Fannie’s New Appraisal Online Formats

By Brent Owen


To Be Or Not To Be (a form), That Is The Question

The first thing to notice is that the ‘form’ isn’t really a form anymore. It is more of a complex decision tree or flow chart, where ‘yes/no’ questions trigger new sections and required data and supplements. For instance, answering ‘yes’ to a question about noted deficiencies will create a new section where details are needed regarding the deficiency which include further questions about whether or not repair is required and if so, the estimated costs of those repairs and section to provide a photo of the deficiency. All of that is integrated into the URAR itself. It is through the use of this decision tree model that the GSEs are able to use the same ‘form’ for almost any residential property type conceivable.

The Never-ending Story

It is also apparent that the report will be far longer than its predecessor. Appendix D-1 contains a sample URAR of a simple single family residence with no site value, cost approach, or income approach, with only 3 sales and very limited commentary and no additional addenda (with photos, maps, and graphs integrated into the URAR). The report was 21 pages, and would still be at least double the length of the current URAR without the integrated photos, map, and graphs.

That in and of itself isn’t necessarily a problem. After all, my typical reports are more than 40 pages long. It’s not the length of the report which is of ultimate importance, it is the time necessary to develop the appraisal that is key. My sense so far is that there will be some additional time necessary (beyond the expected additional time necessary to become proficient with the new format and associated technology).

To read more plus appraiser comments, click here

My comments: Read this article! A good analysis in one location. I have read lots of very short comments, but this one is much longer. Unfortunately, Fannie has not provided separate information for appraisers. The announcement included many pages as it was for everyone: appraisers, forms vendors, lenders, AMCs, etc., with lots of very detailed information.

Appraisers – The Past and The Future

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 Appraisal Institute President, non-lender appraisals, Changing state appraisal laws, Fannie modernization, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!


$4.9 Million Maryland Home Has 300 Windows

Excerpts: The home was built in 2000 and was a collaboration between an owner, who is a structural engineer, and an architect. The result is an airy, voluminous space—about 160,000 cubic feet of volume and roughly 8,000 square feet. five bedrooms, six full bathrooms.

The home sits on about 8.5 acres. Another 8.5-acre lot is included in the price and comes with a two-story barn with three stalls, a wash stall, and a feed stall. The barn has a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment above it and is adjacent to a paddock.

To read more and see lots of interesting photos, click here 

My comments: I have never seen a house with so many windows! Don’t want to think about keeping them clean ;>


Changes Ahead for Lender/AMC Appraisers

By William Waltenbaugh, SRA, AI-RRS

Excerpts: Recently Fannie Mae created quite a stir in the appraisal community by announcing their policy regarding Value Acceptance (Appraisal Waiver) and Value Acceptance + Property Data options. Based on several webinars I attended shortly after the announcement, eligibility for these options is small. Using the previous year as a barometer, the number I heard is 3% – 4% of all loans.

That said, much of the concerns voiced by appraisers have to do with the 1004 Hybrid option. Many appraisers have expressed that they will never sign a report they didn’t personally inspect. My response to this concern is, why? Why will they not consider these assignments? Appraisers use third-party data in every report they complete. How do appraisers verify the data from MLS and public records? What are the qualifications of the individuals that collected the data for these sources?

To read more, Plus the 40+ appraiser comments click here

My comments: Very interesting contrast between the post (overall positive) and the comments (negative). Bill has worked mostly for AMCs and is currently Chief Appraiser at Finance of America Commercial (residential investor loans).Getting too many ad-only emails?


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In the May 1 issue of Appraisal Today

  • Assessment Appeals – Marketing, Reassessment Opportunities, Fees, Critical dates, etc. Good opportunity for residential appraisers. Limited competition.  Marketing is very easy with fast results. How to do targeted postcard and letter postal mailings.
  • The Valuation of Condominiums, Cooperatives, and PUDs – Book Review. On my bookshelf. The best book I have seen on this topic. Written by an appraiser, for appraisers.
  • Limiting Conditions and Assumptions. Appraiser Humor. By Deane Wilson, ASA We can all use some great humor ;>

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Grassroots Lobbying 101: How Appraisers Can Effect Change

By Isaac Peck, WorkingRE

Excerpts: The appraisal profession is relatively small, and its political influence is modest—especially when compared with organizations like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). As a result, many appraisers feel powerless to effect change or exert influence within their regulatory system as well as in their local (and national) legislatures.

What could one appraiser, or even a handful of appraisers, do to change anything, anyway? Right? The answer is likely more than you think.

Byron Miller, SRA, AI-RRS, ASA, RAA, MSSE, and Chair of the Government Relations Sub-Committee for the North Star Chapter of the Appraisal Institute (NSAI-GRC), is one such appraiser. Alongside a handful of other passionate boots-on-the-ground real estate appraisers, Miller has succeeded in changing the regulatory environment for appraisers—in his home state of Minnesota.

In fact, nearly every single year, for the last seven years (2016 through 2022, except for the pandemic year of 2020), Miller and the NSAI-GRC team passed a law protecting appraisers and improving the laws governing real estate professionals.

Lobbying 101

With a clear set of goals established based on feedback from his Chapter, Miller, and his team began reaching out to state legislators and building relationships. “I first approached Democrat Jeff Hayden, the state senator for my district at the time, and pitched the idea of our bill to him. He agreed to sponsor the bill, and he was a good mentor to me, along with Republican Representative Tim O’Driscoll. These mentors were invaluable to me, explained how things worked in the legislature, and gave me good advice on how to get things done,” Miller says.

Miller’s approach is instructive for any appraiser who wants to pass legislation: Start with the state legislators that represent your district. “I started with Hayden because I was one of his constituents. Legislators are usually much more inclined to meet with you if you are a constituent in the districts they represent, otherwise, they might see you as just another lobbyist organization. We used that approach with every bill. We would find members of our Chapter who lived in particular districts and encourage them to provide an introduction for us to with key state legislators on the house and senate committees we were targeting,” Miller says.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have not read anything about this detailed of how a group of appraisers became this effective in their state! Good ideas.


Byron Miller, SRA, SRA, AI-RRS, ASA, RAA, MSSE:

Appraisal Institute Candidate for Vice President (eventual Presidential role) with a Vision for the Future

Excerpts: Working RE: There is a general perception amongst residential appraisers that AI caters more towards commercial appraisers. Why do you think that is? Why aren’t more residential appraisers Members of AI?

Miller: As a residential appraiser myself, I know some residential appraisers feel AI is not very focused on residential issues. Residential appraisers feel that they don’t have a voice. To counter that, the AI Board of Directors just voted in the last several months to elevate the Residential Appraisal Project Team (RAPT) to the Residential Appraisal Committee (RAC).

That is a big step in the right direction. Being a stand-alone Committee within AI’s structure means they will report directly to the Board and gives the residential team more flexibility and free-ranging ability to act on things. So, helping residential appraisers have more say within the organization is important and is being done now.

My vision for AI is one that protects appraisers, increases our ranks, and provides other options for work, while maintaining the public trust. Appraisers are stronger together than we are separate. I would strongly encourage appraisers to join the Appraisal Institute or one of the other professional appraiser organizations. I am very excited and optimistic about our future! It’s a new day at AI where we can get back to our roots. That is, to Designate appraisers, Advocate for appraisers, and Educate appraisers (DAE).

To read more of this article, click here

To read Byron’s Very Interesting Questionnaire, click here

If you are an AI member, to get more info (biography and questionnaire), on Byron, Click here Letters of recommendation are due by 12 p.m. CDT on May 5. Correspondence should be addressed to Jody Bishop, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, chair, 2023 National Nominating Committee, and emailed to Joan Barngrover, board secretary and special assistant to the CEO, at

My comments: Byron is also active in his state getting appraiser legislation. See above. I wonder when he has time to get appraisals done ;>

Worth reading, plus his very interesting questionnaire about his personal background and why he would be a good president.

When I did my articles on ANSI in 2022, I had a long interview with Byron as he was on the ANSI Z765-2021 Standards Committee. He was very personable and friendly and is an expert on appraisal bias in the past (appraisal textbooks, redlining, etc.) Byron has been very active for a long time in the Appraisal Institute (local, regional, and national) and on the AQB. There were very few female AI presidents in the past, and no Blacks. It sent me a message to me: I was not welcome in the leadership.

I asked him why he was never nominated to become AI vice president, of course. He seemed like a good candidate. I don’t remember what he said, but it was not negative.

I have been an AI member since 1986. I was chapter president of our local SREA (AI predecessor organization) chapter around 1990/1991. The Vice President was Alfred Watts, MAI, who became president the next year. We live in the same city and chat regularly. He is Black, but that was not a factor, plus or minus, in his becoming our chapter president.

There have been very few AI presidents who were exclusively residential appraisers. It also sent a message. Residential appraisers are “inferior”. I heard this ever since I started appraising in 1975.

I remain an AI member to keep my MAI, which is very valuable in my career. Maybe someday, my SRA will make a significant difference. The AI is the largest, and longest, national professional real estate appraiser association, which matters.

I strongly support Byron Miller for 2024 AI Vice President. Quite a change from past presidents!! Maybe I will have some good reasons for keeping my membership. I emailed my letter of recommendation.


Inside The Keret House – the World’s Skinniest House in Warsaw, Poland

Excerpts: The House is located on the plot measuring 92 centimeters (3 ft.) in its narrowest point and 152 (centimeters (5 ft.) in its widest point. “That is why at first it seems that the construction of living space within such premise is impossible. Keret House is to contradict that false image, simultaneously broadening the concept of impossible architecture”, says the architect Jakub Szczesny. The house itself is 72 centimeters (0.4 ft.) in the narrowest and 122 cm (4 ft.) centimeters in the widest point.

The house is located between two buildings from two historical epochs. “The first is a brick building on Zelazna Street – a fragment of the pre-world war II city, almost no longer existing. The second – a cooperative concrete apartment building, an element of an “imposed structure”, which was aimed at negating the previous city landscape.

Their adjacency is coincidental – like many architectural structures in Warsaw. Keret House is a perfect example of the so-called “non-matching” in the city’s urban fabric. Another reason is the city’s war history – where the house is located, two ghettos – the large ghetto and the small ghetto met. Only a few steps from the house, a bridge connecting the two closed spaces, stood”, explains Jakub Szczesny.

To read more and see the fascinating photos (some show a person in the house) Click Here. 

My comments: And I thought my local Spite (Skinny) house at 10 ft. wide was narrow! I saw it at an open house and the rooms and floor plan was functional.


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 many others have little work.


Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier

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 April 28, 2023.

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 0.4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 1 percent from the previous week and was 51 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 32 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications decreased last week, despite rates declining slightly for the first time in three weeks. The 30-year fixed rate decreased five basis points to 6.5 percent, which is still 114 basis points higher than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Elevated rates continue to both impact homebuyer affordability and weaken demand for refinancing. Home purchase activity has been very sensitive to rates and local market trends, including the very low supply of existing-home inventory. However, newly constructed homes account for a growing share of inventory, giving more options for prospective buyers.”

Added Kan, “The jumbo-conforming spread continues to narrow, an indication that there is reduced lender appetite for jumbo loans following the recent turmoil in the banking sector and heightened concerns about liquidity. The spread was 13 basis points last week, after being as wide as 64 basis points in November 2022.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 27.2 percent of total applications from 26.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.3 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.5 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.3 percent from 11.2 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 ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.50 percent from 6.55 percent, with points remaining at 0.63 (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) decreased to 6.37 percent from 6.40 percent, with points increasing to 0.54 from 0.50 (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 increased to 6.43 percent from 6.41 percent, with points decreasing to 1.02 from 1.04 (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 decreased to 6.01 percent from 6.03 percent, with points decreasing to 0.55 from 0.56 (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 increased to 5.48 percent from 5.47 percent, with points decreasing to 1.14 from 1.18 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged 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.

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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