Fun video – Take a 3 minute break!

One Day More – A Quarantined Broadway LipSync

Fantastic!! Made me smile. Regular people.

Many thanks to John Regan, a long time subscriber and big opera fan!

To watch click here

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

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, written 4-1-20 with lots of Covid tips for appraisers plus 9 tree houses, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Subscribe to this blog (upper right of this page) and get all the posts emailed when they are posted!!


The paid Appraisal Today April newsletter will be free on April 3, Friday.

It focuses on what COVID-19 means for appraisers. I researched and discuss details: why data is the key, what are the comps, etc. Topics such as using gloves and face masks. There is lots of mis-information out there. I use the experts – scientists, especially epidemiologists.



Louisiana is an example of what happens when lots of people gather together. Mardi Gras was February 25. No one knew much about it then.

On March 5 I took an appraisal class. No one did social distancing, even myself, or even talked about it. Some hand shaking. One person coughed and quickly said something got caught in his throat so attendees were somewhat aware of it. Hard to remember what those days were like… when there were live classes or meetings…



We all see shuttered stores, many businesses shut down, employees laid off. Appraisers are still working. Lenders need appraisals. You choose which personal protection to use. You decide which appraisals to accept. You can drive around while most of us are staying in our homes.


Interior Inspections: Tough Choices for Appraisers

More comments in workingre article here:


You already know what think – Just Say No.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Turn down FHA with interior inspection. way too risky!!
  • Raise your fees a lot for interior inspections. They are risky.
  • Drivebys and desktops will take a lot of time getting photos from borrowers. Asking questions, Etc. Ask higher fees than you used to ask.
  • Take fewer assignments.
  • This will not last very long. Lenders are shifting to drivebys and desktops. Why risk heath and safety you, your family and others, for a few appraisals?

GSEs/FHA/VA and bank commercial lenders are trying to protect appraiser’s health and safety by eliminating interior inspections. Freddie Mac has new guidelines for apartment appraisals.


USE FACE MASKS, BANDANNAS, SCARVES, ETC TO KEEP FROM TOUCHING YOUR FACE!! Too hard to change the habits of a lifetime!!

CDC finally changing policies on face masks

The CDC has been saying that only health care workers need face masks. Yes they do. but many of us already have face masks, especially surgical face masks, which are much less effective than N-95 masks, which should be saved for heath care workers.

Looks like the CDC is finally recognizing that many infected people show no symptoms, such as Senator Paul Ryan! They are recommending using face masks. Have you seen photos in other countries, such as China and South Korea, of everyone wearing face masks outside?

Face masks keep you from giving others the virus. I assume we are all infected, including myself. I will use my face masks when going to the store, etc. Use them when doing interior inspections to protect persons at the homes.

I will have lots more on this topic in my monthly newsletter, going out Friday.


The Four Possible Timelines for Life Returning to Normal

The coronavirus outbreak may last for a year or two, but some elements of pre-pandemic life will likely be won back in the meantime.

Excerpt: The COVID-19 has brought American life to a near standstill, closing businesses, canceling large gatherings, and keeping people at home. All of those people must surely be wondering: When will things return to normal?

The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population — possibly 60 or 80 percent of people — is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That is the end goal, although no one knows exactly how long it will take to get there.

To read more, click here

My comment: Well written and easy to understand. I write a lot about it in Friday’s very long newsletter, including stages of pandemics, missing data, etc.

Jonathan Miller’s weekly post. Most Excellent with lotsa news, comment and some fun!!


  • Randall Bell’s Bell Disaster Index Shows We Will Survive
  • Appraisers in Quarantine – funny fotos
  • Appraiser Frank Gregoire Has More Monitors Than You Do (foto above)
  • XOME AMC Issues Vendor Authorization Letter In Case Appraisers Get Arrested

Plus lots more. To read, click here



Do NOT put Fannie Statements in PDF. MUST BE TEXT. Go to Download WORD DOCUMENTS.


McKissock’s very good webinar, from last week’s newsletter, will be available to everyone, hopefully. Per McKissock ” Our goal was to provide this timely information to all appraisers. This was a partnership with Fannie Mae and Fannie Mae requested to review the recording prior to its release to the public to ensure consistency and accuracy with Fannie Mae’s appraisal policy”…



Michigan has NOT said that appraisers are not exempt. I think the appraiser who said that was looking at “real estate services” (brokers and agents, etc,) and not “financial services” I was working on deadline and did not check it. Will Fact Check it every time now. Easy to do. Google your state (or another state) for Order or cornavirus order, then search for appraiserGetting too many ad-only emails?


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Mortgagee Letter 2020-05 Re-verification of Employment and Exterior-Only and Desktop-Only Appraisal Scope of Work Options for FHA Single Family Programs Impacted By COVID-19 Effective for all appraisal inspections completed on or before May 17, 2020. 6 pages. Appraisal starts on page 3. 

FHA Single Family’s Exterior-Only or Desktop-Only Appraisal inspection option, which limits face-to-face contact for certain transactions affected by the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration.

FHA Information is scattered and very difficult to understand per Dave Towne. He has been spending many hours researching and writing about it. One link he found useful for Model documents for Exterior and the Desktop instructions, modifications, etc. Click here to read. When his information is available online, I will let you know. He has been sending out emails for now, sometimes with attachments.


Fannie Changes March 27 and 31

Fannie Info – this is changing very fast. check the Fannie appraiser web page at

(updates and changes marked in red)

March 27 Updates to FAQs

March 31 Lender Letter LL-2020-04

Appraiser Update email March 31

We have updated Lender Letter LL-2020-04, Impact of COVID-19 on Appraisals, to include flexibilities for new construction and HomeStyle® Renovation loans, including detailed documentation requirements to be provided to the appraiser.

We’ve also removed language on appraisal type preference from page four, clarifying flexibilities available to lenders. In addition to updating the Lender Letter, we’ve also updated and added to our FAQs, so please take a look at these documents to keep yourself informed.

We’ve noticed some ineligible appraisals coming in, due to confusion between desktop and exterior-only appraisals and the forms they can be completed on. In response to that and your questions, we’ve created the Appraisal Report Instructions for COVID-19 Flexibilities video. You can access this video, as well as the Lender Letter and other resources on the Appraisers Page. and you can submit any questions you have here.


VA info 

If you do VA appraisals you should have already received their guidelines. But, it is useful for non-VA appraisers to see what they are doing.

More details here:



Two New Webinars on Thursday April 2 and Friday April 3

Appraisal Buzz – Best Practices for Driveby Appraisals During the Coronavirus Thursday April 2, 2pm Eastern Time

I attended Tuesday’s webinar on Drive-by Appraisals and it was excellent! See below.

$49. For more into and to register, click here I strongly recommend signing up for this webinar.


Appraisal Foundation Friday, April 3rd at 10:00am PDT Appraisal Foundation / ASB / AQB Update – Crisis-Related Guidance FREE To register click here Hear the latest information from the Foundation, the Appraisal Standards Board and the Appraiser Qualifications Board. Topics include crisis-related guidance such as interior inspections, modifying the “standard” appraisal report, as well as recommendations concerning distance learning and extension of CE cycle. It will be posted either close of business Friday or early next week on their YouTube channel and TAF Webinar Page. To get more info on TAF response to Covid click here Coronavirus & Appraiser page.


Two Webinars on Tuesday, March 31.

Appraisal Institute/ASA/etc. Tuesday, March 31st at 10:00am PDT. COVID-I9 and Its Implications for the Appraisal Profession. The Appraisal Institute along with four other profession-leading organizations are joining together for a robust panel discussion of COVID-19 and its implications for the appraisal profession. Participants will hear updates on state and local stay-in-place and business operations orders, appraisal guidelines and regulatory revisions, and the latest developments impacting appraisal.

It was similar to last week’s AI webinar focusing on commercial appraisals. FYI, banks can do whatever they want on interior inspections to keep their appraisers safe. Included information on SBA loans for appraisers, apartment loans, what assessor’s are doing, and other topics.

Note: It will be recorded and made available for review for those unable to attend by Friday. I will send the link next week. Check the Appraisal Institute’s youtube channel.


Appraisal Buzz – Best Practices for Desktop Appraisals During the Coronavirus. Tuesday, March 31st With the Coronavirus impacting all businesses desktop appraisals are allowing appraisers to complete appraisals without risking infecting or transmitting the virus to and from homeowners. …Learn the best practices and liability issues you should be aware of before starting to complete desktop appraisals. I watched the 1.5 hour webinar. The best I have seen on the Fannie changes. Ernie Durbin and Robert Parsons are excellent. I attended the webinar. Ernie has lots of experience appraising in declining markets. Lots of very practical tips. Buy this webinar!! To purchase for $49, click here FYI the screen looks a little strange as purchases are handled through their webinar provider. Just fill out the popup form.


I attended three webinars last week and did brief reviews in last Friday’s email newsletter. This week I am attending 4 webinars. Webinars are a great way to give important information to all appraisers from knowledgeable appraisers and other experts.


Effects of COVID-19 on values – Extreme economic changes

It’s all about the data.

The 2008 mortgage crash was about making loans to unqualified buyers. There were a lot of foreclosures and a recession. Form 1004MC was initially released in November of 2008 to make sure appraisers were looking at market trends.

What did you do after the crash started in 2007? Did you do negative time adjustments as soon as listing prices started dropping, with declining prices, no pending and lots of expireds? Did you just look at comps and not the market -l istings, pendings, expired, talk with local agents?

As with the mortgage crash, percent declines can vary by neighborhood and price levels. In my market, my city had about a 30% decline, typical for other periods of price decline in the past. In nearby Oakland, declines varied from 30% to 80%, with the highest price declines in the lowest priced homes. What was your market like?

For COVID-19 the effects started very recently and are all over the news. No delays waiting for foreclosures. There will be a significant effect on values with changes over time. Unemployment is very high now, making foreclosures more likely. Business are shut down, affecting commercial properties. The effect of federal stimulus payments is another unknown.

Start getting data on the current and previous market NOW so you can get time adjustments for today and the future, which will be changing rapidly.

Be very, very careful not to overvalue. Statements are okay in your appraisal but are not an excuse for not getting accurate values.

There has never been a time, in the U.S., that when within a few weeks, businesses shut down and people were out of work. There will be some government assistance for a limited time. Many small businesses and people don’t have the resources to be able to pay their bills very long. Government at all levels are seeing sales tax revenues plummet.

COVID-19 is not a natural disaster that occurs in a relatively short period of time. It will be going on for awhile. COVID-19 is affecting the entire world at the same time. The Spanish flu in 1917 also affected the entire world, but we don’t have any data on the effect on real estate.


9 Tree Houses You Can Actually Sleep In

Escape for a few minutes!

Excerpt: As more tree house hotels take root, the options can become overwhelming. Get a head start on your search with these amazing arboreal accommodations around the world.

Excerpt: Free Spirit Spheres: Vancouver Island, Canada

The orbs are suspended in the middle of multiple trees, which they are tethered to. This ensures a stable hang

Sorry, photos are copyrighted and can’t be downloaded. Very good – National Geographic!!.

For great fotos and more info watch click here


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.Sorry, no MBA STATS THIS WEEK. COMES OUT ON WEDNESDAY MORNING. NOT AVAILABLE WHEN THIS NEWSLETTER WAS SENT OUT.



Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


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