Stave Churches Are All Wood, Dragons, and Beauty

These austere churches mix Nordic dragons with Christian saints.


Some of the most stunning churches in the world are also some of the simplest. Stave churches are wooden houses of worship that combine the austere, peaked architecture of Christianity with the Nordic designs and motifs of a Viking great hall.

Stave churches are characterized by the “staves,” or thick wooden posts, that hold them up. Using the same woodworking prowess that made the Vikings such adept shipbuilders, traditional stave churches were often built using nothing more that expertly crafted joints and joins, with no nails or glue. The only stones used were in the base of the structures.

Take a break from appraising and Check out the beautiful fotos and interesting article at:


Game of Thrones-style mini kingdom in Oregon


Let’s set the scene: You’re perched overlooking the mountains in your own 8,881-square-foot castle set on 700 acres dotted with trees and natural rock formations. All you can see for miles is your own lush, unspoiled property – this is your mini-kingdom. Your home, an ode to nature with curved walls and cloud-shaped windows, is easily a setting from an episode of Game of Thrones. But you aren’t the Lord of Winterfell, you’re certainly not scheming like CerseiLannister, and this home for sale in Ashland, OR, is not in the Seven Kingdoms but instead a fantasy-worthy getaway called Shining Hand Ranch.

Check out the fotos and hundreds of comments at:

My comment: seems like this is a “good fit” with the stave churches above – the very old and the new ;> I watched the first two seasons of Game of Thrones but it was too hard for me to follow. I gave up on the first book… lasted about 20 pages ;> My favorite character – Tyrion Lannister, of course!!


Our most favorite post with lots of comments – weird street names!!

Thanks (again) to Jonathan Miller for this great link!!
What are the strangest street names you have seen?

My comment: Yes, there is an O’Rourke Street in a nearby city!!


Be sure to scroll down the page and check out the comments!!

There will be a Special Prize awarded for the strangest street name!!


Poll: Compared to a year ago, my lender/AMC revision requests have:


My comments: Overall, on the increasing side. Too bad that not many reported decreasing revision requests.

  • Maybe someday lenders will become less paranoid about buy backs.
  • Maybe someday lenders will want to close their loans faster with fewer appraisal delays due to excessive revision requests.
  • Maybe someday residential appraisers will stop quitting the profession because they hate all the hassles from lenders/AMCs.

Thanks again to, and longtime employee Steve Costello, for these great polls!!


Got a “warning” letter from FHA recently?

Maybe it says you did not analyze the market, support the sales price, support adjustments or analyze valuation conclusion. Does the letter also say you need to take a class? You are not alone. Other appraisers have been receiving these letters.


Government secretly plans Wall Street takeover of Fannie, Freddie
Rolling Stone’s Wall Street hatchet-man on the hidden truth of #FannieGate


If Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is to be believed, yes, there absolutely was a government conspiracy behind the bailout and subsequent takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And now, the government is fighting tooth and nail to keep the evidence of that conspiracy a secret, all while plotting something far more insidious – the privatization of the government-sponsored enterprises.

My comment: Something for conspiracy fans ;>


Blame Geography for High Housing Prices?


It’s become something of a mantra among urban economists: Increasingly unaffordable housing prices in cities like New York, London, and San Francisco are very often the consequence of onerous and out-of-date land use regulations…

But something much more enduring than zoning and land use is also contributing to the deepening housing affordability problems of leading superstar cities and knowledge hubs. According to a recent study by IssiRomem, chief economist at BuildZoom, part of the explanation lies in the geographic characteristics of cities and metros-mountains, lakes, coastlines, etc.-that make it all but impossible to expand and add more housing.

My comment: I live 10 miles from San Francisco. I had sorta though maybe the geography was a factor, mostly because of San Francisco Bay and bridges, but never thought about the “big picture”. Very interesting article. Thanks to Jonathan Miller for this Most Interesting article!!


Hot Topics in the paid Appraisal Today newsletter!!

  • What is a bedroom? by Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS
  • Your Web Site – the easiest and fastest way to get non-AMC work!
  • Issues with the 1004mc – a closer look by George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA
  • Adjustments Part 1 – Are you making too many adjustments?
  • Adjustment, Part 2 – what are the best adjustment methods for your market?
  • Support vs. proof for adjustments by Bob Keith
  • Reviewer as mind reader by Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RSS
  • A Catfight over Appraisal Standards, The Decline and Fall of the Residential Appraiser, etc. By Owen Glendower
  • Tips on dealing with AMC engagement letter fine print and report clutter – USPAP, MLS sheets, etc. By Doug Smith, SRA

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

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

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)

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 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 requesting it and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it ;>


The Most Expensive Home Listing in Every State 2016


Here are a few:

  • Alabama 29416 Canal Road $5.5 million
  • Arizona 10696 E. Wingspan Way $32 million
  • California 301 North Carolwood Drive $150 million
  • Iowa 6201 Lakeside Road $3.5 million

My comment: How does your state compare?


The Boom Towns: America’s Fastest-Growing Neighborhoods


Something’s going on in certain neighborhoods across America-a handful of bedroom communities, a few formerly overlooked (or once seriously downtrodden) downtown districts, and even one high-profile area considered the hallowed birthplace of the modern hipster…

From Brooklyn to Las Vegas, our study yielded a fascinating mix of unexpected neighborhoods on the rise-some that you just wouldn’t expect to be big, others that you might have thought had already reached their peak.

A few of the towns

1. Power Ranch, Gilbert, AZ (85297)

2. Historic Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (90012)

7. Rolesville, NC (27571)

My comment: A very wide range of locations!!


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

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 or send an email to . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications decreased 4.1 percent from one week earlier,  according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 22, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 14 percent higher than the same week one year ago. 

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 54.4 percent of total applications from 55.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.2 percent of total applications.

 The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.3 percent from 10.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.2 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.8 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 3.85 percent from 3.83 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

 The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to 3.78 percent from 3.77 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.25 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

 The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.66 percent from 3.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.09 percent from 3.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

 The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.02 percent from 2.91 percent, with points decreasing to 0.14 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.

We want to know what you think!! Please leave a comment.