Zillow Gets Pillowed – Very Funny Video!

by Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: I met Rich Barton, Zillow CEO, at an Inman/Curbed party held during an Inman conference in Manhattan a long time ago, the evening before Zillow’s launch. I asked Rich, a very nice and fascinating person, what he did for a living, not realizing he was the co-founder of Expedia. Ugh. He also said they were launching their latest effort the following morning – a web site called “Zillow,” and he added “as in rhymes with pillow” to the description. Little did I know real estate would never be the same after that.

So this weekend’s SNL skit on Zillow was particularly delicious with all the “pillow talk.” Even Rich got a kick out of it.

To watch the video and read more comments, click here

Direct link to video on youtube click here

My comment: Warning. It contains some sexy parts, including two guys. It is a Saturday Night Live skit. Not for children and maybe some appraisers…

Zillow uses home photos for “appraisals”(Opens in a new browser tab)


Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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 adjustments, Fannie Photos, strange house, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.


AVM’s & Punxsutawney Phil’s Accuracy

Zillow, one of the most wide-known AVM’s has stated that their values are not to be considered as appraisals. Here is what Zillow states. I appreciate Zillow’s explaining this. Though, sadly some still view these types of value outputs as reliable.

So, why offer a valuation service that provides values that should not be relied upon? It appears that the valuations AVM’s provide are really instruments that are used to attract consumers to their sites, where they collect data on people’s searches, while at the same time offering other real estate services and information.

To read more, click here

My comment: Another fun post from Jamie Owen. Plus negative comments about AVMs – one of our favorite pastimes!


Fannie email newsletter sent 12-10-21 with short Videos

Excerpt: Do you ever feel like it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when it comes to property condition and quality of construction ratings? It’s a longstanding myth that condition and quality ratings are interdependent, or change based on location. That myth has now been vanquished by the Noble Appraiser, who is spreading the word that condition and quality ratings should be based solely on UAD standardized definitions, and must reflect a holistic view of the property improvements.

Watch the Noble Appraiser clear the cloud of confusion around condition ratings and disentangle the trees of turmoil around quality of construction ratings in our two new videos. And for ongoing reference, download the two new reference guides on these topics with examples of each rating, all available on our Appraisers page.

View The Condition Rating Cloud of Confusion video 5.5 minutes

View The Quality Rating Trees of Turmoil video 6 minutes

See reference guides and more on our Appraisers page

To read the original announcement click here

My comments: The videos are entertaining and well done. Who is the “Noble Appraiser”??


Composition Effects for Appraisers

Excerpts: “You will sometimes hear statistics people talk about a ‘composition effect,’ which just means that if you are comparing a group over time, you need to beware of the possibility that the composition of the group is changing.” Why would a residential real estate appraiser care about composition effects?

Much of my time as a residential appraiser is spent determining trends in real estate markets. Every day I create charts like the one above to describe the markets in my reports.

These trendlines assume that the group of homes sold do not differ significantly over time. In most cases, this assumption is reasonable. Sometimes this assumption is false.

Here’s what I do to have a better understanding of market trends:

I trend sale price of homes sold over time,

I trend price per square foot of homes sold over time, and

I trend home gross living area over time

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading. When I first saw the title, I thought it was somehow about writing. Never heard of this statistical term. Something new every day!Getting too many ad-only emails?


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Procrastination costs you time and money!

Have you ever procrastinated and waited until 10 P.M. to start an appraisal due the next morning at 9 A.M.? We all procrastinate, of course. However, when you are really busy and turning down work, procrastination often causes you more time to complete a task than if you had not waited until the last minute. This doesn’t even take into account the stress.

I was speaking with an old friend around 9 pm last week. She mentioned she had a lot of work to complete on an appraisal due by midnight. I suggested she start working on it now and we can speak tomorrow. Of course, her probability of appraisal errors greatly increased. She did make a few mistakes that the reviewer caught and she had to update her appraisal.

So what’s wrong with procrastination? The appraisal you rushed out the door had a bad typo, such as the wrong address. You had to take the time to redo and resend the appraisal and worse, you look bad to your client!

To read the full article with lots of tips on overcoming procrastination, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

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What You Can Do With These Photos! Podcast

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: “What you can do with these photos” is provocative. I wrote it to get your attention. Appraisal reports contain photos. This is not a USPAP requirement. Nor is it a Fannie Mae requirement. Really, it is the lender’s requirement. They familiarize the lender with the subject. So, what is so controversial about photos in an appraisal report?

Know for certain that USPAP has no inspection requirement or standard. Without this, it has no standards for photos, either. What photos does Fannie Mae want? She wants photos of the front, back, and street. Maybe even one or two photos of the neighborhood. But why, then, do we provide the other photos? All of those other photos are the requirements of individual lenders. OK. That’s a major pain-in-the-butt. But we’re at the property, so we take the pictures. No big deal. And, generally, we like to get paid.

But “what you can do with these photos” keeps popping up. OK, what can you do with them?

To read more and listen to the podcast click here

My comments: Worth reading the rest of the text and listening to the short podcast. Tim is a regular author for the monthly Appraisal Today newsletter. He is definitely a USPAP Expert! To check out his other podcasts and his appraiser consulting on USPAP issues click here.


Underground Home Inside Kansas Missile Silo Listed for $1.6M

Excerpt: What the owners have called Subterra Castle includes an underground living quarters, workshop, and event space that they have called home for more than three decades.

The property is entered via a half-mile driveway, and the complex is protected by secure, 8-foot fencing. The site is 32 acres.

The below-ground offering includes six bedrooms, three bathrooms, and around 6,500 square feet. The space is a boon, but a buyer will have to become accustomed to the lack of natural light. However, there’s plenty of sunshine in the above ground one-bedroom residence. Before the pandemic, the above-ground unit was busy as a popular Airbnb.

To read more and see lots of photos click here

My comment: I have seen empty missle silos for sale, marketed mostly to preppers, but this is one of the few renovated ones I have seen.


COVID-19 Recent posts covidscienceblog.com

UPGRADE YOUR FACE MASKS!! Both the U.K. and South African viruses are in my Northern California county. Almost everyone here has been wearing face masks since April. Stanford University is doing the testing. The viruses are probably spreading rapidly in many other states, but there is limited testing to detect them.

I have done many updates to my Cloth and Surgical Mask post, including a recommended cloth mask which I am using now, the new CDC statement on using two masks, and much more. The post keeps getting longer. I updated the index at the top of the post. We all wear surgical or cloth face masks. My post on N94 and N95 masks has a few changes.

Surgical and Cloth Face Masks – What to Buy and Where to Purchase

How the NFL kept its players and staff safe from Covid CDC worked with the NFL . Using face masks and distancing made a difference. I also analyzed which type of masks were worn by players, staff and attendees. A Very Wide Variation!

Coronavirus Variants – What They Mean

An excellent expert speaker (virologist) you can understand, with practical examples. Includes timed topics so you can find what you want to learn more about. 2-8-21 Video 36 minutes.


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 decreased 4.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 10, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 4.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 5, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 4 percent from the previous week and was 46 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 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates have increased in four of the first six weeks of 2021, with jumbo rates being the only loan type that saw a decline last week. Despite some weekly volatility, Treasury rates have been driven higher by expectations of faster economic growth as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “With the 30-year fixed rate increasing to 2.96 percent – a high not seen since last November – refinances declined, and their share of total applications dipped to the lowest level in three months. Government refinance applications did buck the trend and increase, and overall activity was still 46 percent higher than a year ago. Demand for refinances is still very strong this winter.”

Added Kan, “Purchase applications cooled the first week of February, but homebuyers are still very active. Purchase activity was 17 percent higher than last year, and the average purchase loan size continued to increase, reaching another survey high of $402,200, as the higher-priced segment of the market continues to perform well.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 70.2 percent of total applications from 71.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.3 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.5 percent from 9.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 13.3 percent from 12.1 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 ($548,250 or less) increased to 2.96 percent from 2.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.32 (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 $548,250) decreased to 3.11 percent from 3.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.32 (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 2.97 percent from 2.94 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.29 (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 2.50 percent from 2.44 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.32 (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 2.92 percent from 2.88 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged 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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