8 Extraordinary Pieces of Architecture Grown From Living Trees


We usually use trees as building material in the form of struts and planks. But all over the world, people have found ways to create dwellings, bridges, and sculptures out of trees without even cutting them down. Using trees to create living structures is much slower to build (read: grow) than traditional methods, but it creates some truly fantastical natural creations. Take a look at some of the world’s coolest feats of arbortecture.


My comment: All I can say is WoW!! Great photos plus some text info. Just Click On It!!


Celebrity names not adding to appeal for home buyers?

May. 16, 2016 – 3:00 – Douglas Elliman Broker Chris Leavitt on the challenges celebrities face trying to sell their homes.

Very funny commercial before the short 4 minute video – Fox news.

Another great one from Jonathan Miller. I guess he watches a lot of tv and tweetlings, when not doing lotsa graphs and other stuff ;>



How much value does an extra bedroom add?

Another Most Excellent blog post from Ryan Lundquist. Check out the comments also.


How much value does an extra bedroom add? The bad news is there isn’t a one-size fits all answer that makes sense for every neighborhood. But the good news is we can think through some of the key issues to respond intelligently. On that note, let’s kick around some ideas below. I’d love to hear your take in the comments.

4. Layout: At times a 3-bedroom home may sell on par with a 4-bedroom home because of a stellar layout. Imagine a 1400 sqft 3-bedroom house compared to a 1400 sqft 4-bedroom house. One house obviously has more bedrooms, which on paper makes it sound more valuable, but the 3-bedroom house very likely has a larger Living Room, which could help it compete well with the 4-bedroom home. This is a good reminder to be careful about blindly letting bedroom count have the final say.



Another Most Interesting Survey from Rachel Massey

Survey about financing (specifically what happens if 20% is required) as well as what percentage of what you see is less than 20%

Take the survey at:



What’s the best E&O policy for you? Don’t shop for just the lowest price. State Board complaints?


Coming in the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today,

available June 1, 2016


– 2015 E&O Update – where to get E&O, state board complaints, E&O Myths

– How do upgrades affect UAD Condition and Quality Ratings? By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS

– FHA attic inspection requirements by Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS


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If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the May 2016 issue, emailed May 2, 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 ;>


AQB Proposes Alternative to College Degree Requirement

By Isaac Peck, Editor


In a long-awaited and highly anticipated announcement, the Appraisers Qualifications Board (AQB) has just released an Exposure Draft (May 18) that indicates it intends to walk back the bachelor’s degree requirement for Certified Residential appraisers and more. The AQB also is proposing significant changes to appraiser experience requirements.

The AQB is proposing two alternative tracks that will allow Licensed Residential appraisers to earn a Certified Residential license without a college degree.

In response (to complaints about experience requirements), the AQB is proposing (1) accepting coursework in lieu of experience for Certified Residential and Certified General credentials (not for Trainees), (2) shortening the timeframe requirements for earning the experience for all license levels, (3) changing the number of hours required for experience for all license levels, (4) allowing for the substitution of experience from other real estate professions.


Read the comments and post your own.

My comment: I will never forget attending one of the first meetings on the new college degree requirement many years ago. I seemed to be one of the few attendees saying it was too much for residential appraisers. This is definitely a “roll back”. When I started appraising, before licensing, there were no requirements. I think a college degree, especially with business classes, makes a difference for a commercial appraiser. When I started appraising I had a science degree and had never taken any business classes. I know that my MBA made a big difference in understanding real estate markets. In the past, over half appraisers had college degrees as otherwise they would not be hired by lenders, etc. But, it is probably an overkill for residential appraisers as you appraise a much more limited variety of property types than commercial and most work is done on lender forms, not long narrative reports.


AMC violations: Paid Late, Non C&R fees, Operating Without License


North Carolina has disciplined Appraisal Nation and Independent Settlement Services for non-payment within 30 days in accordance with North Carolina Law.

By consent, the Board voted to suspend Appraisal Nation’s AMC registration for a period of one month. The suspension is stayed until June 30, 2016. They are also ordered to pay a fine by June 30, 2016. In addition they are ordered to, in the future, pay fees to an appraiser within 30 days of the date the appraisal is first transmitted by the appraiser to the Respondent

Read the article for the other problems AMCs had.

What do AMCs worry about? Getting suspended – not fines. I recently wrote my annual E&O article for the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today and included info about a major national AMC that was suspended by a state board for 2 weeks and claimed they lost a very large amount of money. They had purchased another much smaller AMC who messed up their state AMC license in a state.



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 https://www.mba.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 or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 2.3 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 20, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 0.4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 53.7 percent of total applications from 54.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.7 percent of total applications. The average loan size for purchase applications reached a survey high at $307,700.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.5 percent from 12.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.7 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 3.82 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.34 (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 3.82 percent from 3.74 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.29 (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 3.70 percent from 3.63 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.28 (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 3.06 percent from 3.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.38 (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 3.09 percent from 2.94 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30 (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.