Zillow – the past and the future

Zillow’s new photo algorithm

Zillow’s New algorithm uses photos of your home to check quality and curb appeal plus a look back at when Zillow started, and info on their ibuyer service

Excerpt: “We’ve taught the Zestimate to discern quality by training convolutional neural networks with millions of photos of homes on Zillow, and asking them to learn the visual cues that signal a home feature’s quality,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief analytics officer & chief economist, said in a Medium post announcing the new algorithm. “For instance, if a kitchen has granite countertops, the Zestimate now knows — based on the granite countertop’s pixels in the home photo — that the home is likely going to sell for a little more.”

To read more, click here

My comment: I am trying not to think about this…… Maybe North Dakota can try using Zillow on their rural properties….


Zillow – tales from when it started plus ibuyer

Excerpt: Every night for five months before the launch of Zillow’s website in February 2006, employees gathered their Dell desktops on Ping-Pong tables, connected them to harness their combined processing power, and strung together extension cords to get them all running. To avoid overloading the circuits, they unplugged the office refrigerator and banned Christmas lights. Then, while most of them slept, this jury-rigged supercomputer analyzed a decade of property records and American housing market data in order to spit out price estimates for 43 million homes.

To read more, click here

My comment: Published in Forbes. Well written and researched. I liked Zillow’s history plus a good analysis of their ibuyer service – the new wave of purchasing homes and selling them later.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other sections of this long blog post on State appraisal boards, Beautiful waterfalls, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Catch a Wave! America’s Most Affordable Beach Towns, 2019 Edition

Excerpt: For many Americans the ultimate summertime fantasy has less to do with washboard abs and a killer tan than owning their own piece of beachfront real estate—aka bliss. From Memorial Day through Labor Day (and beyond), beach lovers across the U.S. find themselves dreaming of escaping the hellish deadlines, soul-sucking commutes, and humdrum daily grind—and trading it all in for salty ocean breezes, caipirinhas on the sand, and fresh lobster rolls from a seafood joint around the corner.

Locations include:

1. Jacksonville, NC Median list price: $198,846

10. Portland, ME Median list price: $357,682

To check out the fotos and descriptions click here

My comment: Just For Fun and maybe feeling jealous of all those living on a beach ;> I should be on our local beach now instead of wearing down my fingers typing!!


Slow is not a dirty word in real estate

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: The reality of slowing: The market has been slowing. What I mean is right now we’re seeing more subdued price growth in many portions of the country. In other words, prices just aren’t increasing like they were in the past. This doesn’t mean the market is dull or that it’s not really competitive, but it does mean competition is more intense than actual price growth in many cases…

My advice? Pay attention to stats and let data inform your market narrative. Thus if you see the market slowing, it’s okay to say that. In fact, sometimes it’s the best thing sellers or buyers can hear.

To read more, click here

My comment: see how and why Ryan analyzes his slow market with data and graphs. Local agents here have been saying that it is very slow for the past few months. The only homes that sell have remodeled kitchens and baths and are “move in” ready. Of course, I only appraise the homes that need work and have not been updated. When there is an open house for a “fixer” I always go. Finally a comp!!


North Dakota Appraisal Waivers

Below I have links to 3 articles plus the 105 comments submitted on this very important topic. Why is it important? It is not a good idea at all for ND borrowers. Who will do the “evaluations”, if any are done? As we all know, there is an appraiser shortage because of AMCs and very, very few new appraisers coming in since 2008 as lenders require 5 years of certified experience.

Why does North Dakota want to waive appraisals for 5 years?

By Joe Lynch

Good analysis of appraisers vs. total population by state with graphs.

To read more, click here

ND Requesting a Waiver for Five Years!

By Jonathan Miller

Short article with comments. To read more, click here

No Shortage Exists

Includes a copy of the ND Waiver request document. To read more, click here

Comments sent to ASC

To read the 105 comments submitted. To read more, click here


What is Happening With State Appraisal Board Complaints?

Excerpt: Now that lender complaints are down, state board complaints are up to about 60% to 70% of the complaints, per Liability Insurance Administrators.

About 1/3 of the states require confidentiality on who filed the complaint. The other 2/3 does not require confidentiality. This is difficult for the appraiser, who does not know who filed the complaint and maybe why it was filed.

Per Claudia Gaglione of LIA, “The state boards make the complaint process so easy. Any disgruntled person can log onto the website and fill out a simple form. ”

Most of the states provide the appraiser with a copy of the complaint and ask for a response. There are still states that keep this information confidential (such as CA). The appraiser is told that a complaint has been made and they are asked to provide a copy of the report and the workfile. They are not told who made the complaint, or why.”

Whenever an appraiser calls me about a problem, I always tell them “don’t risk having a state board discipline you”. If you lose your appraisal license, your appraisal career is over. If you get your name published by your state board, AMCs and lenders will check to see if you are listed. The ASC national registry publishes the information for the past year.

To read the full article with lots more information,

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More details on Coester vs. appraiser lawsuit

Coester Loses Appraiser Lawsuit

By Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpts: The Summary Judgement in Skapinetz’s favor marks the end of a legal struggle spanning over two years between Skapinetz and Coester VMS and Brian Coester, including putting to rest a countersuit by Coester VMS against Skapinetz alleging $20 million in damages… The case reads a bit like a plot from a James Bond movie and centers around Brian Coester illegally accessing both the personal and business emails of Mark Skapinetz… Here’s how it all went down.

To read the full article, plus the comments, with lots of details click here


The Most Incredible Waterfalls!!

Just For Fun!!!

Excerpt: Waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes, but they are universally mesmerizing. Whether it’s a haunting stream pouring down from a cave roof, like the Ruby Falls in Tennesseea smaller water feature rushing through lush jungle greenery like Asik-Asik Falls in the Philippines; or a staggering display of natural power like the world famous Niagara Falls, every waterfall holds its own special kind of magic. Now tell us about the most incredible, unforgettable, and powerful waterfalls that you’ve ever encountered!

Waterfalls from Very Large to Very Small. From all over the Earth!! Scroll through the images and imagine yourself there, just watching the water fall ;> I wanna go to a waterfall now!!

To read more, click here


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 0.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 3, 2019) – Mortgage applications decreased 0.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 28, 2019.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Purchase applications picked up slightly last week, as conventional and government activity were each up around 1 percent. Furthermore, in continuation of the gradual growth trend seen throughout the first half of 2019, purchase activity was almost 10 percent higher than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “A still-strong job market, improving affordability and lower mortgage rates continue to support growth.”

Added Kan, “Conventional refinances dropped slightly over the week, but there was a pick-up in government refinances, with FHA activity jumping 17 percent. Additionally, the average loan amount for government refinance applications reached another survey high at $282,500. In a week of mixed mortgage rate movements across the various loan types, the 30-year fixed rate finished slightly higher than last week, but was still close to lows last seen in 2016.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 51.0 percent of total applications from 51.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.1 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.8 percent from 12.5 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 4.07 percent from 4.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.35 (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) remained unchanged at 4.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.25 from 0.24 (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 3.97 percent from 4.01 percent, with points decreasing to 0.30 from 0.36 (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 increased to 3.42 percent from 3.40 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 from 0.31 (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 3.46 percent from 3.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.29 (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

Email  ann@appraisaltoday.com


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