NAR  Member Survey on Data Collectors

Excerpts: In May 2023, NAR surveyed its members pertaining to data collectors in the appraisal process. Here are a few of the many survey results.

Survey respondents

Sales agents accounted for the largest proportion, with 45% of participants holding this license. Brokers followed with 24%, and appraisal-certified professionals comprised 14% of the respondents. Broker-Associates and Appraisal Licensees accounted for 13% and two percent, respectively, while the remaining two percent reported holding other types of real estate licenses.

According to the survey responses, the majority of participants (76%) perceive the quality of property data collected by data collectors to be lower than that collected by appraisers themselves. Conversely, 23% of respondents believe that the quality of data collected by data collectors is comparable to that of appraisers.

The survey findings indicate that 30% of respondents reported that a data collector had given them the impression that they were the appraiser or had a role other than merely collecting property data.

Fifty-one percent of respondents expressed safety concerns with the data collection process.

To read more, click here

My comments: Now we know what NAR members think about it. Not very positive. I was surprised at how negative they were. Read the full report. Very interesting. I am working on an article on Hybrid Appraisals for the November issue of Appraisal Today. To me, the big issue is who is doing the inspections. Only appraisers do the appraisals. I see very different levels of inspectors.

Before Covid, I talked with various AMC upper-level managers who were testing it. What they were doing about inspectors had a wide range. They included appraisers, real estate agents, and someone with a week, a month, or online video training. They should definitely not be paid the same. An AMC can offer different levels to their clients, depending on how much reliability their lender customers want or need.

On a more positive side, I have done thousands of drive by appraisals since 1986. I drove by the house and looked at what was nearby, etc. For example, I’m appraising a Victorian built before 1910. There is no way to know what the inside looks like or the foundation (many are brick). Using MLS photos is a joke, as real estate agents don’t take photos of defects. A buyer gets a seller’s disclosure statement for that information. I would be more comfortable if someone used an app that was set up to take specific photos, do floor plan, etc. At least I would have some independent photos.

Data Collectors: Appraisers vs. Uber Drivers

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  Fannie and state regulators, appraiser inspection training, real estate market, unusual homes, mortgage origination


The Need for Appraisal Inspection Training

By Bryan Reynolds

Excerpts: One thing that I’ve always thought was missing in real estate appraisal education was coursework on appraisal inspections. Most of the inspection training we receive as appraisers happens in the field.

When I started in this business long ago, there was no such thing as a licensed appraiser or a certified real property appraiser. Certification and licensing simply didn’t exist.

In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for an appraiser to hand an apprentice (the term “Appraisal Trainee” wasn’t a thing yet) a clipboard, camera, and tape measure and say, “Okay! You’re an appraiser.” Theoretically, in those days, you were an appraiser from day one, even though you didn’t know what you were doing yet, and even if most banks wouldn’t hire you until you had some appraisal experience.

Sometimes, the “training” was not as thorough as it should have been. The guy I followed around on appraisal inspections didn’t really take the time to explain what he was doing. He essentially just handed me the dumb end of the tape measure to hold. That was my training.

To read more click here

My comments: Worth reading. Interesting comments from Bryan.

I was trained at an assessor’s in the late 1970s. Inspection training was very good. Most residential appraisers back then were trained by lender supervisors. Training varied, but your supervisor’s job was to train you. There were some fee appraisers.

This article includes information for an Appraiser ELearning online recorded appraisal inspection class, including a video with Bryan speaking and showing you what to do. PAREA is a relatively expensive training (for the student) using videos and other training methods.

I trained two residential appraisers before licensing. I accompanied them on many appraisals (inspection and driving by comps) before they could do their own appraisals.

I really believe that “live” inspection training is very important.


Desert Stream Runs Through This $3.3M Scottsdale Arizona Mansion Built Into the Boulders


4 bedrooms, 6,629 square feet, 1.02acre lot

The four-bedroom, adobe-style abode is tucked away at The Boulders Resort and features actual boulders nestled inside its 6,629-square-foot interior. The property also features two private guesthouses and a four-car garage.

At the entry, there are two huge boulders that have been incorporated into the design of the home, so you feel like you are really connected with the outdoors,” Paluscio (real estate agent) noted. “It’s a beautiful way to bring the outdoors inside.”

Known as La Casa Sobre La Laguna (translated as “the house over the creek”), the property sits on an acre that offers mountain, golf course, and boulder views—plus some interesting wildlife.

Another cool feature is the stream that runs under the house that can be viewed right through the floor. “There is also a manmade desert stream that runs under the house,” Paluscio says. “You can look down from the walkway and den area, through these glass tiles on the floor, and see the bobcats hanging out underneath.”

To read more and see photos, click here

My comments: Wow! bobcats hanging out underneath. I have seen streams under houses and boulders but never bobcats!!!


Don’t give up your appraisal license!

Check your state’s requirements after your license expires. Some states allow you to put it “on hold.” or get it back after a few years. In the past, often when appraisers retired from their lender staff jobs, they did an occasional lender or non-lender appraisal when they wanted some extra money.

If you are considering retiring or quitting appraising, do you want to make “extra money” at a minimum wage job or by doing a few appraisals if you retire or quit appraising?

The largest appraisal downturn I ever experienced was when interest rates were over 20% from 1981 to 1985. Most appraisers were staff appraisers for lenders and were laid off. A few fee appraisers stayed in business. By 1986, when I started my appraisal business, rates went down. I was very lucky. The few appraisers who were left had lots of work.

Non-lender work is doing well now with little competition. Very few AMC appraisers today want to do the marketing required or learn how to do them. In previous downturns, I always had competition from lender appraisers. I understand. I want to be able to get appraisals emailed to me. I email the appraisal and get paid! I have lots and lots of marketing tips in my monthly newsletters.

Mortgage interest rates ALWAYS go up and down. Do you want to be able to do appraisals when the next boom starts, and fees go up again?


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Leaving the Appraisal Profession

By “Guest Author”

Excerpts: It’s a Great Time to Leave the Appraisal Profession.

I can hear the chorus of my fellow appraisers rising up in disagreement with me. I envision many of them screaming, “But I love being an appraiser”! Yeah, I hear you. I loved being an appraiser too. Let’s not consider what we were but what they want us to become.

First, ask yourself if you are still making a livable wage. I’m not, and instead of blaming myself, I started running the numbers. In my high value market, 18% of the sales were cash sales. No appraisal required on those! Values are so high that buyers are putting a lot of money down to lower the monthly payment as much as they can. So, based upon what industry insiders tell me, Fannie and Freddie are probably waiving the appraisal on another 17% of the solds. Add it up and I estimate that 35% of the sales in my market did not require an appraisal.

Tomorrow, I’m supposed to become a data scientist and try to decipher the value of a property I’ve never seen, bought and sold by buyers and sellers I’ve never met. I will be expected to make sense of the collective mindsets of thousands of people and describe all this in chart and word using a limited vocabulary so as not to offend anyone. I’ll need to spit two or three of these out every day to make a living. It really doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

To read more, including 80+ appraiser comments, click here

I read all the comments. Looks like a lot of appraisers are retiring. Less competition when rates go up! I am 80 years old. Turn down non-lender appraisal requests every week and refer them to good appraisers I have known for many years. (I need more time for playing pickleball.) My Certified General makes a big difference in income. I get $45,000 annually in Social Security, which I started when I was 70. Started my two appraisal newsletters in the early 1990s for diversification. No plans for quitting. Of course, I have never worked for any AMCs.

My comments: Watch Jeff Bradford’s recent video (in last week’s ad) about where we were and where we are going. Appraising will be different in 2025. To watch, click here I agree with what he says.

If I was doing non-AMC lender appraisals now, I would definitely prefer the online appraisal setup. Maybe forms would not take 15 years or more to change! Maybe we would not have to do workarounds to use outdated forms year after year. Maybe we won’t need to write pages and pages of addendums that few AMCs read.

Working only for residential lenders means you will always have significant ups and downs in business. I have been appraising for 48 years and a fee appraiser for 37 years. I have seen many ups and downs in the appraisal business. I learned not to be lender dependent the hard way. In the early 1990s, the lender market dropped to almost nothing in my market. I ran up very large credit card debt that took years to pay off. I had 6 employees and laid them off. Fortunately, they could collect unemployment.

I never had more than one assistant and no appraisers after that, and finally quit doing lender residential appraisals in 2005.

I wrote an article in the June 2021 issue of Appraisal Today: Retirement, To Stay or Not to Stay. That is the question!! I discussed the financial aspects, starting Social Security at age 70, how much does it cost to keep your license, when to stop (kids graduate from college and many other tips.

I have been writing about non-lender appraisals since 1992, but few res appraisers are interested now. I finally figured out why. With AMCs there was no marketing! Just get on the list. A few appraisers established relationships with a chief appraiser or someone else and have someone to contact now.


Fannie Update September 2023 – State regulator tips

Topics include recent updates to the Appraiser Independence Requirements (AIR), information about our practice of sharing tips with state appraisal regulatory bodies, new options for completing the 1004D, answering the most common ANSI square footage questions submitted to us, and our stance on 3D printed homes, an innovative technique gaining traction in the housing construction industry.

One of the best Fannie monthly updates I have read!


  • Building innovation with 3D printed homes
  • Appraiser and Property Data Collector Independence Requirements
  • How State Tips Work (send reports to state regulatory agencies)
  • ANSI Answers
  • 1004D Completion Confirmation Alternatives

A note about the number of appraisers whose appraisals are reported as state tips: Generally, the number of tips we provide is proportionate to the state population. Ohio, for instance, was the seventh most populous state in 2022, and also had the seventh largest number of state tips that year at 46. The Appraisal Subcommittee’s Appraiser Registry currently lists 2,781 active appraisal licenses in Ohio. If each tip was for a unique appraiser, that amounts to 1.2% of the state’s appraisers. Texas received our highest number of tips (86) in 2022, consistent with its rank as the second most populous state, impacting about 1.5% of its 5,781 active appraisal licenses. For 2022, about 0.05% of appraisals for loans acquired by Fannie Mae resulted in state tips (see accompanying graphic).

To read more, click here

My comments: Finally, some “official” stats on Fannie sending tips to state regulators! I have been hearing rumors about this for a long time.


Homes for Less Than $250K?! They Do Exist — Especially in These 10 Major Cities

Excerpts: Why $250,000? At the current mortgage rate, and with a 20% down payment, homes priced at $250,000 will have a typical monthly payment of around $1,358, before property taxes and home insurance costs. That is an affordable amount for most Americans, and it lines up nicely with the general rule of thumb that households shouldn’t spend more than 30% of their annual income on housing.

Plus, we really like round numbers.

Nope, you won’t find Boston, Denver, or Seattle on this list. The metros still boasting plenty of budget-friendly homes on the market are mostly clustered in the Midwest and the South—reaffirming these regions’ champion status when it comes to housing affordability. But buyers should note that prices have been rising even in these last bastions of modestly priced real estate.

To read more, click here

My comments: I don’t know what to say when $250,000 is cheap! Of course, the median is $1,000,000 here in the Bay Area. I keep hearing about younger people thinking about moving to somewhere they can afford a home. I bought my duplex in 1/86 for $140,000. Close to $1 million now. I purchased a large house on the water with a dock in 1995 for $375,000 with 100% seller financing. Had been on the market for over two years during a shallow market. Recently sold for $1.6 million.

What I tell buyers is to buy when no one else is buying. You will know when the market hits bottom as it stays there for a while. No One Knows when the market will peak. I sold my big house in March 2008. I had no idea the market would crash within a few months. Prices had declined about 10% the previous year. I was very lucky.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 Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Most lender appraisers have little work.


Mortgage applications increased 5.4 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 20, 2023) — Mortgage applications increased 5.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 15, 2023. Last week’s results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 16 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 13 percent from the previous week and was 29 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 12 percent compared with the previous week and was 26 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications increased last week, despite the 30-year fixed mortgage rate edging back up to 7.31 percent – its highest level in four weeks,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Purchase applications increased for conventional and FHA loans over the week but remained 26 percent lower than the same week a year ago, as homebuyers continue to face higher rates and limited for-sale inventory, which have made purchase conditions more challenging. Refinance applications also increased last week but are still almost 30 percent lower than the same week last year.”

Added Kan, “The average loan size on a purchase application was $416,800, the highest level in six weeks. Home prices in many markets have been supported by low inventory and resilient housing demand for available homes.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 31.6 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 remained unchanged from 14.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.0 percent from 11.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged 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) increased to 7.31 percent from 7.27 percent, with points remaining unchanged from 0.72 (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 7.32 percent from 7.25 percent, with points increasing to 0.80 from 0.72 (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 7.08 percent from 7.04 percent, with points decreasing to 0.92 from 0.98 (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 6.62 percent from 6.72 percent, with points increasing to 1.08 from 1.01 (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 6.42 percent from 6.59 percent, with points decreasing to 1.10 from 1.16 (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

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