4 Myths About Property Data Collection

By McKissock


Myth #1: PDC is the same thing as property appraisal

As a professional appraiser, you know very well that what a property data collector does is not the same as what you do — even if your clients don’t always understand the difference. While there is some overlap, being qualified to perform an appraisal requires much more training, education, and expertise, and the job goes far beyond gathering physical data.

Myth #2: Data collectors are going to replace appraisers

There’s a lot of buzz right now about PDC possibly replacing traditional property appraisal, but the intent of this service is to fill a gap in the lending process. The job assignments given to property data collectors are often the types of assignments that wouldn’t come across an appraiser’s desk. For example, property data collectors (PDCs) may be engaged by lenders for very low-risk loans where an appraisal is not required.

Myth #3: PDCs are not properly trained or qualified

While there isn’t a license, PDCs are still required to be trained and competent to do their job. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require that PDCs must be professionally trained and vetted. They must adhere to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s property data standards which set forth the minimum requirements for collection of the subject property data.

Myth #4: PDC is bad for appraisers

Probably the most prevalent myth is that PDC is bad for appraisers and bad for the profession in general. But in actuality, it may offer some significant upsides for appraisers. In particular, becoming a property data collector may be beneficial for:

  • Appraisal trainees in need of extra income
  • Busy appraisers who are looking to delegate tasks
  • Older appraisers who are looking to reduce physically demanding tasks or may be transitioning into retirement
  • Any appraisers wanting to grow their bifurcated and hybrid appraisal services

To read more, click here

My comments: We all know that appraisers would be the best PDCs. My article in the November issue of Appraisal Today has lots of information, including lists of which AMCs use PDCs. “Property Data Collectors (PDCs) Will Be Widely Used by Lenders in the GSEs Value Acceptance + Property Data Option”

This is an excellent diversification opportunity while business is slow. Trainees can do them.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Liability, Bias, reviewers with little experience, GSE modernization, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.



Will Jazz Icon Dave Brubeck’s Former Midcentury Treehouse in NorCal Sway a Buyer for $3M?

Excerpts: 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2,652 square feet, 0.29 acre lot

A spectacular midcentury modern home, cantilevered 16 feet in the air, recently hit the market for $3 million in Oakland, CA.

The one-of-a-kind abode was built in 1953 for jazz legend Dave Brubeck and his wife, Iola. The couple lived in the 2,652-square-foot, four-bedroom residence from 1954 to 1960. The beloved musician died in 2012.

“The unique design of the house is its most impressive feature,” says listing agent Emma Morris, of Red Oak Realty. “The architect, Beverley D. Thorne, was best known for his use of steel in residential construction. At the time, Bethlehem Steel was promoting steel products to architects throughout the country. Thorne was well known for using the strength of steel over very challenging topographies.”

“Most modern homes are constructed on a hillside lot on a downslope or upslope, with the house clinging to the side,” Morris says. “This house has 2,300 square feet of level living space that slopes. The rock in the living room looks like it pierces the underbelly of the house. You don’t see this type of design every day. When you walk up to the home from the driveway, you see the underbelly of the house and the rocky hillside.”

That same rock supports a curved sheet of glass that once served as Brubeck’s work desk. It was in this house that the Dave Brubeck Quartet practiced; it’s where Brubeck conceived the idea for “Time Out,” the first jazz album to sell a million copies; and it’s where the hits “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” were composed.

“Brubeck did a number of updates after they moved in, as their family kept growing,” Morris notes. “He expanded the living room space and music performance space and added a couple of studio units underneath the house. The current owner bought the house in 1974 and reconfigured some of the bedroom spaces as they were originally set up almost like train cabins, all in a row.”

The home’s kitchen and one of the bathrooms were remodeled in 2004.

To read more click here 

To see the MLS listing with a 3D tour and 60 photos, click here

My comments: Midcentury Modern will always be different for me after this house. I used to play a lot of traditional and free jazz drums before moving to experimental music (vocals and weird science videos with a long-time electronic musician). Brubeck made a huge difference in jazz for many reasons.

I have done hundreds of appraisals in the Montclair neighborhood in Oakland but have yet to appraise a celebrity home. Most of them were standard style homes built in the 1970s. I guess there won’t be any listings of an “Ann O’Rourke” home ;>


HUD Grants Millions to Test for “Racist” Appraisers

By Isaac Peck, WorkingRE

Excerpts: In March 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued $54 million in grants to 182 non-profit organizations to fight housing discrimination. Over $40 million of the total grants is dedicated to what it calls its Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI). The PEI provides dedicated funds to “non-profit fair housing organizations to “conduct intake, provide testing, and investigate and litigate fair housing complaints.”

One might assume these grants are focused on discriminatory housing practices more generally, but HUD’s press release makes clear that appraisal bias is a key focus of the $40 million in PEI funds. The sub-header underneath the announcement reads: “Ahead of [the] anniversary of PAVE Action Plan, some grants empower organizations to test for appraisal bias and educate local communities.”

Working RE reached out to NCRC for a comment. We asked whether NCRC knew that the appraiser who performed the most glaring “anti-Black” appraisals (in their view) was, in fact, a Black appraiser and asked what they thought about the fact that if this appraiser’s data point was removed, their study actually showed that appraisers (on average) assign higher values to Black homeowners.

NCRC did not reply to Working RE.

Nevertheless, it is clear that NCRC considered its first experiment a glowing success.

The problem? The two most glaring examples of discriminatory appraisals performed in the experiment were performed by the same appraiser and that appraiser is Black. (We’ll have to see how the HUD discrimination complaint turns out!)

Furthermore, removing this one appraiser as a data point actually flips the data the other way and suggests that appraisers (on average) favor Black homeowners and assign their homes higher values.

To read more, click here 

My comments: Appraisers are an easy target. We don’t have MBA, NAR, or anyone speaking for us. This is very, very sad. I don’t write about this appraiser bias topic often because it is so negative and inaccurate. Unfortunately, if I still did lender appraisals, this is another reason for quitting or retiring.

Why do these complaints come in on refis, not sales? Who did the reviews? I am familiar with the Marin County complaint. There were many issues with the appraisal, which was not easy to do. I have yet to hear about asking another appraiser (or 2-3) to do appraisals on the same effective date.


Tip of the week – Survive during lender appraisal down cycles and plan for future downturns.

Almost all lender fee appraisers have business downturns similar to today. Use them to plan for the next downturn.

I learned a lot from my worst downturn, starting in the early 1990s, when I laid off six employees (staff and appraisers), except for one part-time assistant. I learned to cut costs quickly and never staffed up again. I also moved to a lower rent office. Laying off people is difficult. If I survived this, you can survive also!

To plan for the future, I decided never to have a big staff again as I was unwilling to do all the marketing required. I finally quit doing residential lender appraisals in 2005. Too cyclical. I quit commercial lender appraisals when my local bank was bought out in 2013 (competitive bidding for low fees). I only do non-lender appraisals, commercial and residential.

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Using Discrimination As a Bully Tactic

By Russell Bean, Certified Residential Appraiser

Excerpts: As an appraiser who has been appraising in rural south for 20 years I have seen a few things. This wave of discrimination has gotten out of control. Sure, there has been some discrimination going on which is not the norm, but to accuse someone of discrimination because the value came in lower than an expected value is pure asinine. It is not our job to validate lenders and borrowers expected values.

There have been many times there were homeowners that were hostile toward me because they were unaware that I was black, until I showed up for the inspection. I would address any of their concerns as to my qualifications and some were ok with it and some were not. I would always finish the inspection and never be rude to them. I did not care if they were prejudice or whatever issue they had. If I did not feel good about the situation, I called the client and told them at this time it is not to my best interest, and declined the order.

My wife asked me why I did this? I told her some money and business is not worth it.

For my fellow white appraisers, maybe some discrimination complaints are justified but the overall majority of these complaints are bull crap. Some people misguided mentality want to hang on to the past and will use discrimination as a bully tactic because they can. This appears to be the norm today.

To read more, including appraiser comments from the author and other appraisers, click here


Former Convent Hits the Market in California for $2.5M

Excerpts: 9bedrooms, 9 baths, 4,625 sq.ft., 1.16 acre lot

A former nunnery on an acre of land in Sherwood Forest, CA, was just listed for $2.5 million. “The proceeds from this sale go to the order of nuns to their general fund for them to continue their mission,”

An order of Catholic Franciscan nuns bought the 4,625-square-foot property in 2007 and used it as their convent until they moved out recently. The Franciscan order is selling the property because the nuns have moved to another location nearby and no longer need this space.

“Their mission is around education—most of these nuns are teachers,” says listing agent Gerardo “Jerry” Ascencio, with San Fernando Realty, Inc.

The Franciscan Nuns of the Immaculate Conception used the nine-bedroom, nine-bath, 1944-era building as their residence and added a few features as needed, related to their religious practice.

“It has been basically converted to their use, including a full chapel, altar, tabernacle, sacristy, and a library,” Ascencio explains. “The Franciscan Sisters are an order that has a lot of meditation, a lot of prayer, so it’s a place that just breathes and puts out an aura of peace and tranquility.”

Prior to the nuns buying the property, it had been a single-family home that needed some divine intervention—or at least some remodeling.

Several types of buyers have shown an interest in the convent. Religious orders, nonprofits, commercial entities such as assisted living facilities, and developers looking to build multiunit dwellings are among the potential new owners.

However, the former nunnery once was a single-family home. And it could be again.

Another “category is somebody who falls in love with it and wants to live in peace and tranquility and wants to use it as their single-family residence,” he explains. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own this unique real estate.”

To read more, click here

To see the listing with a 3D tour and 75 photos, click here

My comments: I had never heard of a Sherwood Forest in the U.S. It is a residential neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles, California with about 5,000 population. Of course, when I googled, I learned that there are 20 places in the world named Sherwood Forest!

HBU would be a very interesting challenge ;>


Majority of Reviewers Had Very Limited Field Experience

By “Tom, Certified General Appraiser”

Excerpts: I’m a Certified General Appraiser who started appraising in 1984, almost 40 years ago! I spent the majority of my career appraising both residential and commercial properties in a major metropolitan market.

I’ve spent the past 15+/- years doing review work, one year for an AMC and 14 years split between two of the largest lenders in the US. An eye opening experience is an understatement!

It was my experience that the majority of reviewers, FNMA included, had very limited field experience. Which is painfully obvious when they request baseless revisions for “more or better comps”. As the OP so eloquently states “As anyone who has been an appraiser for more than five seconds can attest, you use the best comps available. There were no “better comps” to be used.”

To make matters worse, they almost universally are delusional in thinking they know everything about every market in the US! Appalling, actually as well as insulting to the local boots on the ground appraiser.

To read more, click here

My comments: When I started doing residential lender appraisals in 1986, I knew many lenders gave review assignments to trainees as it is an excellent way to get experience. That was okay in the past, but not since AMCs took over and GSEs, state boards, etc., wanted adjustment support. And CU to find the “errors.”

I was fortunate when I used to do lender appraisals, both residential (quit in 2005) and commercial (quit in 2013).

I have always done non-lender work and have as much business as I wanted. I turn down much work and refer them to a few local appraisers I have known for over 30 years.

Having a Certified General license makes a very big difference. I get many more appraisal inquiries, including large estates with houses, apartments, and commercial properties. I wrote an article in October 2023 in the Appraisal Today newsletter, “Residential vs. commercial appraisals – fees, reports, reviews, competition, how to get started, etc. Much better than AMC lender residential appraisals!


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, 6:30 AM to 11AM, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Many appraisers are not busy. Some are busy, usually with non-lender appraisals.


Mortgage applications increased 2.8 percent from one week earlier,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 15, 2023) — Mortgage applications increased 2.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 10, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Although Treasury rates dipped midweek, mortgage rates were little changed on average through the week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained at 7.61 percent, about 30 basis points lower than three weeks ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Both purchase and refinance applications increased to the highest weekly pace in five weeks but remain at very low levels. Despite the recent downward trend, mortgage rates at current levels are still challenging for many prospective homebuyers and current homeowners.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 31.9 percent of total applications from 31.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 8.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 14.4 percent from 14.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.2 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) remained unchanged at 7.61 percent, with points decreasing to 0.67 from 0.69 (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 7.65 percent from 7.58 percent, with points increasing to 0.67 from 0.65 (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 7.36 percent, with points decreasing to 0.85 from 0.91 (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 6.94 percent from 6.98 percent, with points increasing to 1.00 from 0.88 (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 6.65 percent from 6.76 percent, with points decreasing to 0.72 from 0.80 (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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