AMC Appraiser Dress Codes? 

Excerpt: I recently saw a Facebook post where an appraiser was quite upset and offended that an AMC asked him to dress professionally for an appraisal walkthrough. Now, this

was a request that was made upfront as one of the conditions for accepting the order. Reading the post, it sounded like this appraiser was upset for two reasons. One, he was offended that the AMC was implying that he does not take his job seriously enough or dress professionally enough. Two, he felt like the AMC did not have a right to tell him how to do his job (i.e., how to dress).

First, let me say that I personally do not think it was the AMC’s intention to imply that this appraiser is not professional in any way. I simply think that they were taking extra precautions to make sure the borrower was extremely impressed by the service they, and the appraiser whom they hired, provided. Now, on to the real question. Can an AMC tell an appraiser how to dress? And the answer is yes.

To read more, plus appraiser comments, click here.

My comment: This has always been a controversial topic for fee appraisers. Dustin is correct. An appraiser client can have many requirements, such as requiring a newer car, no flip-flops, etc. It is your decision whether to work for them. Primary Rule: There is always another client!

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 USPAP, bedrooms, most expensive home, appraisal tech changes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


How Vaccines & Value Development Have Sped Up

By Jamie Owens

Excerpt: How are scientists able to development of the COVID-19 vaccines much more quickly than those of yesteryear?

Technology is one major component. Have you ever purchased a computer or a cell phone? How quickly did it become obsolete because something much better came along? The first iPhone was released in 2007, which to me, does not feel like that long ago. Compare the first iPhone, or another comparable smartphone of the time, to current smartphones.

Technology is advancing rapidly. It feels like the growth of technology is exponential. Better technology is one of the key reasons for the rapid development of COVID-9 vaccines.

To read more, click here

My comment: I am always amazed at the very creative connections Jamie Owens makes in his blog! Plus the very, very creative images, photos, gifs, etc. I wonder when he has time to do appraisals ;>


USPAP: A Living (and Changing) Document – Part 1 

By Philip G. Spool, ASA

Excerpt: In doing reviews I occasionally still see appraisal reports referred to as either a Self-Contained Appraisal Report or a Summary Appraisal Report. Evidently, the appraiser was not aware that this description ended with the 2014 Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

I then start to wonder what other changes appraisers are not realizing despite taking the required seven-hour USPAP update course every other year. Consequently, my goal with this article is to summarize the evolution and the significant changes made to USPAP from its inception through the USPAP of today.

To read more, click here

My comment: I don’t know about USPAP as “Living.” It does change every two years now, whether or not we want it to change so frequently. Appraisers pay for the cost: purchase USPAP, take required class, costs of Appraisal Foundation, etc. Of course, I prefer the “old days” before USPAP. Somehow appraisers knew what was ethical: Tell The Truth and Don’t Mislead.


What new appraisal specialty or niche would you like to break into?

Excerpts (and a few comments):

Review appraisal (23%) “I am 64 years old and have a bad back. I enjoy appraising too much to retire and think that doing review work is something I can do while continuing to train the next generation of appraisers.”

“Appraisers who don’t do their ‘homework’ do a disservice to their clients. Experience as a contract review appraiser quickly revealed when appraisal research was lacking. It is even more critical now in our rapidly increasing value markets….”

Commercial appraisal (21%) “This level of appraisals is challenging and quite rewarding. The added value to your business is priceless.”

To read more results and comments click here

My comment: I love these McKissock surveys! I was surprised to see commercial appraisals as Number 2. Getting licensed can be tough. I have done commercial appraisals for a long time and like it. But, I prefer residential as the appraisals don’t take so long…


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Listed at $160M, With 23 Bathrooms, What Will the Nation’s Most Expensive Home Sell For at Auction?

Excerpts: After two years on the market and one tiny price cut, the megamansion known as Villa Firenze in Beverly Hills, CA, is headed to auction.

Currently listed for $160 million, the estate is the country’s priciest property and will be the most expensive property in the U.S. to ever hit the auction block.

9 acres, including the 20,000-square-foot main residence. 20 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms.

To read more and see photos, click here

My comment: Includes interesting discussion about whether or not auctions work well.


Number of Bathrooms in New Homes in 2019

Excerpt: The Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction (SOC) shows changes in the number and shares of bathrooms and half-bathrooms of single-family homes started in the United States in 2019. The latest data show that 4% of new single-family homes started had one bathroom or less, 64% had 2 bathrooms, 25% had 3 bathrooms, and 8% had 4 bathrooms or more. The term “bathroom” as used in this post, refers to a full bathroom.

(from 2008 to 2019) …the shares of new single-family homes started with 1 bathroom or less or 2 bathrooms increased from 2018, but the shares of new single-family homes started with 3 bathrooms or 4 bathrooms or more decreased. Additionally, the share of new homes with 2 bathrooms has consistently exceeded the other bathrooms-per-unit categories.

To read more, click here

My comments: Interesting info. Almost all the homes I have ever lived in only had one full bath. I much prefer two bathrooms or at least one extra half bath.


A Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card Nov. 13, 2020, in Washington D.C. The cards will be sent out as part of vaccination kits from Operation Warp Speed, which is an effort by several U.S. government components and public partnerships to facilitate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

New Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card.
When you are vaccinated, you will get this card.
To read more, including data privacy issues, click here

Where Are You In the Line for Covid Vaccine?
See an interesting infographic of how the line looks and where you are, based on your age, health risk, etc. Plus, lots more info on vaccine distribution, starting next week.
To find your place in line and read more, 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.

Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 9, 2020) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 4, 2020. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 40 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 89 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 29 percent compared with the previous week and was 22 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Refinance activity increased last week in response to mortgage rates for 30-year, 15-year, and FHA loans hitting their lowest levels in MBA’s survey. The increase in refinance applications was driven by FHA, and VA refinances, while conventional activity fell slightly. The ongoing refinance wave has continued through the fall, with activity last week up 89 percent from a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The purchase market is also poised to finish 2020 on a strong note. Applications fell slightly last week but were around 3 percent higher than the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Reversing the recent trend, there was also a shift in the composition of purchase applications, with an increase in government loans pushing the average loan balance lower.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 72.0 percent of total applications from 69.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 1.7 percent of total applications.  The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.9 percent from 9.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.7 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged 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 a survey low of 2.90 percent from 2.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for an 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) increased to 3.20 percent from 3.19 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to a survey low of 2.97 percent from 3.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.34 (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 a survey low of 2.51 percent from 2.53 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.27 (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 decreased to 2.60 percent from 2.63 percent, with points decreasing to 0.40 from 0.47 (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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