Mansion under $100,000

Mansions cost millions, right? Well, not necessarily. This week’s most popular home on® is a mansion priced under a million. In fact, it’s priced below $100,000.

Yes, it’s in Toledo; and yes, it needs some work to bring it into fighting shape. But still, a mansion with a five-digit price tag is a rare beast indeed. The listing agent told us a recent open house attracted more than 1,000 people over two days. He added that this mansion would be worth millions if it were in a major coastal metro-making it a savvy purchase for a buyer who doesn’t mind summering on the Maumee River.

Scroll down the page to Number 1. FYI, Number 3 – Amityville Horror House for $850,000


Twinkies Enabled the Sale of the Playboy Mansion

By Jonathan Miller


It’s been a confusing week for me.

I’ve been trying to reduces the sugar in my diet and I actually feel much better. But then I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the recent sale of the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angles, California. Apparently the next-door neighbor who restarted the Hostess brand purchased the $200 million listing for more than $100 million but the price was not disclosed.

In other words, the sale of Twinkies made this all possible.

Read the full commentary and scroll down the page for interesting comments on free appraisals, purple formica, value of a bedroom, etc.


Safest states


With every new headline of a school shooting, terrorist attack or natural disaster, we can’t help but worry about our safety and of those we love. Safety, after all, is a fundamental human need. And we all require it to some degree in every setting of daily life: at home, in our classrooms, on our roads, in our places of work.

WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 25 key “safety” metrics. Our data set ranges from “number of assaults per capita” to “unemployment rate” to “estimated losses from climate disasters.”

How safe is your state? Read the full article here. Top 6 safest states are in the northeast. Least safest are NM, AK, OK and MS.


ICAP survey results on appraisers doing FHA appraisals

I sent the survey link in my June 9 email newsletter.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting that some feel that the recent changes to the FHA’s handbook on appraisals require appraisers to take on home inspection-type duties to ensure standards are met and that consumers can mistake the role of the appraisal for that of an inspection. In response ICAP scheduled a meeting with the NAR to discuss the issue.

To help prepare the Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals (ICAP) for its meeting with the NAR, ICAP prepared a survey for FHA Appraisers.

Over 1,000 appraisers took the survey. A few of the results:

– 94% of the respondents are concerned the new FHA appraisal inspection and reporting requirements increase their


– 94% of respondents believe the new requirement to operate all conveyed appliances observing their performance is beyond the normal scope of an appraisal assignment.

– The scope of work has increased under the new FHA guidelines but only 52% of appraisers have increased their fees.

If you do FHA appraisals, read the survey results and ICAP’s recommendations

Direct link to survey results and ICAP’s recommendations

Link to main page with info on ICAP and the survey results link


June 2016 E&O Insurance Update – where to get E&O, prior acts, state board complaints, E&O Myths, etc.


Myth: “My business is incorporated, LLC, etc. so I am protected” Incorporation and other business structures do not help reduce appraiser liability risk. You are sued directly as a professional appraiser. Those types of business structures can protect you from other types of lawsuits, but typically appraisers are sued because of an appraisal.

How to handle the first contact from a borrower Sometimes it can start with a phone call, such as a nice or nasty borrower. Keep your composure. Your client is the lender. Don’t say “Sorry, I made a mistake. How do we fix it?” You may not have caused the problem, such as a trashed foreclosure. Don’t “do a favor” and offer to pay for the damage. Your first contact can also be a letter. Be sure to contact your E&O company. Don’t ever try to handle it yourself.

Don’t EVER let your E&O insurance lapse!!! Claims made coverage is the only type of appraisal E&O insurance available now. In this type of coverage, the claim must occur while the policy is in effect. The error or omission causing the claim may occur during the policy period, or if “prior acts” coverage is applicable, prior to the policy period. If you don’t have prior acts coverage, both the claim and the error or omission must occur when the policy is in effect.

 In contrast, many types of insurance, such as fire insurance on your home, is made on an occurrence basis. In this type of policy, the insurance company covers any act or omission that occurred during the period the policy was in force – whenever the claim is filed. This type of coverage is not available for appraisers’ E&O insurance.

 For most appraisers, unless they’re just starting self-employment, prior acts coverage is almost mandatory as claims are usually filed long after the alleged error or omission. According to Bob Wiley of LIA, a study he did showed that, on the average, you are sued 30 months after the appraisal is done.

 Prior acts coverage cannot go further back than the last uninterrupted claims made policy. Remember, if you have had a lapse in coverage, you cannot get prior acts coverage for any appraisals done prior to that time.

 To read the full article plus more articles on this topic, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today newsletter!!




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What’s the deal with FREE home appraisals?

Written for consumers, but worth reading for appraisers. We all hear about free appraisals…


I’ve seen more and more ads lately for FREE home appraisals or “What’s your home worth” advertisements and thought I’d talk about them today to see how legit they are. If you are going to be getting a refinance loan or maybe you’ll be buying a home and think that maybe the ads you see for FREE home appraisals will work for you, you may want to think again.

Read the full article and the comments at


Zillow says they just improved Zestimate accuracy


Zillow announced Wednesday that it is about to launch an update to the algorithm that powers its Zestimates, which Zillow claims will improve the accuracy of the property value estimation tool across the country.

According to Zillow’s announcement, the update will cut the Zestimate’s national median error rate from 8% to 6%, meaning that half of all Zestimates will be within 6% of the selling price, and half will be off by more than 6%.

Additionally, Zillow said the Zestimate update, which will be rolled out Wednesday and Thursday, improves accuracy in 96 of the 100 largest counties in the U.S.

Click here to read the full article plus the interesting comments. Post your own comment!!

My comment: ???? I will see what happens. I have no idea where Zillow gets the data they need for accurate valuations, such as school district…. Who needs UAD, Collateral Underwriter, etc. etc.?? I have used Zillow since it started for graphs of overall historic price changes. Very useful for me as almost all my appraisals are retrospective values for estates, sometimes far in the past. Plus, I work in an area with dramatic changes in prices, both up and down.


Commercial Real Estate Refis Could Turn Around a Flagging SBA Program


Lenders are suddenly lining up again to make federally guaranteed loans to small businesses for real estate and equipment purchases.

The reason? Later this month the Small Business Administration plans to unveil a permanent refinance option to its so-called 504 program that lenders and agency officials say could be a game-changer.

“We see 504 refinance as a huge opportunity for lenders like us,” said Alex Cohen, the chief executive of Liberty SBF in New York, which expects to originate more than $200 million of loans over the next 12 months thanks largely to the change. Its plan partly relies on financial backing from large financial institutions.


Appraiser Safety, Stalked by Homeowner


…The homeowner must not have been happy because he proceeded to call me. I immediately informed StreetLinks and asked them to notify the lender. A couple of weeks later, I see the homeowner’s name in my Facebook account as a potential friend. A day or so later I see his name in my Hotmail contacts. When vacationing out of the country, I logged in to my dormant Skype account and saw his name among my contact lists. I had not used Skype for several years.

… I have a stalker and needless to say I had to make a few changes to my reports and to the way I conduct business. I no longer include my license or E&O Insurance declaration page in my appraisal reports. I have sent a request to DPOR to change my address to a PO Box. I have changed my address on my E&O Insurance declaration page to a PO Box. My PO box is in a different city than where I live. I now use a prepaid cell phone for calls. I am in the process of updating all my clients to a new e-mail address. My safety has been threatened. My life and my families’ life has been turned upside down. All because of a disgruntled homeowner.

Read the very interesting full article, plus the comments at:



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 2.4 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 10, 2016. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 21 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 17 percent compared with the previous week and was 16 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 55.3 percent of total applications from 53.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.3 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.8 percent from 13.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.1 percent from 11.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.6 percent 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) decreased to its lowest level since January 2015, 3.79 percent, from 3.83 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (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 its lowest level since May 2016, 3.75 percent, from 3.81 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.25 (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 its lowest level since May 2013, 3.61 percent, from 3.71 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.23 (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 its lowest level since May 2016, 3.06 percent, from 3.11 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.35 (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 its lowest level since May 2015, 2.87 percent, from 2.96 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.29 (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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