Many thanks to Appraisal Buzz for this Very Best Appraisal Comic!! They came up with the ideas and hired a cartoonist to do it. There are very, very few appraisal cartoons or comics.

To see a larger image on your computer, right-click and select open in a new tab.

This cartoon was posted on the Appraisal Buzz Facebook page on September 21, 2020, so you can share or make a comment 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

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 Weird house, 3 comps, new Covid blog posts, Fannie December Update, successful appraisers, mortgage origination stats, etc.


December 2020 Fannie Update

Excerpt: 2020 has been an unforgettable year in so many ways. Under difficult circumstances, we’ve all had to adapt. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who’ve suffered the loss of a loved one or any of the physical, emotional, or economic hardships resulting from these challenging times.

It is genuinely a relief to wrap up the year with some relatively mundane tips, clarifications, and myth busters in our Q4 appraiser update. We hope for a return to better times and that this update will be a good resource for our readers.


1. COVID-19 appraisals: No assumptions

2 Why should value rep and warrant

relief matter to appraisers?

3 The one-mile myth: Vanquished!

4 The myth of “recent sales only.”

5 Accessory Dwelling Unit updates in the Selling Guide

6 Clarifications to project standards policies

To download the Fannie Update pdf and read more click here


Christmas Explosion in New Jersey Mansion

Excerpt: The wild (some would say garish) explosion of holiday decor in this 5,420 square-foot home has made the listing a viral sensation.

…once inside, you’re greeted by a holiday display beyond compare. Life-size nutcrackers and other statues welcome you into the two-story grand foyer.

To see lots of photos and read more, click here

My comment: Appraise “as if” the “over the top” decorations are gone as they are personal property?
Excerpts: The “Appraisal Process” requires good judgment in picking comps.


USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) uses the word comparable 95 times. Comps MUST be important. However, it is not defined.

In USPAP, adjust is used some 81 times, but not at all in the performance standards or integrity standards (scope of work, ethics, etc.). It too seems to assume everyone knows what adjust is. It must be obvious! (It is not in the list of important definitions.)

To read more, click here

My comment: George will have an article in January 2021 monthly Appraisal Today newsletter: “George Dell – The Anti-Statistics Guy” about his background, how he started appraising, why he does not like statistics, etc. Very interesting!Getting too many ad-only emails?


4 ways to get only the FREE email newsletters

and NOT the ad-only emails.
1. Twitter: (same time delivery) – all recent newsletters

2. Appraisal Today blog:  (posted by noon Friday) To get notices when newsletters are posted, sign up in the upper right of the blog. No ads in the blog post. You will receive an email to confirm.

3. Email Archives:

(posted early Friday) Link is above and to the right of the big yellow email sign up form. Newsletters start with “Newz”. Contains all recent emails sent.

4. Link to 10 most recent posts and newsletters (no ads) at  scroll down past the big yellow signup block.

NOTE: When you have set up one of the choices above and it is working, you can unsubscribe from this email list, which includes getting ads, by clicking the unsubscribe button at the bottom of every email newsletter.

Click here for the list of 4 ways plus information on why I take ads, etc.


Give Yourself A Christmas Present and

Get a Tax Deduction for 2020!

Purchase Appraisal Today Monthly Newsletter!

It’s not too late to get more deductions by December 31 at midnight!!

A few more tax tips:

  • Your greatest savings in taxes are usually contributing to a SEP-IRA, Solo 401-k, or other types 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.
  • Delay billing until late in December, so you will have less income in 2020 if you are on the cash basis of accounting.
  • Pay as many bills, or make as many business purchases, as possible before December 31, 2020.
  • Always keep receipts for all deductions. If the IRS audits you, they expect to see receipts. I was audited in 2016 and lacked some receipts.

I do all of the above every year.

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

If the articles give you one good idea, it is worth the subscription price!!

Not sure if you want to subscribe?

Sign up for monthly auto renewal for $8.25!!

Cancel at any time for any reason!!!

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy) 

or $99 per year or $169 for two years 

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters 

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to  or call 800-839-0227. What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

Click here for more info!

If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the December issue, emailed December 2, 2020, please send an email to and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it.


4 Wacky Wooden Buildings in Wyoming

Just For Fun and a Little Escape!!!

2. Smith Mansion

The dizzying Smith Mansion is rumored to have been constructed over a mine shaft, by the hands of a madman, or as a perverse joke—but the truth is that it is simply the work of a man who could not stop building. What started as a simple cabin became a singular structure that, while not open to the public, is visible from the highway and serves as a local landmark.

To read more and see photos of more Wacky Wyoming Buildings, click here


8 Characteristics of a Successful Real Estate Appraiser


Curious. Are you a naturally curious person? That sense of curiosity will come in handy in your work as a property appraiser. It will help you ask questions, dig up information, and discover all you need to form a reliable opinion of value.

Unbiased. The ability to form an unbiased, objective opinion of value is absolutely essential in this line of work. In order to provide trustworthy results and uphold the integrity of the appraisal profession, you must be unbiased. Otherwise, you risk losing your professional reputation.

To read about 6 more characteristics, click here

My comment: I have written about this many times in my monthly newsletter over the past 28 years. This is an excellent list.


Please help keep your friends and family keep safe during the Christmas holidays. Humans are social. Covid spreads when we share breaths, especially when not wearing face masks. Socializing only with your household members is safest. (People you live with and see every day without a mask.) 

You only need to do this once! By December 2021, the virus will be controlled, with many fewer infected people to spread Covid.

My family and friends are not getting together this Christmas season.

I would never forgive myself I infected anyone, and they got very sick or died


Some of my Covid blog posts are now on my personal Facebook page at .Please visit, make comments, or share.


New posts at

Coronavirus Vaccine Update With Anthony Fauci 12-11-20 – 32 minutes

List of timed topics so you can scroll down to what you want. To watch, click here

Dr. Fauci on Saturday Night Live 12-12-20 Very Funny!! To watch, click here

Appraiser/Educator Bryan Reynolds and COVID-19 Reposted 12-12-20

Podcast original date was April 7, 2020, 31 minutes

To listen, click here

Please listen to this podcast!! Hearing about his experience directly from Bryan made Covid much more personal for me. I am getting vaccinated as soon as it is available.


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 increased 1.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 16, 2020) – Mortgage applications increased 1.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 11, 2020.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 1 percent from the previous week and was 105 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 26 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“U.S. Treasury rates stayed low last week, in part due to uncertainty over the prospects of additional pandemic-related government stimulus, as well as concerns about the continued rise in COVID-19 cases across the country. Mortgage rates as a result fell to another survey low, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping five basis points to 2.85 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Homeowners once again acted on the decline in rates, with refinance activity rising for the second straight week and up 105 percent from a year ago.”  

Added Kan, “The ongoing strength in the housing market has carried into December. Applications to buy a home increased for the fourth time in five weeks, as both conventional and government segments of the market saw gains. Government purchase applications rose for the sixth straight week to the highest level since June – perhaps a sign that more first-time buyers are entering the market.” 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 72.7 percent of total applications from 72.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 1.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.0 percent from 9.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 12.7 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 2.85 percent from 2.90 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

Please Note: MBA Offices will be closed Thursday, December 24, 2020, and will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021. Due to the holiday, the results for the weeks ending December 25, 2020, and January 1, 2021, will be released on January 6, 2021.

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



We want to know what you think!! Please leave a comment.