Poll: Generally speaking, how accurate do you find MLS data in your area?


This week’s poll: “Now that we have been living for some time with all the new rules governing residential appraisal, do you still enjoy doing the actual appraisal work?” Go to www.appraisalport.com and vote!!

My comments: I have no idea why so many people think that MLS data is correct!! Of course, it does vary a lot among MLSs. In my area it is “reasonably accurate”, except public records data is often used (and the source disclosed). For example, on the weekly open house tour last week, an agent had 2 bedrooms in the listing, because “that is what public records says”. The second bedroom was tandem with another bedroom and very small. We all know how (inaccurate) public records are. Somehow, everyone, including some appraisers, think it is accurate. Or, worse, try to make their appraisals match public records to avoid callbacks.

To make a comment, scroll down to the post below and read other appraisers’ comments and post your own!!


10 homes that changed America (PBS – April, 2015)

Excerpt: In its 10 Homes That Changed America, a three-part series, PBS discusses the many ways that America has been shaped by its iconic and important architecture. According to series host Geoffrey Baer, narrowing the millions of houses across America down to ten examples was a challenge. The tv show tours the ten homes that have not only passed the test of time but also paved the way for those that followed.

Here are a few, with photos and brief descriptions at the link below:

– Taos Pueblo, New Mexico (circa 15th century)

– Glidehouse, Novato, California (2004)

– Mid-19th Century Tenement, New York City


My comment: Fascinating!! The first one of the 3-part series has already aired. Be sure not to miss the rest. I will let you know when the first one is available for viewing online.


10 buildings that changed America (PBS – 2013)

Excerpt: PBS’s 10 buildings that changed America takes a look at the buildings responsible for much of the architecture that we’re familiar with, but don’t always think of as iconically American. From the Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson, to Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, writer and producer Dan Protess identified the designs he thought most influenced later architecture, from city halls to family homes. “We’re all impacted by our built environment, and our buildings, but we’re often not very aware of it,” says Protess. “A building can enliven a streetscape, or it can make it a really difficult, ugly place to walk by, or be in every day.”

Here are a few:

– Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, Michigan,1910

– Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia 1962

– Robie House, Chicago, Illinois, 1910


Watch the 60 minute tv show at:


My comment: I kept seeing recent tv ads for the new PBS series, 10 homes that changed America. Unfortunately, I just missed seeing the first part of the 3 part series. It is not available online. So I included above the first tv show in the series – Buildings.

In the April issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter

Brief Excerpt from: “Your Web site – the easiest and fastest way to get non-AMC work!”

My marketing has changed significantly over the years. I started my appraisal business in 1986. I spent many years networking with real estate agents, attorneys, appraisers, etc. I also had Yellow Page ads.

This hard work networking over the years was critical to having a successful non-lender business based on referrals, starting in 2005.

But, this took years and a lot of work to establish. I set up my web site in 1998, mostly for my newsletter business. Over the years I got a few appraisal orders, but not many.

More and more people started using the Internet to search for what they wanted, including appraisals.

Today, few of us even use printed phone books. If you only have a cell phone or cable provider land line, you don’t even get printed phone books.

Now, about half my work is from referrals. The other half is from my Web Site.

I have lots of practical tips in this article for appraisers who don’t have web sites and for appraisers who want their current web site to get them more business.

Subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today newsletter to read this article and many more!!

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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
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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 ;>

Future of Appraising Preliminary Survey Results- 3,500+ Responses So Far

Of course, this is about the future of Residential appraising. The future of commercial appraising is dramatically different as almost all have 4-year degrees and there are no problems with trainees signing appraisals. No AMCs/lenders with ever increasing scope creep. There has always been fee competition – nothing new.

The questions are about 4-year degree, hiring trainees, leaving/retiring, and shortage of appraisers. The current Hot Topics!!

Click here to take the short 6-question survey (link at bottom of article) Read the full article plus the very interesting comments – over 500 as of early 4/13/16 (link at bottom of article)



Course Title:NEW
FHA Appraisals (Philadelphia Homeownership Center)
Thursday, April  21, 2016  9:00 AM – 11:00 APM (Eastern)
Event Location:
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pittsburgh Field Office, William S. Moorhead Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Avenue, 10th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Registration Link:
This live, on-site training will provide an overview of the Appraisal requirements outlined in Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. The training topics will include: property inspection requirements; appraisal validity period; manufactured homes; water and septic; attic and crawl spaces inspection; and the FHA Appraiser Roster. FHA appraisers, underwriters, and lender management personnel with all levels of experience will benefit from this course.
Special Instructions:
Registration is required by April 18, 2016. Seats are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Training is being held in a Federal facility, so please bring a photo ID and allow extra time to go through security screening. For more information, contact: elizabeth.m.cahall@hud.gov

FYI – FHA no longer requires 3 year sales history on comps, as of November 2015

A reminder from Doug Smith. Seems like lots of appraisers are still complaining about this requirement.

Per Doug: “The three year rule was rescinded by HUD in November. It was slipped in the bulletin by the following note, Align the Data Delivery Guide with existing policy concerning the reporting of comparable sales from “within three years” to “within one year” of the effective date of the appraisal.

It is included in the most recent FHA Handbook.

Here is a link to the November, 2015 announcement. Click here to download. 


There is a brief mention of the 3 year requirement being removed near the bottom of the second page.


Bad Banks – Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs

Wells Fargo reaches largest settlement in FHA history – $1.2 billion

Excerpt: According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Wells Fargo admitted, acknowledged and accepted responsibility for, among other things, certifying to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, during the period from May 2001 through December 2008, that certain residential home mortgage loans were eligible for FHA insurance when in fact they were not, resulting in the Government having to pay FHA insurance claims when some of those loans defaulted.

Wells Fargo originally tried to dismiss the series of statutory claims filed by the U.S. government back in October 2012 but was denied by a judge.

Click here to read http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36749-its-official-wells-fargo-reaches-largest-settlement-in-fha-history


Goldman Sachs officially reaches $5B settlement over toxic mortgage bonds

Excerpt: “This $5 billion settlement includes a $1.8 billion commitment to help repair the damage to homeowners and communities that Goldman acknowledges resulted from its conduct, and it makes clear that no institution may inflict this type of harm on investors and the American public without serious consequences,” Delery added.

According to the DOJ, the $2.385 billion civil monetary penalty resolves claims under FIRREA, which authorizes the federal government to impose civil penalties against financial institutions that violate various predicate offenses, including wire and mail fraud.

Click here to read http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36752-goldman-sachs-officially-reaches-5b-settlement-over-toxic-mortgage-bonds

My comments: Although only one person was found guilty, a low level employee, because of the 2008 mortgage mess, at least some banks are getting fined. Of course, now they are all complaining the mortgage rules are too strict and they are not making (enough) money on them. How much difference will the fines make? Probably not much to those paying the fines, but I suppose it may deter some lenders from being too aggressive in lending. Some commenters are saying that Dodd-Frank was not strong enough to keep the big banks from getting larger, with the possibility of another crash.

Remember the Great Depression, that resulted in stricter banking regulations keeping banks from getting big, such as the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, passed in 1933, which imposed a regulatory separation between traditional banking and higher-risk investing activities. Its partial repeal in 1999 has been blamed by some for the financial crisis of 2008-09,

Who payed the price for the Great Depression and the 2008 recession? We all do. The Great Depression was much, much worse because of the lack of unemployment compensation, Social Security and other assistance to help keep people from becoming destitute. In 2008, many residential appraisers lost their clients..Many quit appraising. It was very traumatic. Who won? The big banks and Wall Street investors. Who makes large contributions to members of Congress? Big banks and Wall Street.


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 www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to mailto:info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 8008390227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 10 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 8, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 10 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 11 percent from the previous week to its highest level since February 2016. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier its highest level since October 2015. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Helped by a persistently strong job market and low rates, applications for both conventional and government home purchase loans increased last week. The purchase index was at its second highest level since May 2010. Applications to refinance also increased as the 30 year contract rate decreased to its lowest level since January 2015,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 54.9 percent of total applications from 54.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.8 percent from 11.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.9 percent from 12.2 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged to 0.8 percent.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.82 percent from 3.86 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. This is the lowest since January 2015. 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 3.74 percent from 3.76 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. This is the lowest rate since February 2016. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.66 percent from 3.73 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. This is the lowest rate since April 2015. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.10 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate was unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.94 percent from 2.94 percent, with points decreasing to 0.2 from 0.26 (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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