The “Green Hornet” – first lender appraisal form in 1962 . A brief history, written by George Opelka in 2010. Worth reading

Excerpts: As a result of an early consulting-writing assignment with the U.S. (Savings and Loan) League, my Dad created appraisal form “#17-PRA” in 1962, which became the Green Hornet – The First Lender Appraisal Form.

The appraisal report form was presented to the Appraisal Committee of the U.S. League for review and consideration for adoption and use by savings and loan associations across the United States.

The form was initially presented on green paper with green ink strictly for marketing spin.

To read more, click here

My comment: Very interesting and worth reading!! Warning: there are two appraiser comments, but then long “spam” comments not worth reading.

New 1004 appraisal form?(Opens in a new browser tab)


Appraisal Adaptation and Modernization with George Opelka, including personal information on the Green Hornet: 27-minute video

Excerpt: An interview with Joan Trice, Founder of Allterra Group, LLC, and George Opelka, ACI General Manager. We sat down with George Opelka to discuss the modernization of the appraisal industry and the adaptation that’s still yet to come.

What is the history with certain appraisal software? What are some of the lasting impacts of the pandemic? Where does this leave the future of modernization in the industry? These questions and much more will be answered by George Opelka while he shares on this evolving subject.

To watch, click here

My comment: Worth watching. A fascinating history of the Green Hornet, the first appraisal form. George is a good speaker who has been around appraisers since he helped his dad when he was young. When working for ACI, he followed all the appraisal changes over the years. I don’t always listen to long videos, but I could not stop listening to this one!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

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


NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, lockdowns, essential appraisers, Covid news and links for appraisers, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Are appraisers essential? They must be! 

by Shaun Fitzgerald

Excerpt: Are appraisers essential? They must be; just about every appraiser I know is flat-out busy. When the pandemic started, many, many people stopped working altogether, were told to work from home, were furloughed or laid off. Not so for appraisers.

With declining mortgage interest rates and increasing property values, the loan-to-value ratios are also declining. So, you’d think that lenders might wish to go the route of computerized valuation solutions – but they’re not. Lenders are opting for hands-on in-person inspections and market analysis.

(Last sentence) The future looks good for the profession. Competency is up, professionalism is up, inclusion is up, and fees are up.

To read more, click here

My comment: Nothing new for appraisers in the article, but good to have the appraiser’s side published!


Toy house wrapped with chain and coronavirus close-up. Concept on the prohibition of leaving the house due to the covid-19 pandemic

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: This isn’t about fear or politics, but conversation. This isn’t a prediction post either. My only purpose is to consider things that might affect housing. So let’s talk.

Two of the 9 topics:

2) Buyers & agents have learned: This time around, we have more experience. The real estate community has learned to show homes virtually, and buyers are more used to the idea also. However, if buyers and agents don’t have full access to real estate because of imposed rules, then it’s hard to imagine seeing no effect on the housing market.

4) Buyers: I imagine mortgage rates below 3% will keep propelling lots of buyers to hunt for homes because that’s exactly what’s been happening these past months. In short, mortgage rates have pulled far more buyers into the market than the coronavirus has pulled people out. In other words, so far, the pandemic hasn’t hampered buyer demand. But what happens if access to real estate is limited or a feeling of uncertainty about the economy, housing, or future ensues? All I’m saying is we need to continue to watch buyer sentiment because it’s not something that always stays the same.

To read more, click here

My comments: We are all watching and wondering when and if, the real estate market changes due to the pandemic. Very good article plus appraiser comments.

Of course, there are lots of opinions about what “lockdowns” mean, but we all know what happened in March for a few weeks. They are very effective, but expensive, as a last resort to surges. If everyone is at home, except essential workers, the virus cannot infect us.




A Surplus of Square Footage: The 10 Biggest Homes for Sale

Excerpt: While most of us live in homes with square footage hovering in the low four digits, there are a few homeowners who live much larger—in every sense of the word.

A couple of these big homes have over 30,000 square feet and the smallest 17,000.

While there’s nothing priced below $2.5 million, the list prices reflect the locales of these massive mansions. Obviously, a buyer will pay more per square foot in Southern California, but the out-of-the-way places where you can acquire enormous estates might surprise you.

Two of the homes:

5. 57 Mt Tom Rd, Salisbury, CT

Price: $17,950,000

Square feet: 22,282

6. 9380 Fairmount Rd, Russel, OH

Price: $2,995,000

Square feet: 21,107

To read more, click here

My comment: I definitely need an architect’s floor plan when appraising these homes!Getting too many ad-only emails?


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2020 year-end tax planning for appraisers

It’s not too late to save on your 2020 taxes!

Available in the December issue of the monthly Appraisal Today, available December 1

A few tips:

  • Your greatest savings in taxes is usually by contributing to a SEP-IRA, Solo 401-k, or another type of retirement account.
  • Consider making charitable donations before the end of the year. Credit card payments for charitable donations made by December 31 are deductible.
  • Always keep receipts for all deductions. If you are audited by the IRS, they expect to see receipts. I was audited in 2016 and lacked some receipts.
  • I strongly recommend using an enrolled agent or a CPA. Why? They are tax experts and, also very important, and they can represent you if you have an IRS audit.
  • I do all of the above every year.

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

If this article gave you one good idea about saving money on your taxes, it is worth the subscription price!!

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Circular Sun’ Home in Phoenix

Excerpt: After purchasing a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Phoenix for $1,677,500 last year—and transforming it.

Listed for $7,950,000, an eye-catching, curvy property, there’s a reason it’s dubbed Circular Sun, has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Wright only designed 14 circular homes, including this one. The interiors measure around 3,100 square feet, with concentric circles that overlap, driving the design.

Built in 1967 for Norman Lykes, it has the distinction of being Wright’s final design before his death in 1959. It is on a 1.32-acre lot.

To read more and see lots of fotos click here


Appraiser needs your help!

Excerpts from gofundme page: Judy retired in August from her appraisal practice in the Lake Tahoe area with a plan to “see the sights in the US” by camper. She rented out her home for the next 12 months and hit the road. She and her partner Ben were bike riding on the Oregon coast on October 16 when Judy was hit by a distracted, uninsured driver who nearly killed her. Judy suffered a broken arm, pelvic fracture, broken ankle, and a concussion and was hospitalized for a week. She is recovering at a friend’s home in Bend, OR and has started her physical therapy.

Judy’s high end road bike was destroyed in the accident. She faces medical costs from her hospital stay and unexpected housing costs as she goes through physical therapy. Ben has set up an account for her so all funds donated will go directly to Judy.

Please help if you can. Even if you can’t help financially,

you can help by putting down your phone while driving.

To read more updates and/or donate, click here

Judy’s email address:

It is okay to send her an email.

My comment: I donated. I have emailed Judy and followed her posts on appraisal email chats for quite a while. I live about a 3-hour drive from Lake Tahoe and have visited there many times.


Covid: The Good The Bad and Some Humor!!

Some Humor:

Parody of the Song ‘Alexander Hamilton’ With Dr. Anthony Fauci as the Title Character

Dr. Fauci Photo on the right.

One minute video. It made me smile ;>

Fun Covid Risk Rating Chart.

Some crazy and weird stuff!


The Good

Very effective vaccines will be available to many people by summer and early next winter. Phase Ia is for healthcare workers and others. Phase1b is next – older people and others. Note: the final decisions on what groups are in the phases have not been determined.

Proposed 4 phases – Who Gets The Corona Vaccine First 10-2-20

The Bad

The pandemic is out of control everywhere, just like the 1908 Spanish flu in the fall of 1908. The Spanish flu had a high death rate among people in their 20s to 40s. I live in the Bay Area, which has always had strict coronavirus requirements. Everyone wears face masks and does social distancing, but cases are going way up.

My Holiday season advice for this year only:

Skip getting together. By this time next year, probably earlier, many of us will be vaccinated, especially older people and others at high risk.

Do not get together with anyone outside your household. My cat, Widget, is looking forward to a mouse for dinner at home ;> That is what we are doing in my family. Of course, we have a scheduled big Zoom meet up with all of us, in 8 households!!

Do not celebrate with anyone who is high risk, such as older people.

Assume everyone, including yourself, has Covid, including family and friends. 50% of infected persons show no symptoms. I have been doing this since March.

Link to my blog post (almost the same as the writeup above)

Map of high-risk U.S. counties, if you are traveling (or considering traveling)


Recent posts from my covid blog: 

How face masks work: excellent animations

Excellent Illustrations of Covid spreading indoors

More information on increased appraiser risk, with recent virus surges, coming soon, including face masks and other PPP plus crowding in homes, etc.


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 0.3 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 18, 2020) – Mortgage applications decreased 0.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 13, 2020. This week’s results do not include an adjustment for the Veterans’ Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.3 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 98 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 26 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage market activity was mixed last week, despite the 30-year fixed rate mortgage staying below 3 percent. The purchase market recovered from its recent weekly slump, with activity increasing 3 percent and climbing above year-ago levels for the 26th straight week. Housing demand remains supported by the ongoing recovery in the job market, and an increased appetite from households seeking more space because of the pandemic,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The refinance index decreased last week – driven by sharp declines in FHA and VA applications – but remained a robust 98 percent above a year ago. The average refinance loan balance of $291,000 last week was the lowest since January. Many borrowers with higher loan balances may have acted earlier on in the current refinance wave.”   

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 69.8 percent of total applications from 70.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 1.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.5 percent from 10.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.5 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) increased to 2.99 percent from 2.98 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 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 $510,400) decreased to 3.11 percent from 3.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.31 (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 3.11 percent from 3.08 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.37 (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 increased to 2.59 percent from 2.55 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.37 (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 increased to 2.84 percent from 2.79 percent, with points increasing to 0.53 from 0.42 (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


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