Certified Appraisers vs. Unlicensed Data Collectors

By Jonathan Miller

(13-minute video) Here’s a great take on the difference between Certified Appraisers vs. Unlicensed Data Collectors by Leigh Brown, President of the NC Association of REALTORS. Fannie Mae has been working hard to get rid of appraisers for years. Their latest twist is to re-categorize many appraisers as “Unlicensed Data Collectors.”

Fannie Mae will end up creating more instability for the trillions in the bond market – investors will have to process millions of valuations with the physical attributes of the home collected by unlicensed, uninsured, and unprepared individuals getting paid $10-$25 per inspection.

This is to follow up on a meeting Appraisal Institute representatives held in Washington, D.C. with members of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Divisions of Housing Mission and Goals and Fair Lending March 8 to discuss the new Value Acceptance program released by Fannie Mae…

Of particular concern is the encouraged development of an alternative workforce of property data collectors that may negatively impact aspiring appraisers’ ability to enter the appraisal profession…

To read more and watch the video, click here

To sign up for his weekly Housing Notes, click here I have been a subscriber for many years.

My comments: Miller tends to be negative about the AI, but this excerpt from his weekly email is worth reading especially the video!

This is the future of GSE using appraisers. Inspection or desktops are fine, but fees may be low and many don’t want to do them. Full appraisals only on the “though appraisals” where Fannie’s AI does not work.

Many appraisers are retiring or quitting. If you make it through this downturn there will be few appraiser competitors left for the next big upturn in business.

Appraisal vs Zillow vs AVM which is best

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 humor, non-lender appraisals, mortgage  forecast, staying positive when you’re slow, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

To read more, click below


Whimsical Casa Luna Bounces Onto the Market in Big Sur for $6,600,000 (dropped from $7M in December 2022)

(Mickey) Manning architecture and designed homes to complement their natural surroundings. In 2000 and 2002, Architectural Digest named him one of the top 100 architects in the United States.

“His homes are as unique as he was,” says Heinrich. “He was very much influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the first to think in terms of organic architecture. When he got to Big Sur, he said the land spoke to him.”

Perched on Pfeiffer Ridge, this 3,000-square-foot Casa Luna sits on a 5-acre lot in an oceanfront community. “It’s all curved. There’s not a lot of straight lines in a Mickey house,” says Heinrich.

In designing a home, Heinrich notes, the architect “would literally go out and camp on the property and see how the sun came up and the way the lines hit. He was an absolute nature lover.” “Just about every room in the house has a private patio,” he says. “Wherever you are in the house, you have a view. You’ve got fabulous mountain and ocean views. The light is always changing, and everything is oriented toward the light.”

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

My comments: I want this house! Most buyers were tech people from the Bay Area. Very tough market now with many layoffs.


Watch Appraiser David Cash at the Punchline Comedy Club.

If not working use this link https://youtu.be/-ioDtuZh5_k

An oldie from 2008 but a goodie ;>

A blast from the past, pre-HVCC!! Very funny

My comment: Appraiser comedians are hard to find! Let me know if you know of any videos. Just hit the reply button ;>


Staying positive when appraisal business is slow

Positive vs. negative attitudes towards your business

For all business owners, seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty is critical for success.

I regularly receive phone calls and emails from appraisers bitterly complaining about the issues. This attitude is not good for anyone who wants to continue appraising, but is particularly bad when business is slow, and you are trying to be an optimist.

Fortunately, I have always been a “glass is half full” person. I learn a lot from my mistakes and try to do better the next time. If you tend to be a “glass is half empty” person, you can change, but it takes work.

Also, having a negative attitude is very stressful, affecting your health and relationships with your family and friends. With a positive attitude, you will spend less energy worrying and fretting over things you cannot change. Then, you can focus on today and plan for the future.

Remember what it was like during the crash after 2008, when there were very few loans, and appraisal volume severely declined? If you are reading this, you are a survivor. Mortgage lending is very, very cyclical. Those who adapt survive.

Surviving the changes is very tough without a positive attitude.

Read many tips in this article, including motivational books and recordings, becoming an optimist, stages of adjustment to change, and many more ideas.

To read more about this topic from the March 2023 newsletter, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If this article helped you be more positive, it is worth the subscription price!


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If you have any comments or info on any topics, please hit the reply button!! I’m always looking for something new ;>


How a Retrospective Appraisal Can Help In The Estate and Tax Planning Process

By Tom Horne

During the estate and tax planning process, one of the key concerns that clients often have is minimizing the tax burden on the heirs of an estate. This can be a complex issue, but one strategy that can help is to have a retrospective appraisal performed on any single-family residence that is included in the estate.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of a retrospective appraisal for estate and tax purposes for the heirs of an estate. We will explain what a retrospective appraisal is, how it works, and how it can help reduce the tax burden on an estate. We will also provide some tips for finding a qualified appraiser and ensuring that the appraisal is accurate and reliable.

To read more, click here

My comments: Well written (for executors and trustees) and worth reading. Good explanation of the tax implications, which many people don’t understand, including some appraisers.

Some good marketing ideas, as the purpose of this blog post is to get more appraisal orders for Tom Horne

Thinking about doing estate/trust appraisals, the most popular non-lender work for appraisers? This will give you tax information plus some reasons for being hired. I have been doing them since I started my business in 1986. Over the years, I decided that I prefer these appraisals. I recently wrote two long articles on this topic, available to all subscribers. To order my monthly newsletter, click here


Faulty Mortgage Lending Predictions Make Planning More Difficult

This spinning crystal ball called 2023 poses many challenges

Excerpts: We are now over one-third of the way through the year, and you can see the forecasts that came out just a few months ago are already being revised. For example, Fannie Mae predicted a recession to start in the first quarter of this year. After the economy produced 800,000 jobs in the first two months of 2023, they shifted the forecast to a slight recession during the second half of the year.

Time and time again, we have indicated that predicting the future is futile. If any of these high-paid prognosticators could actually predict the future with some accuracy, they would be investing in financial futures and making a fortune.

To read more, click here

My comments: I quit writing about forecasts in these newsletters a while ago. In the past, I frequently wrote about them. This article is written for loan agents but applies to appraisers. What’s the answer? Stay positive. Ups and downs are always happening. Those that make it through will be well positioned for the next upcycle. I agree that I would be world-famous and rich if I could predict mortgage lending cycles!

The residential lending appraisal business depends on low-interest rates, the same as for loan officers. The worst appraisal time I have experienced was the early 1980s, with 18% interest rates. Most appraisers were lender staff appraisers and were laid off. When I started my business in 1986 the volume was huge for the few appraisers left.



All That Jazz: Saxophone House Right at Home in Berkeley for $1.9M

Excerpts: It isn’t often you can tell someone’s passion just by looking at the exterior of their home. The treble clef railings and giant musical instruments give it away at one Berkeley, CA, home, dubbed the Saxophone House.

“This is such a cool house,” explains listing agent Derek Han, with Better Homes and Gardens. “It was originally built by an amateur jazz player after the Oakland fire in the early 90s, so that explains all the cool musical and artistic details throughout the house. Words can’t really describe this home.”

Han says every level has an exterior balcony overlooking the canyon below. The main house has four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. A separate guesthouse has another bedroom and bathroom. The 4,083-square-foot house is listed for $1,997,000.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here

My comments: I remember the 1989 Oakland firestorm in 1991. I had appraised many of the homes that burned down. Only a fireplace was left. The insurance policies were based on reproduction cost, not replacement. Many homes were “classic” and expensive to reproduce. They got large payouts. Some built very unusual homes, such as this one. I was not able to work in the area for two years, as it made me too sad to go there, so I didn’t do any of the appraisals.

I played traditional and free jazz drums with many saxophone players in the past. For a year, I played drums at a local meetup. Sometimes there were over 15 sax players there! My mentor in free jazz was a long-time sax player. They are definitely dedicated. I could understand why the owner build this house if their house burned down in 1991.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 www.appraisaltoday.com/order 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 most have little work. Varies widely around the country.


Mortgage applications increased 6.3 percent from one week earlier,

Mortgage applications increased 6.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 5, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 6.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 10 percent from the previous week and was 44 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 5.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 32 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications responded positively to a drop in rates last week, as the Fed signaled a potential pause at the current level for the federal funds rate in anticipation of inflation slowing and tightening financial conditions that will slow economic and job growth. Mortgage rates for all surveyed loan types decreased over the week with the 30-year fixed rate at 6.48 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Purchase applications increased 5 percent last week but were still more than 30 percent below last year’s level. Lower rates from week to week have helped buyers in the market, but limited for-sale inventory remains a challenge for many homebuyers. Refinance activity jumped 10 percent to its highest levels since September 2022, although there is only a small pool of borrowers who can benefit from refinancing with rates at these levels.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 28.0 percent of total applications from 27.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 12.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.9 percent from 11.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.4 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 6.48 percent from 6.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.61 from 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 6.33 percent from 6.37 percent, with points decreasing to 0.51 from 0.54 (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 6.41 percent from 6.43 percent, with points decreasing to 1.01 from 1.02 (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 5.91 percent from 6.01 percent, with points increasing to 0.58 from 0.55 (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 5.35 percent from 5.48 percent, with points decreasing to 0.79 from 1.14 (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.

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

Email  ann@appraisaltoday.com


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