Original Comp Photos: Dangerous, Unnecessary

by Damian Downie

Excerpts: As I do many times a day, I was taking comparable (comp) photos for an appraisal. This one in particular is a condominium, so I was taking photos of two condos in a competing complex. There was a gate into the property, so I stopped across the street and snapped a photo of the gate.

Three minutes later, about a mile from the site, I looked over to my right out the passenger window, and I saw a man holding his phone up and pointing it at me. I asked him what he was doing and he angrily asked me why I was taking pictures of his car.

To read more plus the 59+ appraiser comments and add your own comment, click here

My comments: Always a hot, hot topic!! We’ve all got appraiser stories about comp photos (dogs, police, crazy people chasing you down the street, locked gates, etc., etc.)!! After 45 years of appraising I am never bored. There is always something new or weird that I see ;> My scariest experience (for the subject) was when two large Dobermans broke through the screen door of a mobile home and came after me. I got back into my car and told my client to get another appraiser!!

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 , mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc

Just six feet wide, ‘London’s skinniest house’ is for sale for $1.3 million

Excerpts: Just six feet wide and covering 1,034 square feet, the five-story property was once a hat shop.

The skinny house may be something of an oddity in London, but extraordinarily narrow houses have long been a fixture in countries where land is taxed by width, such as Vietnam and the Netherlands, and Japan has established itself as a pioneer in the field.

For more info plus very interesting photos, click here


Zillow Launches Next-Generation 3D Tours

Zillow 3D Home Interactive Floor Plans Desktop and Mobile Screenshots

Excerpt: Zillow uses panoramic photos captured by an agent or photographer with the free 3D Home app and a 360-degree camera, and then applies the company’s computer vision and machine learning models to generate a 3D Home tour and interactive floor plan — including AI-predicted room dimensions, square footage and the location of the listing photos relative to the other media.

The 3D tour and floor plan are automatically uploaded to the listing and can also be added to the MLS, embedded on a website, or shared via email or social media.

Press release, click here

More photos and some details, click here

Videos on how to use it for sellers, click here


What is your housing persona?

By Ryan Lundquist

36852833 – businessman holding a glass ball,foretelling the future.

Excerpt: The market is going to implode. No, it’s actually all good. There are so many opinions right now. Take a look at the housing personas and let me know which one(s) you’ve seen.

A few examples:

  • Doomsday Daniel: The market is going to crash like it did years ago.
  • Worried Will: Not making any decisions because he’s so worried.
  • Zoe Zillow: Totally obsessed with Zillow.
  • Pedro Prophet: Makes new predictions when old ones don’t come true.
  • Bubble Betty: This is definitely another housing bubble.

To read lots more fun examples plus appraiser comments (scroll past the graphs), click here

My comment: If I knew what was going to happen with housing prices in this once a century pandemic, I would be rich and (probably) not writing this newsletter!!


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Disability – your greatest risk

!Whenever I hear about someone who is sick (or died), like many other people I always think first about Covid-19. As we know now, you can have few symptoms for a short period of time, be sick for a few weeks, or be hospitalized. Age is a very significant factor.

Appraisers go inside homes, apartments and other types of properties, where you can get infected. Every time you leave your house (or someone else comes inside) it is risky.

Many appraisers worry about the risk of getting sued on an appraisal, but

one of your greatest risks is becoming disabled and unable to work.

To appraise at your full capacity, you must be able to walk, hear, and see. If disabled, you may be able to continue working, but at reduced capacity.

Or, you may not be able to do field work, but you can do desktop appraisals and reviews. You will probably not be able to work at all for a period of time.

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 protecting yourself and your family, it is worth the subscription price!!

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5 Resources to Help You Avoid Appraisal Errors and Violations

Excerpt: As busy real estate appraiser, both your time and your professional reputation are extremely valuable. One thing you can do to help save time and preserve your standing as an ethical and reliable property appraiser is to put a little extra time and effort toward avoiding appraisal errors and violations. While most common appraisal errors are minor and won’t result in disciplinary action, even small mistakes take time to correct and therefore slow down your process.


1. How to avoid mistakes in appraisal reports

2. How to avoid minor appraisal violations

3. How to handle feedback from reviewers

4. How to avoid disciplinary action

5. What happens when a complaint is filed

For lots more info, click here

My comment: Something for everyone! Compilation of 5 good resources. Worth reading. Have you never made an error in your appraisal report, even a typo? If so, you are in an extremely small (maybe non-existing) minority!


The luxury manmade island concept where homes cost up to $1 billion

Excerpt: Packing up and moving to an exotic island has been a long-held dream for many globetrotters, but it seems the prospect is becoming even more attractive due to the global pandemic.

A number of island brokers reported a huge spike in demand for private islands in the months after Covid-19 brought much of the world to a standstill, with one telling the New York Times he’d had his busiest two months in over 20 years.

And judging from the response to this upcoming floating luxury real estate development launching close to the Bahamas in 2025, interest in relocating to a safe haven in the middle of the sea is still high.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here 


Recent post covidscienceblog.com

Last Friday, after this newsletter was sent, I finally found out how to get non-counterfeit N95 masks.

Where to purchase non-counterfeit N95 masks from small U.S. manufacturers

I am planning on doing appraisals again for the first time since last February. I needed N95 masks. I ordered them last Friday and got them yesterday.

I got my second Moderna shot yesterday. No side effects except sore arm on both shots. My advice: get your shots on your left arm if you are right handed!! I got my first shot on my right arm. The injection site was sore for a few days. I realized how much I use my right arm.

More info on side effects after second shot.


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 5.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 17, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 5.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 12, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 5.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 51 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Expectations of faster economic growth and inflation continue to push Treasury yields and mortgage rates higher. Since hitting a survey low in December, the 30-year fixed rate has slowly risen, and last week climbed to its highest level since November 2020,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The uptick in rates has slightly dampened refinance activity, with MBA’s index falling for the second week in a row, and the overall share dipping below 70 percent for the first time since last October.”   

Added Kan, “The housing market in early 2021 continues to be constrained by low inventory and higher prices. Conventional and government applications to buy a home declined last week, but purchase activity overall is still strong – up 15 percent from last year. The average purchase loan size hit another survey high at $412,200, partly due to a larger drop in FHA applications, which tend to have smaller-than-average loan sizes.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 69.3 percent of total applications from 70.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.0 percent from 9.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 13.2 percent from 13.3 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 2.98 percent from 2.96 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.36 (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) remained unchanged at 3.11 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 2.93 percent from 2.97 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.36 (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 2.47 percent from 2.50 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.29 (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 decreased to 2.83 percent from 2.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.7 from 0.36 (including the origination fee).

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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