ChatGPT: Valuable Tool or a Replacement for Real Estate Appraisers?

by Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach

Excerpts: ChatGPT: A Game-Changer for Appraisal Work

For those who have embraced it, ChatGPT has been transforming multiple aspects of appraisal work, such as:

Appraisal Work:

  • Writing narrative
  • Market analysis
  • Market-specific information
  • Descriptions of adjustments
  • Terminology
  • ResearchMarketing:
  • Creating lists
  •  Writing emails and messages to current and potential clients
  • Crafting blogs
  • Strategizing networking and relationship development
  • Writing presentations for ‘lunch and learn’ events with real estate agents
  • Crafting the perfect apology letter when you upset a key loan officer in your small town
  • To read lots more, click here
  • My comments: Many thanks to Dustin for writing this article! I have not had time to use it, but have been reading and watching demos about how it can be used for appraisers for awhile. It definitely can be very useful, as Dustin explains. It can be tricky at first to use, but Dustin explains it.

I recently had to renew my California Driver’s license, as I am over 70 and had to do a written exam and eye test. I had difficulty setting up an appointment and clicked on “Chatbot”. It was much friendlier than any other Chat support I have used. I recognized the use of software similar to ChatGPT.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, liability, markets with few sales, Bias, unusual homes, mortgage origination


A California Winery With a 91-Acre Vineyard for $12,995,000

Red Soles Winery, a 91-acre vineyard. It comes with a three-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion with 4,050 square feet of luxury living space.

Built in 2003, the Mediterranean style primary residence totals 4, 050 sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, an open living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. High-end construction with luxe touches throughout, vaulted ceilings elevate the space. From best-in-class appliances and custom built-ins to solid wood doors and arched doorways – expect exceptional attention to detail. A fireplace and commercial grade wine cellar only add to the ambiance.

Storage space abounds in the 1, 055 sq. ft. garage as well. Consistent in style, the 1, 688 sq. ft. Guest Residence was built in 2001 with quality wood frame construction, smooth stucco exterior siding, and clay roof. Beyond gorgeous views of rolling green hills, you’ll find 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms along with a 682.sq. ft. garage. If you’re looking for a Paso Robles property that truly offers it all, you found the perfect destination to bring your wine country dreams to life.

To read more and see lots of photos click here 

My comments: I live about a 2 hour drive from “wine country” in and near Napa, CA. Appraisers there regularly value homes with small vineyards, sometimes leased to wine makers.


Isn’t that Just PAVEY! PAVE Response and Marcia Fudge

by Dave Towne

Excerpts: Folks, the American Enterprise Institute Housing Center has been, to date, the only major voice in the wilderness I’ve seen publicly defending appraisers and the appraisal process. They have refuted most of the highly touted ‘studies’ promoted by Dr. Andre Perry and others, which the current administration has considered the gospels of appraiser intolerable performance.

The Biden-created ‘black oriented’ 13 agency PAVE Taskforce, co-chaired by HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who is a black lady, issued another report recently. AEI’s response to that is in the PDF below. Please read it.

Meanwhile, Ms. Fudge recently appeared at the 75th Annual National Association of Real Estate Brokers convention and of course continued her ‘appraisal bias and discrimination’ rant in a very rousing speech to the attendees.

Here’s another thought for you to ponder: HUD, a governmental agency, is attacking appraisers who do their work per the guidelines established by two “quasi-governmental entities”, the two GSE’s, and two other government agencies, HUD/FHA, plus the VA. In short, the administration of one government agency who may not fully understand appraisal procedures is taking aim at other and their own agencies policies! Do you understand the absurdity of this?

HUD and PAVE is trying to work publicly and via the back channels to subvert and modify the way appraisers are instructed to do appraisals, which has worked well and properly for decades.

Now isn’t that just peachy!? Or should I say “PAVEY.”

To read more, click here

My comments: Many thanks to Dave’s blog post. I got the notice of the AEI response a few days ago and read it. Excellent. We all can get biases from our experiences. I have them and watch them to be sure I don’t use them to influence anything I say or do. I have written about it before in these email newsletters.


New in the August 2023 issue of Appraisal Today

Annual E&O/Liability Issue

  • E&O Insurance Update 2023 – Claims, Disclaimers, Discrimination, etc
  • 2023 E&O Insurance – Where to get, what to look for in a policy, etc.
  • 2023 E&O Insurance Brokers
  • Risks of Expert Work by Claudia Gaglione, Esq A long article from Claudia with 4 very good case studies.

To read more about these topics, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If this article helped you understand these issues, it is worth the subscription price!


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Trauma, Expectations, and Cyclical Markets

By Brent Bowen


Market volatility is directly tied to fear and uncertainty. Markets hate uncertainty. That makes sense, because any market at its most basic level is based on human interaction. Humans often react to fear and uncertainty out of a place of trauma. When you hear the word ‘trauma’ you might think of some really bad things…abuse, neglect, PTSD, etc. In the world of trauma-informed therapy (a world I get a unique glimpse into through the work of my wife who is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified IFS therapist) those would be known as ‘big-T’ traumas.

But the daily struggles of life can form trauma responses known as ‘little-t’ traumas. Both can result in responses like reaction formation which lead toward self-fulfilling prophecies. As French poet Jean de La Fontaine put it, “a person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”

As appraisers we can learn a lot from this, both in terms of how to interpret our market and how we interpret our own businesses and careers. I’m certainly not immune to the trauma response. I’ll admit, when the slow down happened last year, it wasn’t long before I was bidding many appraisals out of fear. While there are certainly systemic issues in the appraisal industry that exacerbate the impact of the trauma response, the result of so many appraisers reacting out of fear made a difficult situation that much worse.

It took a good bit of introspection to discover some of my internal polarizations around that issue. If you take a moment to be reflective, do you feel like your reactions are automatic, or do you feel like you have enough perspective to choose your responses?

To read more, click here

My comments: Good comments. I had never looked at appraisal downturns this way.


Dear Sellers, the housing market misses you
It’s tough to value properties today!

Note: Scroll down the blog post to the woman in a pink jacket and white hat to read more of what Ryan says. How does your market compare with Ryan’s?

Excerpt: One of the challenges today is valuing properties in the midst of seeing fewer listings and sales. This means there aren’t as many data points to understand value. As I talk with appraiser colleagues and real estate agents, I’m hearing this sentiment quite a bit. And I feel it myself. I’m finding I have to spend so much more time pulling comps.

Not only am I studying the immediate neighborhood, but I’m spending more time in surrounding neighborhoods. It’s not that I would never look at other neighborhoods before, but there just isn’t much data today, so looking to nearby neighborhoods is helpful to understand the trend AND how nearby areas might sell for higher or lower amounts.

Why are appraisers using older sales?

In valuation we can either go out further in distance for comps or go back in time in the immediate neighborhood. For a balanced view of things, why not do both? No matter what, let’s not hastily pull newer sales from further away without understanding if the other location is selling for higher or lower. Anyway, I don’t mind going back in time and out further, but my preference in an appraisal report is to use older comps from the immediate neighborhood and adjust for how the market has changed since those properties got into contract.

To read more, click here

My comments: I remember the easy days before 2020, with enough sales, listings and pendings to figure out the market.

That’s why lenders will always need experienced field appraisers. Not only the tough properties but also the tough markets!! Unfortunately, with low AMC fees, it’s hard but necessary to do the research and analysis required to determine an accurate value.


Albuquerque Home Featured in ‘Better Call Saul’ Wants $400K

Excerpts: You might recognize the two-bedroom house from the AMC show “Better Call Saul” (Season 6, Episode 6—to be exact). In its cameo, it was the home of a German architect.

The 1,796-square-foot interior features scored concrete flooring and a hand-assembled steel staircase with walnut and steel handrails.

A sliding glass wall in the living and dining room provides views of and access to the private courtyard.

The floor plan includes office space and a second living area, which could be used as an art studio, media room, or even a third bedroom, the listing notes.

The home is located close to downtown Albuquerque (and its famous zoo, which is so close you can hear the lions roar from the backyard) and borders the city’s Bosque green space.

“The Bosque is a forest that grows alongside the Rio Grande river,” Harville says. “It’s one of the largest, if not the largest, urban river forest in the United States.”

‘Unrivaled’ Design: Albuquerque Home Featured in ‘Better Call Saul’ Wants $400K

To see the MLS listing with 64 photos, click here

My comment: I have always wondered about the effect on value of a home that appeared in a movie. Or, owned by a famous movie star


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 3.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 9, 2023) — Mortgage applications decreased 3.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 4, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.1 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 4 percent from the previous week and was 37 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 27 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Treasury yields rates rose last week and mortgage rates followed suit due to a combination of the Treasury’s funding announcement and the downgrading of the U.S. government debt rating. Rates increased for all loan types in our survey, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate increasing to 7.09 percent, the highest level since November 2022,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Additionally, the rate for FHA mortgages increased to 7.02 percent, the highest rate since 2002. Not surprisingly, mortgage applications continued to decline given these higher rates, with overall application counts falling for the third consecutive week, as both purchase and refinance activity declined. The purchase index fell for the fourth consecutive week, as homebuyers continue to struggle with low for-sale inventory and elevated mortgage rates.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 28.7 percent of total applications from 28.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.6 percent from 13.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.8 percent from 11.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.4 percent from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) increased to 7.09 percent from 6.93 percent, with points increasing to 0.70 from 0.68 (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 $726,200) increased to 7.04 percent from 6.89 percent, with points increasing to 0.66 from 0.58 (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 7.02 percent from 6.85 percent, with points increasing to 1.14 from 1.05 (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 6.51 percent from 6.39 percent, with points increasing to 0.92 from 0.78 (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 increased to 6.36 percent from 6.18 percent, with points increasing to 1.2 from 1.16 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.

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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