Haunting Photos of Europe’s Abandoned Buildings, From Steel Plants to Castles

Excerpt: Photographer Hans Van Vrouwerf first started shooting abandoned buildings in 2010. He started with an old stone factory in a village in the Dutch countryside and when he got home, Van Vrouwerf started to research other buildings. As a committed urban explorer, with the countries of Western Europe as his backyard, he has sought out derelict buildings not only in his home base of the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Germany, France, and Luxembourg.


What’s the most disturbing history you’ve learned about a house you were selling?
More than 5,000 comments in 48 hours on Reddit
Excerpt: At first glance, it’s a simple question: What’s the most disturbing history you’ve learned about a house you were selling.
But what started out as a 13-word question on share-site Reddit, spiraled into unsettling long responses from tons of users, generating more than 5,000 responses in only 48 hours.
My comment: Wow!! I thought I had seen some bad stuff as an appraiser, but it was nothing compared to these comments. Warning: can be disturbing, especially the dead bodies. Be sure to check out the comments (and threads)

Why Lenders Are Shooting for a 21 Day Turn Time Excerpt:
Lenders’ closing time targets shift over time depending on market conditions, and as such they tend to be a sign of the times.
Pre-crisis, for example, there was talk that technology could someday make a “three-day-close” possible.
But instead, post-crisis timeline targets turned out to be five to seven times as long in a best-case scenario, and even longer on average.
My comment: Interesting article. Worth reading. Lenders have always considered turn times as much more important than appraisal fee, etc. Of course, AMCs that agreed to 3 day turn times in their contracts with lenders are having big problems.

Is the New AMC business model broken? 


AMCs and fees – profits shrinking

AMCs compete for lender work primarily on fees. The lower the fees they pay to appraisers, the more money they make.
Since AMCs took over, many appraisers quit the profession because they refused to work for AMCs, a significant factor in today’s appraisal shortage. Many other appraisers only work for AMCs when
business is slow.
Some AMCs try to get the lowest fees they can obtain. What will happen to AMCs when they can’t find appraisers do work for low fees?
Today, there are some areas where there is an oversupply of appraisers. But, there are other areas where there is a severe shortage.
This means that the AMC model of competing with other AMCs for lender business by offering lower fees is not working. Their profits are shrinking. They obtain the most profit by paying the lowest appraisal fees.
Read more about AMC fees today vs. the past, turn time problems, comparison of AMCs  in the past vs. today and why they changed, how much AMC work do appraisers accept, etc. etc.  
In the January 2017 issue of the paid Appraisal Today, available to paid subscribers.  
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New mortgage fraud scam – owners pose as renters
Excerpt: We often hear that there is no such thing as a perfect crime.  Perhaps that is why there is always a fraudster trying to improve them.
CoreLogic analyst Willa Wei says there is a rising incidence of home buyers doing the exact opposite (saying they were going to occupy) – claiming they will be renting out their purchase while actually intending to occupy. This allows them to claim “expected” rental income to satisfy the mortgage application debt/income requirement.  That income, of course, will never materialize. This is referred to as a reverse occupancy scheme.

My comment: This also applies to refis, of course. I really hate it that lenders expect appraisers to say if a home is tenant, owner occupied or vacant. I quit checking the boxes on my non-lender appraisals. There is no way for appraisers to know this. Lenders can use data such as where the property tax and utility bills are mailed, plus other sources, such as maybe a private investigator I guess ;>

Number of commercial banks has declined dramatically
“The number of American banks reached its peak in 1921 with 31,076. At the end of the Depression in the 1930’s we had 14,771. In 1996 we still had 9,528. We are now down to about 5,100 commercial banks. But just imagine what total asset size has done since 1921!” Source: Rob Chrisman
Graph of declines from Quarter 1 1984 to Quarter 2 2016 = 14,400 to 5,141 banks.
My comment: This is why it keeps getting much more difficult for commercial and residential appraisers to find direct lenders to work for. My own local bank was purchased by another small bank wanting to expand.
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 www.mbaa.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 https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.
Mortgage applications increased 5.8 percent from one week earlier
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 11, 2017) – , according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 6, 2017. The most recent week’s results include an adjustment to account for the New Year’s Day holiday, while the previous week’s results were adjusted for the Christmas holiday.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 42 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 45 percent compared with the previous week and was 18 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 51.2 percent of total applications from 52.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.5 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.7 percent from 11.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.8 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.9 percent from 1.1 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 4.32 percent from 4.39 percent, with points decreasing to 0.41 from 0.43 (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 4.27 percent from 4.37 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.08 percent from 4.22 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.34 (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 3.56 percent from 3.64 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.38 (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 increased to 3.32 percent from 3.28 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.42 (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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