Time Management – Appraisers Need This Skill

Excerpt: Results of a McKissock Survey

We recently asked our appraisal community, “What ONE business skill does every appraiser need to master?” By far, the most popular answer selection was “delegation and time management.” According to real-life appraisers, several business skills are important. But time management, in particular, is essential for building a successful career in real estate appraisal. Time Management for Appraisers is critical for success.

Delegation & time management (42%)

Others were Project management/Planning, Financial Management, Communication & Negotiation, Networking and Other.

Two of the comments on Time management

“I’ve watched my dad work for himself as an appraiser for the last 10+ years, and everything comes pretty easy to him except meeting deadlines. Organization and time management is key! Don’t let it be your downfall.”

“When researching a subject property, you’ve got to have a good feel for all the time involved—how long will it take to drive to the home, inspect it, research it and complete the report? You’ve got to use all of that information to appropriately plan your days so you meet your clients’ expectations.”

To get the full results and read more appraiser comments, click here

My comment: I have been writing about time management for appraisers since I started my monthly newsletter in 1992. Recently, I have been writing about it a lot as many appraisers are very busy with the refi boom. Every hour saved it an hour you can work on an appraisal and make more money. Or, take a short break!!

The October issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter had “Practical tips you can use today for getting more appraisals done and make more money.” The November issue has “Increase your productivity by managing your email”. See more below in my ad.

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Click Read More below for the rest of this long blog post!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other sections of this long blog post on Halloween fun, FHA appraisal news, Mortgage rate forecast, houseboats, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.


Halloween Stuff Just for Fun!!

With Covid and limited parties and trick or treating, here’s some fun, strange, creepy and weird links!!

Note: these are from an October 2019 free weekly newsletter, but have not changed! Very few links this year. Everyone is staying at home, I guess. Fewer houses with Halloween decorations. Down 70% in my city.

5 Scary Movies That Describe An Appraiser’s Job


1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre– While not as bloody as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the massacre of DIY home improvements is still a very real thing. Some of us just don’t have home improvement skills and we need to realize it unless we’re okay with devaluing our homes.

3) Silence of the Lambs– Clarice Starling would rather the lambs had stayed silent but in appraising you don’t want to do this. Homeowners and real estate agents should not keep quite about improvements made to the home.

To read lots more and maybe take a break to watch on Halloween evening! Click here


11 Haunted Hotels Where You Can Rest in Peace

Even if some of your fellow guests can’t!!.

Excerpt: Where there’s a historic hotel, there’s also often a ghost or two. You can find these spirits most anywhere, mingling with guests in swanky spots frequented by Hollywood stars or roaming the cozy corridors of bed and breakfasts. From a quaint inn in the Scottish Highlands to a Colorado hotel so haunted it inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, here are 11 spectacularly spooky places to spend a night—if you dare.

My comment: I had lunch with a local appraiser last year. We somehow started talking about what is beyond what you can see (especially life after death). We had never talked about this before, for unknown reasons. He sometimes stays at a Bed and Breakfast in an old historic home when he travels. He said once he woke up and a woman was standing at the foot of his bed. He is not a person who would have “imagined” this. He spoke with the owner, who said the woman had been seen before.

To read more, click here


More Halloween Stuff Just for fun!!

Superstition in Real Estate

Excerpt: Would you buy a home if the street address was 666? How about 13? Which is better—an address with 4’s or 8’s? While many people don’t consider themselves superstitious, 10% of Americans suffer from “triskaidekaphobia,” or fear of the number 13.

Even more dramatic, the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute of North Carolina claims that the US economy loses between $800 and $900 million every Friday the 13th due to reduced activity caused by “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a tongue-twisting word for fear of Friday the 13th.

Very Interesting! To read more, click here

My comments: I have seen owners get addresses changed. I had to get a plat map to locate the comp.


Nearly 60 Percent of People Who Have Lived in a Haunted House Said They Found Out After Moving In

Excerpt: Forty-three percent of respondents may have had a ghost as a roommate. According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents said they have never lived in a haunted home, 23 percent of respondents said they have lived in one, while 20 percent think they may have lived in a haunted home.

Of those who felt confident that they lived in a haunted house, 58 percent had no idea it was haunted before moving in and 37 percent knew it was and decided to go for it anyway. Five percent said maybe.

To read more, click here

My comment: Is this a required seller disclosure? I have never heard of any, but who knows!! Of course, as soon as you move in, the neighbors tell you ;>


Forecast for 2021: Rising mortgage rates

Excerpts: Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni forecast that mortgage rates could rise in the year to come, but that they will remain near all-time lows.

He forecasted that mortgage rates will steadily rise over the next year.

However, the MBA’s 2021 forecast assumes an effective vaccine will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, leading to a gradual economic recovery that is aided by further fiscal stimulus.

Good writeup, with useful tables and graphs. To read more, click here

Do your own forecast!!

My comment: Other economists are also predicting increased interest rates. MBA (and others) are forecasting increasing purchase loans, which are much less sensitive to interest rates than refis.Getting too many ad-only emails?


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Time management for Appraisers in Monthly Appraisal Today newsletter

The October issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter had “Practical tips you can use today for getting more appraisals done and make more money.”

The November issue has “Increase your productivity by managing your email”. We all spend a lot of time on emails. You can reduce that time.


Some of the email topics:

  • Using filters and folders
  • “Inbox Zero”
  • Gmail storage tips, even if you don’t have a gmail address
  • Personal and business email addresses
  • Emails on cell phones
  • How often to check emails

Email is great. Easy, fast communication. But, it takes time to manage.That darn inbox can get huge. You spend way too much time looking for an email. Or, you lost a critical email in your over-stuffed inbox.

One good tip from the email article: Turn off visual and audible email notifications – very distracting. Every time you stop working on an appraisal, you lose time getting “up to speed” again.

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 Saving Time and Making More Money, it is worth the subscription price!!

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Click here for more info!If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the October issue, emailed Thursday, October 1, 2020, please send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it.


12 Heavenly Houseboats

We All Need to Dream About An Escape!!

Excerpt: The vessels have a long history all over the world, but more than a century ago, some of the earliest in the United States were built by logging families around Seattle, WA, who wanted to be able to float along with their timber down the river.

From those industrious beginnings, the tradition of American houseboat living was born. Fast forward to today, and the humble houseboat has become a coveted piece of property for home hunters seeking to escape the everyday constraints of landlubbers.

To read more, click here

My comments: There is a houseboat marina in my city, and other Bay Area cities. In the past, there were “anchor out” houseboats. They were required to move to marinas due to water pollution problems (no sewer hookups or waste water storage). But, it was fun to visit them by rowboats before they were gone! There were even a few semi-derelict ones near where I used to live in the 1990s in Alameda, They are long gone now. We still have abandoned, and sometimes sunken, boats here along waterways. A big problem.

Live-aboard boats in marinas are very, very popular now. Significantly cheaper than buying a house. Lots of houseboats in Seattle WA also.


FHA Appraisal Changes

FHA INFO #20-79 October 28, 2020

October 28, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-37, Extension of Re-verification of Employment Guidance and Updated Appraisal Scope of Work Option for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Single Family Programs Impacted by the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19).

Today’s ML further extends the re-verification of employment guidance initially announced in ML 2020-05.

It also extends the appraisal scope of work inspection option providing for Exterior-Only appraisals that limit in-person contact for certain transactions affected by the COVID-19 National Emergency. 

The Desktop-Only appraisal scope of work option originally announced in ML 2020-05 and last extended in ML 2020-28, is not being extended and will expire on October 31, 2020. It has been determined that with the effectiveness of the Exterior-Only option, provided in ML 2020-05, for certain purchase transactions without any Appraiser visual observation of the property, is no longer necessary.

To download the notice PDF, click here


COVID-19 Recent posts covidscienceblog.com

New posts

What Virus causes the disease COVID-19?

Scientific analysis (easy to read and understand) plus three excellent video animations

Two of the topics:

– How big are viruses?

– Are viruses living or not?

I wanted to publish this for a long time. Finally found some perfect video animations. Really helps understanding Covid.

To read, click here


National Mandatory Face Masks Can Help Prevent Covid-19 From Spreading

Face masks are a hot topic because of the current significantly increases in cases all over the country. There was a fall/winter surge in the 1918 flu. There is a surge now in Europe.

Wearing face masks or shut downs. Which is worse?? 

The only way to stop the virus is not to let it infect us until a vaccine is available to everyone next year. Covid is a respiratory virus transmitted by breathing through the nose or mouth.

President Trump was the first to ask for voluntary social distancing in March. Many people stayed at home. That was much, much harder than wearing face masks.

I was in my dentist’s office yesterday. The waiting room was very small and too crowded with three people. All of us had face masks. I complained and suggested no more than two. It had open windows and an air cleaner. It was too cold to sit outside. Next time, I will have them call me in my car amd let me know when I can come in without waiting.

To read, click here


I have over 30 posts on my blog. The list of categories, and the list of all posts, is on the right side of each page. 


If you want some resources, read “Where to get reliable Covid science information – resources I use” To read, 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 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 increased 1.7 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2020) – Mortgage applications increased 1.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 23, 2020.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 3 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications to buy a home were flat compared to the prior week, but overall activity remains strong this fall. Applications jumped 24 percent compared to last year, and the average loan size reached another record high at $372,600. These results highlight just how strong the upper end of the market is right now, with outsized growth rates in the higher loan size categories. Furthermore, housing inventory shortages have pushed national home prices considerably higher on an annual basis,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Refinance activity has been somewhat volatile over the past few months but did increase almost 3 percent last week. With the 30-year fixed rate at MBA’s all-time survey low of 3.00 percent, conventional refinances rose 5 percent. However, the government refinance index decreased for the first time in a month, driven by a slowdown in VA refinance activity.” 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66.7 percent of total applications from 66.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.1 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.7 percent from 11.8 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.5 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 3.00 percent from 3.02 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.36 (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 3.28 percent from 3.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30 (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 3.14 percent from 3.12 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.35 (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 decreased to 2.60 percent from 2.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.05 percent from 2.86 percent, with points increasing to 0.64 from 0.58 (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.

Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041

Email  ann@appraisaltoday.com 


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