Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stand Your Ground

Forty-five years ago when I decided to announce to the family that I wanted to be an appraiser, my father-in-law, a crusty ole farmer from northern Indiana, said the appraisal business was nothing more than a scam.  “I just bought my neighbor’s farm” he said.  “He and I agreed $1,000 an acre was fair.  Why should I pay some appraiser to tell me it is only worth $900 an acre?”  A good question.

My answer then is close to what I would say today.  My job as an appraiser is to help the lender understand what the typical buyer would pay for the site if, heaven forbid, the borrower never makes that first payment.  The lender doesn’t care what the borrower paid, or what it cost to replicate, or what conditions were included in the transaction – they just want to be assured that if they get the property back, they can sell it for enough to pay back the debt.

Actually, the question is just as pertinent today as it was then – except the typical scenario is the property has been listed for $150,000, there is a full price offer, a bidding war erupts, and before the dust settles, there is an accepted offer of $165,000.   A detailed comp search shows there has never been a sale in the neighborhood of over $145,000 and the best, most recent, most proximate comparable sale is the house next door that just sold for $140,000 - $25,000 less than the accepted offer.

A quick call to both brokers involved indicate that, yeah, this is a bit unusual, but hey, there are plenty of supporting sales outside of the neighborhood that have closed over the last several years.  Surely, if you look hard enough you’ll be able to make this work. 

No. It is not our job to help make anything “work”.

The answer, again, is that we appraisers are looking for sales that support what the value should be – not what the price was. We are bound to find the “the most probable price that a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.” 

Bidding the final price up to something like 15% to 20% more than the list price is not typical and, in all likelihood, represents some undue stimulus. Hot seller markets push prices but not necessarily values.   Stand your ground.  Appraising within the basic principles not only protects us, it protects our clients.

Saturday, September 30, 2017



We’ve often heard from Appraisers and Brokers who question what benefit their various memberships really provide them? We have just completed an engagement with the Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS which illustrates one of the most tangible benefits we’ve encountered- FREE Continuing Education!
Over the last couple days, the SWIAR provided 14 hours of continuing education, as well as a delicious lunch, to all interested members. This offering was met with such enthusiasm, the Association has decided to host a similar event on February 22nd and 23rd, 2018- both the "2018/2019 USPAP Update" and "Litigation Appraising" will be offered over the course of these two days. If you are a member of the Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS, stay tuned for details about this valuable offer!


 Is your office or organization interested in offering this amazing benefit? We are happy to bring our courses to you. Just give us a call to discuss specifics at 317-610-6689.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Industry News:
A recent letter addressed to both the Chairman and ranking member of the “Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs” detailed the appraiser industry’s concern with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issuing appraisal waivers.  Thirty-six professional groups and agencies signed the petition asking the Senate Committee to halt the waivers until the sponsoring organizations can “demonstrate that the proposed program does not harm the consumer, is properly monitored, and integrates proper safeguards to prevent fraud.”  
Check out a copy of the letter at:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is the Neighborhood truly similar and competing?

 A few months back, a client asked me how I developed my neighborhood adjustments.  The gentleman had finished reviewing my report and noticed Neighborhood adjustments had been applied to three of the five comparable sales.   I explained to him how the adjustment was developed and sent him a copy of my analysis which was readily available in my work file.  He thanked me several times for my due diligence and then explained the following:

“I’ve asked several appraisers why they don’t take an adjustment for differences in neighborhoods.  I’ve lived in this area for more than twenty years and I know differences exist.  But every time I ask one of our appraisers why they don’t do it, they tell me there is insufficient data to develop the adjustment or there is no way to quantify the adjustment.”

Initially, I didn’t think much of the conversation.  In all honesty, I was just happy I had the support for the adjustment and wasn’t in trouble with my client.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how unfortunate the situation really was.  Here is a client who is relying on his appraisers to provide accurate and reasonable values.  But if major adjustments are not being developed or are ignored altogether, how accurate is the value opinion?

This conversation was one of a few motivating factors which prompted me to create a class titled, “Supporting Appraisal Adjustments”. The purpose of this course is to offer help to any appraiser who may be struggling to develop reasonable adjustments in the sales comparison analysis.  Likewise, the class will help an appraiser who is seeking a quicker and/or easier way to develop the various adjustments. 

So how do we determine whether neighborhoods are truly similar and competing and how is the adjustment developed if they are not similar?  Well…you’ll need to attend the class to find out.  But, the good news is the adjustment CAN be developed easily and quickly.  The bad news…it does require some math.  But don’t let that scare you- I’ve developed a spreadsheet that automates the math for you!

Our course offering, “Supporting Appraisal Adjustments”, teaches the logic behind the adjustments and how to develop and support reasonable adjustments.  We walk you through the spreadsheet including how to input the data and how best to apply the results.  Also, we give the spreadsheet to use in your own practice.

Check out our website at to register for remaining course dates/locations in 2017. Do you have an office with several appraisers/brokers? Give us a call and we will be happy to come to you to teach for the day. Look forward to seeing you in class!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's that Time Again.....

For those of you holding an Indiana Real Estate Broker’s license…..June 30th is the deadline to have completed 12 of your 24 CE hours for this cycle. We are happy to report that all Education Resource courses are now approved for both Appraiser and Broker Continuing Education- we have several course offerings rapidly approaching in May and June. For those of you holding both an Appraiser and Broker license, this means you can complete this year’s Broker CE requirement, while simultaneously accumulating hours for your Appraiser CE requirement, which will be due June of next year.


Check out our upcoming courses and register directly online at or call us at 317-610-6689.


For more specifics on the CE requirements for each license type, check out the info below:


Indiana Real Estate Brokers:

  • 12 hours every year between July 1st to June 30th (IC 25-34.1-2-5; IC 25-34.1-3-10)
  • If license is “Active” or “Unassigned”, the CE must be completed within the 7/1 to 6/30 timeline.
  • If license is “Inactive” or “Referral”, there is no requirement for CE,
  • Managing Brokers are required to have 4 of the 12 hours specifically categorized as Managing Broker CE
  • Instructors must have 4 of the 12 hours categorized as Instructor specific CE


Indiana Real Estate Appraisers:

  • 28 hours within a two-year period with the period starting each even numbered year (Current Cycle: July 1, 2016-June 30, 2018)
  • Must include 7 hours of USPAP (Must be completed between the time USPAP is available on approximately November 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018)
  • CE requirements also apply to licensed trainees from the date of initial licensure.
  • If an appraiser receives their license or certification within the last 185 days of a two (2) year renewal cycle, they are not required to obtain continuing education in the next two year period.
  • Two to seven classroom credit hours can be obtained by attending the Real Estate Appraiser Licensee and Certification Board meeting for an hour for hour credit.
  • Up to fifty percent (50%) of continuing education credit may be granted for participation, other than as a student in appraisal educational programs, as follows:
    • Teaching.
    • Program development.
    • Authorship of textbooks.

Friday, February 17, 2017

February, 2017
Have you ever struggled to determine an appropriate adjustment? Ever wish you had a few easy steps  for determining an appropriate adjustment? If so, we have a course offering to provide you with answers- “Supporting Appraisal Adjustments.” We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response to this course so far in 2017 and have added a couple offerings to ensure that anyone who is interested will be able to find a date/location that meets your needs.

Take a look at our offerings below- registration may be done directly from our website or give Jen a call at: 317-610-6689. Don’t see your desired location listed, but you think there might be interest in your area? Just let us know and we will consider adding it!

CE Hours: 7

Cost: $125

CE Credit: Approved for Broker and Appraiser CE

Course Dates/Locations:
Mar 23
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
April 21
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
Fort Wayne
June 7
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
June 14
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
South Bend
Oct 2
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
Fort Wayne
Oct 16
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments
Oct 30
8:30a - 4:30p
Supporting Appraisal Adjustments

Friday, December 9, 2016

Welcome to Education Resources, LLC.

As many of you already know, Mark Rattermann has decided to step away from Education
Resources, LLC.  The ownership has already transferred and we intend to keep the
changes to a minimum.  Our focus will be directed at improving all systems.

Let’s start with a quick introduction.   Nick and Jason Tillema are Indiana appraisers who’ve
been involved in the Indiana real estate market for a combined sixty years.  Most of you know Nick and a few know Jason, if not, you’ve likely heard Nick talk about Jason and his two sisters in the classroom.  Both gentlemen are active appraisers, have been heavily involved in the valuation and REALTOR community, and have been teaching for most of those 60 years. Their vision for Education Resources centers on enhancing the learning experience by combining new and current topics with new teaching techniques.  The immediate changes are few but, we hope, dynamic.

* One of our first orders of business was to create a more user-friendly website. We would like to welcome you to our new web presence with the same web address of We will continue to post both Education Resource and Appraisal Institute classes with the various dates, times, fee, etc.,  but you will now be able to register directly from the website.  And you will still be able to pay when you arrive at the classroom, just as you always have.

* Part of that revised website is this Appraiser Blog in which we hope to keep you abreast of current events, appraiser issues, and our take on life in general.

* So, there is the new website – will there be a new location? Short answer…nope! Mark’s classroom is right down the hall from our offices at 9247 North Meridian Street.  There has already been a few changes in the classroom – including a more visible audio/visual system. We will continue to use the 2nd floor classroom and plan to contract with the same facilities Mark has utilized in other parts of the state.

* One of our most important changes is the introduction of our new Executive Director – Jen Tillema. She will be coordinating the class schedules, answering your questions, and basically keeping Nick and Jason focused on creating and delivering quality education. For those of you who know and are familiar with Marian, Jen will be fulfilling that role.

We are currently developing several new classes - including a class on easily developing adjustments for residential appraisers.  We’ll also be offering USPAP beginning in late 2017 through late June 2018. Our desire is to provide classes, tools, and techniques which will help increase your personal productivity, competency, and efficiency.

Finally, we want to thank Mark Rattermann (and Marian) for their years of hard work, dedication, and devotion to the education of Indiana’s appraisers.  Mark has agreed to continue to teach as we need him or as he sees a specific need.  Education Resource was his baby and we plan to continue his dream.

We would also like to thank you for the support and well wishes we have received over the past year. We know the only way to continue the success of Education Resources is with your support. And with that in mind, we plan to keep the changes minimal, the quality high, and costs reasonable.

We look forward to seeing you in class!

        Jennifer Tillema
        Executive Director