A Map of every building in America

Excerpts: Classic maps answer questions like: How do I get from Point A to Point B? These data images, instead, evoke questions – sometimes, simply: What’s that? City and building maps for appraisers

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence.


In the August 8 2018 issue of this email newsletter, I published the link

Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

Excerpt: Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

Excerpt: In Chicago or Beijing, any given street is likely to take you north, south, east, or west. But good luck following the compass in Rome or Boston, where streets grew up organically and seemingly twist and turn at random.

Fascinating!! Check it out at:

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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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 long 10-25-18 blog post on FHA,  education, sea levels and appraiser neutrality , mortgage origination stats, etc.

FAQs concerning appraisals and evaluations for real estate transactions that are covered by the interagency appraisal rules (12 CFR 34, subpart C) Date: October 16, 2018

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the agencies) are publishing answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) concerning appraisals and evaluations for real estate transactions that are covered by the interagency appraisal rules (12 CFR 34, subpart C). These FAQs clarify existing regulatory requirements and guidance provided in the 2010 Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines and in the 2016 Interagency Advisory on Use of Evaluations in Real Estate-Related Financial Transactions. These FAQs are the agencies’ interpretations of existing rules and guidance based on the facts and circumstances presented in the questions. These FAQs are not official rules or regulations.

In March 2005, the agencies issued FAQs concerning the appraisal regulations.1 The agencies are rescinding the 2005 FAQs document but are incorporating some of the FAQs into this new FAQs document. Many of the other 2005 FAQs were addressed directly in the 2010 Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines and, therefore, have not been included in this new FAQ document.

These FAQs address the following topics:
  • Regulatory and statutory requirements relating to appraisals and evaluations.
  • Review of appraisals and evaluations by financial institutions.
  • Exemptions in the appraisal rule concerning abundance of caution, use of existing appraisals in subsequent transactions, and qualifying business loans.
  • Development of appraisals and evaluations.
  • Appraisal independence.
Link to FAQs
Link to notice 

My comment: This 14-page PDF document is lots easier than trying to read the rules. I published those links last week.


ASB issues Video on Inspections and Hybrid Appraisal Assignments

Speakers: features Aida Dedajic and John Brenan of The Appraisal Foundation

Learn answers to questions on Inspections and Hybrid Appraisal Assignments in the recently published Q&As by the Appraisal Standards Board. Questions answered:

  • Can I Perform an Appraisal if the Property Inspection was done by Someone Else?
  • Does USPAP Require Disclosure of Assistance by a Non-Appraiser?
  • Employing an Extraordinary Assumption when a Client Provides Inspection Data
In March of 2018, the ASB issued a written Q&A about hybrid appraisals. This new video is based on the published Q&A and was produced by TAF in response to inquiries from appraisers, regulators, and users of appraisal services.
The video was issued Oct. 9, 2018

Watch the video and read the many appraiser comments and post your own comment!!
Link to video (14:37 minutes long):

Fannie – appraisal waiver changes

Desktop Underwriter/Desktop Originator Release Notes. DU Version 10.3 Issued Oct. 23, 2018
  • Disaster Impacted Areas
  • Rural High-Needs Appraisal Waiver
  • Properties Valued at $1,000,000 or more
     Appraisal waivers will not be offered on refinance transactions when the estimated value of the property (as provided to DU) is $1,000,000 or more.
Link to document PDF
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Data: Where do your orders come from?
     I have always, always, always asked where the person got my name. Then I know what marketing is working.
     If you don’t do this now, start today.
     Of course, they usually say “Internet” and rarely can remember specifically where they found me. But, that is how I know that my web site amd google business listing works.
     If it is a referral, I always ask who it was so I can thank them. If they don’t remember the person’s name, I ask if it was a real estate agent, friend, etc. It is typically from a real estate agent.
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What is actionable education?

 By George Dell, MAI, SRA

Excerpt: Have you ever left a class feeling excited, but when you did your next assignment, you went back to the old way? Actionable education means you learn immediately useful actions and attitudes, AND the motivation to take advantage in your daily practice. How is this achieved?
Well, one way is to simply understand how your own brain works. It can work for you. Or it can work to hold you back.

There has been much recent learning about learning. Learning put to immediate use has a doubly good effect: 1) It reinforces and deepens the learning; and, 2) It changes a clumsy change from a new activity to an automatic behavior.


Coastal Appraisers Soon to Face Rising Sea Levels

Article in the Appraisal Institute’s Valuation Magazine’s third quarter 2018 issue discusses how appraisers in coastal communities face challenges while appraising properties potentially at risk from rising sea levels.

This article discusses what appraisers need to know in an environment where there still are more questions than answers.

The conclusion: not affecting property values now.  

Well written with good graphics and photos. Well worth reading

My comment: Keep a close watch on what is happening where you are. Big issues with rebuilding in flood areas. Many properties are affected by rising sea levels, including areas such as Bangladesh where millions of people will be affected. Plus islands such as Tangier in Chesapeake Bay. Here in the Bay Area, San Franciso’s sea wall, built in the-mid 1800s with sailing ships, debris, etc. Big skyscrapers built on the nearby landfill could be affected. There is a ballot inititative to replace it before it fails during a King Tide, rain causing runoff from the mountains to the sea, wave action, etc. Proposition A will authorize the city to take out $425 million in bonds and put the money toward fixing the Embarcadero Seawall, which is presently in disrepair. Unfortunately, on the East Coast, seawalls will not work in many areas, especially in Miami Beach, which is built on porous limestone.

FEMA maps for most U.S. coastal areas were updated in 2018. However, for some states it did not include some inland properties that were affected by flooding due to hurricanes.

Climate change and the coming coastal real estate crash

It could rival the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008

Excerpt: In many ways, real estate will be the canary in the coal mine of climate change. Recent climate reporting has rightfully been focused on the dire warnings contained in last week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which suggested that serious, destabilizing, life-threatening changes are coming to the globe by 2040. For many coastal communities in the United States threatened by hurricanes, a period of rapid change has already arrived.

Article includes a list of communities most affected by flooding.

Appraiser Extraordinaire Jonathan Miller On The Importance Of Being Neutral And More

Excerpt: Most of our firm’s marketing efforts surround the topic of neutrality. In other words, we work hard to be neutral from all parties’ needs. Our only goal is to provide a neutral benchmark and let others make more informed decisions as a result. There can be a lot of politics in valuation, and the test of an appraiser’s character is to work like you don’t need the money. It’s tough to do when you have a mortgage payment to make and kids to support.

In my case, I expanded broadly into market analysis and a substantial presence on the web, chock-full of content. In addition, I do a lot of public speaking on market conditions, which established our brand as neutral and honest, and drove business to our firm.

Interesting and worth reading at:

My comment: I agree with what he says, including marketing. Now that lender business has slowed down a lot, I have been writing about marketing in my paid monthly newsletter. What I often say, especially for non-lender work: If no one likes my value, it is probably okay! Appraisal Ethics = An unbiased value disclosing everything that matters. Do not lie or mislead. USPAP just fills in a lot of stuff…
When I started appraising at an assessor’s office in the 1970s, I was met at the door once by the property owner holding a shotgun and telling me to leave. This made pressure on value from clients very minor when I started my appraisal business in 1986……
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 www.mbaa.org 
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 https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications rose 4.9 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2018) – Mortgage applications rose 4.9 percent from one week earlier,according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 19, 2018. The previous week’s results did not include an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 10 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 0.2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage application activity rebounded the week following the Columbus Day holiday, but both purchase and refinance levels remained lower than where they were two weeks ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA AVP of economic and industry forecasting. “The holiday impacted refinance applications more than purchases, as refinances rebounded almost 10 percent. Meanwhile, purchase applications increased two percent over the prior week but were still four percent lower than two weeks ago – a sign that both the jump in mortgage rates and tight inventory continue to hold back application activity. Mortgage rates increased over the week for most loan types, with most rates remaining at seven-year highs.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 39.8 percent of total applications from 38.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.0 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.4 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) increased to its highest level since February 2011, 5.11 percent from 5.10 percent, with points decreasing to 0.52 from 0.55 (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) increased to 5.01 percent from 4.98 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.34 (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 5.07
percent from 4.99 percent, with points decreasing to 0.61 from 0.69 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 4.50 percent, with points increasing to 0.55 from 0.54 (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 its highest level since the series began in 2011, 4.47 percent from 4.34 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.35 (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
Email   ann@appraisaltoday.com

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