The Mailbox is Full and Cannot Accept Any Messages at this Time. Goodbye. How to Manage Your Emails

By Paul Ryll

Excerpts: My mother told me today that she called last night and was greeted with, ‘The mailbox is full and cannot accept any messages at this time. Goodbye.’

I get a few telemarketers’ messages. Rarely is there a message from a friend or family member. I would say about 90% of the voicemails that I receive are from an irate homeowner worried about a rate lock or a stressed out realtor wondering if they are going to close on time.


Assuring that the appraiser has the correct contact information for an inspection is very important. There have been numerous instances in which I have not been able to get ahold of a contact for an inspection only to find out weeks later that the AMC gave me the wrong contact information.

Communicating quickly with the lender is an issue with the appraisal process. I’ve requested guidance on assignments from the lender in which the answer came after the due date. Most recently, I had a detached condo that was ordered on a 1004 which needed to be switched to a 1073. The closing date came and went before I got the go-ahead from the lender.

Have one point of contact for an assignment. Nothing is more frustrating than 17 people calling me on one revision because the employees of the company don’t research to see if I have been contacted or read the notes in the assignment.

To read more, click here

My comments: Slow now? Work on organizing your emails. I have many email folders with automated inbox filtering, which helps a lot. Very good tips in the article. Written in 2-22 but is still very relevant today. I don’t see much written about appraisers and emails. I have always had a landline for business calls and a cell phone for personal calls. Having both on one cell phone is chaos, IMHO.

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 ROVs, non-lender appraisals, appraisal business, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Amazing Guitar-Shaped House in Georgia

Currently off market. Was listed for $748,000 in 8/22. Needs lots of work

4 bed 3 bath 2,818 square feet, 2 acre lot. Built in 1960.

Excerpts: Singer Elvis L. Carden designed and built the house beginning in 1986. According to his website, the home took 16 years to finish.

“He dedicated a song to this house called ‘Living in a Guitar’ and had an album of the same name,” Piven says. “In the song, he mentions the house and how it took him years to build it.”

“The current owner bought it as a fixer-upper. The uniqueness of the shape gave him the idea it would be a good project for him,” Piven (agent) explains. “He was planning to renovate it and stay in it, but he had to relocate.”

Piven says it will likely sell to a buyer who grooves out to the sweet sound of rental revenue.

“It will be an investor looking to buy and do a [vacation rental] because of its proximity to the airport,” she says. “Tourists come in and would like to spend the night in an unusual place.”

To read more, click here

To see the old listing, Click here


I do Non-Lender Work…” is the New CrossFit

Excerpts: You can hardly post anything on an appraisal forum or social media without the first 17 comments stating, “I do non-lender work.” This response reminds me of the fitness culture several years ago, when it felt as though everyone I met would first tell me that they did CrossFit, sometimes before even stating their name. Despite the way such statements are often delivered, it’s important to admit that these people are on to something.

Expanding your appraisal practice through non-lender work can lead to many benefits, including increased revenue as well as greater independence and efficiency. Below are just a few of the ways appraisers can utilize their expertise to diversify their practice and earn the many – yet sometimes elusive – non-lender work opportunities that exist in today’s market.

Becoming a Go-to Appraiser for Realtors during a Confusing Time in the Industry

Real estate agents and appraisers are taught different methods of valuation both in qualifying and continuing education as well as in the field. The fundamentally different ways we are taught to value a home can be one of the most frustrating differences between agents and appraisers; however, it can also lead to great opportunities.

To read more, click here


New in the April issue of Appraisal Today

  • Home Measurement Services – How to Use Your Appraisal Skills to Make More Money
  • How to get started in commercial appraising: 5+ unit apartments
  • Making adjustments in today’s market by Doug Smith, SRA

I have been doing both residential and commercial fee appraisals for over 35 years. Many more opportunities than in residential appraisals.


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2023’s Property Taxes by State

Excerpts: Depending on where you live, property taxes can be a small inconvenience or a major burden. The average American household spends $2,690 on property taxes for their homes each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau… Considering these figures and the massive amount of debt in America, it should come as no surprise that more than $14 billion in property taxes go unpaid each year, according to the National Tax Lien Association.

But which states have the largest property tax load, and what should residents keep in mind when it comes to meeting and minimizing their tax obligations? In search of answers, we analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of real estate and vehicle property taxes. We also asked a panel of property-tax experts for practical and political insight.

The highest 5 states are HI, AL, CO, NV, AND SC. Where is your state on the list?

To read more, click here

My comments: Excellent article with good graphics. Property taxes and tax rates vary widely. The higher the prices and tax rates, the larger the property taxes. The May issue of Appraisal Today will have an updated article on a non-lender opportunity: Assessment Appeals – Marketing, Reassessment Opportunities, Fees, Critical Dates, etc. My article has lots of practical tips on marketing, such as what is the best time and doing postcard and/or letter mailings.


San Francisco home that has no square or rectangular rooms is for sale for $3.3M

Excerpts: It’s for sale for the first time since it was custom-built in 1952.

“It’s a true legacy property,” said listing agent Roh Habibi. “You will never find anything like it. It’s an absolute one of one in the entire world.”

The unique design of this home has been carefully preserved, an impressive feat in which no rooms are square or rectangular. The 3,830-square-foot house features three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, plus a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and an oversized kitchen. There are numerous skylights throughout, as well as multilevel decks.

To read more and see photos, click here

To see the listing with virtual tour and very unusual floor plans, Click here

My comments: Definitely a challenging home to do a building sketch! Cubicasa? Comps???


Reconsiderations of Value and What to Do About Them

By Danielle Lopez

This reconsideration of value has already set me back 30 minutes. The review and analysis of the lender-selected sales are completely irrelevant to the report and opinion of value.

Now do not get me wrong, I understand firsthand that we are human and in today’s “Amazon World” it is not unheard of to miss a viable sale. I have missed reliable sales just because the real estate agent did not properly geocode in the MLS, so when I did my initial map search it did not show all of the results. It happens and when it does I am more than happy to review the new data and add it to the report to further support value, or in some cases to reconcile a new value.

I have received several reconsideration requests in the past with only one having an attached grid because most requestors neglect attaching the supporting documents. It almost seems too easy for them to do a quick search or use CU and send over these requests just so they cover their risk. As a result, the appraiser spends valuable time answering pointless requests from the client while the sales are not even pertinent to the appraisal.

Appraisers must start to enforce Fannie Mae’s CU procedures before completing an absurd reconsideration of value. In addition, the appraiser should be compensated for his/her time. Appraisers should start to set a fee for each comparable sale requested in the reconsideration because time is money. If the appraiser overlooks a relevant sale that impacts the opinion of value, the appraiser should waive the fee.

To read more, click here

My comments: Some interesting ideas ;>


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 4.1 percent from one week earlier

Mortgage applications decreased 4.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 31, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 59 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 35 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Spring has arrived, but the housing market is missing the customary burst in listings and purchase activity that typically mark the season. After four weeks of increasing purchase application activity, volume declined a bit this week even with another small drop in mortgage rates,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist. “Additionally, refinance application volume continues to be quite low. Although the mortgage rate for conforming balance loans declined by five basis points over the week to 6.40 percent, the mortgage rate for jumbo loans increased by nine basis points to 6.36 percent. While we have seen relative weakness at the high end of the housing market in recent months, the divergence in rates suggests that banks may be tightening credit in response to recent challenges, preserving balance sheet capacity as deposit balances have declined. In recent years, most jumbo loans have been kept on depository balance sheets.”

Added Fratantoni: “At the entry-level segment of the market, purchase applications for both FHA and VA loans decreased last week. We do expect strong demand from first-time homebuyers over the next several years given the large number of millennials hitting peak first-time homebuyer age, but affordability remains a real challenge in this environment.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 28.6 percent of total applications from 29.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.0 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.0 percent from 11.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.6 percent from 0.5 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.40 percent from 6.45 percent, with points decreasing to 0.59 from0.62 (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 6.36 percent from 6.27 percent, with points decreasing to 0.47 from 0.54 (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 remained unchanged at 6.33 percent, with points decreasing to 0.92 from 0.93 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.97 percent from 5.84 percent, with points decreasing to 0.54 from 0.57 (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 5.61 percent from 5.62 percent, with points increasing to 1.02 from 0.91 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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 9450

Phone 510-865-8041


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