The Ugly (and Filthy) Truth About Wearing Shoes in the House

Excerpts: “Shoes off, please.” A reasonable request? Or are those fightin’ words?

Arguably, no other three monosyllabic words have ever led to more irritated house guests, resentful homeowners and thriving sales of shoe racks, slippers, and sing-songy, passive-aggressive signs. (“Since little fingers touch our floor, please remove your shoes at our door!”)… “So many germs and bacteria can be brought in from your shoes, including toxins and E. coli,” Mitzner explains…

“So, if one removes their shoes,” he asks, “what about all the potential bacteria on their socks?” Plus, even if you abide by a strict rule of “no shoes,” you can’t escape the fact that the interior of your home is still covered in germs, Adalja says. How reassuring.

While there are scientific arguments both for and against pulling off footwear the moment you enter the front door, experts do seem to agree on one thing: To minimize the risk of getting sick, go out of your way to keep a clean home.

My comment: I hate taking off my shoes in a house!! I have to put them, or disposable booties, back on when going in and out of the house. But, since reading this article, I am so glad I have hardwood floors with no carpets and no small children ;> Of course, the bottom line: it is their house and they can decide.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this 11-1-18 long blog post on manufactured homes strange houses, lots, mortgage origination stats, etc.

$245M Bel Air CA mansion is nation’s most expensive listing

Originally listed for $350M, it’s still a potential record-breaker after a price cut

Excerpts: The limestone clad mansion in Bel Air owned by the late TV executive Jerry Perenchio just got a price cut.

But at $245 million, the commanding French neoclassical residence, which measures 25,000 square feet, is still the most expensive listing on the open market in the U.S.

The property, which came up for sale last year for a staggering $350 million, has long been the cream of the crop among high-end estates…

A 105,000-square-foot mega-mansion built on spec, also in Bel Air, has a ridiculous $500 million price tag, but it’s not listed on the open market.

My comment: And I just read that the Southern California market is in a slump… who knows about this price range ;>

Living Beneath the Ground in an Australian Desert

For about a century, residents of Coober Pedy have escaped the searing heat by building their homes underground.
Excerpt: “Bars and restaurants are underground, churches, all these children growing up living underground,” Ms. Merino said in a telephone interview about the residents’ social and private lives. “There’s nothing different about them; they’re not cave men. They’re normal people choosing to live in a different way.”

My comment: I have been reading about this place for awhile, but the author, who “stumbled upon” it has an excellent Fascinating article with great photos!!


Fannie economist: Outlook looks rocky

Excerpt: The mortgage industry has been facing some tough times, but is there any reason to be optimistic?

Well, there are short-run and long-run considerations. In the short-run, it is going to be difficult because rates are going up. There are multiple pressures for rates to rise. One is that the economy is growing stronger than some market participants had thought, and that is putting upward pressure on rates. When investors see the potential for growth in earnings, then rates rise to reflect that.

Second, the Fed is tightening, and we expect them to continue to tighten. Third, the size of the deficit adding to the size of the debt is going to have to be funded in the Treasury market. That will put upward pressure on rates. In the mortgage space, the competition you are seeing now because of the decline in refinances is leading lenders to narrow spreads to compete to try to stay in business.

My comment: worth reading as it relates taxes, the fed rate increases and other economic factors to mortgages.


In the November Issue of the Paid 

Monthly Appraisal Today

  • Business slow? Non-lender appraisals are an excellent option! Full Fees, No AMCs, No CU, No UAD!! Some good tips even if you are already doing non-lender work
  • Speaking at real estate sales meetings is a very easy way to market your business. Plus lots of tips on how to get ready, what to speak about, who to contact, etc.
  • Why you should join an appraisal association by Joseph Lynch     Addenda have detailed info on appraisal organizations plus contact info for State appraisal associations:
  • Network of state appraisal associations (NSAO) contact list
  • Appraisal Organizations List
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When there’s no other manufactured homes in the neighborhood

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt: PUZZLE APPROACH: There isn’t one easy way to approach this, so when appraising something challenging I tend to look at a property like a puzzle where my goal is to find clues into value by considering a number of factors.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: Here are a few: Older sales, sale of subject, competing market, bottom and top, etc.

Well written and worth reading. Read the full article here.

My comment: Remember the last time you drove up to a house and thought “Oh No!!”? Or, after you went inside or looked in the back yard? I hate having to make a second trip for new comps!! I try to pre-screen using google streetview, owner interview, etc. but it does not always work. I use the same methods in this article for whatever is unusual about a property that affects value significantly and must be handled. My favorite is going back in time as market conditions adjustments are very easy to make. I have gone back as far as 10 years. I also use: what is the most, and the least, it can be worth.


Risk of Land Volatility

By Scott Cullen
Excerpts: Residential assignments often come with a requirement for the appraiser to report an estimate of site value. If there are current lot sales in the subject neighborhood we are able to meet this responsibility head-on. The Appraisal of Real Estate, 14th Edition (Appraisal Institute) states that Sales Comparison is the preferred method. But if the subject is in a fully developed neighborhood with no lot sales, we need to rely on other methods to estimate site value. The textbook options are Market Extraction, Allocation and Income Capitalization. But…

Applying a reliable land-to-property value ratio for the neighborhood to the current median price in the neighborhood can provide a test of reasonableness for site value. But if market values are changing, we can veer way off track by using land-to-property value ratios. This opens us up to liability for reporting a misleading assignment result.
In the table (figure 2), notice how land is much more volatile than house prices. Interestingly, lower land-to-property value ratios result in higher volatility.

My comment: Well written, practical and understandable. I am so glad I don’t have to provide land values in my city. The last residential lot sale was many years ago in a bad location. Assessor office Land to Value ratios are not accurate. This article has some good ideas. Note: The author developed adjustment software, which is advertised, but the article is objective.


Shrinking Lots and Eroding Values

Excerpt: The great thing about land is that no matter what may happen to the structures on it, the land is always there. A structure can be torn down and a new one built. With home ownership, we usually take this for granted. However, there are locations in which this may not always be the case! For instance, properties with lake frontage along Lake Erie, or other areas of the country in which erosion from natural causes is an issue.

Well written and worth reading with good illustrations at:

My comment: I will never forget my first appraisal in Berkeley CA in 1986 where I noticed that the retaining walls next to the sidewalk were tilted on many nearby homes. I called a long time local appraiser for help. The entire hillside (and the homes) were moving down the hill slowly. When I did a relocation appraisal in another known slide area in Oakland, I was the only appraiser (of three) who noticed that the home was moving down the hill and it was located in a known area of landslides.

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 2.5 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 31, 2018) – Mortgage applications decreased 2.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 26, 2018.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 0.4 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady over the week, but total applications decreased overall. Purchase applications inched backward from the previous week, as well as compared to one year ago – the first year-over-year decline in purchase activity since August,” said Joel Kan, AVP of economic and industry forecasts. “Purchase applications may have been adversely impacted by the recent uptick in rates and the significant stock market volatility we have seen the past couple of weeks. Additionally, the ARM share of applications increased to its highest level since 2017, but since this is a compositional measure, it was driven by a greater decrease in applications for fixed-term loans relative to the decrease in ARM applications.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 39.4 percent of total applications from 39.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.6 percent of total applications, the highest level since May 2017.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 9.8 percent from 10.1 percent 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) remained unchanged at 5.11 percent, with points decreasing to 0.50 from 0.52 (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) decreased to 4.94 percent from 5.01 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.28 (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 5.08 percent from 5.07 percent, with points increasing to 0.62 from 0.61 (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 4.55 percent from 4.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.51 from 0.55 (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 decreased to 4.33 percent from 4.47 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.37 (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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