Thursday, January 25, 2018

Homequant Enhances Live Job Board - Thousands of Jobs - All Categories

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Thousands of Jobs are available
(from Construction to Finance to Government to Healthcare to Manufacturing to Real Estate to Teaching and everything in between)

1. Accessing the Job Board -- Click on the blinking gold button 'Live Job Board' on Homequant homepage to access the job board (you'll see the first screen above).

2. To Search Jobs -- Just define your search parameters on the form. Completely free to search. Jobs from our own board as well as from a host of well-known 3rd parties (e.g. ZipRecruiter) will be displayed. 

3. To Apply -- Create a candidate profile, upload resume, search/match jobs and submit resume.

4. To Post Jobs -- Create an employer profile and then click on 'Post a Job'.

5. To Apply to 3rd Party Listed Jobs -- Click on a job following your search. If it is listed by a 3rd party (for example, ZipRecruiter, etc.), you will be redirected to their site where you follow their requirements to apply.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Homequant Offers Free Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM) Seminar

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** CLOSED **

What the experts are saying about our Excel-based AVM Book:

“First off, may I say congratulations and what a tremendous effort.

Our small appraisal business (by your standards) works almost solely in the Excel domain and we have patched together bits of code over the years which constitutes our AVM toolkit. 

Your publication is therefore most welcome. More than that, it dumbs down so much of the process for the likes of us valuers. Practitioners with a basic understanding of AVM’s and a good grasp of Excel, will realize how effective your methods are at modelling, model testing and as a value and sales review tool. 

If you are interested in including [XXXXXX] for distribution, let me know how we can assist – whether through our council; our institute, the provincial standards authority or similar.” 

Our Current AVM Offerings

1. Market AVM

2. QA/Review AVM

3. Commercial AVMs
5. Auto Loan AVM
6. Sales Ratio Study

Homequant Offers QA/Review (back-end) AVM for SFR to 4-family Homes

Monday, January 15, 2018

Most Homeowners do not Understand the Clear and Present Impact of Assessment Inequity

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Sales Ratio (County Market Value to Adjusted Sale Price) is a common method to determine assessment equity, meaning whether the published property tax roll is fair and equitable. When presented spatially, the ratio chart aids visualization of the collective data, thus making the incidence of inequity, if any, stand out. 

The above sales ratio distribution graphic demonstrates some serious (countywide) assessment inequity. While North (blue) and South (green) are fairly assessed (between 25th and 75th Percentile), East and West (red and yellow) show some significant under-and-over assessments (below 25th and above 75th Percentile). 

This anomaly often stems from the poorly-developed Automated Valuation Models (when separate AVMs are developed at the sub-market level, without any roll-wise equalization at the back-end). 

FYI AVM Technicians -- In an event like this, a Benchmark AVM is in order, ironing out such inequity from the tax roll.

I picked the above spatial graphic from as I own and operate it, to avoid having to deal with any copyright issues. My TownAnalyst site is totally free (no strings) and requires no login or registrations whatsoever. Please use the site/system that works best for you.

Our Free Valuation Sites

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Step-by-Step Guide to Home Valuation with Comparable Sales

Step-1: Define the Subject

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Once you zero in on a particular property you are interested in ("Subject"), compare the listed data (MLS or other listing services) with the County database (public record and available online). If they are at variance, call the Assessor's office and ask for an explanation. Land data could differ slightly as more and more public offices use GIS algorithms, while sellers/listing agents would extract the data from the original documents, potentially paving the way for limited discrepancies. Building SF and Year Built must be close, if not identical.

Step-2: Define Comps Criteria

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Comps criteria collectively is a function of the sub-market (greater neighborhood) the comps would be drawn from. In a very liquid market (with enough recent arms-length sales) the range could be tighter and vice versa. Since the comps must be similar to the subject in physical attributes, a set of selection ranges needs to be defined; similarly, adjustment rates are needed to equalize the differentials. For example, while the subject is 2,000, the comps could range between 1,600 and 2,400, thus requiring dollar adjustments. The 2,400 SF comp must be adjusted down to 2,000 SF while the 1,600 SF must be adjusted up, at the local replacement cost new($100/SF in the example). The rates could be significantly higher in expensive coastal markets while lower in rural areas.

Since the comps database might comprise an admixture of older and newer sales (generally 12 to 24 months depending on the liquidity of the market), all comps must be time-adjusted to a particular valuation date, thereby making sale dates for the pooled comps irrelevant. Once time-adjusted, there is no difference between two sales occurring in two different quarters. The sub-market in the above example did much better than its peers so an annual growth of 12% (1% per month) has been used to adjust all sales up to the valuation date. This piece of research (collecting the growth data at the sub-market level) is important. In a declining market, the adjustment would be negative meaning decay in value. Any quality market-oriented application would allow all three valuation dates: current, forward and backward.

Step-3: Select Comps

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Based on the selection criteria set forth, most self-directed valuation systems will return a pool of up to 10 most recent comps, five of which will eventually contribute to the subject value. I am using the Homequant system as I own and operate it, to avoid having to deal with any copyright issues. These are Homequant system requirements (a pool of up to 10 and 5 comps to value a subject). You may find another system online with different scoring requirements (choose the one that works best for you).

Assuming you have more than 5 (in our example, we got all 10), you have to evaluate them and choose the best 5. There are three most common methods to evaluate the pool: Distance (comps that are closest to the subject), Recency (most recent sales) and Least Adjustments (comps that require least adjustments, ignoring signs, that is, -2,500 and +2,500 are considered identical contributors). We chose the Distance method; in other words, we chose the 5 comps that are closest - in linear distance - to the subject. Of course, before you start the evaluation process, remove the two outliers, as a rule: the two comps with minimum and maximum adjusted sale prices; in the above example, comp # 1 and 10 are the two outliers. Again, removal of outliers is possible if the pool contains more than 5 comps. Notice that the lineup of the resulting 5 comps looks statistically meaningful.

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Irrespective of the evaluation methodology being chosen, comps must be simultaneously reviewed spatially, meaning reviewing the precise location of the comps on the map is equally important. The reason is simple: often, despite meeting the distance criteria, certain comps might come from incompatible yet contiguous neighborhoods. For example, since our subject is away from the lake, comps from the lakefront block (comps #7) would be inappropriate, although the distance criteria could have been met. Therefore, the spatial review of the comps is critical.   

Step-4: Analyze Final Value

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The final valuation picture is generally depicted via a tabular form called the Comps Grid. It's a line item comparative analysis of the subject vis-à-vis the final five comps that contribute to the subject value. It shows the neighborhood(s) they are drawn from, respective distances from the subject, property characteristics with dollar adjustments, and the sales complex including time adjustments. All of this collectively translates to the subject value. The most probable value is usually the median value of the adjusted sale prices of the five comps, while the most probable value range represents the statistical bound between the 25th and 75th percentile values. Of course, these parameters are specific to the Homequant system and may vary by the application or the target audience. For example, an alternative system that is geared towards the short-term investors might expand the probable value range to the 5th and 95th percentiles, thus revealing the potential short-term investors' entry and exit points. 

I picked the above graphics from as I own and operate it, to avoid having to deal with any copyright issues. My Homequant site is totally self-directed (no modeled values), totally free (no strings), and requires no login or registration whatsoever. Please choose the self-directed site that works best for you.
Our Free Valuation Sites

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Good Home Valuation System Allows Users to Independently Test and Validate Appraised Values

Instead of blindly accepting some model-driven estimates from online brokerage sites (we all know those estimates are not explainable) or totally relying on salespeople's comps, prospective homebuyers MUST do their own validations at a Self-directed Site. A free Self-directed Site should allow users to go through the valuation process in a step-by-step manner via the following FOUR steps:

1. Defining the Subject:  Subject property data from Public Records is often unreliable. As a homeowner, you know your home better than any such records. In Self-directed Sites, you can define/enter your own home data, without being forced to accept the data from Public Records. Here is an example of the basic subject data that you would be entering into a Self-directed system...

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2. Selecting Comps:  A list of sales - by default - does not become comps; nor do some cute model-derived estimates provide true home values. Comps - however close they are to the subject - require proper selection and adjustments. In a good Self-directed Site you will be allowed to enter your own comp selection and adjustment criteria. Here is an example...

3. Selecting Final Five:  The concept of Spatial comps (picking comps right off the map) is always a better way to select the final five comps as it helps avoid picking comps from the "other side of the freeway" which could be an incompatible economic neighborhood, thus inflating/deflating the value of your subject. Here is an example...

4. Comps Grid & Value Analysis:  A good Self-directed site will offer a full range of statistically significant parameters including the percentile curve, rather  than just the average of the adjusted comps. Loosely speaking, 25th to 75th percentile range caters more effectively to the informed buyers, while 5th to 25th is more meaningful to investors and 75th and above is a potential companion for those bent on outbidding the competition. Here is a snapshot of a meaningful comps grid with line-item adjustments and final value analysis...

I picked the above graphics from as I own and operate it, to avoid having to deal with any copyright issues. My Homequant site is totally self-directed (no modeled values), totally free (no strings), and requires no login or registration whatsoever. Please choose the self-directed site that works best for you.

Note: All adjustments in Homequant are linear. In Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM), non-linear adjustments (due to the nature of their contributions) are generally used via non-linear regressions. If you are trying to learn AVM or understand how to make advanced non-linear adjustments to your model, please check out my recent book on AVM "An  Illustrated Guide to Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM) in Excel..." on Amazon.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

These 9 Enhancements will Make Existing Property Assessment Fair and Equitable – Truly

These 9 Enhancements will Make Existing Property Assessment Fair and Equitable – Truly

1. Short-term Sales: When the holding period of the property is less than 2 years, those sale prices must be anchored as market values, thus forcing the potential gamers (institutions, flippers, etc.) to pay higher taxes. The point is, the rapid institutionalization of the housing market needs to be evaluated separately, to avoid having to redistribute their share (of the burden) on to the rest. Assessors must therefore aggressively lobby to remove the application of any state/charter restrictions (e.g., annual growth capped at 5%, etc.) from short-term sales so they stand on their own at the market level, without any pseudo protection. Exclusion: non-arms length sales (inter company, distressed, etc.).

2. AVM Application: Since Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM is a top-down econometric solution encompassing the vast majority of properties on the roll) is inherently more equitable, it must be applied on to the rest of the roll, including the non-arms length from #1. Exclusion: Unique properties.

3. Unique Properties: AVM is not meant for this group (trophies, large waterfronts, tiny oceanfront bungalows, etc.) so they must be hand-worked by the assessing staff. Obviously, the sale of unique or vastly atypical properties must not enter the modeling (AVM) sales sample, either.

4. Outsource AVM: It’s much cheaper to outsource residential AVMs to an economic consulting/research firm (not appraisal) than maintaining a dedicated group in-house modelers. It’s also more effective because they would be non-political and be judged by an important metric: appeals %.

5. 2-to-4 Family Properties: Considering these are income-producing properties, they must not co-share the SFR roll. They must be modeled, valued and taxed as a separate group or as a sub-group (small cap) under the multifamily.

6. Manpower Planning: Larger jurisdictions must learn from the private (FedEx, UPS, Amazon, etc.) how to use the seasonal help. For example, the seasonal help could be used to process exemptions, appeals applications, income/expense statements, etc. They can be used to perform field operations and inspections too. Alternatively, counties/taxing jurisdictions may maintain a “Central Pool” agency to cater to the different agencies based on their seasonal requirements. 

7. Practice Assessment: Instead of having an autonomous appeals/review department, it's better to have it under the Assessment umbrella. Having a separate government agency or department is inherently political and is not necessarily in the best interest of the taxpayers. Often, the focus of the autonomous appeals/review is to hire appraisers, rather than assessors, which does not promote equity of the roll. 

8. Commercial Assessment: In order to promote equity of the commercial segment of the tax roll, departments must practice assessment, not appraisal. It's therefore prudent to collect a sizeable Income and Expense (I/E) sample to develop meaningful local metrics for the commercial properties. In fact, I/Es could be used to develop Use-based AVMs to process the homogeneous properties, generally one sigma under the bell curve.  Commercial Assessors must also be groomed internally.  

9. Enforce Flood Zone Insurance: Homeowners inside the designated flood zones must carry flood zone insurance. Should the situation arise, insurance companies would be on the hooks, not the rest of the taxpayers. Of course, an annual credit could be offered to offset a minimum policy deductible.  

Again, having an all-encompassing residential AVM does not make the roll fair and equitable; it must be properly sourced and targeted. Likewise, training and promoting a group of non-quant employees as AVM techs does true injustice to the roll. Finally, use-based Income AVMs could promote equity across the homogeneous stretch of the commercial property groups.