Buy This Book!! Valuation by Comparison, Second Edition by Mark Ratterman, MAI, SRA

I reviewed it in the July, 2018 issue of the paid Appraisal Today.

One of the best books I have ever read for residential appraisers. (There are only a few that I recommend.)

More info and how to purchase at:

Appraisal Adjustments Yes, No, Maybe(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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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 10-19018 long blog post on strange house , FHA, Waivers, Non-lender work, Emails, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’

Excerpts: The elevated house that the owners call the Sand Palace, on 36th Street in Mexico Beach, Fla., came through Hurricane Michael almost unscathed…

As they built their dream house last year on the shimmering sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Russell King and his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey, painstakingly documented every detail of the elevated construction, from the 40-foot pilings buried into the ground to the types of screws drilled into the walls. They picked gleaming paints from … a palette of shore colors, chose salt-tolerant species to plant in the beach dunes and christened their creation the Sand Palace of Mexico Beach.

Very interesting. Worth reading. The aerial photos of the beach are striking – one intact beach house left.
For lots more info, photos and videos, google Sand Palace of Mexico Beach

My comment: I am so glad I live on the Left Coast. Most of it is elevated, with the beaches at water level. Plus, no big areas of rivers and streams draining into the ocean causing flooding. Much colder ocean than the East Coast. Of course, for us the Big One is a major earthquake, which I try not to think about ;>

Mortgage-industry layoffs are picking up

Excerpt: JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Movement Mortgage this month were the latest companies to announce layoffs of hundreds of mortgage workers due to a downturn in business. Many more people in the industry can expect to lose their jobs in the coming months, Fannie Mae says.

“I do believe you will see more layoffs,” Fannie’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, said during a telephone interview. Hiring in the mortgage business has traditionally been boom and bust. Companies add staff during refinance booms and then lay off workers when the rates tick up. Given the cost to hire and fire people, the companies tend to wait and see if the downturn is permanent, Duncan said. There is usually a six-month lag before the layoffs pick up steam.

That time has arrived, Duncan said.

 “We are at the beginning of that I would say,” he said. “It is a cyclical business and it is driven by the cyclical behavior of interest rates. So, none of that should be a surprise to anyone. The only thing different in this cycle was that it was policy that drove rates, so they were so low for so long.”

My comment: Looks like appraisers are finally thinking about doing non-lender work. An ad for my paid newsletter was sent out by workingre today, with twice the number of new subscribers as compared with the typical response. Appraising is cyclical as it depends on mortgage lending…

FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery hints at issues in FHA appraisals

Already seen problems in HECM, but there might be problems in forward too

Excerpt: The world’s largest mortgage insurer can only check for mortgage defects on a “small” number of mortgages due to technological shortcomings and that’s leading to a potential rise in appraisal-related issues.

In recent months, the FHA has been looking at “appraisal bias” in its HECM portfolio, recently stating that a review found appraisal issues in 37% of reverse mortgages.

But, according to Montgomery, it’s not just the reverse mortgage portfolio that is being affected by appraisal bias.

“We are seeing things in the forward book that give us pause,” Montgomery said of FHA forward appraisals. Montgomery also said that FHA is “close” to some policy decisions that could affect appraisals and other parts of FHA lending, but did not provide a specific timeline on when those decisions would be announced or what they would be.

My comment: I am waiting to see what FHA says about “forward” appraisals, that are not reverse mortgages (HECM), where FHA is requesting 2 appraisals on some homes.

Correction from last week’s Rob Chrisman newsletter

Last Week I wrote: Fannie revealed that 11% (this article said 33%. Next article corrected to 11%) of all loan submissions were eligible for an Appraisal Waiver but, interestingly, only 8% were accepted.

Per Michael Simmons, who attended the speech and verified the number with Fannie, 33% of all loan submissions were eligible for an Appraisal Waiver but, interestingly, only 8% were accepted.

My comment: Fannie must have a lot of appraisals in their database, as a previous appraisal is required for waivers…


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In the paid Appraisal Today 

Coming next month: 

How to get the non-lender work that you want. Lots of marketing tips, including a free one you can do today to get a top listing on Google. 

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Partial list of previously published articles 
I have been writing about non-lender appraisals since 1992 
and have not done any lender work since 2005!
  • Should you do non-lender work? Pluses and minuses of both lender appraisals and each different type of non-lender appraisals.
  • Quick Start – how to get non-lender work ASAP. Lots of practical tips.
  • Estate and trust – the most popular non-lender appraisals for residential appraisers. No court testimony, No AMCs, reviewers, etc. etc.
  • Relocation appraisals – clients that pay well and really want to know what a property is worth By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS
  • Get started in attorney work by doing divorce appraisals – much higher fees, no UAD, no underwriters, no AMCs
  • Plus Lots More!!!
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7 Ways for Appraisers to Spend Less Time on Email

Here are two:
5. Only read emails once
7. Hire an assistant or trainee to help out

My comment: I wrote a much longer 3 page article in the July, 2016 issue of the paid Appraisal Today with lots of practical tips, available to paid subscribers. I have been working on managing my email since I started using email in 1993. It never ends… ;>

I had the assistant to a busy appraiser email me today to see if the newsletter could be emailed to her instead of her boss, who is very busy. I said Yes! We have this problem regularly for a long time. Someone opens the paid subscriber monthly emails but the person who subscribed said he or she never got it…

FDIC appraisal regs and guidelines

Thanks (again) to Dave Towne for this info!!

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a Financial Institution Letter to US banks on 10/16/18, which incorporates Appraisal and Evaluation regulations and guidelines.
This consolidates previously issued regs and guidelines into one document:

Letter FIL-62-2018
Part 323 – Appraisals
Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines
My comment: USPAP 2020-2021 is expected to allow more than one intended user for restricted appraisal reports. I have never done them because of the restriction. Seems like some banks are getting them for “evaluations” on commercial loans. To me, restricted = cheaper. Restricted reports I have seen had a lot more in them than is required for a Restricted report. Putting “This is an Appraisal Report of an appraisal report” always seemed very strange to me. My non-lender clients would seem it was very odd also.
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 7.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 17, 2018) – Mortgage applications decreased 7.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 12, 2018. This week’s results didn’t include adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 9 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 38.1 percent of total applications from 39.0 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 decreased to 10.4 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 10.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.8 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 February 2011, 5.10 percent, from 5.05 percent, with points increasing to 0.55 from 0.51 (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 $453,100) decreased to 4.98 percent from 4.99 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.35 (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 April 2011, 4.99 percent, from 4.98 percent, with points increasing to 0.69 from 0.63 (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 February 2011, 4.50 percent, from 4.44 percent, with points decreasing to 0.54 from 0.58 (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 its highest level since the series began in
2011, 4.34 percent, from 4.29 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 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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