Hobbit Houses in Charlevoix, Michigan

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: Growing up in northern Michigan in the early 1900s, Earl Young was obsessed with boulders. Glacial boulders, to be exact-ones moored in fields, forests, and on lake coastlines across the state thanks to the slow march and retreat of glacial ice during the Precambrian age. Appraising Hobbit Houses in Michigan is a challenge.
The homes he designed will stop you in your tracks, as one did the last time I was there, passing by on a bike. Call them “mushroom houses,” “hobbit houses,” “boulder houses”; everyone has a different name for them. They’re often described concisely, if vaguely, as “organic.” Though some see Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence, they’re distinctly Young.

Fascinating! Lots of fotos and info at:

Lord of the Rings – Hobbit houses from the movie(Opens in a new browser tab)

Hobbit House of Montana(Opens in a new browser tab)

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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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other sections of this long blog post on appraisal issues, AQB, Praise, Problems selling homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appraisers Point Solicitations. Legitimate???

By Dave Towne
Excerpt: Appraisers, a new ‘company’ with “Appraisers Point” in their name has been marketing their services via emails across the fruited plain lately, encouraging appraisers to sign up on their web site and pay an annual fee so that ‘you’ can get on a list to be presented to, or accessed by, unnamed lenders, who might, or might not, want your service.

They have a very slick looking web site that makes them look legit.

Appraisers Point has no location shown on their website, so in reality, it could be anywhere in the world. The email messages show a location in Miami, FL. This location is a high-rise office building in downtown Miami. I called the leasing office for that building and asked if they have a tenant with the above name, or any other appraiser offices in their tower. The answer was NO.

Click here to read more plus appraiser comments:

My comment: Appraiser comments say they are being bombarded with text messages. I have not received any solicitations, of course. Guess I am on the Do Not Contact list ;>

Many companies have tried this in the past, such as the “appraiser directories”. I did not investigate this one, but trust Dave Towne.


New York State AMC Law Goes Into Effect – fees, turn times, invoices attached to appraisal, etc.

By Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: REVAA’s (AMCs group) biggest concern is that it requires all valuations to be performed by appraisers AND invoices must be attached to the report so the consumer knows what the appraiser was paid.

This is groundbreaking for our industry. Let’s hope that the word spreads and the consumer is finally protected!

There are lots of goodies here – just a couple of samples:

Act without just cause to withhold or threaten to withhold timely payment for an appraisal report or for other valuation services rendered with such appraisal report or services provided in accordance with the contract between parties;
(c) Requiring an appraiser to prepare an appraisal report or valuation service under a time frame that such appraiser believes, in their professional judgment, does not afford such appraiser the ability to meet all the relevant legal and professional obligations including USPAP requirements. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, all appraisal reports should be completed within a reasonable timeframe and appraisers may not unnecessarily delay completing appraisal assignments;

For lots more, scroll down to (or search for) the Appraiserville section

Includes link to the new law.


5 Strange Things That Can Stop a Home From Ever Selling

Excerpt: While most corrective tweaks are small-say, a fresh coat of paint or a solid decluttering-sometimes the things that stop a home from selling take everyone by surprise. Here are a few that listing agents have dealt with, and the solutions that saved the day. Including:
1. The ‘green monster’ (carpet)
2. Too many pets
3. Noisy neighbors

My comment: Of course, I have seen all these plus a lot worse, mostly on refis, but sometimes on pending sales ;>
Property Tax Assessment Appeals
Home prices and property taxes going up in your area?
What does this mean for you?
A Most Excellent opportunity for non-lender appraisals !!
  • Very easy marketing to home owners using postcards. 
  • You are helping owners reduce their property taxes. They need you.
  • COD payment with good fees.
Lots of practical tips. Detailed info on how to get started, what you need to know about tax re-assessments, how to print and send your postcards and where to sent them,  etc. 
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Appraiser Qualifications Board Issues Discussion Draft About Practical Applications for Real Estate Appraisal (PREA) Concept

Live Stream of May 3 AQB meeting
Questions the AQB is seeking answers to include:
– What is the maximum amount of experience a trainee should be able to obtain by completing PAREA training?
– What “prerequisites” should be required prior to enrolling in PAREA training?
– What level of “supervision” is appropriate for PAREA trainees?
– What should the minimum qualifications be for those “supervising” PAREA trainees?
– Should PAREA trainees have to complete USPAP-compliant appraisal reports?
– How will this type of experience be verified?

A virtual reality demonstration will be provided to demonstrate one technology that could be utilized in PAREA.

Link to current discussion draft document. The comment deadline is June 1

Must set up an Appraisal Foundation account to attend.
More info, including link for registration at:

Link for streaming registration

My comment: Sorry, no recording will be available. Ii can’t attend and really wanted to see the VR demo! I have been following PAREA since it got started. The current residential appraisal experience is a failure. Fee appraisers are not set up to train appraisers. Lenders don’t train appraisers any more. Most pre-licensing appraisers were trained by lenders.


Interview with John Brenan of the Appraisal Foundation, April 25, 2019

By Bryan Reynolds, Appraiser eLearning

A variety of issues, including:
– Questions pertaining to USPAP
– ASB’s recently adopted 2020-21 changes to USPAP
– AQB’s changes to appraiser qualification criteria
– PAREA: what is it and what does it mean to you?

My comments: Interesting. Worth listening to. Brenan is a good speaker. Can skip 14 minutes of chit chat at beginning if you want. Mostly about USPAP issues – changes, rationale, restricted reports, requirements, etc. Plus appraiser experience issues.

The Power of Praise

By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS, IFA
Excerpt: A few days ago, I received a really nice compliment from a reviewer with the Farm Credit Bureau. I had completed a complex appraisal assignment and was expecting multiple revision requests, but instead, got a note saying how thorough my appraisal report was and thanking me for the work. A couple days later, I got a call from a relocation company reviewer on another mind-boggling relocation assignment. Again, I was expecting multiple questions about the report since it was complex and atypical for the area. Instead this reviewer proceeded to tell me that it was one of the most detailed and well-developed reports he had seen in all his years reviewing relocation work. Boy I wish I had that one in writing!

My comment: Well written and worth reading. I seldom read anything on this very important topic!!
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 decreased 7.3 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 24, 2019) – Mortgage applications decreased 7.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 19, 2019.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 11 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has risen 10 basis points in three weeks, and is now at its highest level in over a month. Borrowers remain extremely sensitive to rate changes, which is why there has been a 28 percent drop in refinance applications over this three-week period. Purchase activity also declined, but remains almost 3 percent higher than a year ago,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Borrowing costs have recently drifted higher because of ebbing geopolitical concerns, as well as signs of strengthening in the U.S. economy, including the recent data pointing to robust retail sales.”

Added Fratantoni, “The strong economy and job market is keeping buyer interest high, but rising mortgage rates could add pressure to the budgets of some would-be buyers.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 39.4 percent of total applications from 41.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.9 percent from 9.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.46 percent from 4.44 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.42 (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 $484,350) increased to 4.35 percent from 4.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.25 from 0.23 (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 4.49 percent from 4.43 percent, with points increasing to 0.57 from 0.56 (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 3.87 percent from 3.84 percent, with points decreasing to 0.44 from 0.45 (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 3.92 percent from 3.88 percent, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.19 (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.

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Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
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