The Surprising Origins of the Tiny House Phenomenon

Why ancient hermits are the key to understanding our tiny home obsession


Invariably, someone will remind you that civilization emerged from tiny houses-caves, yurts, tents, wigwams, igloos, grass huts, and so forth.

These early antecedents are beside the point. Sioux, Samoans, and Inuits were not offered more spacious alternatives. But people who opt for tiny houses-meaning the kind that tug at heartstrings and star on cable-generally choose to live small. The reasons aren’t just practical, but also ethical and emotional.

the true parents of tiny-house living are hermits. From the ancient Chinese Taoists in mountain caves to the Desert Fathers of third century Christianity and onward (the word “hermit” derives from the Greek word for “desert”), hermits were the first people to actively downsize to confined, remote, and minimally furnished living spaces.

Read the full story here:

My comment: The most interesting article I have read on tiny houses. Of course, I started sailing sailboats in the early 1970s. Living aboard a sailboat is the Ultimate Tiny House!! Narrow and long but very portable… Another good link from Jonathan Miller…


FHA Case Transfer, issued July 26, FHA INFO #16-49

Mortgagees should note the following about case transfers relative to appraisal reports in both the EAD (electronic appraisal delivery) portal and FHAC:

If, prior to case transfer, the original mortgagee uploaded an appraisal for the case, the mortgagee that the case was transferred to (new mortgagee) will be unable to view the appraisal in EAD.

The new mortgagee must obtain a copy of the appraisal, in the required format, from the original mortgagee according to current FHA policy, and submit the appraisal to FHA through the EAD portal.

The original mortgagee must first transfer the case number to the new mortgagee in FHAC before the new mortgagee will be able to submit an appraisal in EAD for the case. Once the case transfer is complete, the new mortgagee should allow an overnight update before submitting an appraisal so that the case transfer information from FHAC can be updated in the EAD portal.


What operating system do you primarily use?  poll

Take this week’s poll: What percentage of your work do you receive from AMCs?


My comment: I guess lots of appraisers “bought into” Windows 10. I never upgrade to the latest Microserf OS. Too many problems. I have two computers on windows 7, two on windows xp, and two macs (have both pc and mac software installed). The old mac uses bootcamp and the new one uses VMWare. I have a 7 year old macbook pro that works great on the mac side, but not working very well on the pc side. Same hardware, different OS. No Linux? I wonder what “other” is? Typewriter?


FHA to begin insuring mortgages with PACE loans

No super priority loans allowed

Excerpts: The Federal Housing Administration will soon begin insuring mortgages that also carry liens created by energy retrofit programs, as long as the energy lien remains subordinate to the mortgage, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday.

HUD laid the groundwork for this move last year, when it announced its intentions to issue guidance that would preserve the priority status of FHA loans over loans created by the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, also called PACE.

In a statement, NAR President Tom Salomone welcomed the announcement, but expressed concern about the fact that for delinquent PACE obligations or foreclosed properties, PACE loans will retain a first-lien position.


Condo legislation passes in Senate, offers relief for homebuyers

Excerpt: These changes will make the Federal Housing Administration’s recertification process much easier, and it will lower the FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

My comment: Of course, HOAs can still restrict the number of rentals. I lived in a condo loft project for 2 years from 2008-2010. During that time the project shifted to tenants as the original buyers could not sell their units. With more tenants, there was a lot more turnover, fewer owners for the condo board, etc. When my newspapers kept getting “taken”, I finally moved.


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HUD cracking down on appraisal reports

Excerpts: We’ve learned that quite a few appraisers are receiving “Notice of Deficiency” letters from HUD/FHA, citing problems with appraisal reports.

Nadlan has seen some of the letters HUD has sent to appraisers: some letters state that a “Notice of Appraisal Deficiencies” will go into appraiser records on file with HUD, along with a warning that “repeated deficiencies may lead to administrative sanctions.”

Read all the info, including a few issues in reports, at:

My comment: I have been hearing about this for awhile but had never seen any of the letters. I didn’t see any CU type issues, so I guess HUD is not using CU type software… yet.


CoreLogic revenue explodes thanks to growing property valuation business

LandSafe, FNC and RELS acquisitions paying huge dividends


Thanks in large part to its growing property valuation business, CoreLogic saw a huge jump in revenue during the second quarter, the company reported Monday afternoon.

Over the last nine months, CoreLogic grew its property valuation business with the acquisitions of FNC, LandSafe Appraisal Services, and RELS.

CoreLogic closed the FNC acquisition in April, with the cost for the provider of real estate collateral information technology and solutions coming in at $400 million instead of the $475 million it was first estimated to cost.

In 2015, CoreLogic purchased LandSafe Appraisal Services, an appraisal management company, from Bank of America for $122 million.

And earlier this year, CoreLogic announced plans to acquire the remaining ownership interest in RELS, a provider of property valuation and appraisal services, from Wells Fargo.

Read the full story, and the comments at:

My comment: I am sure that AMCs will be going into bankruptcy when this boom mortgage business inevitably crashes. Hopefully, Corelogic is financially stable enough to survive.


Study: Recent changes to reverse mortgage rules cut default risk in half

Excerpt: A new study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College states that recent changes made to the rules governing reverse mortgages, specifically those that are part of the government’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages program, will dramatically cut the risk of default for borrowers.

According to the Boston College study, a combination of policy changes from 2013 and 2015 are projected to cut the number of defaults on new reverse mortgages by 50%.

My comment: I quit doing appraisals for reverse mortgages over 20 years ago, as I was not comfortable with the terms, such as equity appreciation sharing. Looks like maybe they are better now but still difficult to understand for the borrower.


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

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 27, 2016)

Mortgage applications decreased 11.2 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 22, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 11.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 11 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 15 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier to the lowest level since February 2016. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 61.1 percent of total applications from 64.2 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 increased to 10.1 percent from 9.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.9 percent from 11.2 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.6 percent from 0.5 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 3.69 percent from 3.65 percent, with points unchanged at 0.36 (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 3.67 percent from 3.66 percent, with points unchanged at 0.32 (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 3.56 percent from 3.53 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.30 (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 2.94 percent from 2.90 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 from 0.31 (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 2.96 percent from 2.86 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.29 (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.

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