Appraisal News and Business Tips

8-17-17 Newz//Appraiser Goes to Jail, Mercury Network Bidding, $10,000 Lighthouse

Buy a lighthouse for $10,000

 Just For Fun!!

Excerpt:
Bidding is underway for six decommissioned lighthouses built before 1930 that the federal government has put up for auction. Five overlook the Great Lakes in Michigan, and the sixth is on the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s a tempting prospect, perhaps, for those who yearn for scenic surroundings – and who have the stamina to tackle periodic renovations.
Interesting article with photos and commentary
My comment: I Want One!!! A former lighthouse in San Francisco Bay was converted to a very popular B&B. Someday, maybe, I will stay overnight there ;>

How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest)

Excerpt: Air-conditioning has been remarkably good at creating demand for itself.
 It enabled the sweeping postwar development of the South, where all new single-family homes today include central air. In automobiles, it made the commutes between air-conditioned homes and air-conditioned offices possible. In the Southwest, its arrival facilitated new methods of rapid construction, replacing traditional building designs that once naturally withstood the region’s desert climate.
Interesting graphs and analysis.

My comment: A timely topic in today’s increasing temperatures. I have never lived in a house with air conditioning, even in Oklahoma when I was a kid. But, I used to visit my aunt in Dallas in the summer – air conditioned house, car, etc. I always say that people here in California do not know what hot is: 85 degrees and 85% humidity when I lived in Oklahoma ;>

CoreLogic finalizes acquisition of Mercury Network

Acquired 45% of company earlier this year

Excerpts: Last month, CoreLogic provided a peak at how much it was paying to acquire Mercury Network, disclosing that it paid $70 million for its 45% stake in Mercury Network.
Based on that price, that would place the total purchase price for Mercury Network at approximately $155.5 million, although CoreLogic did not detail the full cost, either back in June or in Thursday’s release…
Mercury Network currently helps manage the collateral valuation operations of more than 800 small and medium-sized mortgage lenders and appraisal management companies.
Worth reading the full article about FNC, data, other acquisitions, etc.
My comment: I guess Corelogic is optimistic about the future of residential appraising. They are primarily a data company, and this will give them more appraisal data. Of course, if Fannie ever let anyone else use their UAD data…
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For the financially inclined – Corelogic Quarter 2, 2017
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Mercury Network to launch bidding in late August
Excerpt: Here are a few of the FAQs from Corelogic
– Why are you enabling residential bidding?
– Aren’t lenders and AMCs going to use this to find the lowest bidder?
– How will I know if the bid was not awarded to me?
– Did you add residential bidding because Mercury was purchased by CoreLogic?
Link to mercury bidding FAQs. It does answer many “hot button” issues, although you may not like what they say
My comment: Race to the bottom for Mercury Network? Very easy to get multiple bids. Oh well, it was great while it lasted…
—————-
A few comments from Dave Towne:
If you read the FAQ you will notice that they say the bidding process likely will be used for “complex, rural, or similarly difficult-to-assign orders.”
Apparently, lenders believe appraisers who work in outlying areas or experience other oddball property complexities have easy and ready access – while mobile – to the necessary property details in order to rapidly respond to these bid requests and offer a proper fee and prospective report submittal data.
Hopefully you have structured your business in such a way that you protect yourself by doing requisite property characteristic research BEFORE you bid on complex, rural, or similarly difficult-to-assign orders assignments.
Remember, speed kills.

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Appraiser sentenced to jail for 5 months for using unlicensed persons to do 700 appraisals

Note: I wrote about this case in this newsletter in March, 2017 when he was indicted.
Department Of Justice press release
Monday, August 14, 2017
Lexington Real Estate Appraiser Sentenced For Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud And Making False Statements
LEXINGTON Ky. – A Lexington man, who pled guilty in May of 2017, was sentenced in federal court today, to five months in prison and five months home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $5,500 fine.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Joseph M. Hood sentenced 34-year-old Matt Garner for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to a federal agency.

Matt Garner, 34, a former licensed real estate appraiser, made false statements in connection with appraisals he submitted for use by lenders in connection with federally-backed mortgages.

Garner owned and operated Lexington-based Garner & Associates. Between 2012 and 2016, his company was paid for more than 700 appraisals, on homes being purchased or refinanced in numerous counties surrounding Lexington and Owensboro, Ky.

In his guilty plea, acknowledged that, in a significant percentage of these appraisals, he falsely certified on federal appraisal forms that he had personally visited the property and conducted the appraisal. , in fact, had paid unlicensed individuals a small portion of the appraisal fee to perform the appraisals.

Under federal law, Garner must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence. He will also be under supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years, following his term of incarceration.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Amy S. Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisville Field Office, announced the sentence today.
The Louisville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Taylor and Kate Anderson represented the federal government
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Appraiser indicted (March 10, 2017)
Excerpt:
According to the indictment, in 2015, Garner began an illegal and deceptive practice of using uncertified and unlicensed surrogates, including two individuals identified in the indictment as GD and ZG, to perform appraisals and fill out Uniform Residential Appraisal Reports without attributing the reports to those individuals or identifying their involvement.  In most instances, Garner never visited the property.  He paid the surrogates a portion of his appraisal fee.

The indictment further alleges that Garner instructed his surrogates to pretend to be him if questioned by anyone during the appraisal process and he provided them with his own business cards to provide to others, if necessary.

By doing this, Garner was able to greatly increase the number of appraisals he could perform in a given time.
My comment: I keep thinking about all the armies of “trainees” signing on their own before the Big Crash. I wonder how many appraisals were signed by the licensed appraiser, who said “I inspected the interior”, etc.  At least one appraiser got caught… after the crash…. One  of the references above listed what statements were on the Fannie forms that he lied about.
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Mortgage applications increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 16, 2017) – Mortgage applications increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 11, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 47.8 percent of total applications, its highest level since February 2017, from 46.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.6 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged from the week prior at 10.2 percent. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.5 percent from 10.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from the week prior at 0.8 percent.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 4.12 percent, from 4.14 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.38 (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 $424,100) decreased to 4.04 percent from 4.07 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.26 (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 4.01 percent from 4.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.41 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.41 (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 3.34 percent from 3.31 percent, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.21 (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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