Beautiful and unusual places

What are the most popular links in these newsletters? Weird properties, very expensive homes, etc. Plus Appraiser goes to jail (not many of these today), Freddie and Fannie no-appraisal loans. LIA’s Claudia Says ads are also very popular. Sorry, USPAP, ASB, AQB, ASC etc. are not very popular but I put them in just to let you know what is happening, even if you don’t care much ;> Here are two:

10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries on Earth

Take a break and a look at these beautiful and unusual libraries!!

From all over the world, including the Chicago Public Library


Chicago Public Library, by SOM

Chicago’s new Chinatown library branch has no sharp edges. The pebble-shaped building is wrapped in glass and marked by solar-shading fins that are meant to reduce heat and glare. The library’s curvy, three-sided shape is built around feng shui principles and designed to align with the avenues outside the building. Inside, the two-story structure is centered around a light-filled atrium.

No links for more info, but you can google the names.


Carmel, Indiana, America’s King of Roundabouts

The city recently celebrated its 100th traffic circle, and has more than 30 others planned.

Excerpt: Carmel and its roundabout-loving mayor, Jim Brainard, have helped push Indiana into the big league of U.S. states deploying roundabouts, despite its smaller size compared to, say, Colorado or California. In terms of individual U.S. cities, it appears to have no equal in this regard, though Colorado Springs comes a little close, with around 70 roundabouts. Plus, its one roundabout per 890 residents gives Carmel a “not too shabby” rating for roundabouts per capita, according to Bill Baranowski of the delightful website RoundaboutsUSA with lots more fotos.

My comment: I hate roundabouts!! In a nearby city, Berkeley, CA there is one on a major street that is complicated with lots of exits, trees, bushes, etc. I keep getting off at the wrong exit, even after many years of trying to figure it out… Just looking at the photos in this article makes me dizzy!!


Fannie Newz

How many loans qualify for Fannie’s Property Inspection Waiver?

Although many underwriters were looking forward to not having to review appraisals, only about 15% of loans qualify for PIW, per a lender that does a lot of Fannie loans. The requirements are fairly strict now as Fannie moves slowly, but I am sure they will increase.

Appraisers have been very busy and don’t care now, but be sure to save as much money as you can. Also, watch out for deadbeat AMCs. Don’t let your accounts receivable get very high.


Fannie Mae update to selling guide – Disclosure of Information to Appraisers

Currently, we require the lender to provide the appraiser with all amendments made to a sales contract, including amendments that are made after completion of the appraisal. With this update, we have clarified when the appraiser must be provided with updates to the sales contract and circumstances that warrant updates to the appraisal. For example, if the contract is amended in a way that affects the description of the real property used by the appraiser, then the lender must provide the updated contract to the appraiser and the appraisal should be updated. However, minor updates to the contract, such as changes to seller paid closing costs or changes to the contract price, do not require an updated appraisal. In addition, we have updated the policy to require disclosure of changes to financing information (such as loan fees and charges, and subordinate financing provided by interested parties) to the appraiser only for purchase transactions.

Effective Date

This policy update is effective immediately.

Link to update, SEL-2016-09, scroll down to third page:


FHA and GSEs increase mortgage limits

See the limits for your area:

GSE loan limits by county (PDF and Excel) with some discussion of Fannie vs. jumbo

FHA mortgage limits by MSA and County at:

My comment: Many lenders sell to the GSEs. FHA is popular with many borrowers. Raising the FHA limits means more FHA appraisals. GSE limit increases will mean more loans sold to Fannie with more CU hassles.


Here’s the real impact of the post-Trump interest rate spike

Far fewer borrowers with incentive to refinance; homes are less affordable


…mortgage interest rates rose sharply after the election, recently climbing back above 4% for the first time since 2015.

“The results of the U.S. presidential election triggered a treasury bond selloff, resulting in a corresponding rise in both 10-year Treasury and 30-year mortgage interest rates,” said Black Knight Data & Analytics Executive Vice President Ben Graboske.

“As mortgage rates jumped 49 basis points in the weeks following the election, we saw the population of refinanceable borrowers cut by more than half,” Graboske continued.

“These changes will likely have an impact on refinance origination volumes moving forward,” Graboske added. “And, since higher interest rates tend to reduce the refinance share of the market – specifically in higher credit segments – which typically outperform their purchase mortgage counterparts, they may potentially impact overall mortgage performance as well.”

My comment: Maybe post-Trump uncertainty? Will they go down in January when the holiday season is over? If I knew I would be Very Rich and (probably) not writing this newsletter ;>


What you can do now to save money on

your 2016 taxes!!

One good tax tip more than pays for your subscription plus a tax deduction for subscribing!!!

In this month’s issue of the Paid Appraisal Today newsletter


Ways to increase deductible expenses by timing payments

Pay as many bills as you can by the end of the year, such as property taxes, software maintenance agreements, etc. I am pre-paying lots early this year as my income is way up.

Purchase equipment and vehicles by the end of the year. For 2016 the limit is permanent at the $500,000 level deduction for new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software. The equipment must be financed/purchased and put into service by the end of the day, 12/31/2016. (“Section 179”). I need a new laptop computer!! Don’t forget that your Appraisal Today subscriptions and other subscriptions are tax deductible.

Don’t forget charitable donations – save on taxes and help other people

Consider making charitable donations before the end of the year. Credit card payments for business or charitable donations made by December 31 are deductible. I will be making a large donation this year to a local charity that I really like – a local women and children’s shelter. We very seldom get to make a difference in someone’s life by doing an appraisal. 

To read the full article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.


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If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the December 2016 issue, emailed December 1, 2016, please send an email to and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it


Trumpish Policy Speculations

It is hard to know where Trump will end up as he does not have a long history of specific policies. But, some of his appointees have policies from their past activities so that can help. No, I have no idea what, if anything, Dr. Ben Carson will do about FHA appraisals ;> I will have lists of articles that are about how these policies may affect the mortgage finance industries, which affects appraisers, even if you don’t work for lenders. Why? Mortgage lending fees, which go up and down, do affect non-lender fees.

Here are two:

How Trump could shake up real estate finance

Discusses Dodd-Frank, Basel III and Glass-Steagall, SEC, Interest Rates, etc. and mentions appraiser Jonathan Miller.


Mortgage Interest Deduction Faces a Cap in Trump Team’s Tax Plan

Excerpt: President-elect Donald Trump’s tax overhaul may include capping the mortgage interest deduction, according to Treasury Secretary-designate Steve Mnuchin.

“We’ll cap mortgage interest but we’ll allow some deductibility,” said Mnuchin in a CNBC interview Wednesday.

My comment: FYI, Canada does not allow mortgage interest deduction. But, it’s hard to take back what people already have… Eliminating it totally is not feasible unless the Republicans want to get thrown out of office ;>


California’ Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers investigator positions open.

The Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers (BREA) has posted the three following examination bulletins:

Property Appraiser/Investigator

Monthly Salary:Range A: $4,952.00 – $6,198.00

Senior Property Appraiser/Investigator

Supervising Property Appraiser/Investigator

Each link will allow you to review the minimum qualifications, classification description, application requirements, and take the examination. The cut-off date for this examination cycle is December 21, 2016; to apply, select a posting above and click the link within the posting that says “CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE OFFICIAL BULLETIN.”

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, and the examinations will be scheduled twice a year. The lists are used to fill vacant positions available in BREA.

Remember to follow the BREA on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on news and announcements!

My comment: A California state license is required for these jobs with vacation, health care, etc. etc. Sorry, no out of state appraisers without CA licenses ;>


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 0.7 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 7, 2016) – , according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 2, 2016. The prior week’s results included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 39 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 36 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 56.2 percent of total applications from 55.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.0 percent of total applications, the highest level since February 2016.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.3 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.6 percent from 11.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.9 percent 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 its highest level since October 2014, 4.27 percent, from 4.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.41 (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 its highest level since September 2014, 4.22 percent, from 4.18 percent, with points unchanged at 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 remained unchanged at its highest level since July 2015, 4.00 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.44 (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 increased to its highest level since September 2014, 3.53 percent, from 3.48 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.33 (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 its highest level since September 2013, 3.39 percent, from 3.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.44 (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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