Fannie ANSI FAQs Update

Updated Standardized Property Measurement Guidelines – 19 new FAQs, 5 Pages

Excerpt from the short Fannie email sent 3-15-22 at 8 AM (Pacific time): “…Are you ready? We’ve updated the Standardized Property Measuring Guidelines fact sheet to include more answers to your frequently asked questions. Thanks to all the appraisers, AMCs, and lenders who submitted questions.”
My comment: There are no changes to the first page, including comps measured differently and the exception process. Links are included for references in Fannie’s Selling Guide in the Guidelines.
FAQ topics include:
Q5. When common practice in the local market differs from the ANSI standard, can the appraiser modify the subject’s GLA to conform to local custom?
Q8. The ANSI standard specifically notes that the definition of above and below grade could cause some houses to have no above-grade finished square footage.
How should appraisers report GLA in this scenario?
Q9. How will lenders know that appraisers used the ANSI standard?
Q15. Will appraiser adherence to the ANSI standard cause confusion when the subject GLA differs from other sources such as MLS or public record?
Q16. How should appraisers account for rooms located in above-grade finished areas that do not qualify as GLA under the ANSI standard?
Q18. The GLA of comparables available to appraisers may not be based on the ANSI standard. How should appraisers manage this issue?
Q19. How should appraisers value finished areas that the ANSI standard does not include in GLA, such as where the ceiling height is less than 7 feet?
To download the PDF to read the answers and other FAQs,  click here
My comments: Read This Document! I have been waiting for an update to the one-page original Fannie document since it was first released about 3 months ago. There are many, many issues when using ANSI for lenders and AMCs. Appraisers sent many questions to Fannie and made comments during webinars with Fannie.
If you’re looking for a class, webinar, or other ANSI info, go to

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 unusual homes, new Fannie Form, stress, price per sq.ft., reviewer appraisal problems, mortgage origination stats, etc.



Biltmore House: The largest home in the U.S.

Excerpts: The house has 175,000 square feet (four acres) with 33 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces and 43 bathrooms. Almost 10 million pounds of limestone was used to build it. The entire estate originally covered 125,000 acres (now 8,000 acres).
Even after six years of construction by 1,000+ workers, the 250-room castle was not complete when George Vanderbilt opened it in 1895. Work continued for years. Vanderbilt’s diverse and cultured tastes influenced his travels with architect Hunt while Biltmore House was being constructed. The two men traveled throughout Europe and the Orient, purchasing paintings, porcelains, bronzes, carpets and furniture
To read lots more and see photos, click here

Biltmore McDonald’s Asheville, North Carolina (Photo Below)

Bow-tied servers and chandeliers at the world’s fanciest McDonald’s.
The Biltmore McDonald’s octagonal dining room features tables of red oak, wrought iron railings, and luminous chandeliers under a sweeping pressed-tin ceiling, with every wood feature boasting a handsome finish. A baby grand player piano sits in the corner…
To read more and see the photos, click here
My comments: Thanks to Jim Norman of Norman-Hubbard for his email newsletter including The Biltmore! I could not resist including the nearby McDonald’s ;>

Uniform Appraisal Dataset & Forms Redesign Initiative

Summary Report For Stakeholders March 2022

“The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) and Forms Redesign Initiative working group has issued a report to industry stakeholders describing the input and development process for the new Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR), which will replace individual appraisal report forms on a future date to be determined. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac detail how stakeholder feedback shaped the data-driven URAR. The report also describes the URAR’s benefits, including standardized information, dynamic components, and intuitive flow.“
The report provides transparency about the specific input received from the industry on a preliminary version of the URAR sample report, and how comments were addressed to develop the final draft URAR. The report also describes the URAR’s benefits, including standardized information, dynamic components, and intuitive flow.
“Key benefits of the new URAR include:
  • Dynamic output with commentary placed within each topic.
  • Standardized data that allows appraisers to better define the property, providing a more holistic view and greater understanding of the property characteristics.
  • Flexibility, allowing the URAR to be easily adapted to address future industry-wide needs“.
Usability changes include
3. Replaced General Addenda
4. New Summary Page
5. Photo Placement Within Relevant Section
6. Section Order Updates
7. Descriptions Without Abbreviations
The 35-page document has lots of information, including
  • New URAR compared with Legacy form
  • Revisions over time and feedback
  • The timeline has not changed from 9/21 with “Limited production – Beginning in 2024”
To read more, click here
My comments: Several appraisers mentioned that lots more data would be required with the new form, increasing completion time. I did not have time to review the 35-page document. Comparing the current Legacy form and the new URAR is useful for appraisers in the “New URAR Features” section, starting on Page 11.

How to reduce your appraisal stress: Don’t let other people (and AMCs) “push your buttons”

Lots of stress for appraisers today: ANSI April 1, New Desktop appraisals, incessant appraisal requests, too many ROVs wasting your time, worries about mortgage interest rate increases reducing appraisal volume, etc.
Write a “mean” email but don’t mail it. This often works for me. I do this regularly and (almost) always delete the email. Waiting at least a few hours before sending any emails is a good idea. But, waiting until the next day is often best, as you may delete the email or revise it. When you sleep, your brain rearranges and correlates data, giving you a different perspective.
Exercise is good for deflating anger and irritation. I exercise every morning for an hour: weights, stretching, squats, steps, etc. I listen to podcasts, which I like. I wouldn’t say I like exercising much ;>
Or, you can throw wadded-up paper at a picture on the wall in your office. Maybe a picture you imagine to be the other person or their company logo.
Exercise programs such as tai chi can help you relax. They are low
impact. Classes are offered in many places, including online.
If this article helped you with ideas about how to reduce your stress it is worth the subscription price!!
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Starbucks cups & price per sq ft in real estate

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpts: Big Point: The larger the cup, the less you pay for each ounce of coffee. Or let’s say it differently. Smaller cups of coffee tend to cost more per ounce. This is an example of economies of scale, and we see this principle all the time when buying products of different sizes. If you don’t believe me, check the labels when you go to the store. But this isn’t just about buying drinks or chips. This is also something to keep in mind in real estate.
Big Real Estate Truth
The larger the house, the less you tend to pay for each square foot. That’s a huge point, and let’s say it a different way. Smaller homes tend to have a higher price per sq ft compared to larger homes. This is a principle we see when looking at county stats, but it’s also something we tend to see in neighborhoods (assuming we have enough data). Just like coffee costs less per ounce the more you buy, it tends to cost less per sq ft for the more house you buy. That’s the big idea.
The Pricing Problem: We can miss value in residential real estate when we hijack a price per sq ft figure from a dissimilar house down the street. Imagine, for instance, using the price per sq ft from a 1,000 sq ft house to price a 4,000 sq ft property in the ZIP code above. After looking at the visual, we’d probably end up with a really inflated value, right?
Unsolicited Advice: Pay attention to price per sq ft, but don’t forget to look at similar properties (comps) when trying to figure out value. And feel free to use the Starbucks cups analogy. I use it frequently in conversation to help paint a word picture when talking about real estate. Here’s 5 things to know about price per sq ft in case you wanted to read more…
To read more click here
My comment: I love the Big Cup analogy! With ANSI coming, price per sq. ft. and its usefulness is a hot topic.

Was $141M the Right Price for ‘The One’? The Numbers Behind the Sale

Excerpts: The Bel-Air megamansion known as “The One” is now pending sale. It was offered at auction, and a bidding war broke out. The winning bid was $126 million, in addition to a 12% auction fee, amounting to a price of over $141 million.
After a decade of hype, the supersized property finally landed on the market earlier this year, billed as the most expensive home in the country. The property headed to auction when no one jumped at the stratospheric price tag.
While $141 million is a big number, it’s less than half of the most recent list price and well below the $500 million once touted. Debt on the home is reportedly upward of $190 million, which means that the winning bid wouldn’t even cover what’s owed.
At 105,000 square feet, it’s the largest residence in Los Angeles, and it’s being delivered completely furnished. The home has 21 bedrooms, seven half-bathrooms, and 42 full bathrooms.
To read more, click here
My comment: Interesting story of overpricing. This home was on and off the market for a long time, with lots of media writeups, including in this newsletter!

Five Common Issues Found in Appraisal Reports

By Mark Buhler
Excerpt: A discussion among review appraisers has revealed some common pitfalls of appraisal reports. The five most common issues found in appraisal reports are as follows:
Failure to Disclose External Obsolescence: Don’t think that the Reviewer does not look at Google Maps and cannot see that your subject backs to the Long Island Railroad or an eight-lane highway. They do! If your property is in an adverse location, try to find another sale that also has an adverse location. This will go a long way to bolster the reliability of your report.
The other four problems:
  • Reporting and Analyzing Prior Sales History of Subject and Comparables
  • Comp Selection, Insufficient & Excessive Adjustments
  • Weak or No Reconciliation
  • Boilerplate Comments
To read more, including about the other four problems, click here
My comments: Well written and worth reading. I hear about these complaints a lot, but this article has some practical advice.
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 comment: The future is very uncertain for mortgage loans. Rates over 4% are bad for refis.

Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2022) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 11, 2022.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 3 percent from the previous week and was 49 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Mortgage rates continue to be volatile due to the significant uncertainty regarding Federal Reserve policy and the situation in Ukraine. Investors are weighing the impacts of rapidly increasing inflation in the U.S. and many other parts of the world against the potential for a slowdown in economic growth due to a renewed bout of supply-chain constraints,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “After declining two weeks ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased last week to 4.27 percent – the highest since May 2019. Rates are now roughly a full percentage point higher than a year ago and continue to hamper refinance activity. Refinances declined for both conventional and government loans.”
Added Kan, “Purchase applications slightly increased, with both conventional and VA loan applications seeing gains. The average purchase application loan size remained elevated at $453,200 – the second-highest amount in MBA’s survey.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 48.4 percent of total applications from 49.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.6 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged at 8.7 percent from the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.5 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 4.27 percent from 4.09 percent, with points increasing to 0.54 from 0.44 (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 $647,200) increased to 4.02 percent from 3.79 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.39 (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 4.23 percent from 4.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.62 from 0.73 (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 3.55 percent from 3.39 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.46 (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 3.36 percent from 3.38 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey, please visit, contact or click here.
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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