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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 technology, racial bias?, Scope of work, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.


Real estate market trends for appraisers to watch in 2021

January 4, 2021, By Ryan Lundquist


Low inventory & vaccines: Housing supply is about half of what it should be locally, and that’s the story in many areas around the country. There are many reasons why inventory is low, but the pandemic is a huge culprit. Frankly, unless something happens to motivate owners to list their homes, it’s hard to imagine normal inventory levels until we have a vaccine reach the masses and sellers feel more comfortable with buyers coming inside.

Uncertainty on the horizon: Housing headlines have been glowing lately, but let’s not get lost in the glory and forget we’re still in the thick of the pandemic and we’ve only scraped the surface of understanding the effect of the pandemic on the economy, job market, local businesses, foreclosures, and evictions. We need time to see how all these things pan out.

To read more, click here

My comment: Read this post! I am so glad Ryan wrote about this, so I don’t have to do it ;>


Technology and Appraisers with Jeff Bradford January 2021 Video

32 minute video. The technological impacts of this past year, especially due to the pandemic, and why appraisers should have a focus on them in 2021.

What were some of the new technologies being put into use since the pandemic? What changes for technology are on the horizon? How can appraisers take advantage of this? What about waivers?

To watch the video, click here

Note: to see all the Buzz interviews on youtube, Click here. Recent topics include spec homes, evaluations, and the future of housing.

My comments: Jeff is CEO of Bradford Technologies, located in San Jose, CA, about 30 miles from my office. I have heard him speak many times. He is an excellent speaker and keeps up on all the changes in appraising and technology. I have been using his Clickforms software since the late 1980s. I started using it because he was close to my office, and I could go over there in person if I had problems. I never went there, but it was always available.


Random Thoughts of an Appraiser

Matt Simmons December 21, 2020

Excerpts: The writing in some contracts we see can be awful. For example, “Both buyer and seller agree property must appraise to the sales price of $209,900.” – Or what? They’re going meet me under the willow tree and duke it out? The inference would be that the seller can cancel, but it doesn’t actually say that. In fact, technically, I read that it must appraise for that specific amount. What if we say it’s worth 250K, the seller realizes they’ve grossly undersold, and want to use that language to get out? Think about exactly what you’re writing in your reports.

We should really focus on excellent analysis relative to condition and quality. They’re the weakest part of valuation algorithms. If we want to differentiate from them as appraisers, we must be able to explain our strengths to the market. As with any competitor – find the weak spot and make it your strength.

To read more, click here

To find his previous 3 articles, search “random thoughts of an appraiser” on the Appraisal Buzz page. A search box is in the upper right.


Mushroom House in New Jersey

Excerpt: 1,400 sq.ft. 2 bedroom/1 bath. Listed for $295,000. The top level of the cedarwood dome has a master bedroom loft area. A metal spiral staircase links the two floors. The only bathroom is on the main level, near the second bedroom.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here

My comment: I always gotta include something fun in these email newsletters – usually an unusual home!Getting too many ad-only emails?


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Racial Bias by Appraisers Is Uncommon & Not Systemic

By Appraisersblogs January 4, 2021

Excerpt: On January 4, 2021, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) published a study titled “How Common Is Appraiser Racial Bias? An Analysis Using Big Data to Determine Whether It Is Common or Uncommon that an Appraiser’s Knowledge of an Applicant’s Race Results in Valuation Bias“.

They concluded allegation that knowing the race of the applicant results in racial bias by appraisers on refinance loans is uncommon and not systemic. This same analysis supports the conclusion that unintentional bias based on race is also uncommon and not systemic.

To read more, click here

My comment: I am so glad the AEI published this report. I could never figure out how appraisers would be biased against Blacks or any other group, except maybe hoarders ;>. Fortunately, this study will help. It seems like appraisers are an easy target once again. We have never had a national organization to speak for all of us, similar to physicians, CPAs, and other professions (or types of businesses).


Scope of Work! Podcast 8 minutes

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: Scope of work is your effort! Your client does not set it. Remember, your client’s AMC does not set it, either. Nor does the reporting form set it. You set it! That is entirely your job! An appraiser, by definition, is independent, impartial, and objective. Because of these, you set the scope of what you do and don’t do. It’s up to you to choose the scope of what you will and will not do. Those choices are part of your ethics as an appraiser. This is how we promote and maintain a high level of public trust. To promote and maintain that trust are the actions that give the public reason to trust us!

Links on the top of each page for Podcasts, consulting, etc.

To read more and listen to the podcast, click here

My comments: Click here to visit Tim’s youtube channel to watch his interviews and comments. Tim is a regular writer for the monthly Appraisal Today and is definitely a USPAP Expert!


COVID-19 Most Popular Posts for 2020 at

Covid Long Haulers – Affects All Ages Very Scary!! January 1, 2021

When can you get a Covid vaccination? Your state decides December 26, 2020 A mess in many places, unfortunately.

A Spontaneous Moment of Joy in Tough Times 12-24-20 It made me laugh and cry. There is hope in our difficult times!!

NEW POST Covid News Update and What it Means for You

Current topics: Virus Mutations, 3 more vaccines coming soon hopefully. None require low temperature storage. FDA says 2 doses, not one.

Note: Covid issues are changing on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. To do a new blog post often takes me 2-3 days or more. This News Update gives you info and links on current hot topics.


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 4.2 percent from two weeks earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 6, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 4.2 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 1, 2021. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from two weeks earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 33 percent compared with two weeks ago. The holiday adjusted Refinance Index decreased 6 percent from two weeks ago. The unadjusted Refinance Index was 34 percent lower than two weeks ago and was 100 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.8 percent from two weeks ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 30 percent compared with two weeks earlier and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates started 2021 close to record lows, most notably with the 30-year fixed rate at 2.86 percent, and the 15-year fixed rate at a survey low of 2.40 percent. The record-low rates for fixed-rate mortgages is good news for borrowers looking to refinance or buy a home, as around 98 percent of all applications are for fixed-rate loans,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Despite these low rates, overall application activity fell sharply during the holiday period – which is typical every year. Refinance applications were 6 percent lower than two weeks ago, and purchase activity less than 1 percent from its pre-holiday level.”  

Added Kan, “The steady demand for home buying throughout most of 2020 should continue in 2021. MBA is forecasting for purchase originations to rise to $1.59 trillion this year – an all-time high.”  

While the index changes were calculated relative to two weeks prior, the following compositional and rate measures are presented relative to the previous week.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 13.6 percent from 12.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.4 percent from 0.3 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 2.86 percent from 2.90 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.31 (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 3.08 percent from 3.09 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 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 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.40 percent from 2.42 percent, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.63 percent from 2.57 percent, with points decreasing to 0.41 from 0.50 (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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