Fannie’s New Desktop FAQs

Timeline and 19 FAQs From an email received 3-8-22
“Desktop appraisals will be offered in Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for eligible transactions starting March 19. Are you ready?
We’ve updated the About desktop appraisals fact sheet with an expanded frequently asked questions section.
Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions, and please continue to Contact us with your appraisal related comments and questions.”
To read the FAQs, click here
My comment: Reading the original Fannie document is good, such as a timeline list, additional verifications, inspections, CU, etc.
McKissock has an excellent blog post answering many practical questions, including some in the Fannie FAQs and many other questions.
Topics include:
  • What data sources are used for identifying the subject’s relevant characteristics?
  • Are there any state restrictions?
  • Must I be competent in the subject’s market area?
  • Are extraordinary assumptions allowed?
  • Does the limited scope of work mitigate my liability?
  • What is the difference between a sketch and a floor plan?
  • How do I get a floor plan?
  • Does the floor plan need to be verified?
  • Does the property need to be measured per ANSI measurement standards per Fannie Mae’s requirements?
To read more, click here
My comment: Read both the Fannie FAQs and McKissock blog post. How often will desktops be used? It will take a while before they may be widely adopted. See last week’s newsletter. When are we going to get some ANSI FAQs????

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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 bias, appraisal how to, ANSI, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Sharply Angled Contemporary Home in Connecticut

Finished in 1989, the home offers over 3,000 square feet of interior space. Listed for $589,777.
It was originally designed by Charles Woods, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright,” he says. “It’s a complete earth-sheltered house that was designed as a passive solar contemporary.”
There are many angles inside the home that keep it bright along with the natural wood,” says Crawford (agent). “With its unique design, there are lots of cathedral ceilings and exposed beams as well.”
To see lots of photos and read more, click here
My comments: The 777 in the listing price kinda looks like the house! Can Cubicasa handle measuring this, plus do floor plans? Comps?

New NAR study shows the appraisal was the LOWEST scored item on the list of discriminatory practices

On February 23, 2022, NAR published the “2022 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America” report. The study examines homeownership trends and challenges by race and location to explain current racial disparities in the housing market. Using data from the 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the report looks at the characteristics of who purchases homes, why they purchase, what they purchase and the financial background for buyers based on race.
Approximately one-third of Black and White home buyers (32% each) and almost a quarter of Hispanic home buyers (23%) said they witnessed or experienced discrimination with the type of loan product offered. Nearly half of Black respondents (46%), Asian respondents (48%) and Hispanic respondents (50%) said they were steered towards or away from specific neighborhoods. That compares to 35% of White respondents. Approximately a fifth of Black respondents (19%) and White respondents (17%) said their purchase offer were denied for possibly discriminatory reasons.
The study also shows the appraisal was the LOWEST scored item on the list of discriminatory practices. 5% of Black respondents said they faced discrimination in home appraisal. That compares to 9% of Asian respondents, and 6% of Hispanic and White respondents.
For more info and read appraiser comments, Click Here.
To read the full NAR report, click here

How do we value a house with a HUGE non-permitted addition?

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: Here are some things to consider:
The Short Version:
  • A lack of permits causes uncertainty in real estate
  • Buyers usually expect a price discount
  • Appraisers need to think through many issues when there aren’t permits.
  • Many appraisers are likely to use the original footprint when choosing comps (instead of blindly lumping in the extra space).
  • This is a complicated issue.
The Longer Version:
1) Uncertainty Whenever a home has a substantial non-permitted addition, it’s like infusing the property with uncertainty. What I mean is every time a person does a refinance or sells, the lack of permits might not be seen the same way by buyers, lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers…
To read more, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.
If this article helped give you ideas on how to appraise the “Tough Ones”, it is worth the subscription price!!
Cancel at any time for any reason!!!
$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)
or $99 per year or $169 for two years
Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters
To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to  or call 800-839-0227.
What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?
If you have any comments or info on any topics, please hit the reply button!! I’m always looking for something new ;>

Contemporary Quonset House in Texas

Excerpt: On the market for $3.9 million, the contemporary structure is just one of the buildings on this huge, 62-acre parcel in central Texas.
The main house measures 5,200 square feet, with a single bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms. Outside, a 9-foot-deep pool wraps around two sides of the home.
Nearby is another large, 4,000-square-foot Quonset barn. The owners built it in 2017, and it features a separate feed room, tool room, equipment, and washroom.
Quonset is the name of the type of architecture, meaning a semicylindrical metal shelter with end walls. The style got its name because they were first manufactured at Quonset Point at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, RI.
A three-bedroom guesthouse with a much more traditional look sits close to the two Quonset structures. It was built in 1993 and has been empty for a while.
To read more and see lots of photos, click here
My comment: I have seen a few homes that were converted former military Quonset huts, but never one built as new construction!

Miller Responds in Discrimination Lawsuit

by Isaac Peck, Editor
Excerpts: The valuation industry has been abuzz with talk of appraisal discrimination ever since one of the first discrimination lawsuits was filed against an appraiser in December 2021. Plaintiffs Tenisha Tate-Austin and Paul Austin, as well as the Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California filed a lawsuit against Jannette Miller, a white appraiser, and AMC Links LLC, an appraisal management company.
For example, the Austin’s lawsuit asserts that Miller’s opinion is “fundamentally flawed” because of the small number of sales per year in Marin City (the subject’s neighborhood), and further argues that Miller’s methodology results in a huge margin of error, is inherently flawed, and is statistically unsound.
Miller’s response: “Plaintiffs simply conclude that the small number of years and use of a sample size equates to racial discrimination. The allegations fail to show an intent to discriminate.”
Furthermore, the Austins point out that Miller describes Marin City as having “distinct marketability which differs from the surrounding areas.” The Austins go on to argue this is actually “coded” language based on race because of the “racial demographics and history of Marin City.”
Miller’s response is essentially that the Austin’s can’t prove that the words “distinct marketability” are evidence of racial discrimination. “It is self evident that every geographical area would have some sort of distinct marketability. If the Plaintiffs’ argument is accepted, any appraiser who used the term ‘distinct marketability’ to describe a home in Marin City would be liable for racial discrimination,” reads the brief.
To read more, click here
My comments: Worth reading for more details. Well written. Lots easier than reading the legal documents. I’m sure that some AMCs are very worried, as are some lenders. Big Targets!! Maybe they will check for “targeted” words, such as desirable and high-crime.
Last week I took the new USPAP class, the best USPAP class I have ever taken, which covers commercial and residential bias. The case studies in groups were excellent. The instructor had an excellent personal example about unintended bias about inappropriate comments by an appraiser appraising a disabled person’s remodeled home (wide doors, lowered countertops, etc.).

Stairs, Stairs, Stairs. The Ups and Downs of Stairs (and ANSI)

By Jamie Owen
Excerpt: Some may find stairs to be a source of recreation. There are many types of stairs. There are straight stairs, L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs, spiral stairs, winder stairs, curved stairs, cantilever stairs, split staircases also known as bifurcated stairs (many appraisers dislike the term bifurcated… don’t ask), ladder stairs, and drop stairs.
Every now and then, as is the case with most appraisers, I run into staircases that are problematic. Here’s one example. In this home, the ceiling height from the top step before the first landing was only 4’8″, which means that to go up the stairs, most adults would need to duck down to get under the ceiling just before the landing. I was told that this home was cleared by the building department as not being a code violation due to its being grandfathered.
To read more and see the videos and animated gifs click here
My comments: Fantastic post with some great videos! Many topics: Handrails, FHA, ANSI, hazards, types of stairs, etc. I learned a lot about stairs. I will never live in a two story house again. I broke my ankle 20 years ago, carrying a load of clothes down the stairs of my previous house. I don’t like narrow spiral staircases since I am over the age of 10 and not able to go up and down them, juggling my appraisal stuff.

Weekly Clubhouse Room: Real Estate Appraisal Questions

Hosts: Julie Friess and Ann O’Rourke
Our next meetup: Septic systems, sewer, or neither one? Do you know? One of the most common reasons real estate appraisers are sued is over septic and sewer type issues in an appraisal report. Thursday, March 17, 2022, 1 PM Pacific Time
Previous topics – all are recorded. Listen any time!
  • ROVs, Reconsideration of Value. How do you keep from getting them? How to respond. What does Dodd-Frank really say? March 10, 2022
  • The value of smells! Is there a way to determine this? March 3, 2022
Resource: Real Estate Damages: Third Edition, By Randall Bell, PhD, MAI. “The Expert” on appraising stigmatized properties, including murders, mold, disasters, etc. I purchased his first book and the updated editions.
  • ANSI Standards, what does it mean for you? 4/1 is coming! February 25, 2022
How to Join Clubhouse and our Group
Download the Clubhouse app – iOS and Android. When you’re set up, search for “Real Estate Appraisal Questions”.
Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app. In the past, it was invite-only. Now it is open to anyone. Clubhouse started in April 2020. Many people have never heard of it.
A few Clubhouse set up tips:
Enter your user name. Take a selfie, and it will be automatically uploaded. You can use another image, but your photo is more personal (I did like a cat photo I saw ;>) Or, use your initials (default). Next, write a description of yourself and answer some other questions. The photo and the information can be changed at any time.
How Clubhouse works: The moderator(s) are at the top. You can see their photos. Under them are the photos or images of the attendees. You can raise your hand to speak, or a moderator can ask if you want to speak. Your image moves up next to the speakers.
Another active Real Estate Appraiser group is Real Estate AppraisalTalk, which has been around for a while and has three rooms per week. Check out the recordings.
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 7AM to noon, Pacific time.
My comments: Rates are uncertain now. No one knows where they will go!! if I knew, I would be rich and (probably) not writing these newsletters ;>

Mortgage applications increased 8.5 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 9, 2022) – Mortgage applications increased 8.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 4, 2022.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 8.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 50 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Mortgage rates dropped for the first time in 12 weeks, as the war in Ukraine spurred an investor flight to quality, which pushed U.S. Treasury yields lower. A 6-basis-point decline in the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage led to a slight rebound in total refinance activity, with a larger gain in government refinances. Looking ahead, the potential for higher inflation amidst disruptions in oil and other commodity flows will likely lead to a period of volatility in rates as these effects work against each other,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase activity also increased, as prospective buyers acted on lower rates and the early start of the spring buying season. The average loan size remained close to record highs, with higher-balance loan applications continuing to dominate growth.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 49.5 percent of total applications from 49.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.2 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications increased to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 10.2 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 ($647,200 or less) decreased to 4.09 percent from 4.15 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.44 (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 $647,200) decreased to 3.79 percent from 3.88 percent, with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.40 (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 4.12 percent from 4.15 percent, with points decreasing to 0.73 from 0.74 (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 3.39 percent from 3.47 percent, with points decreasing to 0.46 from 0.47 (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 3.38 percent from 3.44 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.35 (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

We want to know what you think!! Please leave a comment.