Fannie and ADUs

Excerpt: Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are becoming more and more common. Want to brush up on your knowledge of Fannie Mae’s ADU policy? Take this short elearning course to explore information about ADUs, including requirements, construction types, and how to report ADUs in an appraisal report.
To watch, click here
Note: use two arrows at the lower right to move between slides.
My comments: I received an email notification of this on 8/24/21. Worth watching. Well done. Of course, ADU requirements vary by location. They are more being built in many areas of the country. I was recently listening to an appraisal online discussion. Appraisers were from all over the country and some had appraised homes with ADUs.
My MLS recently added a section on ADUs. Not many sales there yet, but anything can help!! In my city, most new ADUs are behind a large home. Many of the owners plan on living there when they retire and renting out the much larger home. Over the past few years, the local planning and building departments have become much easier to work with. Some local MLS listings mention “ADU possible”, a relatively new trend.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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 97 year old appraiser, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.



8 Geometrical Wonders That Are Also Houses

Take a short break. You deserve one!!

Home is where the weird angles are.
The above photo is of the Cube House Toronto, Ontario. This unusual structure may be on its way to becoming a cultural landmark in Toronto.
Excerpt: A home can be many things: a place of comfort, a place to create, a place to keep your stuff. At the same time, it can be a place that turns a few heads. Across the world, in suburban corners and urban centers and nearly off the grid, stand homes that appear strange and distorted, as they came from the mind of M.C. Escher or Dr. Seuss. But for all their intricacies and architectural imagination, they’re still homes.
To read more, click here

My comment: Links for more info on each home. Two are upside-down homes. They are all very unusual!


Ernestine Miller, 97-year-old former appraiser in Ohio, retired at age 92

Excerpts: She was introduced to Frances Eberle (around 1970 est.), who prompted Ernestine to get her appraiser’s license, so she became one of only two local women appraisers at the time. She began working with the Veterans Administration, making sure veterans were getting an honest appraisal when they bought a house. She also began appraising residential and commercial properties for the Eberle Real Estate Company.
In 1975, Ernestine married Carl Kehl. Together they formed the Miller-Kehl Real Estate Company and Miller-Kehl Realty Appraisal Services.
Ernestine continues her quest to remain active. Her current hobby is hand making braided wool rugs, another gift of Frances Eberle.
Her daughter, Marilyn, is a well-known local currently licensed real estate appraiser.
To read more, click here
My comments: Fascinating story of her life. I am 78 and still working every day. I like what I do and have a great office assistant. I know there was at least one 90+ licensed California appraiser a few years ago.

New in the September 1 issue of

Appraisal Today!!

    • Vacant Land: A Nightmare for an Appraiser By Claudia Gaglione, Esq.
    • Is it okay to compare two detached units with two attached units? By Ryan Lundquist
    • Don’t use only automated valuation (weighted average) from your appraisal forms software without additional reconciliation analysis by Doug Smith, SRA
    • I’m Just Going to Check the Box – Highest and Best Use. What Fannie, Textbooks, and USPAP Say By Tim Andersen, MAI
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Have You Ever Calculated Your Hourly Rate?

By Blaine Feyen
Excerpt: Most appraisers… think they earn $50 to $200 per hour because they use the appraisal fee divided by the hours they worked to complete the appraisal as their basis. They forget about expenses, and they forget about taxes.
What they also tend to forget about is all of the hours they spend doing very low value work like driving, errands, staring at the computer screen, taking comp pictures, data entry, time on social media, cleaning the office, and a bunch of other low dollar tasks. Not only do all of those little low value things eat away at your dollar per hour…
To read more, click here
My comments: I have written about this many times in my monthly Appraisal Today newsletter. In March 2020, I published a spreadsheet for income and expense calculations plus a Word time tracking page. You would probably be surprised how your time is really spent!!
I started my appraisal business in 1986. In my second month in business, I realized I hated clerical work and was ready to quit. Since then, I have always had an assistant for bookkeeping, reviewing appraisals, handling phone calls, ordering/picking up office supplies, etc.
I am currently billing out at $750 for single family appraisals. My total time averages 6 hours (including 30 minutes of management time) or $125 per hour. All my appraisals are in my small town, so travel time is low. With expenses of about 30%, my pre-tax net income is $85.50 per hour. After income taxes and Social Security/Medicare payments (30% est.), final income is about $60 per hour.

New Homes Built with Private Wells and Individual Septic Systems in 2020

Excerpts: … almost 9% of new single-family homes started in 2020 are served by individual wells and 15% have private septic systems. These shares, however, vary widely across the nine Census divisions with the corresponding shares reaching 36% and 42% in New England – the highest occurrence rates in the nation.
Like public water/individual wells, sewage disposal systems were classified by public sewers (including community or shared sewage/septic systems) and individual septic systems. Almost 85% of new single-family homes started in 2020 are serviced by public sewers. The share of new homes built with individual septic systems decreased from 17% in 2019 to 15% in 2020. The incidence of individual septic systems among new single-family starts varies by division.
To read more, click here
My comment: Worth reading. Interesting infographics and analyses. I did not know about the geographic variations. I don’t miss my old septic tanks and flakey water well pumps!! Reliable public water and sewage are great!

Top 13 World’s Strangest Buildings and Homes

You gotta see these!! Takes only a few minutes.
PHOTO is the Nautilus House
#8 Nautilus House (Mexico City, Mexico) One of my favorites!! PHOTO ABOVE.
Excerpt: This sea shell-shaped house was built by architect Javier Senosiain. It was constructed to be a livable home and features smooth surfaces, spiral staircases, and natural paintings.
#5. Kansas City Library (Missouri, USA)
One of the most striking features of the Kansas City Library in Missouri is the “community bookshelf” that runs along the south wall of the parking garage. The book spines measure 25 by 9 feet and reflect a variety of reading interests, all suggested by Kansas City readers. Some of the titles include Romeo and Juliet, The Lord of the Rings, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Tao Te Ching, and Fahrenheit 451.
To read more, click here For more info, google the name and location
My comments: I have included some of these buildings in my weekly newsletters, over the years. Strange or unusual homes are regularly among the most popular links in these emails!!
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

Mortgage applications increased 1.6 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 25, 2021) – Mortgage applications increased 1.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 20, 2021.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 1 percent from the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 16 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Treasury yields fell last week, as investors continue to anxiously monitor if the rise in COVID-19 cases in several states starts to dampen economic activity. Mortgage rates slightly declined as a result, with the 30-year fixed rate decreasing for the first time in three weeks. Lower rates led to an increase in refinance applications, with government loan applications jumping 10 percent to the highest level since May 2021,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications for both conventional and government loans also increased. The purchase index was at its highest level since early July, despite still continuing to lag 2020’s pace. There was also some easing in average loan sizes, which is potentially a sign that more first-time buyers looking for lower-priced homes are being helped by the recent uptick in for-sale inventory for both newly built homes and existing homes.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged from the previous week at 67.3 percent of total applications The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 3.1 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.0 percent from 9.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.0 percent from 10.3 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) decreased to 3.03 percent from 3.06 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.34 (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 3.13 percent from 3.19 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.26 (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 3.10 percent from 3.15 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.31 (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 2.38 percent from 2.41 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 decreased to 2.68 percent from 2.90 percent, with points increasing to 0.24 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased 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. The 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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