Bringing More People Into a Dying Profession?

By Dave Towne, Jan. 23, 2023

My comment: This only applies to residential lending appraisals, of course. My non-lender appraisals have changed very little with few, if any new “requirements”. I determine the Scope of Work.

Excerpts: Some people want to bring more people (primarily of color, which is great) into a dying profession. But the profession is being killed off by (mostly white!) people who think technology is the golden spoon to accurate valuations.

PAREA is being touted as the savior and the best appropriate way to get new people into this profession, especially people of color. Really? Let’s see. The education providers currently writing the PAREA courses have been indicating that the course cost will be up to 5 figures, roughly $10,000 or possibly more. That’s an outlay of significant cash BEFORE actually connecting with an appraiser who will put the PAREA-educated appraiser to work.

To read more, plus over 60 appraiser comments, click here

My comments: This only applies to residential lending appraisals, of course. My non-lender appraisals have changed very little with few, if any new “requirements”. I determine the Scope of Work.

I definitely prefer “profession” to “business”. I have always been a professional appraiser. I quit doing residential lender appraisals in 2005. I had good clients but did not like the dramatic volume changes. It has gotten very bad since AMCs took over.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Costar and residential, non-lender appraisals., Humor, Zillow, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


14 Great Ski Towns You’ve Never Heard Of (That Are Affordable for Buying a Home)

Excerpts: Ski towns attract a certain kind of homeowner—those who thrive on the crisp mountain air, the easy-access snow sports, the chill lifestyle, and the tight-knit camaraderie that townies share. But this seductive way of life doesn’t come cheap. The unfortunate truth is that many of America’s popular ski towns have become overdeveloped, catering largely to the well-heeled. What was once quirky and unique is now shiny and corporate—with prices to match.

But, with a little creativity, it’s possible to find some places where you can live the ski town life or purchase a vacation home without paying top dollar. The data team at® found these off-the-radar communities where home prices are still reasonable, at least compared to neighboring communities, and ski slopes and amenities abound.

To read more click here 

My comment: Just for Dreaming or maybe Retirement??


Murdoch in talks to sell Move Inc to CoStar

Why this is important to residential appraisers

$3B deal for parent would further entrench CRE giant in residential space

Excerpts: The move would further entrench CoStar in the residential space, following major acquisitions such as and HomeSnap.

“What the hell does Zillow mean?” Murdoch told a gathering of real estate agents soon after the acquisition. “We know what ‘realtor’ means.

CoStar, led by Andy Florance, has become a major player in residential real estate data over the past decade, spending more than $2 billion on acquisitions since 2014.

To read more, click here

My comments: I’m not surprised about Costar’s move into residential real estate. Commercial is a very small market compared with residential. I have no idea what they are planning. Hopefully better than their commercial data service.

I have had many years of problems and hassles with Costar, a commercial sales database, subscribing off and on to the service. Costar is a good source of leads, but the data provided is not always reliable. There was an excellent listing service called Loopnet, which was very useful, purchased by Costar of course. I finally quit using Costar because I do a lot of apartment buildings in strictly rent controlled cities. Costar did not provide actual rents, only projected, which were useless.

I started using Costar, when I started my business in 1986. They have been almost a monopoly since then, using various methods such as reducing competitors. Ocer the years, they were very “suspicious” about data sharing among appraisers, using methods such as a special USB type device registered to the subscriber, tracking key clicks when subscribers use it (rumored), changing access codes, suing appraisers, etc. Hopefully, their increasing move into residential data will not include these policies.


Recent articles in the monthly Appraisal Today Newsletter

• Estate and Trust, Part 1 and 2 – the most popular non-lender appraisals

• Estate/Trust liability advice from Peter Christensen

• Get started in attorney work by doing divorce appraisals – much higher fees than AMCs/lenders

• Expert witness for residential appraisers – High Fees, Little competition

• FREE Google Business Profile – how to get on the top of searches for appraisers in your area. Website not required!!

• Pluses and minuses of lender appraisals and the different types of non-lender appraisals

• Communicating with non-lender clients: Very different from lenders

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Zillow Debuts AI-Powered ‘Natural Language’ Search

Excerpts: Home shoppers can just describe their ideal home to begin a search. The “natural language search” feature is live on the Zillow app for iOS users and is coming soon to Android devices and Zillow’s website,

Shoppers, for example, can enter phrases like “$700K homes in Charlotte with a backyard” or “open house near me with four bedrooms” directly into the search bar, rather than starting with a location and having to filter through the homes they find, Zillow said. They can also save searches and have Zillow notify them when new qualifying listings a posted, the company said.

To read more, click here

My comments: I wonder about other searches, such as what are the most comparable sales? Or, homes with pools in my city? Or the highest sales?


Regarding taking comp pictures – Humor

So are you carefully analyzing the neighborhood and the condition of your comp or?????…….

  • Trying to find the street number?
  • Trying not to run over a kid/dog/bike?
  • Keep the car generally on the correct side of the street and not hit a parked car?
  • Check to see if anyone is in front of the comp (especially kids with suspicious parents nearby)?
  • Making sure you aren’t being chased from the last comp pic you took?
  • Trying to figure out where to turn after the shot to find the next house?

Author comment: I raise my hand as “guilty” to all the comments above.

Thanks to Mic Hamilton, Albuquerque, for some humor. What we all need!!

My comment: I am guilty also. I really need a pop-up car sign ;>


The Ting House – Friday Harbor, Washington

The Ting House offers a tiny home away from home perfect for exploring Friday Harbor. This sweet one room cabin accommodates a small family of three. Featuring a sweet little kitchen, woodstove, one queen bed and a couch. Airbnb $149 per night

Please note that getting to the island requires a ferry reservation from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.

The Ting House is a one room rustic cabin located in a tiny meadow in a Douglas fir forest. The cabin offers a wood burning stove for heat, propane three burner stove and hot and cold running water. We will provide a cooler for your food items. Your designated bath house is a short stroll away and is complete with a flushing toilet and hot shower for washing up.

To read more, click here

My comments: I rented vacation rentals several times in the Canadian Gulf Islands, north of Friday Harbor in the U.S. I loved taking a ferry boat to and from the homes and driving around the small islands. I started sailing in the early 1970s and always try to get other types of boating activity when I travel, such as taking short tourist trips.

When I did my national conferences in the early 2000s, one year I had a boat trip around San Francisco Bay looking at homes. CE credit, of course, with local appraisers narrating the cruise. I did one once at a national Appraisal Institute conference, where we went by Bill Gates’ home.

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, click here.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 go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Some appraisers are very busy, and others have little work. Varies widely around the country.


Mortgage applications decreased 9.0 percent from one week earlier,

Mortgage applications decreased 9.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 27, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 9.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 7 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 41 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates declined for the fourth straight week and have now fallen almost 40 basis points over the past month. Treasury yields were higher on average last week, while mortgage rates decreased, which was a sign of a narrowing spread between the two,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The spread between mortgage rates and the 10-year Treasury has been abnormally wide since early 2022. Further narrowing of that spread is expected to put downward pressure on mortgage rates in the coming months. Overall application activity declined last week despite lower rates, which is an indication of the still volatile time of the year for housing activity. Purchase activity is expected to pick up as the spring homebuying season gets underway, bolstered by lower rates and moderating home-price growth. Both trends will help some buyers regain purchasing power.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 31.2 percent of total applications from 31.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.0 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.9 percent from 13.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.6 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.19 percent from 6.20 percent, with points decreasing to 0.65 from0.69 (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 $726,200)increased to 5.99 percent from 5.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.48 from 0.41 (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 decreased to 6.18 percent from 6.22 percent, with points decreasing to 0.99 from 1.10 (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 5.50 percent from 5.54 percent, with points increasing to 0.73 from 0.51 (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 5.38 percent from 5.44 percent, with points remaining at 0.83 (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.

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