8 Bizarre Bathrooms from Around the World

“From pop-up toilets in city streets to a bathroom surrounded entirely by an aquarium, these public and private bathrooms are beyond bizarre-and you need to see them!”

Take a break from appraising and check these out. Definitely Weird!!



Recent acquisitions of appraisal and title companies

Another great commentary from Dave Towne. Thanks again, Dave!!

From the article in Housingwire.com:

First American Mortgage Solutions, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation, acquired Forsythe Appraisals, supplementing its existing valuation capabilities.

Forsythe Appraisals is one of the largest independent residential appraisal company in the United States and offers real estate valuation solutions with nationwide coverage.

Under the acquisition, Forsythe’s management team, including President and CEO John Forsythe, Senior Director of Customer Development Tim Forsythe and Chief Appraiser Alan Hummel, will continue to lead those operations.



Solidifi Acquires Linear Title & Closing to Broaden Reach of Innovative Technology Platform


From the article in Businesswire.com:

Solidifi, a leading independent provider of real estate valuation services to 60 of the top 100 lenders, today announced the acquisition of Linear Title & Closing Limited (“Linear”) for up to US$96 million subject to certain performance metrics, bringing Solidifi’s established next-generation real estate technology platform to the $10 billion title and closing market.

With the acquisition of Linear, Solidifi manages a marketplace of more than 100,000 independent, qualified appraisers, abstractors, notaries, attorneys, brokers and real estate professionals that collect and assess key attributes of individual properties.

The acquisition of Linear is Solidifi’s third since 2013, following on the purchases of Kirchmeyer & Associates and Southwest Financial Services Ltd. Linear’s offices will remain in Middletown, RI. The transaction brings Solidifi’s total employee count to more than 700.

Dave Towne, AGA, MNAA Owner / Educator

Certified Residential RE Appraiser

Appraiser Education Service




My comment: I wish I could sell my appraisal business ;> I guess that someone thinks appraisal services are valuable in their diversified real estate offerings. Congrats to Forsythe for getting money from their 75+ years in business.


Most popular link from last week’s email newsletter

Man moves to San Francisco, pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ living room


New related link: San Francisco Tech Firms See Workers Flee From $4,500 Rents


My comment: I just heard today that a Big Tech company in Silicon Valley offered a new hire, recent college grad, a $15,000 bonus to rent an apartment close to their offices – much closer than San Francisco, but much cheaper. Also reading other articles about complaints about San Francisco rents from tech employees living in San Francisco.


About this free email newsletter and the ads

This email newsletter, started in June 1994, is a digest of other people’s blogs and articles with links. I often write my comments on the articles. Occasionally I write a short commentary on a topic. These emails are very different than appraisal-related blog sites, for example, which have articles on various topics. All of those blogs are primarily marketed to real estate agents and the general public, for marketing purposes. Sometimes there have topics of interest to appraisers.

What topics are included in these email newsletters? What is interesting to me or useful information. I usually select articles I find interesting, such as strange homes and buildings. I seldom link to web pages where there is lots of negative appraiser ranting unless there is useful information also. Having a positive attitude is very important to having a successful business.

In contrast, my paid newsletter, started in 1992, has long articles on appraisal topics, such as adjustments, 1004mc, marketing tips such as how to get business from your web site, Big Data and appraisers etc.

Why are there so many ad-only emails?

How long do these emails take to write? About 5-6 hours, not counting all the time I spend on Facebook, appraiser email discussion groups, emails of lender news, speaking with appraisers, etc. I was getting a “bad attitude” about spending so much time on them.

So, I “monetized” these free weekly newsletters. I had always taken occasional ads, text and banner ads from various vendors. In July, 2013, I started taking ad-only emails, sent separately from these email newsletters. In 2015, Liability Insurance Administrators started sponsoring these emails and getting an ad in every email. Now, I am making some money and have a much more positive attitude about spending the time to write them. I like writing them, but could be doing appraisals instead, which I also like….

What if you don’t want to get the ad-only emails?

There are three options. Once you get one of these options going, you can unsubscribe from the free email newsletter (bottom of each email newsletter). You can get these emails with all three options.

– Subscribe to my twitter feed – @appraisaltoday and get a notification every Thursday.

– Go to the email archives. These email newsletters are posted on Friday, the day after they are sent. http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs091/1101648677253/archive/1102085322764.html This link is also on the top of my home page in the big yellow box at www.appraisaltoday.com

– Go to my blog, www.appraisaltodayblog.com and subscribe. The email newsletters will be sent to you. Starting next week, these weekly emails will be posted there by Friday

New in the April issue of the paid Appraisal Today, available April 1.

What is a bedroom? By Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS

Your Web Site – the easiest and fastest way to get non-AMC work! I get half my referrals from my web site. Lots, lots easier than years of networking and much, much faster!! I give you all the tips for having a new, inexpensive web site and how to make your existing web site make you much more money.

Issues with the 1004mc by George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA

What’s up in technology by Wayne Pugh, MAI, CRE, CCIM, FRICS

Subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today newsletter to read these articles and many more!!

Cancel at any time. For any reason. Prorata refund!!

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or $99 per year or $169 for two years

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters

plus 4 Special Reports, plus 2 Appraiser Marketing Books!!

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or call 800-839-0227.

If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the April 2016 issue, emailed April 1, 2016, please send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com requesting it and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it ;>

How often do you verify a sale with a market participant (Agent, owner, seller, lender, other appraiser, etc.)?

Poll www.appraisalport.com

My comment: Interesting results for a somewhat controversial topic!! It may depend on ho

My comment: Interesting results for a somewhat controversial topic!! It may depend on how you were trained. Definitely depends on the purpose of the appraisal – lending, divorce, etc. When I used to do a lot of relocation appraisals, I called on every sale and listing, as that was required.

In some markets, emails work. In others, phone calls are best. I always call on the phone. What questions I have depends on the market – declining, increasing, foreclosures, etc. If it is an unusual sale (too high or too low, needs a lot of work, extensive remodeling, etc.) and I really want to use it. I call the listing agent. I prefer the listing agent, as that person knows how many offers, who was interested and why, etc. Now that MLSs have lots of interior photos, it really helps. For example, there is no photo of the kitchen = old kitchen. Also, I go on open house tour almost every week in my city and keep the flyers with my notes (going back to 1990). What do I ask when I call? Besides concession, sales price, etc. I always ask who was interested and why, plus and minus of the home, etc. I want to know the “story”.


O’Rourke Pontificates on Big Data and why appraisers will always be needed – Dustin Harris Podcast

“Ann joins us again discussing her article in the recent Appraisal Today paid newsletter on Big Data. We all know that Big Data is here to stay, but Ann tells us why appraiser data is the best kind of data.”

Analysis of Big Data is very important for all types of applications – presidential elections, who is buying a product, Collateral Underwriter, AVMs, etc.

Dustin and I discuss Big Data and Fannie, Collateral Underwriter, AVMs, reliability problems, making adjustments and many other topics.

The key to Big Data is data reliability. As compared with a lot of other data types, real estate property characteristics is not very reliable.

I started writing about data in 1992, when I started my paid newsletter. At that time, appraiser data was considered the best data. Today, it still is the best. Public records, MLS, etc. are much less reliable.

As we all know, AVMs (and CU) work best on conforming tract homes built in the past 10 years. But, what about no good comps, rural properties, homes needing lots of work, etc. etc. We all appraise non-tract homes. Big real estate data does not work well without a “human” to analyze what is happening.

For unknown reasons, I am much more candid in Dustin’s podcasts that I am when writing or public speaking. We just “click” I guess ;> Listen to the podcast (33 minutes) and post your comments here:


To subscribe or listen on other web sites, go to

– Android – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-appraiser-coach

– iTunes – Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any! I am a subscriber.


– Website – http://theappraisercoach.libsyn.com/ 

My comment: this podcast was inspired by my January 2016 article in my Paid Appraisal Today newsletter: The Internet, Big Data and the Art of Appraising. The past, the present and the future. To read the full article, subscribe (see above ad).


HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to www.mbaa.org

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to mailto:info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 2.7 percent from one week earlier,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 6, 2016) -Mortgage applications increased 2.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 1, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 7 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 11 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 54.5 percent of total applications from 52.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 4.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.2 percent from 12.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.8 percent from 0.9 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.86 percent from 3.94 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.76 percent from 3.82 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.73 percent from 3.76 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.10 percent from 3.19 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.94 percent from 3.07 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100


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