Inspired by Italy, a Conical Home in Indiana

Excerpt: On the market for $424,900, the home consists of two main silolike buildings with shake conical roofs. Inside the round compound is a total of 3,111 square feet of living space.

The design was inspired by the trulli homes of the Itria Valley in Puglia, Italy. They were typically built from limestone and had conical roofs. The structures were chiefly designed as temporary shelters or storage areas in the 19th century. Today, they endure as charming residences in southern Italy. Back in Indiana, this home’s architect, Evans Woollen, combined details from trulli homes into his design.

“The house is a midcentury version of a 200-year-old village in Italy,” Landrigan says.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here


Top Ten Reasons Why It Is Great to be an Appraiser Humor

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 FHA 4000.1 changes, Liability, appraisal forms, unusual homes, Fun Halloween links, mortgage origination stats, etc.



Haunted House Adjustments

Even Haunted Houses Won’t Scare Off Home Buyers in a Competitive Real Estate Market (2021 Survey)

Excerpt: Some Stats:

Though ghosts are frightening, other aspects of homeownership are even scarier, including mold (57%), foundation issues (56%), termites (54%), asbestos (54%), and water damage (54%). Americans also fear floods (54%), fires (49%), and other safety hazards, yet many lack basic safety features in their home.

In a competitive real estate market, 73% of Americans say they’d consider purchasing a haunted house — but 52% wouldn’t pay full market value.

Almost two years into the pandemic, nearly half of our respondents (44%) say they’ve lived in a haunted house — a significant leap from 2020, when just 24% of Americans said they had experienced a haunting. Of those who reported living in a haunted house, 63% say they were aware of the haunting before moving in — and still chose to live there.

To read more, click here

My comment: This is nothing new. Older surveys from had similar results, but not as much detail.


How to find out if a house is haunted

Excerpts: Know your state’s disclosure laws

The rules on what sellers have to disclose to buyers vary by state—and sometimes even by city. Sometimes you’ll receive the full picture about a house’s history, but there’s also chance you could be left in the dark. “A haunted house falls under the category of a stigmatized property,” says Bull.

Research the house

“Always Google the address. You might be surprised by what pops up,” says Bull. Look at newspaper clippings and historical records to see if any deaths happened at that house that you should be aware of. Also, research the land the house was built on—does it sit on a former battlefield or an ancient burial ground? (Remember “Poltergeist”?)

To read more, click here

My comments: I would speak with neighbors also. As soon as the buyers move in, the neighbors will tell them what happened.

California requires disclosing if a person died in the house but says nothing about hauntings. A neighbor of mine killed himself on his back deck with a shotgun. There was a disclosure in the listing, as lots of people knew about it.


Haunted houses and other places!!

How to find out if there are any haunted houses or other places near you (or the home you are appraising)

Google your city name. I found lots of links for info in Alameda (population 78,000), including a long time Alameda Paranormal Society that spoke at the local library in 2008. Two books have been written about the hauntings. Having lots of old homes helps. Our most famous spooky place is the U.S.S Hornet naval carrier (now a museum). Lots of strange reported sightings and sounds, especially during overnight stays.


38 Real Haunted Houses and the Stories behind Them

Here are a few:

4. The White House, Washington DC

8. The Pirate’s House, Savannah, Georgia

10. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts

To read more, click here


The 32 Most Haunted Places in America

We’ve got spirits, yes we do.

Excerpt: We know the United States as the land of spacious skies and amber waves of grain, but it also happens to be the land of a million ghost stories. Take a coast-to-coast tour of the most haunted places in the U.S., where lingering spirits roam through the halls of hotels, abandoned insane asylums, Broadway theaters, and even a city zoo.

To read more, click here


11 Haunted Hotels Where You Can Rest in Peace

Even if some of your fellow guests can’t!!.

Excerpt: Where there’s a historic hotel, there’s also often a ghost or two. You can find these spirits most anywhere, mingling with guests in swanky spots frequented by Hollywood stars or roaming the cozy corridors of bed and breakfasts. From a quaint inn in the Scottish Highlands to a Colorado hotel so haunted it inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, here are 11 spectacularly spooky places to spend a night—if you dare.

My comment: I had lunch with a local appraiser a few years ago. We somehow started talking about what is beyond what you can see (especially life after death). We had never talked about this before, for unknown reasons. He sometimes stays at a Bed and Breakfast in an old historic home in Montana when he travels. He said once he woke up and a woman was standing at the foot of his bed. He is not a person who would have “imagined” this. He spoke with the owner, who said the woman had been seen before.

To read more, click here


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New in the November 1, 2021 issue

  • Why Do Claims Get Settled? By Claudia Gaglione, Esq. A controversial topic. Sample cases and how, why, and when they are settled (or not).
  • How to reduce your appraisal stress. Don’t let other people “push your buttons” Many ways to “de-stress” in this article, from imagining the caller is in a clown suit to relaxation techniques
  • I think something is missing, but I’m not sure, How to explain the omission of the Cost Approach, for example By Tim Andersen, MAI Sample statements to copy and paste into your appraisals
  • How to handle angry borrowers and agents: Ask, Listen, Repeat, Relate by Dustin Harris
  • Limiting Conditions and Assumptions (Humor) by Deane Wilson We all need some humor!!

If one of these articles helped you with an appraisal or handling a stressful problem, it is worth the subscription price!

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No report. Can it be?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA, ASA

Excerpt: Does modernized appraisal require a modernized report? And how about non-appraiser appraisals (valuations)? (Here we use the word ‘appraisal’ in its generic public meaning.)

In the past, our thinking, expectations, laws and regulations, have separated the development of an appraisal from the report of an appraisal. In the past, that separation was easy.

The most efficient way to communicate an opinion, or ‘automated’ result, has been in two-dimensional boxes – called ‘forms’ or using the accountant’s spreadsheet cells. The fill-in boxes are to be ‘supported’ by word explanations to justify the opinion and explain the reasoning.

Automated results provide little if any explanation, but do usually provide some indication of reliability via a fsd (forecast standard deviation) or “confidence score.” A problem here is that each AVM company keeps its calculation method secret. If a result does not meet an AVM-modeler-predetermined score, it is declared a ‘no hit’ and the company declines to provide an answer. So, AVM results, and the method of ‘support’ is opaque. Nothing to ‘see-through’ here.

To read more, click here


FHA Handbook 40000.1 Changes

From Dave Towne: To simplify your research, use the ‘redline’ version of the updated 4000.1 Handbook (Microsoft Word)

To read the redlined Handbook, click here

There are a few changes that affect appraisers:

  • The date for lead-based paint determination has changed slightly (search for defective paint)
  • The wording for including listings and pendings has changed but appears to have the same intended guidance.
  • The example of how leased fee valuations has been eliminated leaves the weight on the shoulders of the appraiser to use what is considered the “appropriate techniques”
  • “Some” of the changes “can” be implemented prior to the 2022 effective date.
  • Effective dates are shown near the changes.

Above is the Update effective dates and Listing/Sales changes.

Thanks to Todd Redington, SRA for the most important appraiser relevant changes summary above. Search for Appraiser and Appraisal in the document for all the changes. Changes are in red.



Five Scary Movies That Describe An Appraiser’s Job


1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre- While not as bloody as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the massacre of DIY home improvements is still a very real thing. Some of us just don’t have home improvement skills and we need to realize it unless we’re okay with devaluing our homes.

3) Silence of the Lambs- Clarice Starling would rather the lambs had stayed silent but in appraising you don’t want to do this. Homeowners and real estate agents should not keep quiet about improvements made to the home.

To read lots more and maybe take a break to watch one of these movies on Halloween evening! click here


The Thistle Mansion video with live-action haunting!! – 2 minutes 20 seconds

Just for Fun!!!

The neoclassical-style mansion, haunted by former owner Edith Thistle… Once the guided tour becomes possessed, tour takers are led up the estate’s sinister staircase and down dark hallways as ominous sounds echo in the background. Visitors are soon confronted by an eerie apparition, and suddenly, the lights go out and the terror begins.

The ghost of Edith Thistle leaves haunting clues about her demise throughout the manor. Like they might on a scavenger hunt, visitors can look out for a stuffed animal that reappears in strange and unusual ways. The weasel from the familiar jack-in-the-box tune pops up in different places, too. A creepy clown lurking in the shadows may hold another clue to the mystery.


  • Oversized swamp with noxious odors
  • Not-So-Great Room
  • Newly Renovated Spike Pit

Home value: Owners will pay you

To read more (including “listing” description) and watch the creepy video (maybe more than once, like me), including the Creepy Clown, click here

My comment: Very Scary!! And a very effective ad for 3D home tours..


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. I have been following this data since 1993. 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 0.3 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 27, 2021) – Mortgage applications increased 0.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 22, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 0.2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week and was 26 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates increased again last week, as the 30-year fixed rate reached 3.30 percent and the 15-year fixed rate rose to 2.59 percent – the highest for both in eight months. The increase in rates triggered the fifth straight decrease in refinance activity to the slowest weekly pace since January 2020. Higher rates continue to reduce borrowers’ incentive to refinance,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications picked up slightly, and the average loan size rose to its highest level in three weeks, as growth in the higher price segments continues to dominate purchase activity. Both new and existing-home sales last month were at their strongest sales pace since early 2021, but first-time home buyers are accounting for a declining share of activity. Home prices are still growing at a rapid clip, even if monthly growth rates are showing signs of moderation, and this is constraining sales in many markets, and particularly for first-timers.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 62.2 percent of total applications from 63.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 3.1 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.6 percent from 10.4 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) increased to 3.30 percent from 3.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.35 (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) increased to 3.34 percent from 3.26 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.33 (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 increased to 3.31 percent from 3.17 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 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 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.59 percent from 2.54 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 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 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.89 percent from 3.09 percent, with points decreasing to 0.13 from 0.30 (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. 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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