Is Appraisal Obsolete?

By George Dell SRA, MAI, ASA, CRE
Excerpt: Obsolete! Such a harsh word. Can it be?
Is the problem convolution?
Does it mean I will soon be obsolete? Not needed? Not loved? Terrible. What can be done?
Yet all the little signs are pointing that way. “Automated” valuation models have much of the market, and continue to gain. Other valuation methods and appraisal exempted transactions continue to grow. Evaluations, desktops, hybrids, auto-measurements, non-appraiser inspections, broker opinions.
To read more, click here
My comment: Another different perspective from George Dell! Check out “Appraisal startup Aloft closes $20M Series A” above! Not the first, and not the last, appraisal-related company to get millions in funding. Who needs experienced field appraisers when we have AVMs, hybrids, etc.?

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 Zillow, marketing tips, Freddie and Fannie new loan limits, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.



Best Sources for Keeping Up-to-Date on Real Estate Appraisal News

McKissock Survey
Excerpt: As a property appraiser, an important part of your job is keeping up with the latest industry updates and the state of the real estate market. But where do you turn for this information? What are some good go-to news sources for appraisers? To find out, last month, we asked our appraisal community, “What source(s) do you use for keeping up-to-date on current real estate appraisal news?” Here’s a breakdown of commonly used appraisal news sources in order of popularity.
1. Educational provider “I keep up via friends in the biz and McKissock.”
2. Update emails from an association “I stay up-to-date with Appraisal Institute emails as well as company-wide intranet posts. However, I know I need to increase my level of appraisal self-education through other avenues.”
3. Magazines/journals “I read and read and read and read. There are no shortcuts.”
To read more, click here
My comments: Here is what I said in the survey: “I use National Appraisers Forum every day, multiple times. Whatever is important is discussed there. Other sources are too old.” My newsletter goes out every Friday at 5 am. I include the latest news as of late Thursday.
Remember, back in the “printed paper” days when it took appraisers months to learn about Fannie guideline changes? Today, I know within minutes of any changes. I have been writing this weekly newsletter since June 1992. Over the years, the content has expanded and changed because of the Internet.
I look for what appraisers want to know about, usually based on popular topics in these newsletters. I get stats on every link. Unusual homes are very popular, so I include one or two in each newsletter. Sometimes I include topics that don’t get many clicks that I think are important for appraisers to know about.
I get hundreds of emails every day from mortgage, business, and real estate news sources.
Sometimes there are very special hot topics. I spent a year writing about Covid, to keep appraisers safe from February 2020 to March 5, 2021, when I was fully vaccinated. I wrote about the UAD and other Fannie changes in the past.
There is not much specific “appraisal” news, so I focus on mortgage and real estate-related news. I used to write about appraisal associations, Appraisal Foundation, etc., but they are not very popular now, and the information is available directly from the organizations.
On Tuesday, I go through all the emails looking for good topics and write the newsletter on Wednesday. On Thursday, I do final edits and add any late-breaking news. The newsletter is sent Friday at 6 am. It is very current.

Appraisal startup Aloft closes $20M Series A led by Fifth Wall

Seattle-based firm, founded last year, will use funds to staff up and expand into new markets
Excerpt: The appraisal market is ripe for disruption, Wenhold said, pointing to its aging workforce. More than 70 percent of appraisers are 51 years of age or older, according to a report from the Appraisal Institute, with the number of new licensees unable to keep pace with those retiring out of the profession.
“When you layer on the total addressable market size here, you start to understand that this is really a category that is prime for a new technology-enabled entrant to build the next billion-dollar-plus real estate technology business,” Wenhold said
To read more, click here
My comment: It’s all about the appraiser shortage during this boom time. What will happen when it inevitably busts?? Mortgage tech is hot for investors, even appraisals!

The Whale House in Santa Barbara CA

Excerpts: Its somewhat whale-shaped exterior is made up completely of undulating rows of gray cedar shingles. The unusual abode was designed by architect Michael Carmichael and completed in 1978 after three years and with the help of 20 craftsmen.
The Whale House has no flat walls and virtually no straight lines. Three bedrooms (which can sleep nine) and 3.5 bathrooms let people live comfortably within the belly of the sea creature. A 75-foot lap pool leads to the tail of the whale (read: a detached guest house). Further playing upon the home’s name, Carmichael littered the entrance with rocks to emulate a whale’s mouth full of teeth, and used a high-sitting stained glass window to serve as the mammal’s eye.
To read more and see interesting photos, click here
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Marketing with holiday gifts and cards – An Easy and Most Excellent Marketing Tool!

Excerpts: Why would you want to send holiday gifts and cards?
Appraisers tend to be very weak on all types of marketing, even the easiest, such as sending holiday cards and gifts.
Staying in touch without personal contact is easy. Of course, personal
contact is best but takes time and can be limited due to Covid. It is one of the few times in the year that sending something is always appropriate.
A few appraisal assignments or referrals, or even one, will more than
pay for the time and mailing cost. Send them to current clients, previous clients, new clients, prospective clients, etc. Don’t forget the real estate agents that were willing to spend time to explain their sales and appraisers that helped you on an appraisal.
This is one of the easiest types of marketing you can ever do.
No email solicitations, no phone calls, etc. Just compile names and postal addresses from people you already know. This does not take much time, except for writing addresses on envelopes and including a personal comment.
What if you don’t have any clients except AMCs?
Say thank you with a card to helpful real estate agents, property managers, appraisers, employees at vendors who have been helpful such as forms software companies, etc.
I have been doing this for many years and will send 60+ cards this year.
One appraisal from a referral or a client after getting lots more ideas from the full article will more than pay for the subscription price!!
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Fannie and FHA raise loan limits 18% for non-high cost areas ($970,200 limit for for Fannie in high cost areas – $970,800 for FHA)

Lender Letter LL-2021-16 – Confirmation of Conforming Loan Limits for 2022
Fannie Mae loan limits are increasing in 2022. The new loan limit for most of the country will be $647,200 — an 18.05% increase over the 2021 limit — and is effective for whole loans delivered to Fannie Mae and loans in MBS pools with issue dates on or after Jan. 1, 2022.
To read more, click here
To see Loan limits table by MSA (Excel file) Click here
In most of the United States, the maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties in 2022 will be $647,200, an increase from $548,250 in 2021. … The new ceiling loan limit for one-unit properties will be $970,800, which is 150% of $647,200,” FHFA said in its announcement of the new loan limits.
Excerpt: FHA is required by the National Housing Act (NHA), as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), to set Single Family forward mortgage loan limits at 115 percent of area median house prices, subject to a floor and a ceiling on the limits. In accordance with the NHA, FHA calculates forward mortgage limits by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and county.
The NHA requires FHA to establish its floor and ceiling loan limits based on the loan limit set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for conventional mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The national conforming loan limit for 2022 is $647,200. FHA’s 2022 minimum national loan limit “floor”, of $420,680 is set at 65 percent of the national conforming loan limit.
To read more, click here
To Search to MSA and county data:click here
My comments: See what the limits are in your area. More appraisals are needed. Jumbo loans have higher fees. Fannie and FHA are less expensive.

Zillow hit with multiple shareholder lawsuits

Excerpt: Zillow’s Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Wacksman virtually appeared this September at a conference held by investment banking company Piper Sandler, and proclaimed, “The strength and the appeal for Zillow Offers just continues to grow. And we’re even more confident now that this is going to be a service really in all-weather markets.”
Six weeks after Wacksmans’ remarks, Zillow said it was winding down an iBuying program responsible for the majority of the company’s revenue and operating expenses. Zillow CEO Rich Barton stated Zillow Offers’ price forecasting model was too volatile.
A pair of lawsuits on behalf of Zillow investors cite this statement by Wacksman – and similar rosy claims in 2021 by Barton and Allen Parker, the company’s chief financial officer – as illegally misleading investors.
Shareholders routinely file lawsuits if a company’s stock price plunges, and these cases are no different. Zillow had a market value of $48 billion on Feb. 10 following a company earnings report; its market cap was $13.8 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading Monday.
But the Zillow lawsuits raise the question of whether executive’s upbeat pronouncements were not mere self-promotion but “materially false and/or misleading statements” in violation of the federal Securities Exchange Act.
To read more, click here
My comment: More lawsuits coming. Anything bad about Zillow is very popular with appraisers ;>
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 decreased 7.2 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 1, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 7.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 26, 2021. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 37 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 15 percent from the previous week and was 41 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 30 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Mortgage rates rose for the third week in a row, reducing the refinance incentive for many borrowers. The 30-year fixed rate hit 3.31 percent – the highest since this April – and led to refinance applications falling more than 14 percent. Over the past three weeks, rates are up 15 basis points and refinance activity has declined over 18 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Despite higher mortgage rates, purchase applications had a strong week, mostly driven by a 6 percent increase in conventional loan applications. Conventional loans tend to be larger than government loans, and this was evident in the average loan amount, which increased to $414,700 – the highest since February 2021. As home-price appreciation continues at a double-digit pace, buyers of newer, pricier homes continue to dominate purchase activity, while the share of first-time buyer activity remains depressed.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 59.4 percent of total applications from 63.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.6 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications increased to 8.9 percent from 8.6 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 increased to 0.5 percent 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 3.31 percent from 3.24 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) decreased to 3.27 percent from 3.28 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.26 (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 3.42 percent from 3.27 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.34 (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 2.63 percent from 2.59 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.34 (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 2.48 percent from 3.00 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.32 (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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