?

A carry-on bag is your best bet—but if you’re traveling for a week or more, packing just a carry-on may seem impossible. Turns out, you can travel light and still have everything you need for a vacation, says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com. Here, his top picks for what not to pack:

A Third Pair of Shoes – For most trips, you can get away with a pair of sneakers and one pair of walking shoes nice enough to be worn to dinner. If you must have more, make the third pair lightweight flip-flops.

Banned Liquids – You know you can’t bring bottled water through security, but remember that shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, etc., must be in bottles no more than 3.4 ounces.

Excess Equipment – Blow dryers can be found at even the most modest motels, and forget electric curlers or straighteners— you won’t want to spend so much time on your hair, anyway!

Expensive Items – Valuables are a target for thieves, and bags or purses can easily be lost or rummaged through. If you must take an expensive item, wear it—and if you bring an electronic device, keep it on your person at all times.

More Clothes Than You Need – Make a wish list of outfits you want, then cut it in half. Know the weather in your destination, and be prepared to layer as needed.

Old-Style Entertainment – Free up space by leaving books, especially hard-covers, as well as radios and flashlights, at home.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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