Where to contribute to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey

a la mode Software’s Relief Efforts
From Dave Bigger’s (Founder, a la mode) recent email:
We’ve already set up our systems to defer payments for those of you in the storm-hit areas on the Gulf Coast.  We’re also ready to help anyone drastically affected rebuild in any way we can – whether it’s replacing damaged Distos, laptops, printers, or anything else, we’re here.
If you know appraisers, agents, mortgage pros, or inspectors who need help, let us know and tell them to call 1-800-ALAMODE or email relief@alamode.com.
We  are working on several relief projects, and we encourage you to join us.   Read the announcement here. 
Yesterday, we also donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  We chose this organization because they’re local, working with many boots-on-the-ground non-profits.  They’re in rescue mode – focused on essentials like water, shelter, medical emergencies, and supplies. But our $100,000 is designed to just “prime the pump” for the broader real estate industry, including other technology companies, to step up as well.

We all need to act quickly, and show our commitment to our colleagues. Donate like we did to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund via our pass-through website, www.alamode.com/harvey . (When you donate through our site, you won’t pay credit card fees. We’ll cover those.) By coming through our portal, your donation will be grouped with other real estate professionals and vendors, showing solidarity as an industry.

Every gift makes a big difference – $10, $50, $100, or more.  Our goal is to gather enough funds within the real estate industry to at least match our donation, and preferably many times more.

Overworked and underpaid appraisers?

Excerpt: While most sectors of the industry managed the increased demand with few hiccups, the appraisal services segment of the industry did not fare as well. The uninterrupted appraisal demand throughout 2016 and into the first quarter of this year led to chronic fatigue that spread throughout the appraiser population.
This led to a number of service level issues, including missed deadlines, longer than customary turn-times, increased revision rates, unresponsiveness and higher appraiser fee demands, to name a few.
My comment: Low AMC fees are always a problem. But the “overworked” comments are out of date for my area. Low fee appraiser price competition has really heated up in the past few months. When I quote my standard fee from 2016 for estate work or don’t reply within a few hours or am not available to go out tomorrow, I don’t get the assignment. Earlier this year, prospects were glad I called them back. AMC fees are way down also.

Why Automation Is Killing the Property Appraisal Business

By Wharton’s Benjamin Keys and Zillow.com’s Stan Humphries
Key takeaways:
– The margin of error is decreasing as automation improves.
– Digital appraising can reduce confirmation bias.
– Will appraisers really be run out of the business?
My comment: Podcast audio (22 minutes). Article includes some of their analysis. Very interesting and worth listening to and reading. We don’t hear very often from academics, such as the Wharton School.
We hear from Zillow a lot, but both speakers have different backgrounds.

Is It The End Of the Appraiser?

By Dustin Harris
Something more positive!!
Excerpt: Technology And The Human Touch
“Big data” is a phrase that many appraisers despise. Their loathing comes, at least in part, from a fear that big data will replace them as a valuation professional. Well, big data is here to stay. It does not have to be a replacement for appraisers, however. Many appraisers are seeing big data not as a hinderance, but a help to their work. Clients are increasingly seeing big data and appraisers in the same light. The future of appraising may depend on we, as professionals, embracing big data and offering our clients the best of both worlds.

My comment: Dustin is a “glass half full” person. I am also. Having a positive attitude is very important to having a successful appraisal business, as well as in your personal life. We appraisers tend to be negative. Maybe it is because we are trained to look for “bad things” when appraising a property. I have written about the importance of having a positive attitude many times in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. You can do it.

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In the September 2017 issue of the paid Appraisal Today 
(available September 1, 2017)
  • Is the Traditional Appraisal Process Becoming Obsolete? By George Dell MAI, SRA
  • What’s happening in state and federal appraisal regulations? Statute of limitations, Evaluations, AVM QC, Appraisal Waivers, Etc.
  • Geocam Pro – get augmented geo data in your smartphone photos by Wayne Pugh MAI, CRE, FRICS, CCIM. Wow!! This is a great inexpensive app! I want it!!
  • Horror (& Harhar) Tales from the Field (aka War Stories) from beginners, veterans, and ancient valuers by Barry Bates My favorite is the Short Appraisal Tales with the Fun Headlines!!
To read the articles, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today!

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Appraiser indicted for inflated Home Equity Conversion (HECM) appraisals

Eugene Peter Kenworthy, Jr., age 50, of Ambler, PA, was charged August 23, 2017 by Indictment with wire fraud, false statements for the purpose of influencing the Federal Housing Administration, aggravated identity theft, and failure to file a tax return, announced Acting United States Attorney Louis Lappen.
Kenworthy allegedly inflated the appraisals of properties for which he submitted reports to certify the HECM loans, resulting in the payment of more than $3 million by the FHA to cover loans that went into default. The charges against him grew out of a grand jury investigation, according to the indictment.
From 2010 to 2016, Kenworthy appraised approximately 714 properties, which were the subject of applications for reverse mortgages, using the electronic signatures of five certified real estate appraisers, without their knowledge, to certify 294 appraisal reports he wrote for the HECM loans, the indictment says. He used his own signature to certify the other 420 appraisal reports he wrote, it says
If convicted, Kenworthy faces a maximum possible sentence of 166 years’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, a $5.050 million fine, and a $1,000 special assessment.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Best details in this article
Link to FBI short press release dated August 23, 2017
Comment from  Dave Towne: So let’s see……at $450 per appraisal, x 714, the gross earnings of this individual was $321,300 during the 6 years, or approximately $53,500 per year.

Zillow wins dismissal of ‘Zestimate’ lawsuit

Excerpt: Zillow Group Inc on Wednesday won the dismissal of a federal lawsuit in Chicago challenging the accuracy of the online real estate website’s ‘Zestimate’ tool for estimating U.S. home values.
Homeowners had sued Zillow in May, complaining that its computer algorithm for Zestimates often undervalued their homes, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars, making them harder to sell, and constituted illegal “appraisals.”
My comment: What I expected, unfortunately…
Course Title: NEW
Completing Today’s FHA Appraisal – Las Vegas, NV
Friday, September 8, 2017, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (Pacific)
Event Location:
Sunset Station Hotel
1301 W. Sunset Road
Henderson, NV 89014
Jurisdictional Host:
Santa Ana Homeownership Center
Registration Link:
This free, on-site, instructor-led training will cover FHA appraisal requirements, including the FHA appraisal protocol and updates to FHA appraisal policy. This course is ideal for experienced FHA appraisers, appraisers new to the FHA Appraiser Roster, and those working toward appraiser licensing. Although this course is intended for appraisers and appraisers will get registration preference, other FHA professionals are welcomed to attend.
This course is approved by the states of California, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington for seven hours of Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEUs) for licensed appraisers. Please contact your respective state’s licensing board for credit eligibility. Attendees must provide a valid, government-issued photo I.D.
Special Instructions:
Advance registration is required by September 5, 2017. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. On-site registration is from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM. Walk-ins are welcomed but not guaranteed seating.
For more information, contact: briyanna.l.talley@hud.gov.


Course Title: NEW
FHA Appraiser Training and Appraisal Underwriting – Chicago, IL
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (Central)
Event Location:
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building, Room 331
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604
Jurisdictional Host:
Atlanta Homeownership Center
Registration Link:
This free, on-site training will cover topics that include changes, policy revisions, and updates to policies contained in the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 (SF Handbook), as well as a number of SF Handbook-related frequently-asked questions. Focus areas will include property acceptability criteria; underwriting the appraisal; minimum property requirements; property defective conditions; enhanced appraiser and underwriter responsibilities and requirements; FHA programs and products, such as the 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program; and more. This training is intended for appraisers and underwriters, other mortgage professionals, loan officers, and property inspectors.
Special Instructions:
Advance registration is required by September 11, 2017. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
This training is being held in a government facility. Be advised that on-site security screening is like an airport security screening. Attendees must provide a valid, government-issued photo I.D. and course registration confirmation at the guard station.
Check-in will begin 30 minutes before the beginning of the session. Please allow extra time to go through security screening. Lunch is on your own.
For more information, contact: Sykarah.v.hood@hud.gov.
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 paid monthly 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 decreased 2.3 percent from one week earlier,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 30, 2017) – Mortgage applications decreased 2.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 25, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent compared with the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 49.4 percent of total applications from 48.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.7 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.0 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.

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, 4.11 percent, from 4.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.39 (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) increased to 4.00 percent from 3.99 percent, with points decreasing to 0.20 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 remained unchanged at 4.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.37 (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 decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 3.36 percent, from 3.40 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 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 decreased to 3.26 percent from 3.27 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.31 (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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