Appraiser’s (Changing) Role

Q&A with Mark Verrett, Chief Innovation Officer at Accurity Valuation

Excerpts: WRE: How can appraisers adapt to meet the profession demands?

Verrett: I think there are several ways to adapt to these challenges. The first is to work toward diversifying your practice away from 100 percent mortgage business niches. Our firm is a leader in green valuation, rural valuation, valuation consulting and litigation support and we help our offices diversify into those spaces. However, this solution isn’t for everyone….

To directly take on the challenges facing appraiser relevancy in the mortgage space, significant change is required. Appraisers need to unite to create a like-minded national voice that is not rejecting proposed changes for the profession, but rather working with stakeholders (regulators, lenders, clients, etc.) in conceptualizing, testing, tweaking, and ultimately modernizing the appraisal process on the mortgage side.

The appraisal community has a tough assignment in their role in this modernization. To be useful in the discussion, we need to challenge ourselves to be creative and open-minded, yet diligent in maintaining or, even better, improving the quality of the valuation being produced. I think it is extremely important for appraisers to listen and understand the needs of their clients and to creatively develop solutions that meet those needs.

Worth reading with some good ideas. To read more, click here

My comment: Accurity has franchisees and some very savvy appraiser officers and directors.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

Appraiser Covid Survey Results April 2020

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 AVMS and Wonder Bread, toilet race, Covid info, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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20 Buildings Shaped Like Food
Take a Break and Check out the Weird Buildings ;>

Excerpt: This novelty architecture was especially popular in roadside attractions to perhaps inspire some stomach growling as travelers passed by, but you’ll see examples both old and new where tasty meals served as inspiration for design.

Here are a few: oyster, peach, artichoke, 6 pack of beer.

To read more and see the photos click here,

My comment: I have stopped at the Giant Artichoke roadside stand in Castroville, CA many times for a Very Tasty Artichoke!!


AVMs the Wonder Bread of Value

From Cleveland Appraisal Blog, of course!!

Excerpt: Like the Wonder Bread of yesteryear, AVM’s have been touted by many as being, well, the greatest thing since sliced bread. They are a relatively new phenomenon. You just type in the address of the property and voila, up comes a value on your screen. AVM’s are advertised as being enriched with the benefits of technology. However, like the “enrichment” process of Wonder Bread, at least in its early days, AVM values may not be a healthy choice, if someone is trying to determine the value of their home. That is, if they need to rely upon that number to make an important decision.

To read more, click here

My comment: Be sure to check out the short video on the right side of the page next to Property 3 (AVM examples) : Looking For An Appraiser? Ask Any Cat! Very Funny!!


Coronavirus Appraisal Inspection Procedures & Protocols

Excerpt from 11 suggestions: 

1. If the Realtor or homeowners have contracted a cold, the flu or the Coronavirus, or if they have been exposed to someone with a cold, the flu or Coronavirus, it is imperative that the appraiser be notified immediately. All parties will be presumed to be carriers of the Coronavirus.

2. An appraisal requires a floor plan sketch. If one is available, please email it to the appraiser prior to the inspection at: appraiser’s email address

3.The appraiser will wear gloves, and disposable booties while inside the home.

4. A “Social Distancing” of 6’ from the appraiser is requested. No physical contact will be made between the appraiser and the Realtor or Occupants. No handshakes! No fist bumps. The inspection will be completed as quickly as possible to minimize exposure.

5. The appraiser will not make physical contact with any interior surfaces in the home. This includes doorknobs and light switches. All lights must be turned on.

To read more and check out the many comments click here

My comment: Read the article and decide what works for you. For many years, I have not touched doorknobs inside and (almost) never shaken hands. The owner also had to open and close all the interior doors. The coronavirus suggestions are appropriate for flu season also. I will keep hand santizer in my car to use after the inspection. I definitely will use better protection from now on. I was at an appraisal class last week but the room was not crowded so it was okay. One person coughed and quickly said he just took a drink of water and was clearing his throat. I did not see any hand shaking. A few fist bumps. I used to say I was not feeling well and did not want to shake hands, but now people would back away and look shocked like maybe I was like Typhoid Mary (who did exist)…

Who wants to be sick and off work unexpectedly? No one.

On a more personal note, I was scheduled for Jury duty next Friday. I was only on a trial once. It was very worthwhile and a big responsibility. I would gladly serve again. I active and in good health, but I will be 77 years old in three months and am trying to avoid any places that are high risk because of my age. I have been in the packed jury waiting rooms and don’t want to be there now. FYI, I am within 5 miles of the cruise ship with 3,500 people, that is being evacuated, so I am more paranoid than most, maybe. I did not stock up on toilet paper ;>

I called the court and told them my situation. I was excused and received a text verification. What was very strange is that I was the second person in the queue. I had expected a lot of other people calling in. Guess some don’t know what is happening. Scary.

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Refis are On Fire!! Swamped with Work?

Now is the time to get more done TODAY!!

Practical tips you can use to make more money!

Partial list of topics

  • Don’t accept appraisals that are difficult and time consuming when you are busy. Do them when business slows down.
  • Beware when something does not “feel” right.
  • Always, always, always pre-screen appraisal orders
  • The easiest and best way to save time is to cut your geographic area. EVERY EXTRA MINUTE OF DRIVING IS TIME AND MONEY LOST.
  • Cut down on interruptions and time spent on phone calls. Don’t be a slave to your phone! EVERY TIME YOU STOP WRITING AN APPRAISAL TO ANSWER YOUR PHONE, YOU LOSE MONEY

To read the full article, with lots of practical tips you can use TODAY, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Today.

If this article gave one good idea for saving time and making more money, it is worth the subscription price!!


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Mortgage applications skyrocket to highest level since 2009 as rates tumble


Excerpt: Mortgage applications soared 55% this week from one week prior, and demand for refinances rose to an almost 11-year high, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The deluge came after rates fell to record lows because of uncertainty in the markets sparked by a spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

For more info, click here


MBA doubles refi forecast after mortgage rates fall to all-time lows

Trade group’s economists now expect $1.2 trillion in refis in 2020

Excerpt: The MBA announced Tuesday that it is doubling its refi forecast for 2020. The trade group’s economists now believe there will be $1.232 trillion in refis this year, twice as many as the group originally expected.

Overall, the MBA now expects there to be $2.609 trillion in total mortgage originations in 2020, which would be a 20.1% increase from last year.

Last year, by the way, saw a 12-year high in mortgage originations thanks to the falling interest rates that began to occur halfway through the year.

For more info, click here


Why America Is Losing The Toilet Race

Excerpt: I just got back from my first trip to Japan, and I’m now in love with the country. The ramen, yakitori and sushi. The gorgeous volcanoes. The fascinating people and culture. But of all the things I fell in love with, there’s one that I can’t stop thinking about: the toilets.

Japanese toilets are marvels of technological innovation. They have integrated bidets, which squirt water to clean your private parts. They have dryers and heated seats. They use water efficiently, clean themselves and deodorize the air, so bathrooms actually smell good. They have white noise machines, so you can fill your stall with the sound of rain for relaxation and privacy. Some even have built-in night lights and music players. It’s all customizable and controlled by electronic buttons on a panel next to your seat.

In Japan, these high-tech toilets are everywhere: hotels, restaurants, bus stations, rest stops and around 80% of homes.

To read more, click here


FHA Appraisal Training Kansas City, Kansas

Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Central)

Check-in begins 30 minutes before the start of the session.

Event Location:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Kansas City Regional Office

Gateway Tower II

400 State Avenue, Room 200

Kansas City, Kansas 66101-2406

Jurisdictional Host:

Denver Homeownership Center

Registration Link: click here

Description: This free, on-site training will cover FHA appraisal requirements, including FHA appraisal protocol and updates to FHA appraisal policy as outlined in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. This training also takes an in-depth look at a variety of appraisal-related topics including: property acceptability criteria, minimum property requirements, property defects, appraiser responsibilities and requirement, and much more.

Audience: This training is targeted primarily to appraisers; however, other industry professionals may also benefit from attending.

Special Instructions: Advance registration is required no later than April 7, 2020. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. This training is being held in a government building. Be advised that the on-site security screening is similar to an airport security screening. Attendees must provide a valid, government-issued photo ID and course registration confirmation at the guard station. Please allow extra time to go through the screening process.

For more information, contact Deborah Byers at: or call 1-800-225-5342.


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 increased 55.4 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2020) – Mortgage applications increased 55.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 6, 2020.

In response to the current interest rate environment, MBA now forecasts total mortgage originations to come in around $2.61 trillion this year – a 20.3 percent gain from 2019’s volume ($2.17 trillion). Refinance originations are expected to double earlier MBA projections, jumping 36.7 percent to around $1.23 trillion. Purchase originations are now forecasted to rise 8.3 percent to $1.38 trillion.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 55.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier to the highest level since April 2009. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 54 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 79 percent from the previous week to the highest level since April 2009, and was 479 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Market uncertainty around the coronavirus led to a considerable drop in U.S. Treasury rates last week, causing the 30-year fixed rate to fall and match its December 2012 survey low of 3.47 percent. Homeowners rushed in, with refinance applications jumping 79 percent – the largest weekly increase since November 2008,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “With last week’s increase, the refinance index hit its highest level since April 2009. The purchase market also had a solid week, with activity nearly 12 percent higher than a year ago. Prospective buyers continue to be encouraged by improving housing inventory levels in some markets and very low rates.”

Added Kan, “Taking into the account the current economic situation and how much rates have fallen, MBA is nearly doubling its 2020 refinance originations forecast to $1.2 trillion, a 37 percent increase from 2019 and the strongest refinance volume since 2012. As lenders handle the wave in applications and manage capacity, mortgage rates will likely stabilize but remain low for now. This in turn will support borrowers looking to refinance or purchase a home this spring.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 76.5 percent of total applications from 66.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 6.9 percent from 9.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 13.1 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to the lowest level since December 2012, equaling the lowest level in survey history at 3.47 percent, from 3.57 percent with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.26 (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 $510,400) decreased to the lowest level since the series was added in 2011, 3.58 percent, from 3.63 percent with points decreasing to 0.20 from 0.21 (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 decreased to 3.57 percent from 3.74 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.25 (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 decreased to 2.90 percent from 3.03 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.24 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.02 percent from 3.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.25 from 0.14 (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

1826 Clement Ave., Suite 203, Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


1 Comment
  1. Why is the mortgage industry, FHA/HUD, VA and the government not suspending field inspections of homes until the virus is under control. It would be easy to just hold interior appraisal orders for a couples of weeks or more until the virus is under control to protect both home owners and appraisers. I have gotten dozens of emails from lenders and AMCs stating how they are taking steps to protect their employees including having them work remotely if needed. What about appraisers? Where is your concern for us and the homeowner? Just another example of American Greed. While I am not located in an area that is currently affected (that is there are no known positive cases) it is probably out there and most likely coming. I know it is my choice to accept assignments or not but we all know turning down assignments does come with a “penalty” in most cases as AMCs regularly send out emails to my office stating that turning down assignments can have a negative affect on our rating. Come on mortgage industry step up to the plate and suspend interior appraisal orders during this crisis. Holding orders for a relatively short period of time is not going to cause a crisis. Risking the health of people and their families will cause harm.

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