The "Green Hornet" – first lender appraisal form from 1962

Revisiting The Green Hornet
By George Opelka, ACI


Introducing Form #17-PRA

In the late 1950s, my Dad (Gregory Opelka) taught real estate appraisal courses in the evenings at the Savings and Loan Institute in downtown Chicago. Through his teaching ventures, he was invited to serve as an appraisal consultant to the U.S. League of Savings and Loan Associations. Additionally, he wrote a monthly appraisal column for publication in the Savings and Loan News, a trade magazine-a division of the U.S. League. As a result of an early consulting-writing assignment with the U.S. League, my Dad created appraisal form “#17-PRA” in 1962.

The appraisal report form was presented to the Appraisal Committee of the U.S. League for review and consideration for adoption and use by savings and loan associations across the United States. The form was initially presented on green paper with green ink strictly for marketing spin. The form was approved for nationwide members’ use by the U.S. League’s Appraisal Committee and was numbered form #17-PRA, Professional Residential Appraisal by the U.S. League staff. Form #17-PRA was then printed and sold by the Accounting Division of the U.S. League. Remember, this occurred in 1962 (pre-ACI), so the completion of this form was intended to be a handwritten field report, and submitted accordingly.

It wasn’t until after the form was released and in production when the appraisal staff of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Indianapolis submitted a report critiquing the new form. This critique was published in a monthly professional trade magazine of the Society of Residential Appraisers. Of historical note, it was this local Indianapolis S&L appraisal committee that affectionately dubbed the new form “The Green Hornet”! Ironically, the name stuck and even today, almost fifty years later, the Green Hornet continues to charm and identify with the residential appraisal process.


In 1984, twenty-two years after the birth of the Green Hornet, a new initiative to create a standard appraisal form was spearheaded by the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. A committee was formed out of this initiative, wherein the Society of Real Estate Appraisers appointed F. Gregory Opelka, MAI, SREA, SRA, as Chairman of a new Uniform Appraisal Form committee. He was directed by the SREA to select and work with appraisal representatives from the Appraisal Institute and several various government agencies. Howard Sears, acting President of the SREA called for the development of a new common form. Aside from the SREA, the Institute, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and the VA, there were a few other government agencies, and all were actively involved in the development of this new form.

The advent of the personal computer provided better tools to develop the successor to the Green Hornet-an appraisal form using spreadsheet-like software. Initially, my Dad designed the new form in Visi-Calc and then shifted to developing it in Lotus 1-2-3.

My comment: I wonder what would have happened if a standard lending form was never developed? I remember when every relocation company had a different form. What a hassle!! I don’t even want to think about what if every lender had a different form….

Business down 25% or more for over half of appraisers

Has the recent drop in loan originations had a direct impact on your appraisal business? poll results

Yes, my volume is down over 50% 1,889 votes – 31%
Yes, my volume is down between 26%-50% 1,590 votes – 26%
Yes, my volume is down between 1% – 25% 1,247 votes – 21%
No, but I anticipate it slowing down soon 411 votes – 7%
No, my volume is about the same and I don’t see it changing soon 669 votes – 11%
Not sure yet 229 votes – 4%

Total Votes: 6,035

FYI, appraisal port is a portal for lender appraisals, so this is a good indicator of changes in  lender appraisal business

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Organic Architecture by Architect Bart Prince


Organic architecture is an attractive philosophy of architecture  which promotes complete harmony between human habitation and the surrounding natural world through design approaches so sympathetic and well integrated with its site that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.

The featured home has been designed for Steve Skilken in Columbus Ohio (owner of a Real Estate and a Health, Wellness and Fitness company). The curvilinear glass-and-copper-clad residence had to be beautiful from the air, since Steve comes in by helicopter. The home is therefor not only in harmony with the surroundings but also with the sky. Wouldn’t it be nice to live there?

My comment: check out the beautiful fotos. Don’t ask me to measure this house!!!

Organic Architecture by Architect Bart Prince

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Strange and Gorgeous Houses Built on Rooftops

Here’s a list of some of them:
– A little red Victorian house on top of the Penfield Manufacturing Company’s factory in Syracuse, New York
– Three little houses, eight stories above Broadway atop a hundred-year-old apartment building, 2008
– A clapboard house with brick chimney on top of a 4-story apartment building, New York City, 2009
– A faux-mountaintop villa on the top of a 26-story building in Beijing, China, 2013

My comment: We all need something fun!! Thanks to appraiser Joe Lynch in Woodland, CA for this great link!

Check out the great fotos at:

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When will the residential lender appraisal business pick up?

Loan applications have been declining sharply since April, 2013

How do I know? Loan applications peaked in April 2013 and have been declining since then. Appraisals are ordered after loan applications so loan origination data tells you the future. The Mortgage Bankers Association has published a weekly index of loan applications since 1990. I have included a graph in every issue of my paid Appraisal Today newsletter since 1992. I also periodically include a copy of the MBA’s weekly data in these free email newsletters. Also, of course every economist has been forecasting substantial declines in loans.

About a month ago I started getting the inevitable calls from appraisers when they finally figured out their lender business has slowed down. I enjoy talking with appraisers, but it seemed better to tell my almost 14,000 email subscribers.

What are the main questions from appraisers?
How do I get non-lender work?
Do I think business will pick up soon?
How can I find out the names of good AMCs?

What appraisers are not asking is:
– Which AMCs will be going out of business?
– Are AMC fees dropping?

When will business pick up?
We are in a decline in lender work because rates are up. It is just another inevitable cycle of boom and bust mortgage lending that started in the 70s when Fannie and Freddie securitized lenders’ loans so they could sell them and get more loans. The volume is driven by refis. Prior to that time it was driven by real estate sales. I have no idea when it will pick up, but rates are forecast to increase. I don’t know when they were this low in the past, going back to the 1930s. They may have been lower prior to the 1930s but there is not enough data to know. There are some people who can’t refi because they don’t have enough equity, couldn’t qualify for a loan, or just never got around to refinancing, etc.

How to get non-lender work?
Many post-licensing appraisers have only worked for lenders. Some even use current lending form reports in court when testifying in court. I have been writing about non-lender work since 1992 in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. In the October issue of the paid Appraisal Today I will have an article “Quick start for non-lender work”. I also have special reports on Estate, Legal and tax related, and Relocation appraisals ($10 for paid subscribers. $15 for non-subscribers). Or, subscribe and get over 2 years of back issues FREE which cover these topics plus Free Special Reports. See ad below.

Get answers to many of your AMC questions by signing up at  
For unknown reasons appraisers seem to think it is expensive or “too good to be true”. They are wrong. I wrote an article about the company earlier this year for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter.  is free until the end of this year. After that fees are based on how many reviews you contribute. The more reviews, the lower your annual fee. They advertised in my email last week in an ad sent separate from this email. Few appraisers opened their ad. Pathetic. I guess appraisers spend all their time online reading postings from other appraisers, a complete waste of time for getting AMC information. Or, just assume nothing is changing or it will pick back up soon.

Don’t even get me started on appraisers who lost money when AMCs went into bankuptcy because they didn’t know it was coming. There were hints online for months before they tanked. lets you know what is coming.

On the plus side, you made it though the worst appraisal business collapse ever – HVCC in 5/09 when appraisers lost almost all their mortgage broker clients and had to work for AMCs. Many just quit appraising. Today’s slowdown is nothing compared with that time.

To understand AMCs better (beyond the data), purchase my AMC Special Report for $20. Free to paid subscribers.

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Piano House in An Hui, China

Piano house fotoExcerpt from original article:

 This unique piano house was built recently in An Hui Province, China. Inside of the violin is the escalator to the building. The building displays various city plans and development prospects in an effort to draw interest into the recently developed area.This unusual Piano and Violin shaped building built in 2007 serves as showroom for exhibiting the plans for newly created district of Shannan in Huainan City, China.The transparent Violin houses the escalators and the staircase for the main piano building which displays various plans and development prospects for newly developed area.

 Very interesting. Check out the other fotos!!

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Fewer appraisers in the future – fees and turn time?

In last week’s email I reported these results:  poll

With few new people currently entering the appraisal profession, do you foresee a shortage of appraisers at some point?

Yes, in the next few years. 2,705 votes 47%

Yes, but it=s probably years down the road. 1,603 votes 28%

No, I don=t think we will see a chronic shortage. 1,137 votes 20%

Not sure. 253 votes 4%

Total votes: 4,818


This is a followup to that poll

As a follow up, do you think the future shortage of appraisers will affect fees and turn times?

Yes, at some point it will. 3403 vote (70.6%)

No, I don’t think it will have much effect. 663 votes (13.8%)

No, I don’t think we will see a chronic shortage. 528 votes (11%)

Not sure. 224 votes (4.6%)

Total Votes: 4,818

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