Fannie Update on Covid alternative appraisals. Excerpt: Through mid-May, about 15% of Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®) appraisals completed after our announcement used the flexibilities, either desktop or exterior-only. As you know, circumstances vary widely across the country, and the uptake of the flexibilities reflects this. The highest percentages of appraisals using the flexibilities are around 40% in some northeastern states, while the lowest percentages are around 10% in some of the less impacted states…

We found that appraisers have used the flexibilities correctly about 90% of the time. Appraisers have done a great job identifying external obsolescence for desktops and exterior-only appraisals, as well as leveraging their local knowledge, maps, aerial photos, and other data sources. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that, although not required, about 35% of nontraditional reports include a sketch pulled from prior reports, assessors records, or other sources. Also, the supporting comments in the nontraditional reports have been even better on average than those in traditional reports.

Worth reading. 5 pages and well written. Also includes comments on “one mile rule” and flood zones. To read more, click here

My comments: There are very few of these done in the Bay Area. 10% sounds about right. However, now we are now in a major virus surge in some states – opened too soon and people in some areas did not do social distancing, hand washing and wear face coverings. Use of the alternative reports may increase in some states, and decrease in the northeast.

These appraisals are not easy to learn how to do, and are very different than doing full 1004 with interior inspections. In the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today I have lots of information on them, including useful references. See the ad below.

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Click the link below for a church converted to a home, Value Difference Between Streets, Avenues & Boulevards…?, Millions of American Homes at Greater Flood Risk Than Government Estimates, New Study Says, random thoughts of an appraiser, mortgage origination stats. 


NOTE: Please scroll down to read church converted to a home, Value Difference Between Streets, Avenues & Boulevards…?, Millions of American Homes at Greater Flood Risk, random thoughts of an appraiser, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.  

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Awesome Church-to-Home Conversion in Pennsylvania

Excerpt: The former church, about a half-hour west of Philadelphia, is over 100 years old, and in the 1940s, it was converted into a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with over 5,000 square feet of living space.

Some of the original church details are still in place, like the heavenly stained-glass windows, and there are sumptuous brass fixtures and ornate wood carving throughout.

Meanwhile, the living spaces offer a harmonious mixture of ancient and modern. The building was constructed in 1890, but the property has all of the modern amenities.

To read more, click here

My comments: Click here to see 50 fotos from the original listing and scroll down to see the $745,700 AVM value. Off market now. Don’t know if it sold. Sold for $763,600 in 2012.


Is There A Value Difference Between Streets, Avenues & Boulevards…?

Excerpt: Why do we park on driveways, and drive on parkways? While the answer to that question seems to be obvious, one may wonder if there is a value difference between a home located on different kinds of roads? For instance, is there a value difference between being located on a street, an avenue, or a boulevard?

The answer really depends on many factors. Before we delve into the search for the answer to that question, let us first talk about what the names of different types of roads may indicate. A road can be anything that connects one place to another. Below are types of roads and some definitions of them that I have found in researching this topic. Full disclosure, these descriptions may not be inclusive of every area in the country.

To read more, click here

My comment: I have always been interested in this topic. Finally, Jamie Owen wrote a fascinating blog post about it ;>


Random Thoughts of an Appraiser – Part Two

By Matt Simmon

Excerpt of a few random thoughts:

  • Isn’t it interesting that clients who pay $75 as an inspection fee when a full appraisal is cancelled wanted to reduce the appraisal fee $150 for 1004 Desktops when COVID started? Wait, I thought the inspection was only contributing $75 worth of the work?
  • The appraisal is not the report. The appraisal is the opinion. The report is just a document that communicates the opinion. It’s not just semantics. It matters to understand the distinction.
  • With divorce appraisals, it’s always fun to listen to the description of the house by whichever spouse you’re meeting. You can tell within 30 seconds who’s keeping the house.

To read more, click here

My comment: Nothing new but an opportunity to read current comments and write your own comments!! I really liked the divorce comment (from personal experience, of course ;>).


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Fannie Temporary Appraisal Requirement Flexibilities: What They Are and What They Mean For You

In the June 1 issue of the Paid Appraisal Today

Fannie’s new exterior-only and desktop appraisals can be confusing. Appraisers have never done them before with the new Scope of Work. No one knows how long the GSEs, FHA and VA will be using them. The requirements were recently extended to July 31, 2020.

“Traditional” appraisals have not changed. Exterior-only and desktop requirements have significantly changed, including forms, photos and research.

I write about the best resources for appraisers, from Fannie, webinars, and other sources.

A few of the topics:

  • What is the most useful information at
  • Three good webinars.
  • The new COVID external-only are NOT the same as the “old” 2055 drivebys
  • What photos are required?
  • How do you know what types of appraisals are used for different loans and for Fannie, Freddie, FHA and VA?
  • What if you don’t have adequate information to do the appraisal?
  • Why Extraordinary Assumptions are not allowed

I also include a separate 19-page PDF addendum with the three documents you need to read to understand Fannie’s COVID changes. This article references information in the PDF addendum.

Excerpt: Some appraisers are adding disclaimers or extraordinary assumptions in an attempt to limit their liability due to COVID uncertainty instead of completing a detailed market analysis and acknowledging that the quality of the data is limited and providing a well explained reconciliation. This is not recommended.

Of course, no one knows what will happen tomorrow with the pandemic. For example, you could use: It is unknown the effect COVID-19 will have on the long-term market, economy, or real estate prices, but at the moment…. (discussion about your market: over listings, pendings, etc. plus graphs)

To read the full articles, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If these articles gave you one good idea about the new appraisal requirements, it is worth the subscription price!!


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Mortgage Rates Continue at All-Time Lows, But Caveats Remain


2. It’s all about coronavirus. The market is hanging on every major update on covid-19 case counts (focusing on positive test rates and hospitalizations). These are then balanced against the extent to which the state/county in question has lifted quarantine measures. If it looks like the economy can slowly lurch back to business, rates will feel pressure to move higher. If it looks like coronavirus retains the upper hand, rates could continue inching toward more all-time lows.

Very interesting. For more analysis (and the other two reasons) click here

My comment: I’m telling everyone I know to refi while they can. Lenders are very, very busy and home owners have to get in line. Lenders are cutting back on mortgage loans, increasing credit requirements, etc. I am worried about declining home prices and increasing rental vacancies (more homeless) if the extra $600 per month unemployment benefits are not extended after this month, plus increasing unemployment due to the virus surges.

9-20 UPDATE: For lots of Covid analysis and news, go to my new


House with epidemic influenza and Coronavirus Covid-19 concept

A second wave of outbreak & the housing market

June 30, 2020 By Ryan Lundquist

What will happen to the housing market if we have a second wave of outbreak? Quite a few states are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases right now, so this is an important question to ask. This isn’t about politics or fear, but having conversation.

From V to W? The market has seen a “V” shape so far where we had a decline when the pandemic began and then we rebounded. Today I interview economist Ralph McLaughlin to talk about his concept of a Flying W. It sort of takes the “V” that we’ve already seen and talks about why we might see another “V”.

To read more, find out about the Flying W (scroll down the page), plus lots of appraiser comments click here</a


Millions of American Homes at Greater Flood Risk Than Government Estimates, New Study Says

Excerpts: Nearly six million properties across the U.S. have a substantial risk of flooding that isn’t disclosed by federal flood maps, according to a nonprofit research firm that released its own U.S. flood maps Monday.

The maps from nonprofit First Street Foundation highlight the widespread nature of flood risk. Flooding caused about $17 billion in property damage a year from 2010 to 2018, according to the Association of State Floodplain Managers…

FEMA said in a statement that its maps are intended for floodplain-management and emergency-response decisions. “The FEMA Flood Insurance Risk Maps and First Street Foundation maps do not conflict with each other, rather they complement one another by depicting different types of risk,” FEMA said. “Users should explore the differences between the maps to build a more comprehensive understanding of flood risk.”

Type in an address (click on Search Flood Risks) and get info at

To read more, click here

My comment: Too many FEMA maps are very out of date, especially inland coastal areas subject to flooding and rivers that can flood with strong rains. My current house has no risk. My former house was on San Francisco Bay and has Minor Risk due to sea level rising and weather pattern changes. It has a 2% chance of flooding at least once over the next 30 years. (Plus earthquake risk is very, very high. Built on landfill that will sink into the bay – soil liquefaction.) Glad I sold that home!

Note from a very savvy appraiser I know: This service is new, uses algorithms, and has not been independently researched and verified as far as I know. See how it works on your home or other homes. It was accurate on my two properties. My city was remapped by FEMA a few years ago. This site uses the FEMA data. Of course, FEMA is not always accurate on other properties. I went to a FEMA meeting about a year before the re-mapping was effective. The only questions were about how to not have to pay for flood insurance.


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 1.8 percent from one week earlier,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2020) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 26, 2020.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week and was 74 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications fell last week despite mortgage rates hitting another record low in MBA’s survey. Investors are contemplating the risks of the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases to the labor market and economy, and Treasury rates and mortgage rates are moving lower as a result,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “After two months of strong growth, purchase applications declined for the second week in a row. The weakening in activity is potentially a signal that pent-up demand is starting to wane and that low housing supply is limiting prospective buyers’ options. The average purchase application loan size increased to a record high in our survey – more proof that tight inventory conditions are leading to faster price growth.”

Added Kan, “Refinance applications also decreased but remained 74 percent higher than a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has been below the 3.5 percent mark since late March. It is possible that many borrowers have already refinanced or are waiting for rates to go even lower.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 61.2 percent of total applications from 61.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.7 percent from 11.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.8 percent from 11.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.6 percent from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased to 3.29 percent from 3.30 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater

than $484,350) decreased to 3.59 percent from 3.62 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.29 (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 3.43 percent from 3.35 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.22 (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 remained unchanged at 2.81 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.30 (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 3.04 percent from 3.09 percent, with points decreasing to -0.03 from 0.01 (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


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