Welcome to the February edition of our Dart Board newsletter. We
have less than 30 days left of winter, and as we look ahead to
warmer weather we're also eagerly anticipating the start of the
spring buying season. With all the new growth that the new season
brings, I wanted to focus this issue on New Construction.
Appraising New Construction. The latest
Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey shows
mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 9.2% last
month compared to January 2016. Compared to December 2016,
applications increased by 22% relative to the previous
"As house prices continue to rise and inventories of homes
available for sale remain low, it is not surprising that mortgage
applications for new homes in January came in higher than a year
ago," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and
Economics. "Alongside relatively low supply, rising household
incomes and favorable demographics should continue to bolster
demand for new homes, despite rising interest rates, leading to
modest growth in new home sales this year."
With current market conditions expected to drive demand for new
homes in the months ahead, I wanted to share some insight on
appraising New Construction. Appraisers tasked with valuing
to-be-constructed homes must rely solely on the home's plans and
specs, and the cost approach is generally used to derive the home's
value. Not every appraiser can accurately appraise a home without
seeing it, and appraisers with experience in New Construction
should be identified by your Appraisal Management Company (AMC).
Matching the right appraiser to the specific assignment is a
critical function of an AMC, and identifying each appraiser's
specialty product experience is key.
At Dart Appraisal, we identify within our system appraisers that
have experience with New Construction, 203K, Co-Ops, Jumbos,
Manufactured or Modular Homes, as well as Vacant Land, to ensure
the most appropriate appraiser is assigned to any specialty
assignment. (Read more on how AMCs can manage the challenges of
specialized appraisals in The Scotsman Guide).
Prioritizing Purchases. With refinance activity
continuing to fall, I wanted to share what we do here at Dart
Appraisal to prioritize purchase transactions. While we typically
manage orders with a "First In, First Out" approach, our system
flags both purchase transactions and rush orders to ensure they
receive priority attention from our staff. For the last 90 days,
our national purchase turn time average has been nearly 2 days
faster than refinance turn times. Additionally, any purchase
transaction that comes in under value (even $1 under value) is
automatically flagged for a management QC review.
Broker Survey. Last month, we surveyed the
mortgage brokers that work with us on their experiences with Dart
Appraisal. The overwhelming majority of respondents said they would
recommend Dart to a colleague or peer, and they rated our customer
service as the top reason they enjoy working with Dart Appraisal.
We did receive some useful feedback on what we can do to improve,
and I'm working with our Operations team to get those suggestions
implemented. It's great to hear positive feedback from the broker
community, and for me, it's even better to hear that they are happy
with our customer service team. Personal service is something we've
always hung our hat on here at Dart, and it's wonderful to hear
first-hand the impact our service team members have on our customer
and broker relationships.
Dart Board of Excellence. Lastly, I wanted to
share an update on our revamped rewards and recognition program for
the Dart team. Staff members are given brightly colored coupons to
display at their workstation whenever they are recognized by a
client, appraiser, broker or a coworker. Each month we put those
coupons into a drawing for a prize! At year's end, we'll also be
presenting an annual MVP award based on formal nominations that can
be submitted throughout the year. If you want to recognize someone
on the Dart team, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if there is anything we can do to assist with your
appraisal management needs, please don't hesitate to contact
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