The Traveling Apprentices of Germany

 And you thought appraiser trainees have it rough!!

Just For Fun ;>
Excerpts: They hitchhike across Europe, instantly recognizable in the wide-bottomed, corduroy trousers, white shirts and colored jackets that identify them as bricklayers, bakers, carpenters, stonemasons and roofers.
While on the road, journeymen are not supposed to pay for food or accommodations, and instead live by exchanging work for room and board. In warm weather, they sleep in parks and other public spaces. They generally carry only their tools, several changes of underwear, socks and a few shirts wrapped into small bundles that can be tied to their walking sticks – and that can also double as pillows.
In an adaptation of the old rules to modern times, journeymen do not carry devices like cellphones that allow them to be found. They carry digital cameras, if they like, and write emails from public computers.
My comment: Fascinating with great photos!! Yes, there are women travelers now…

Passwords: What if Everything You Know Is Wrong?

By Shelly Palmer
Excerpt:  According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Burr (the man who wrote the NIST memo back in 2003 that recommended the cryptic craziness and frequent replacement guidelines) has had an epiphany. “Much of what I did I now regret,” said Mr. Burr, 72 years old, who is now retired. If the reporting is accurate, he had very little evidence upon which to base the NIST’s recommendations. (Sort of makes me think about the USDA Food Chart I grew up with. But that’s for another article.) Why were Mr. Burr’s assumptions wrong?…
Do what the experts are now telling you to do. Start using the longest passwords possible. I would not use correcthorsebatterystaple, but “passwordswedontneednostinkinpasswords” will absolutely do the job.

My comment: Very interesting article!! Plus the Fun Cartoons ;> Passwords are a Pain.. I think one of the most popular passwords is “password”. Looks like finally there is another way.

Freddie, Fannie, and Lender Shifts in Appraisal and Inspection Policies

From Dave Towne:
In an article written by Rob Chrisman in Mortgage News Daily published 8/21/17, the move to use AVM’s for home purchases by the GSE’s is outlined.
It is interesting to note the different perspectives of the mortgage giants.  I have bolded those below.

Freddie Mac is introducing an automated appraisal alternative for some purchases and refis. “Freddie Mac’s automated collateral evaluation (ACE) assesses the need for a traditional appraisal by leveraging proprietary models and using data from multiple listing services and public records as well as a wealth of historical home values to determine collateral risks.” ACE has been available for some refis since June, but will also be available for some purchases starting in September. So starting this fall borrowers looking to buy a new home could forego a traditional appraisal as Freddie Mac expands its big data valuation alternative. ACE uses more than 40 years of historical data and public records to model and vet home values. ACE mostly applies to low-risk mortgages. The program became available for qualified refinancings in June but the roll out for new home purchases is Sept 1 for primary residences. Borrower savings of about $500 expected when using appraisal alternative, closing times on new loans to narrow by seven to 10 days.

Fannie Mae is updating Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) effective Saturday, August 19, to offer Property Inspection Waivers (PIWs) on some purchase transactions (view DU Release Notes). “This update responds to market changes, and allows our lenders to offer your borrowers a choice for efficiency and cost savings by foregoing an appraisal on some lower-LTV loans. Eligibility is limited to one-unit principal residences and second homes up to a maximum 80 percent loan-to-value ratio. It is estimated that PIW offers will be issued on less than 5 percent of purchase transactions. Offer rates will vary by lender and fluctuate over time.

“Lenders have the option to exercise a PIW offer, and may not accept it if they have any reason to believe that a full appraisal should be provided (for example, if there was a hurricane or other natural disaster in the area of the property), or if the borrower wants an appraisal. Borrowers always have the choice to obtain an appraisal…we expect the acceptance rate on appraisal waivers for home purchases to be low. Many home buyers want an appraisal to support the price they pay for a home, and most of purchase contracts include a contingency clause for an appraisal.

Fannie Mae continues to require full appraisals on the vast majority of purchase money mortgages to establish market value of homes and provide valuable input to our appraisal database to support CU analytics and future innovations.”
Link to original article. Thanks to Dave Towne for excerpting the Most Important sections!!
Here are original documents so you can read what F&F say:
Freddie Mac Press release dated: 8/18/17

Fannie Mae 
Main Property Inspection Waiver page with links –  scroll down the page for links to documents and other info – FAQs etc.

Fannie Mae joins Freddie in allowing appraisal-free purchase mortgages

Allows property inspection waiver on some low LTV loans

Excerpt: Last week, Freddie Mac extended its appraisal-free mortgage program to its purchase loans, announcing it will go into effect on September 1, 2017.
Shortly afterward, Fannie issued its announcement: Property Inspection Waivers will be allowed on mortgages with low loan-to-value ratios.

When Freddie announced its new appraisal-free mortgage, it figured it could save borrowers an estimated $500 in fees and could reduce closing times by as many as 10 days.


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What Are Freddie and Fannie 

Really Up To? 

What Are They Planning for Appraisals? How Does It Affect You? 

Press releases, F&F Web Sites, Lender Opinions, etc. Don’t Get You “Behind the Headlines”

In these FREE weekly email newsletters I give you links to what Fannie and Freddie say on their Web sites, what lenders and vendors say and short comments from me. 
But I don’t go into the details. Below are two recent Appraisal Today articles with candid comments from Freddie and Fannie. 
– Fannie and Freddie – what do they really say about risk scores, 1004mc, forms redesign, data discrepancies, etc.? 5-Page article In the July 2017 Issue.

Fannie Fiction and Fact: comp selection, adjustments, market conditions, appraisal resubmissions, and lots more, including AQM and Risk Scores. 4-Page Article In the May 2017 Issue. 

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AVMs and HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit)

Excerpt: One of the largest origination costs for lenders is the appraisal product. Drive-by appraisals or interior appraisals are prohibitively expensive. Many lenders have determined that the “cost” of the valuation is not commensurate with the “value” of the information in the underwriting process. This is why AVMs are returning to dominance in the valuation space for home equity lending.

My comment: this is a promo article by veros (AVM company) but is worth reading.

Credit unions and HELOCs

Excerpt: Home equity lines of credit would normally thrive in a market with rising prices and where many older homeowners are loath to sell. But HELOC activity is actually on the decline in all but one corner of the industry: credit unions.

Growth in credit union HELOC lending combined with an overall decline in the number of HELOC accounts has sent the share of HELOC’s owned by credit unions soaring. In fact, credit unions now hold 13.16% of the HELOC market up from 9.63% in 2015. The graph accompanying today’s blog underscores just how big the increase has been.
More comments from credit union publication:
While banks are still holding back the reigns with more conservative underwriting standards, credit unions are more comfortable with underwriting loans based in part on comfort with the member’s payment history.
Ezra Becker, a senior Vice President at Trans Union Financial Service Business Unit points out, “credit unions do a good job working with member loyalty so they may be willing to make a loan that another institution may be unwilling to make.”
My comments: Credit unions have been aggressively moving into the heloc market. They often compete by having low, or no, cost loans, including no appraisal cost.

I have been thinking for many years to get a heloc for emergency, easily accessible, cash. It is time to do it!! I have about a 30% ltv. Don’t need an appraisal.

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 paid monthly 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 0.5 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 23, 2017) – Mortgage applications decreased 0.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 18, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 0.3 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 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 48.7 percent of total applications from 47.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.2 percent from 10.5 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) remained unchanged from the week prior at 4.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) decreased to 3.99 percent from 4.04 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.27 (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 increased to 4.02 percent from 4.01 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.40 (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 decreased to 3.40 percent from 3.41 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.27 percent from 3.34 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 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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