Schizophrenic Adjustments

By Dave Towne
Excerpt: Appraisers, I’ve written in the past about what I believe are strange ways to report adjustments in appraisals, and suggested ’rounding’ is a perfectly acceptable way to report them. This is largely due to buyers and listing agents thinking and listing in $100 increments – not down to exact dollar amounts.

During the past couple of weeks, I ‘came in contact with’ two separate appraisals done by different appraisers on totally different properties, in different market areas.

What struck me was the incredibly precise adjustments made for only certain items in these reports, while the rest of adjustments were ’rounded’ to even dollars. Here are the examples:

Click here to read more:

My comment: I love the image at the top of this post….. sorta creepy but very appropriate ;> Who do you think it represents?

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To read more of this 8-23-20 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 neighborhood names, appraisal disputes, maps, mortgage origination stats, etc.



Neighborhood Names That Attract Wealthy Buyers

Excerpt: You may be able to judge a neighborhood by its name. Some neighborhoods containing certain names tend to attract the wealthiest residents and boast the highest home values, according to a new study by, a home improvement resource.

Neighborhoods that include names like “Hills,” “Island,” and “Village,” for example, tend to report some of the highest average household incomes in the country. On the other hand, the lowest home values were found in neighborhoods with words like “Fort,” “Junction,” and “Rock” in their names.

In the richest neighborhoods, researchers found places that had names using the words “Village,” “Valley,” and “Heights” tended to exceed $100,000 in average household incomes. For example, in Texas, 22 neighborhoods and communities that contained the name “Village” had average household incomes of more than $174,000. Colorado and Michigan communities that contained the word “Village” in the name also contained some of the states’ wealthiest residents, too.

My comment: Neighborhood name adjustments?? I wonder how CU handles this?


Sometimes, Gas Stations Are Beautiful

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Here are a few:
  • A WWII Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber repurposed as a gas station canopy in Milwaukie, Oregon.
  • A concrete gas station with spaceship curves in Slovakia.
  • The ghost town of Amboy, in the desert heat of California, still has a functioning gas station for those passing through Route 66.

Check out the fotos from today and blasts to the past when there were lots of unusual gas stations.
My comment: I remember driving back and forth cross country along Route 66 from Oklahoma to California in the 60s and seeing all the interesting gas stations and other strange roadside “attractions”!! The freeway was being built in phases – Very boring drive!!

Half of US Homes Built before 1980

Excerpt: The median age of owner-occupied homes is 37 years, according to the latest data from the 2016 American Community Survey. Compared to a median age of 31 years in 2005, the U.S. owner-occupied housing stock is aging gradually. This aging trend is primarily because of modest gains in residential construction over the past decade.

This aging housing stock signals a growing remodeling market, as old structures normally need to add new amenities, or repair/replace old components. Rising home prices also encourage home owners to spend more on home improvement. Moreover, the number of owner households has been rising since the third quarter of 2016. This indicates a strong rising demand for new construction over the long run, as current owner-occupied housing stock is older.

Check out the interesting graphs at:

My comment: Only goes back to “homes built 1969 or earlier” at 38% of homes. Wish I could get data prior to 1920, or 1900, ages of homes where I work ;>

Will another profession replace appraisers?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA, CDEI

Excerpt: Some have said that soon appraisers will not be needed. Replaced by electronic intelligence? What if some human intervention is still needed?

Let’s compare the Appraiser to a new profession – let’s call them an “Asset Prophet”.

The appraisal function was invented mostly in this country in the 1930’s. The data was owned mostly by real estate brokers, who usually were the default ‘experts’. They had the advantage of data. They could look at similar properties in an area, and compare them. Two or three sales seemed enough.
Then data happened. MLS and Commercial data came in printed form, then electronically. In most areas, complete or near complete data sets became available, instantly. The appraisal process stayed with the traditional model: 1) pick a few comps; 2) compare them; 3) give your opinion.
What would a new, different profession do instead? What has changed? We can make a short list of what has changed since the 1930s:
* The properties: more homogeneous/similar, more value in
the land;
* The data: complete, instantly available, more numerical than
* The analytics: instant computation, visual interfaces (stats,
graphs, maps).
In the May, 2018 issue of the paid Appraisal Today, available to paid subscribers.  
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Fannie Mae cuts origination forecast again

Excerpt: The government-sponsored enterprise lowered its 2018 origination forecast for the third time this year, primarily due to fewer existing home sales and purchase mortgages. Fannie’s projection for 2018 refinance volume did not change from the June edition of its report.
Mortgage originations are now expected to hit $1.69 trillion in 2018 and $1.7 trillion for 2019, Fannie Mae said, down from last month’s projections of $1.71 trillion in both 2018 and 2019. These totals all lag 2017’s origination volume of $1.83 trillion.

My comment: of course, no one knows the future, but higher rates definitely means fewer mortgages and appraisals. What is your plan for the future? Don’t wait until your clients start going out of business to prepare. My paid Appraisal Today newsletter has lots of ideas.


The Home Appraisal Dispute Process: A Blessing in Disguise

George Paquette
Excerpt: As an appraiser, you do your research, spend hours on the home appraisal report, submit it and move on to the next one. Days or weeks later, you get an email, most likely labeled as “Dispute” or “Reconsideration of Value” which no appraiser likes to receive. However, this email should actually be seen as an opportunity to explain to the intended user your rationale for the actual market value and provide the agent or borrower support for negotiating a sales price that is reflective of the actual market value. A few tips on navigating a dispute:

Read the short well written article, plus lots and lots of comments (mostly negative) here:

My comment: Finally a positive article!! I seldom link to very negative online articles. To have a successful business, you need to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. I have always wondered why appraisers tend to be so negative. Maybe because we are trained to look for the ‘bad side’ of a property. Self-selection I guess. In contrast, real estate agents are very positive and don’t like my negative comments at the weekly open houses. ;>


The future of maps: Cartography in the 21st century

Excerpt: For millennia, maps have held talismanic powers, helping to form spatial concepts and advance exploration. They have shaped geopolitical ideas, triggered international disputes and created pictures of the world both large and detailed.

Today, satellites and digital mapping tools have turned modern cartography — the science and art of map-making — into a technology-driven field. With accuracy all but guaranteed, new ways of visualizing space have emerged in the process. They mix art, experience and topography, approaching the physical world through the lens of time, perspective and storytelling.

Click here to read the full article. Very interesting with lots of map images, both very old and very new!!

My comment: All appraisers use maps. A good look at the past, the present, and the future. Big data is being combined with mapping to create new ways to view maps.

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 4.2 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 22, 2018) – Mortgage applications increased 4.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 17, 2018.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased three percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased six percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased three percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased one percent compared with the previous week and was one percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 38.7 percent of total applications from 37.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.2 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.5 percent from 10.6 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 ($453,100 or less) remained unchanged from 4.81 percent, with points decreasing to 0.42 from 0.43 (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 4.68 percent from 4.73 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.29 (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 4.82 percent from 4.77 percent, with points increasing to 0.69 from 0.68 (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 4.25 percent from 4.27 percent, with points decreasing to 0.47 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 5/1 ARMs decreased to 4.00 percent from 4.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.52 from 0.48 (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.

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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