Things to know about water heaters during real estate transactions

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: Let’s have a quick conversation about water heaters. During a real estate transaction does the water heater need to be raised or not? What are lenders asking appraisers to look for? Does it matter if it’s gas or electric, or if it’s located in the garage or house? Here’s some things to know. Anything to add?

Worth reading… especially if you have to check them for FHA, etc. Plus, read the comments.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on beach towns, $2,358 PSF home, appraisal waivers, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.


$2,358 per sq.ft. for small home in Sunnyvale CA

Excerpt: This home on Plymouth Drive in Sunnyvale, Calif. recently set the highest price per square foot ever recorded by the Multiple Listing Service. The two bedroom, two bath home – 848 square feet in size – sold in two days for $2 million. It had been listed for $1.45 million. That means it sold for $2,358 per square foot, which is the highest price per square foot in Sunnyvale recorded by MLS Listings which has data going back to Jan. 1, 2000.

My comment: It did have new paint inside and outside plus refinished hardwood floors ;> Check out the fotos for a boring tract house. I got Mine. I am sooo glad I bought my house in 1985 for $145,000, worth about $900,000 now!! Mine is twice the size of this one, but not close to Google or Facebook (30 miles away, but could take the employee Google bus which comes here.)

The World’s Best Affordable Beach Towns

Just For Fun!!

Here are two, not too far away:
3. Tulum (Mexico) Luxury condos in new developments and single-family houses under $100,000
9. Dominical Beach (Costa Rica)

Check out all of them at:


Not your parent’s housing market

Believe it or not, homes have become more affordable thanks to low mortgage rates.

Excerpt: In today’s squeezed environment, it can feel like the going is tougher than ever before – certainly, tougher than our parents had it. But were the good old days really that good? Trulia took a look at home affordability across the decades to try to answer this question.

One of the findings: Nationally, homes are just about the most affordable they’ve been in the last 40 years. In 2016, the median household could afford a home 1.5 times more expensive than the median home price. In 1980, the median household could only afford about 3/4 of the median home price.

Fascinating, including the graphs!!
Getting too many ad-only emails?
   4 ways to get only the FREE email newsletters
and NOT the ad-only emails.
For more info, such as why I take ads, etc.

Quick Start – How to Get Non-Lender Work ASAP!!

Lots of appraisers are slow. Fees are down. Loans are declining. What will you do?

– What type of non-lender work is best for you? Don’t waste a lot of time and energy trying to get work in a specific market and then find out you don’t like it.
– What about fees and collection? Higher than lender work and COD. Don’t work for low AMC fees.
– Lots of practical marketing tips to help you get business ASAP.
Coming in the April 2018 issue of the paid Appraisal Today, available to paid subscribers.  
To read the article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.
If this article helped get you one non-lender appraisal assignment, it is worth lots more than the subscription price!! 

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)  
or $99 per year or $169 for two years 
Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters 
To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to   or call 800-839-0227. 
If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the March 2018 issue, emailed March 1, 2018, 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.

Amazon Mortgage?

Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division

Excerpt: While limited in scope, Amazon’s plans are to start with offering checking programs first, then maybe move into the debt product space after.

Well, after reporting that, we’ve received information that Amazon is currently looking to hire someone to lead their newly-formed mortgage lending division.

Rob Chrisman comments on Amazon Lending
Excerpts: Lenders are keenly interested in developing signs that Amazon will become “America’s Biggest Lender”… The predictions usually take one of two angles: ‘Jeff Bezos is taking over the world,’ or ‘They already have all my money I might as well just send it right to them to start with.’…

My comments: I love my Amazon Prime (but hate all the cardboard boxes in my garage) and Kindle Unlimited (my book reading has increased dramatically). Not sure about Amazon Mortgage though…

Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

Excerpt: Here are a few:
100  Cincinnati, OH
99   Lauderhill, FL
98   Schenectady, NY
97   Sanford, FL
96   Huntsville, AL
95   Eureka, CA
94   Richmond, CA

Check out other cities at:
My comment: Definitely not what I expected!!

CFPB Releases 2018 Lists of Rural, Underserved Counties – Appraisal Waivers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released the lists of rural counties and rural or underserved counties that entities can use in 2018 to determine whether they are exempt from certain regulatory requirements under the bureau’s Ability-to-Repay, escrow, HOEPA and appraisal rules.

See if any of the counties you work in may be affected by possible rural appraisal waivers.

I wrote about this in last week’s newsletter:
Senate Bill 2155 has a provision, (sec 103) which allows a bank to waive an appraisal in rural communities. This will be detrimental for homeowners and communities in rural areas. A loss of income will also occur for appraisers who cover rural counties.
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 increased 0.9 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 14, 2018) – Mortgage applications increased 0.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 9, 2018.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to its lowest level since September 2008, 40.1 percent of total applications, from 41.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.1 percent of total applications.The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 9.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.9 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) increased to its highest level since January 2014, 4.69 percent, from 4.65 percent, with points decreasing to 0.45 from 0.58 (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 $453,100) decreased to 4.55 percent from 4.56 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.52 (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 its highest level since July 2011, 4.73 percent, from 4.68 percent, with points decreasing to 0.76 from 0.79 (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 4.07 percent from 4.11 percent, with points decreasing to 0.46 from 0.64 (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 its highest level since February 2011, 3.93 percent, from 3.81 percent, with points decreasing to 0.45 from 0.46 (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

We want to know what you think!! Please leave a comment.