To Form or Not To Form? What will it be? A new 1004?

By George Dell
Excerpt: What’s the difference between a form and a data entry page? Will “forms software” even be necessary? Will the result require less appraiser expertise – or more? Will it encourage the “form-filler” people, or will it require some real understanding of problem identification, data selection, predictive methods, and communication? Will the transmittal require both an electronic data stream and human actionable views?

Will it require appraisers at all? Or will the “data analysts” simply create the ultimate model.

These are big questions. From my point of view, some of the answers are obvious. But first, let’s outline how we can even ask the right questions . . .

My comment: Fannie Mae has been planning on revising the forms. I have known George for quite a while, heard him speak and taken his class. Looks like people are finally starting to pay attention to what he says about stats, data, etc.!! His blog posts are fine, but sometimes you want more. The September issue of the paid Appraisal Today will have George’s 6 page article, “Why, Why, Why? Why do we put “stats”, “graphs”, “data,” and “science” together?”

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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To read more of this 8-30-18 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 CU, previous purchases, home sizes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

The Abandoned, Apocalyptic Architecture of One Bold 1970s Retail Chain

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: From 1972 to 1984, Best Products collaborated with the design firm SITE to transform many of its stores into stunning and bizarre works of art. These special showrooms, as they were called, generated fanfare, admiration, and controversy across the United States. They were hotly debated in architecture circles, and ultimately became textbook examples of postmodern architecture-playful and critical, providing mass appeal while challenging assumptions about how “serious” art should look, and where it should be found.

Great article and photos at:
My comment: Target, Costco, Walmart, etc. stores are soooo boring now ;>

Go inside the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco, where home prices have appreciated over 110% in the last 6 years

Excerpt: Short commutes into downtown, relatively affordable homes, and panoramic hilltop views made it a desirable place for artists, musicians, and tech workers to settle down.

But the residential enclave located south of the city’s Mission District and Noe Valley has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, causing home prices to appreciate 111% over the past six years. The median sales price for a two-bedroom abode is $1.58 million.

Read lots more here with lots of photos

My comment: Bernal Heights?? I vaguely remembered that it was somewhere in San Francisco, but not very well known location as compared with other San Francisco neighborhoods. The prices are not very high, as compared with other neighborhoods and cities.


The Size of a Home the Year You Were Born

Excerpt: In 1940, 20.2% of U.S. homes were overcrowded, according to the Census Bureau. By 2000, that figure had fallen to just 5.7%. For many reasons, Americans today have more room than ever before.

The 20th century was a period of economic growth and prosperity for the American consumer. With GDP per capita increasing from $10,164 in 1920 to $56,677 in 2015, Americans today are as wealthy as they’ve ever been. Home sizes have also increased, keeping pace with consumer demand. The average single-family home built today is 2,657 square feet, more than twice the average single-family home built in 1920.

Very interesting.

My comment: My favorite part is the link to photos of homes for each year 1920 to 2014 at The size of a new home in 1944, the year after I was born, was 837 sq.ft.
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In the September Issue of the Monthly Paid Appraisal Today, 
Available September 3!!
– Why, Why, Why? Why do we put “stats”, “graphs”, “data,” and “science” together? By George Dell – much longer than his blog posts. Easy  to read.
– Disability – your greatest risk!!  Prices, where to get it, how to evaluate, your risk of disability, etc. 
– How to get started in commercial appraising: 5+ unit apartments – easier than appraising 2-4 unit properties!
– Protecting your privacy. Are Facebook, Uber, Amazon and Apple tracking you? By Wayne Pugh 
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It’s Just a Machine….

by Richard Hagar, SRA

Excerpts: The Collateral Underwriter (CU) is an appraisal review tool from Fannie Mae designed to point out possible problems with an appraisal. It wasn’t designed to appraise real estate and it isn’t an AVM. The CU is a computer, running number-crunching algorithms written by programmers, not real estate professionals. It can’t figure out the highest and best use for a property. It can’t classify a home as C4 or C5. It’s impossible for it to measure the living area of a house and it can’t inspect the comparables. It’s just a machine. What it can and does do, however, along with similar programs, is spot sub-par appraisals. So why is it needed?…

Here’s my prognostication: good appraisers are not going away nor will they be replaced.

Well written and worth reading!
My comments: I have known Richard Hagar for over 20 years and taken classes from him. One of the best instructors in appraising. His live classes are excellent and his webinars are very good.

IRS changes appraisal requirements for gifting

If you do appraisals for property owners who intend to donate the property under IRS rules, you should be aware of the new IRS appraisal requirements, including a required statement that must be in every report. Thanks (again) to Dave Towne for the link and comment above.

The IRS has had big issues with personal property appraisals for a long time, particularly who is qualified. Real property is included but there are relatively few issues, except for conservation easements.

I have done them a few times over the years, mostly for gifting to family members. The statement that you have to sign was a bit intimidating… It is a diversification opportunity for residential appraisers. Ever see the public tv ads for donating your home?


How much does a previous purchase matter to appraisers?

By Ryan Lundquist
Here are two of the many comments by Ryan.

1) Meaningless: Sometimes a previous purchase is meaningless. That’s not always happy news, but if a property sold for too little or too much, it just might not mean much to us today. As an example, it doesn’t make sense to give any real value weight to a short sale that closed way too low or an inflated purchase that was clearly disconnected from the market and not supported by data.

3) Different trends: Sometimes I hear things like, “It sold in 2016 and the market has increased 15% since then, so it must be worth 15% more now.” The problem is market trends aren’t the same at every price level. Maybe the lowest prices in town have seen increases like that, but price changes could be more subtle at higher levels. So let’s be cautious not to project a more aggressive trend from a lower range on a higher one.

My comment: Written for real estate agents and homeowners, but some good tips for appraisers

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 1.7 percent from one week earlier
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 29, 2018) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 24, 2018.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased three percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased three percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased one percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased three percent compared with the previous week and was three percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged at 38.7 from the week prior. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.3 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged at 10.2 percent from the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged at 10.5 percent from the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.7 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to 4.78 percent from 4.81 percent, its lowest rate since the week ending July 20, 2018, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100) remained unchanged at 4.68 percent from the week prior, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.77 percent from 4.82 percent, with points increasing to 0.75 from 0.69 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.24 percent from 4.25 percent, with points increasing to 0.48 from 0.47 (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 3.95 percent from 4.00 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.52 (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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