Book Review

Book Review

Harrison’s Illustrated GuideHow to Make an FHA Single Family Appraisal - 2015 Edition

by Henry S. Harrison, MAI, RM, ASA, DREI
New Collegiate Publishing Company
320 Pages, Soft Cover; Price $59.95


In March 2015, HUD/FHA announced the publication of two new books: the “FHA Single Family Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide” and the “FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1.” These two publications represent a major revision of the old FHA Appraisal Requirements. The Single Family Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide was specifically produced for appraisers and the 4000.1 handbook was published for both lenders and appraisers. Altogether, the publications provide over 500 pages of complicated material with no index.

Appraisers who are trying to use these two new publications soon discover there are hundreds of requirements labeled “the appraiser must” that are not covered in the “FHA Single Family Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide.” As he did in his popular URAR Guide, noted appraisal author and educator Henry S. Harrison has organized this material in a new line-by-line URAR guide — focusing on these new FHA requirements. For example the “
appraiser must” inspect the attic, only the 4000.1 Handbook states: “If unable to view the area safely in their entirety, the appraiser must contact the Mortgagee and reschedule a time when a complete visual observation can be performed, or complete the appraisal subject to inspection by a qualified third party (FHA 4000.1Handbook Page 445).” Mechanical system requirements are another “FHA requirement” that is not covered in the Single Family Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide. “The appraiser must not include the value of leased mechanical systems and components in the Market Value of the subject property. This includes furnaces, water heaters, fuel or propane storage tanks, solar or wind systems (including power purchase agreements,) and all mechanical systems and components that are not owned by the property owner. The appraiser must identify such systems in the appraisal report. (FHA 4000.1 Handbook Page 440).

Harrison’s new Illustrated Guide makes accessing crucial information far easier for appraisers. It goes page-by-page through the URAR and MC forms, covering FHA and other requirements. The Model Comments sections of the book have been updated in this edition. By purchasing a copy of this guide, you obtain permission to use them as you wish. With this book you can easily find the pertinent FHA requirements for each line of the URAR and helpful information on how to complete the Market Conditions Addendum Form (MC) which is required for every FHA appraisal.

With this book you can easily obtain the FHA requirements for each line on the URAR form and helpful information on how to complete the Market Data Addendum Form which is required for every FHA appraisal.

To purchase
Harrison's Illustrated Guide How to Make an FHA Single Family Appraisal 4000.1 - 2015 Edition, you can buy it, along with hardcopies of both the FHA 4000.1 Handbook and FHA Single Family Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide directly from Henry S. Harrison's publisher New Collegiate Publishing.


Book Review

A Guide to Appraising Automobile Dealerships
by Bradley R. Carter, MAI
Appraisal Institute, Chicago, IL 60606
Soft cover, 180 pages
$50 non-members, $40 members
(888) 756-4624; FAX (313) 335-4400

A Guide to Appraising Automobile Dealerships provides up-to-date information on:
• Market, site, location, and improvement analyses;
• Highest and best use and land valuation;
• Application of the cost, sales comparison, and income capitalization approaches to value;
• Report writing for auto dealership valuation assignments.

Other topics covered are economic trends and locational issues that affect dealerships.

Each time I buy an automobile I am filled with apprehension because I don’t understand how dealerships actually work. I can’t understand how they claim they sell their cars for a few thousand dollars or less above their costs, yet they support what appears to be large and expensive real estate, big staffs, expensive TV advertisements, etc.

I was surprised to read that new car dealerships have decreased in the United States from 49,200 in 1949 to less than half as many (17,838) in 2013. Since then, they have leveled out. In Connecticut where I live they seem to be increasing with the addition of many single brand foreign car dealerships that use to be combined with American automobile dealerships.

A chart in the book shows that the average dealership in 2013 grossed $23,599,234 from new car sales and that the average sale price for a new car was $31,762. I worked this out to be 744 cars. This seems like a lot of cars for a dealership to sell! These sales represented 57.1% of the total gross income. The rest (31.3%) came from used car sales, with 11.6% from service and parts sales.

The book tries to address the complex problem of how to determine what portion of the total value of the dealership is derived from the value of the real estate and how much derives from the non-real estate property and how much for the good will. This is critical information when the sales comparison approach is used,as the sale price of the comparable sales is often not broken down into these categories.

The book points out the importance of knowing the purpose of the appraisal, and whether it is for tax purposes, condemnation proceedings, or some other value such as insurable value or going concern value, which considers the value of the personal property plus the good will value of the dealership.

Chapter 11 addresses this problem and offers suggestions on how to word statements that make it clear as to what is and is not included in the final estimated value. The author also includes a discussion of how business appraisers estimate “blue sky” value.

Appraising an automobile dealership is a complex assignment. The author presents a case for the real estate component of the dealership to be considered a special purpose property. This would make the cost approach a useful tool in the valuation process

However, a major portion of the book covers how to value the dealership that occupies the real estate. Somehow, appraising automobile dealerships reminds me of the song sung by Elvis Presley: "Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread”.

Book Review

Valuing Contaminated Properties-An Appraisal Institute Anthology Vol. II

Edited by Richard J. Roddewig, MAI, CRE
American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers
Chicago, Il, 60607
500+ Pages, Soft Cover; Price $75 (AI price $60

My first reaction to this book was “wow it is big and heavy!" In this day of Google and the Lum Library, who needs to spend money on an Anthology when you can get a custom made bibliography from the Lum Library (312-335-4467). That being said, in my view, an appraiser should not even think about making an appraisal of a contaminated property until they are familiar with the Appraisal Foundation Advisory Opinion AO 9 which is covered in Chapter 1.

Chapter 1, USPAP and the Appraisal of Properties Impacted by Contamination or Environmental Risk, starts with a five page introduction by the editor. It points out, for example, “The distinction between source sites, non-source sites, adjacent sites, adjacent sites and proximate sites is one of the topics covered by AO-9." By the time I finished reading Chapter 1 I was mentally exhausted.

Chapter 2, The Recognized and Generally Accepted Methods for Appraising Property Affected by Contamination and Environmental Risk, starts with another five page introduction by the editor.

After reading and digesting these two chapters, I realized it is not necessary to read the rest of this book as it is an Anthology with 67 articles, divided into 10 chapters, covering many topics. For example, article 10.2, How Australian Appraisers Assess Contaminated Land, will have limited use to most appraisers.
Whereas, chapter 7 consists of 17 pages across 5 articles all of which cover the subject of Mold — A topic which all appraisers should be knowledgeable.

Summary: This Anthology is a definitive compilation of accepted appraisal knowledge written by many authors, selected and interpreted by the editor, who is a valuation expert. If you make or are planning to make appraisals of contaminated property, the cost of this book is a small price to pay for a valuable reference to help you improve your work.

Book Review


The Complete HUD-FHA Combo Set
Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Compiled by Henry S. Harrison, MAI, ASA, IFAS, DREI
Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 Combo Set •  $67.50 + S&H
Publication Date: 2013

phone: 1-800-243-4545

Any appraiser doing FHA appraisals needs to have a copy of "FHA Handbook HUD-4150.2" and Chapter 4 from FHA Handbook 4155.2 (only chapter 4 apples to appraisers), the 28 mortgage letters that update the Handbooks and the over 150 of the Frequently Asked Questions supplied by the FHA to help understand their publications.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you my experience in compiling these two FHA Handbooks. While this information is available free of charge from the FHA site, downloading it all is a nightmarish undertaking.

My first plan was to combine this updated 2013 material into one book as I had done in the past. Unfortunately, the FHA has expanded this material so much that it will no longer fit into one volume using my printer – the same printer I have used for many years to print my books because of their good quality, fair prices and reliable delivery time.

If you would like to get a free copy of the FHA Handbook HUD-4150.2 by downloading it from the FHA site here is what you do:
1. Go the the FHA site at
2. Click on the left hand column under Audience Groups click on "Appraisers"
3. Click on the left hand column under Find Answers click on "Mortgagee Letters and Handbooks
4. Click on the right hand column under Reference Materials "Handbook HUD-4150.2

Here is where I ran into trouble. On this page there is a choice of downloading the handbook as a word fillable form or a PDF version. I could not get the "word fillable form" version to work so I resorted to downloading each of the individual nine PDF files. The result is a manual of about 350 pages.

Unfortunately, this is not all you need. You also need to download from the lenders handbook "Chapter 4 "Property Valuation and Appraisals" from HUD Handbook 4155.2. The subjects of interest to appraisers in this Chapter 4 are as follows:

  • the purpose of property valuation
  • lender responsibility for appraisers
  • appraisal management company (AMC) and third party organization fees
  • verification of compliance with property requirements
  • lender responsibility for determination of property eligibility and accuracy of appraisal value
  • variation in property appraisal and underwriting process
  • property eligiblity for FHA insurance
  • property eligibility under section 223 (e)
  • compliance inspection requirements
  • appraisal assignment to ensure appraiser competency
  • preventing improper influences on appraisers
  • prohibition of mortgage brokers and commission based lender staff from the appraisal process
  • appraiser independence safeguards
  • appraiser selection in the FHA connection, and
  • DE underwriter responsibility for quality of appraisal report.

If you would like to get a free copy of the FHA Handbook HUD-4155.2 by downloading it from the FHA site here is what you do:
  1. Go the the FHA site at
  2. Click on the left hand column under Audience Groups click on "Appraisers"
  3. Click on the left hand column under Find Answers click on "Mortgagee Letters and Handbooks"
  4. Click on the right hand column under Reference Materials "Handbook HUD-4150.2"

The FHA Handbooks are now over four year old and there are 28 mortgage letters that have been issued. All of them are needed to update these FHA Handbooks. Instead of issuing a new edition of their publications, the FHA has issued 150 FAQs that update the texts:
  • HUD ML 2012-23: Loan Origination Procedure Q&A: 4 pages
  • FAQ: Natural Disaster Protocols: 1 page
  • FAQs UAD and Other Appr Forms ML 11-30: Special FHA UAD requirements
  • L 11-07 Elimination of Master Appr Rpt.: When case numbers can no longer be assigned
  • FAQs Declared Disaster Area ML 12-23
  • ML 12-23  Declared Disaster Areas: Included with mortgage letters
  • FAQs Disaster Loans Before 11/16: FAQ; Natural Disaster Protocols, 1 page chart
  • FAQs UAD and Other Appr Forms ML 11-30: Special FHA UAD requirements
  • ML 11-07 Elimination of Master Appr Rpt,: When case numbers can no longer be assigned
  • FAQs Lead Based Paint:Clarifies who can inspect for lead when the property was built before 1978
  • FAQs Reasonable Fees/Time: Spells out the FHA's position on how reasonable fees are determined.
  • FAQs Meth Remediation: Clarifies what to do when there is methamphetamine contamination
  • FAQs Appraiser Valuation: 37 pages covering 16 subjects
  • FAQs Appraiser Roster Link not active as of 8/8/2013
  • FAQs , Update ML 09-51: Claries by whom and when an update report may be prepared.
  • FAQs Appraisal Portability ML 09-29: Clarifies whom and when a second appraisal report is required
  • FAQs Appraiser Independence ML 09-28: 6 pages clarifying by whom and when fees can be collected.

The bottom line is this: Any appraiser who is doing FHA appraisals needs to have a copy of "FHA Handbook HUD-4150.2" and Chapter 4 from FHA Handbook 4155.2 (only chapter 4 apples to appraisers), the 28 mortgage letters that update the Handbooks and the over 150 of Frequently Asked Questions supplied by the FHA to help understand their publications. I have compiled these documents and sell them as a combined set with included CD-ROMs of all of the resources for your convenience.

The Complete HUD-FHA Combo Set is available from
Forms and Worms 1-800 243-4545 or for 25%-off when you buy the combination.



Book Review

The Appraisal of Water Rights

by Steven J. Herzog, MAI
With Eunice H. Park

Soft Cover • 106 Pages •  $45.00

Publication Date: 2012
Appraisal Institute
200 W Madison, St
Chicago, Il 60606

phone: 312 355-4400

The first 16 pages of
The Appraisal of Water Rights are an illustrated guide to the complex water rights situation in California, with maps and pictures of its vast water collection and distribution systems. While interesting, it has little to do with water rights appraising in the rest of the USA.

Next is a primer on “The Nature of Water Rights.” It cautions that, “It would be presumptuous and dangerous for the appraiser to think that the rules for one state could be applied to another without first performing extensive research.” However, no guidance is offered as to how to go about doing this research.

Seven types of water rights are described: Prescriptive rights, Pueblo rights, Groundwater rights, Riparian rights, Appropriative rights, Contractual entitlements, and Federal Reserve. This provides good introductory information about each of these types of rights.

Chapter 2 starts with the quotation: “You can transfer water if it is your water and not somebody else’s water, provided the transfer does not injure another water right holder or unreasonably affect instream beneficial use.” The chapter then goes on to explain the basics of transferring water.

It is important to understand that this book does not address how value is affected when a property abuts or is near water. In many markets, this is considered an amenity that may substantially add to the value of the property. However, this book is focused on how to buy, sell and transfer water rights.

What this book does is let the reader understand the complexities of water right transfer and valuation. However, the only way I can conceive that most appraisers could take such an assignment is to associate themselves with another appraiser well experienced doing this type of work.


Book Review

Appraising Conservation and
Historic Preservation Easements

by Howard J Roddewig, MAI, CRE, FRICS
Soft Cover • 666 Pages •  $75.00

Publication Date: 2011
Appraisal Institute
550 W. Van Buren, St
Chicago, Il 60607

phone: 312 355-4140

This is a big book. It is almost as big as The Appraisal of Real Estate 13th edition, which -- in just 742 pages -- covers the whole body of knowledge of real estate appraising. There seems to be a trend whereby the Appraisal Institute publishes highly specialized books on important appraisal topics without concern for how long they are. The purpose is to enrich the knowledge base of the profession, rather than to make a profit.

Interview with Henry S. Harrison

Interview with Henry S. Harrison
by his wife
Ruth Lambert, Editor, Real Estate Valuation Magazine Online

Henry - can you explain to our readers what you are working on now?
Henry (H2): For the past few weeks, we have been very involved with the birth of our 5th grandchild, Sterling Harrison Muchnick, born February 23rd. Now I am back at work on my latest book "Harrison's Complete UAD Guide for the URAR."

What is the UAD? How will it affect appraisers?
According to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (aka the GSEs), they "have developed the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP) to enhance the accuracy and quality of loan data delivered to each GSE. The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) is a key component which defines all fields required for an appraisal submission on one of four standard appraisal forms, and standardizes definitions and responses for a key subset of fields." What this means is that soon Fannie and Freddie will no longer accept appraisals on paper — only electronic transmissions from the lenders. In addition, they will require that all these appraisals be formatted exactly as delineated in the UAD, or their computers will reject them.

Book Review

Real Estate Valuation in Global Markets (Second Edition)
By Howard C. Gelbtuch, MAI, with Eunice H. Park

Soft Cover; 618 Pages $75.00
Appraisal Institute
550 W. Van Buren, St
Chicago, Il 60607
312 355-4140

The author's note in the introduction spells out the purpose of this book: “The world has changed since the first edition was published more than a dozen years age." The book would be overwhelming if it were not divided up into separate chapters for each of the 47 countries covered. In effect, there are more than 47 other authors besides the two named on the cover. Having "been there and done that", I suspect getting the material each author supplied in a timely manner was a daunting task. Read More...

Book Review

Working Naked: A guide to the bare
essentials of home office life

Author: Lusa Kanarek

Paperback: $ 15.00
Amazon: $12.00
iPad or Kindle download: $9.00

Blakely Press, Dallas TX
September 2010

I couldn't resist a book with a great title like this! I downloaded it from Amazon to my iPad. The whole process was so simple and fast, I couldn't believe it. From the time I clicked on Amazon, found the book, bought the book and downloaded it to my iPAD, it took less than three minutes.

Lisa reveals the "The Naked Truth" which she explains as follows: "When I started working naked — working from home without the support of the corporate workplace — almost 20 years ago, my family and friends asked me over and over when I was going to get a "real" office." I can relate to this as I have spent most of my working life in a home office where I have everything I've needed to run my businesses, and I never have to commute. Of course, as an appraiser you have to leave the office to do inspections and other field work needed complete an appraisal.

What this book does most successfully is give you many, many bits of advice about how to set up a home office, starting with the best place in the house to locate your office, how to plan the office, find the right desk and chairs, what kind of files to use, etc.

Since I already have a home office and nowhere to move it, I found Section Two — From Chaos to Organization —more useful. Some of the advice was about knowing what belongs on your desk. I need to follow her advice and remove half the junk on my desk and "store it where I'll use it". This is followed by "control clutter" and where to store the stuff you have removed from your desk!

Up to now I have been a horizontal filer. The book says a better way is to "Think Vertically". Lisa recommends that, if you don't already have them, buy some 4 or 5 shelf book cases, and start storing your files in clearly labeled vertical file boxes.

Section Three is entitled "Getting Paper Trained." Her observation is "that when you work in a home office, the only limit on the number of piles of paper you create is the space available in the rooms in your house and possibly a garage." The book goes into detail with suggestions about how to break this habit.

I had never considered that there are three types of files: current files, reference files and historical files — and lumping them all together is really inefficient. My New Year's resolution is to revamp my filing along these lines!

One of the advantages of buying a book online is that you can read the reviews written by other readers, as well as the literary press. The following nicely summarizes why you should buy this book:

"Things like clothes and commutes seem so excessive in the modern day workplace: 'Working Naked' is a guide to working from home. Author Lisa Kanarek encourages people to use their home office to its fullest when working, and gives readers a rundown on the many advantages and challenges of the home office. From saving space to using home office equipment efficiently, to dealing with massive paper work and more, this is a comprehensive guide!"


P.S. A lot of what's in this book is also on Lisa Kanarek's helpful website: