Crazy Appraiser Stories

Excerpt: I had a house where the 1st floor den was connected to the basement via spiral staircase. Wife did not want the appraiser to go down the spiral steps and said she would “show” room from the basement. Telephone rang, appraiser proceeded to the basement, opened the door and the room was full of whips, chains, and other erotica ala “50 Shades of Grey.” I said we would just call it a rec. room and shoot from the best angle to disguise the “toys”.
-Sharon Finnerty Cremen

My comment: I have heard this story a few times but never encountered it… Lots of other weirdness though, such as seeing the sky through a big hole in the ceiling, falling down backwards into a partially covered pond and destroying my camera, etc. Check out the Cat Photo and make up your own Cat Comments!! Here is mine: Those appraisers need to take more naps and Get A Life. I guess they do have a sense of humor occasionally though ;>

Check out the other stories and add your own to  the 26+ comments at:

Speed bumps, neighbors, & real estate logic

By Ryan Lundquist

Do Speed bumps affect value?
Excerpt: The situation: My friend said, “We live on a busy-ish street with lots of kids walking to and from school, and neighbors are talking about requesting speed bumps to slow cars down. One neighbor who is against this says, “adding speed bumps will decrease the value of a home by 20%.” What do you think of that?”

My response: I’ve got a few things on my mind.

1)  Making value claims: Whenever someone makes a value claim, my market antennas go up. What is 20% based on? Is it just an arbitrary number? Or is it based on market research? A study? Does it even seem realistic? These are questions we have to ask to have an informed conversation.
Read the full article here, plus the comments.

My comment: I never thought about this before ;> Very interesting though, plus lots of possible valuation factors.

Airbnb rentals effect on values?

Airbnb is pushing up US rents and home prices: study
UCLA researchers looked at listings in 100 cities over four years

Excerpt: The researchers looked at rents and home prices in the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016. They found that a 10% increase in Airbnb listings leads to a 0.39% increase in rents and a 0.64% increase in house prices.

“That may sound minuscule, but between 2012 and 2016, rents rose by about 2.2% annually [on average in the 100 areas], so a 0.39% increase in that context isn’t very small at all,” says Dr. Edward Kung, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California Los Angeles and one of the study’s authors. The same is true for home prices, which rose by an average of about 4.8% annually in the 100 areas, he adds.

My comment: There are some airbnb rentals in my small city. The first one for sale just came on the market. I will be waiting to see what happens. Many cities have ordinances, making it harder to evaluate. I was at a recent Richard Hagar appraisal seminar and asked about it just before he was leaving. He rolled his eyes and said it was complicated. I have rented vacation rentals for many years. How does this compare with airbnb for value effect? What do you think? Hit the reply button!
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New In The November Issue of the Paid Appraisal Today

  • Estate and trust- the most popular non-lender appraisals, Part 2. Full fees, no reviewer/UAD hassles,  etc. How to get orders, what report forms to use, etc. 
  • Estate/trust liability advice from Peter Christensen, Liability Insurance Administrators Some good tips on staying out of trouble with the IRS, etc.
  • Fannie and Freddie, The Ill Conceived Siblings. It’s All About The Money! By Barry Bates, who keeps trying to stir things up!!
  • 2017 year-end tax planning for appraisers. What you can do NOW to save on your 2017 income taxes. I’m hoping for a much lower small business tax rate!!

To read the articles, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.
If one of these articles saved you $100 on your 2017 income taxes, or helped you get one estate/trust appraisal, it is worth the subscription price!! 

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If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the November 2017 issue, emailed November 1, 2017, 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.

America isn’t in a housing bubble, but some cities might be

Excerpt: Are we in a housing bubble? Whenever house prices increase faster than general inflation for a year or two, we hear that question more often. Can the market sustain the new higher price, or has something artificially or temporarily inflated these prices?

We think of a housing bubble as house price growth that isn’t sustainable because it isn’t consistent with underlying fundamentals, like income and job growth. To determine whether a bubble exists, we must look at both factors: the change in house price levels and the underlying fundamentals.

My comment: There is lots of speculation on a Housing Bubble, but this post is detailed with good analysis.

3 story tiny house fits in the footprint of a parking space in Helsinki, Finland

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: A prototype of the design, called Tikku (Finnish for “stick”), built for Helsinki Design Week, has a footprint slightly larger than 8 feet by 16 feet. But with three stories, it has enough room to make it a comfortable place to live or work.

Good fotos and writeup at: 

31 Haunting Images of Abandoned Places

Just for fun!!

Excerpt: Here are a few:
3. 102-Year-Old Floating Forest in Sydney, Australia
12. Sunken Yacht, Antarctica
16. Underwater City in Shicheng, China

My comment: Beautiful photos and brief write-ups. No annoying ads filling up your screen. For more info, google the name of the place. Very interesting and fun!

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 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications decreased 2.6 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 1, 2017) – Mortgage applications decreased 2.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 27, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 48.7 percent of total applications from 49.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 9.8 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 9.9 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.22 percent, from 4.18 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.42 (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 $424,100) increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.16 percent, from 4.11 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.24 (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 increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.07 percent, from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.41 (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 increased to its highest level since March 2017, 3.52 percent, from 3.48 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.40 (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 3.33 percent from 3.29 percent, with points decreasing to 0.50 from 0.54 (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.

Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
2033 Clement Ave. Suite 105
Alameda, CA 94501 Phone 510-865-8041
Fax 510-523-1138

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