Relationships… The Lost Art

Mark Skapinetz

Excerpts: Relationships. It’s a lost art of business when it comes to the appraiser profession…

From 2009 to about 2019, I was doing Lender appraisals, and deep down, something was missing. I would only be talking to customer service reps, people overseas that the AMCs subcontracted out to review work, and I had no one to go to with my issues and ideas. I know nothing about these people, and they don’t know anything about me.

Building this referral or relationship business wasn’t going to be easy, and it most certainly wouldn’t include any lenders that used AMCs for their ordering process. I needed to look elsewhere for this to happen. Where did I go? I went to the Realtor Facebook groups, Investor groups, and recently, I went to the new platform called clubhouse.

To read more, click here

My comments: I started my business in 1986 and mostly worked for lenders, but also worked for a wide variety of other clients: relocation companies, attorneys, private sales, estates, title companies, etc.

I quit doing residential lender appraising in 2005, before the crash. I had personal relationships with all my local and non-local, lender clients. Very few revision requests (wrong address, missing value, etc.) and no competitive bidding, etc.

Most of my referrals have been from local real estate agents or my website. I went on our weekly broker open house tours almost every week since 1990 and was active in the local association of Realtors.

I have been writing about non-lender appraisals since I started my paid newsletter in 1992 and have spoken to appraisers all over the U.S. and Canada about appraisal marketing.

Appraisal Business Tips including Marketing 

Humor for Appraisers

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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 Crazy real estate market, bias, liability, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Quetzalcoatl’s Nest Naucalpan, Mexico

The feathered Aztec serpent god Quetzalcoatl has been turned into a series of condos. Some are on BnB, of course!!

Located among the lush natural ravines of Naucalpan, Mexico, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest is a fantastical snake-shaped structure that includes ten separate apartments spread over 16,500 square feet. Designed by renowned Mexican architect Javier Senosiain, the residence is an exploration of ‘organic architecture’ that takes its design inspiration from nature and aims for minimal impact to the environment.

To read more and see lots of fotos, click here


Discrimination in Appraisals

by Isaac Peck, Editor

Excerpt: Using a big data approach, AEI (Editor note: American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank) conducted a study that looked at whether “the alleged practices of intentional racial bias, along with unintentional bias, are common or uncommon.” Using data from 243,000 valuations, including 59,000 “appraisal waivers” from the GSEs, the AEI used its own AVM in combination with the data to determine if there was a value difference (or a gap) between refinance loan appraisals for blacks and whites, to evaluate the existence of bias, especially as it relates to the alleged practices.

In its letter to FHFA, the AEI ultimately concluded the following: (i) contrary to media allegations, racial bias by appraisers on refinance loans is uncommon and not systemic (ii) a claim of unintentional bias on refinance loans, if to be used as the basis of a disparate impact claim, was also found to be uncommon and not systemic, (iii) appraiser bias cases, such as cited by the media, may well result from “bad apple” appraisers or incompetence.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good discussion of most aspects of the issue, written by a non-appraiser who can be objective. I cannot be objective.

Appraisers are a very easy target. Somehow we seem to get blamed for 1989 (FIRREA), 2008 (price crash), etc., any time there is a big problem with the lending industry. Properties were overvalued. The profession of appraising in the U.S. started with foreclosures in the 1930s. Lenders needed appraisers to value the foreclosed properties.

Today’s alleged appraiser bias issue is an institutional real estate problem, including housing segregation, mortgage lending, etc.I cannot fix these problems. I report the facts on a property. I have never considered any physical characteristics of the owners or occupants. If they gave me a lot of hassle or their dogs kept jumping on me, I was tempted to discriminate on that basis ;>Getting too many ad-only emails?


How to Reduce Your Appraiser Liability Risk!!

We are all swamped with appraisals now! Mistakes can happen. Appraisal Today Newsletter has good Tips on how to stay out of trouble!!

Advice from Claudia Gaglione, Esq. National Counsel for Liability Insurance Administrators. She has been helping appraisers for decades.

  • Limiting Liability to Third Parties/Includes sample statements to copy and paste for your appraisals, especially for lender appraisals!
  • Don’t Assume You Did it “Right” the First Time We all reappraise properties—mistakes to avoid.
  • Rules are made to be followed. What happens when a claim is filed. Good case study.

Reduce your liability: Sample disclaimers/statements for your appraisals from Peter Christensen, Esq. Copy and paste into your reports.

2021 E&O Insurance Update Where to get E&O insurance, most frequent claims, who files complaints, etc.

If you get one good idea about reducing your liability from these articles, your subscription pays for itself!

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The housing market is slowing (but not slow)

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt: The housing market is slowing and today I want to share seven quick ways I’m seeing that. But here’s the thing. This market is still driving at warp speed. In short, the market is slowing, but it’s not slow.

7 Ways the Market is Slowing:

The housing market is still so competitive, but there are subtle ways I’m seeing slowing. This is so important for sellers to understand – not to mention real estate professionals who are talking with clients and the public. If you’re not local, what are you seeing in your area?

1) Taking longer to sell: Last month on average it took 12 days to sell a home and 6 median days. Since June pendings have taken two extra days to get into contract. This is still lightning fast, but it’s slower than it was.

2) More homes are selling below the list price: There are slightly more homes selling at or below the list price right now. Here’s a visual to show what buyers are paying compared to the asking price. As you can see most categories slowed slightly last month, but not every category.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good practical ideas for how to analyze your market. I look at these types of data every time I do an appraisal. I spoke yesterday with a Montana appraiser. Prices and offers are going crazy!! Too many California buyers, maybe ;> Montana homes look cheap!! In my market, it is not happening. Don’t believe what you read in the newspaper using wide swaths of data and median prices.

What is each mini-market doing? In my market, the lowest price homes are going way up, but the top of the market has not changed much. Zip code is too big for a data set. Census tract, maybe? Square footage? What are the factors in your market?


Big Deal—or Bust? On the Market for $165M, Villa Firenze in Beverly Hills Sells at Auction for $51M at Auction

Excerpts: We now know the final sale price for the multimillion Villa Firenze. But should we be impressed—or sounding the sad trombone?

On the market for $165 million in 2017, the grand estate sold at auction in April for $51 million. While substantially lower than the original asking price, the auction did set records. 20 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms, with a total of 20,000 square feet in the main house plus a two-story guesthouse. With over 9 acres across three lots, the Italianate village was billed as “the largest assemblage in North Beverly Park.”

When the megamansion landed on the market in 2017, it was the nation’s most expensive home. In 2020, it was relisted for $160 million, a slight concession on the original price. Even with the small discount, the property still ranked as the most expensive listing in the country.

But with no sale on the horizon via the traditional route, the seller sought the finality of an auction. Earlier this year, the mansion became the priciest property in the United States ever to hit the auction block.

It was the most expensive house ever sold at auction.

To read more, click here

My comment: I often call a current market with many competing bids an auction market. There are also many mini-markets!!


Interracial Etiquette 

By David Braun, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: This short article presents five steps to achieve practical interracial etiquette on a more personal level.

Create new memories that are based on first-hand (factual) knowledge regardless of whom it incriminates, even if it is yourself. Base your feelings and behavior on the new memories you accumulate.

Do not describe people in terms of shades. There are no black, brown, yellow, red, or white people- JUST PEOPLE. Make a commitment to never again use the shade of someone’s skin as an adjective (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but very few).

Do not see shades at all. The idea that all people with the same physical features have the same cultural influences, talents, and beliefs is idiotic.

The goal is not an assimilation of diverse beliefs and cultures, just a fresh look that is not tainted by misinformation. Life is hard and seldom fair; everyone will need the help of others from time to time.

To read more and leave your comments, click here

My comments: Another perspective of what this means for appraisers from a very experienced appraiser.

Race is a social construct. There is only one species: homo sapiens. Unfortunately, in this country, Blacks are significantly affected because of the legacy of slavery and the failure of Reconstruction after the Civil War.

We live in a country of people coming from all over the world. There are increasing marriages of different types of people. Inexpensive DNA analyses can show where your ancestors came from.

David Braun is a regular contributor to the monthly Appraisal Today and has been speaking, teaching, and writing about many appraisal topics. “The Misnomer of Market Value” will be in the August issue. David also has developed several software programs for statistical analysis.


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 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.


Mortgage applications increased 16.0 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2021) – Mortgage applications increased 16.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 9, 2021. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 16.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 20 percent from the previous week and was 29 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 13 percent compared with the previous week and was 29 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Overall applications climbed last week, driven heavily by increased refinancing as rates dipped again. Treasury yields have trended lower over the past month as investors remained concerned about the COVID-19 variant and slowing economic growth,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Mortgage rates fell for the second consecutive week as a result, with the 30-year fixed rate hitting 3.09 percent, its lowest level since February 2021. Refinance applications increased over 20 percent last week after adjusting for the July 4th holiday, aided by a 23 percent increase in conventional refinance applications. Also, there may have been a delayed spillover of applications from the previous week, when rates also decreased, but there was not much of response in terms of refinance applications.”  

Added Kan: “Purchase applications increased last week, but average loan sizes decreased to their lowest level since January 2021. We continue to see ebbs and flows as housing demand remains strong but for-sale inventory remains low. However, lower rates may be helping some home buyers close on their purchases, especially first-time home buyers. The year-over-year comparisons were down significantly for both purchase and refinance applications, as they were relative to a non-holiday week in 2020.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 64.1 percent of total applications from 61.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.5 percent from 9.8 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.3 percent from 10.8 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.5 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.09 percent from 3.15 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.38 (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 $548,250) decreased to 3.16 percent from 3.20 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.15 percent from 3.17 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 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.48 percent from 2.52 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 from 0.23 (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 3.02 percent from 2.94 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (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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