Is it a problem to remove all bathtubs in a house?

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: I’ve been asked this question twice this week. Is it a problem to remove the tubs from each bathroom? People planning a remodel asked if it was a big deal or not to only have a walk-in shower in each bathroom. Here are my thoughts, and I really want to hear from you too. Anything to add?

It’s not a black and white answer: There’s not one black-and-white answer that applies to every house, price range, location, or market. Bottom line. But backing up, part of the fun of working in real estate is figuring out how to answer questions like this in a way that is balanced and hopefully reflective of the sentiment in the marketplace.

Other topics include:

  • It’s never just about resale value
  • 55+ communities
  • Splitting hairs to prove an adjustment

To read more, including Ryan’s many comments, fun images and graphics, his Twitter X and Instagram surveys, plus 50+ comments, Click Here

My comments: This is the only analysis I have ever seen about this appraisal topic and it is great! I started appraising in 1975 and this was an issue then, continuing today.

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 property data collectors, economic analysis, managing your email inbox,  unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Luxury brick estate with its own private playground $15M in Virginia

Excerpts: 5 bedrooms, 7.5+ baths, 17,291 sq.ft., 11 acre lot, built in 1981, 14 fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, custom ceilings, and Palladian windows.

Other highlights include a spa and fitness center 3-level garage, Vuelift by Savaria elevator and car washing station. The resort-like pool area boasts grotto, a 2-level commercial size heated swimming pool, slide, water curtain, and a lazy river flow.

Sports enthusiasts can indulge in the regulation tennis court, sport court, and a guest house featuring a travertine terrace and Miehle appliances – an idyllic setting for both recreation and entertainment.

To see the virtual tour and 67 photos, Click Here

My comment: No pickleball court?


Should Property Data Collectors Be Licensed?

By Peter Christensen

Excerpts: Should “property data collectors” who inspect properties and provide information to real estate appraisers be licensed by state appraiser boards? In Mississippi, a bill has been introduced this week to require exactly that. The legislator behind the bill happens to be an appraiser.

Under the bill, it would be unlawful for any party to act as a data collector without an appraiser license or property data collector license.

As introduced, and being the first proposed legislation regarding property data collectors, the bill is perhaps “rough around the edges.” For example, the proposed definition of property data collector might include sales data information providers. The present bill also refers to requirements for data collectors established by the Appraiser Qualifications Board, which do not exist.

To read more, plus a link to a map with states working on appraiser laws, the 54+ appraiser responses (both plus and minus) and maybe add yours,

Click Here

My comments: Yes to this licensing! This is the first attempt. Hopefully more states will be interested. We need more appraiser legislators!


Are you getting too many ad-only emails?

4 ways to get only the FREE email newsletters and NOT the ad-only emails.

1. Twitter: posted by noon Friday – all recent newsletters

2. Read on blog Posted by noon Friday. You can subscribe to the blog in the upper right of each blog page.

3. Email Archives:

(posted by noon Friday) The link is above and to the right of the big yellow email signup form. Newsletters start with “Newz.” Contains all recent emails sent.

4. Link to the 10 most recent newsletters (no ads) at Scroll down past the big yellow signup block.

To read more about the 4 ways, plus information on why I take ads, etc.

Click here


How to manage your appraisal email and keep your inbox from filling up!

Now that many appraisers are not very busy, this is an excellent time to work on your email setup.

Email is great: easy, free or low cost, fast communication. But, it takes time

and that darn inbox can get huge. You spend way too much time looking for an email. Or, you lost a critical email in your over-stuffed inbox. Or, worse, accidentally deleted one and can’t find it.

Do not be a slave to your emails!!!

Very good tip: Turn off visual and audible email notifications – very

distracting. Keep your inbox relatively small. Use search to find what you need.

I use folders and filters to keep close track of all my business

communications. I have over 50 email folders and almost 100 automatic filters (never goes to inbox).

One of my favorite quotes (from Brett McKay) “When email was created, it

was meant to streamline our communication and make it more efficient. And it still can, but more often than not it morphs into a time-devouring, stress-inducing, legacy-work destroying monster. How can we vanquish the mighty beast that lurks in our inboxes and let peace once more reign throughout the land?”

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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


Shifting Tides in the Housing Market: A February 2024 Perspective

By Kevin Hecht

Excerpts: As we navigate through the early months of 2024, the U.S. housing market presents a landscape of contrasts and evolving dynamics. From the subtle upturn in existing home sales to the moderated growth of new home sales and the looming shadow of rising mortgage rates, the market’s complexion is changing.

Mortgage rates projected to rise further

Stronger-than-expected inflation and jobs reports caused investors to scale back expectations for near-term Fed policy easing. Economists now look for the first rate cut to come in June rather than March, driving the 10-year Treasury yield to 4.2% by year-end.

This outlook implies that 30-year mortgage rates will climb further to around 6.8% – exacerbating affordability headwinds for the housing market, especially for prospective first-time home buyers.

Advice for residential real estate appraisers

In summary, appraisers must strike a balance in today’s housing market. While higher rates pose challenges, low unemployment, rising wages, and moderating home price growth provide stability. Appraisals require sound judgment on where a local market sits within these crosscurrents.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: The author is a practicing appraiser and an economist. Opinion and information is all over the news. I always read what this author says.


The Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, New York

This fancifully decorated Victorian home in New York’s Hudson Valley is the only known fully domed octagonal residence in the United States.

Excerpts: Paul J. Armour likely got the idea for the shape of his home from the book A Home for All by noted phrenologist, sexologist, and amateur architect Orson Squire Fowler. Fowler extolls the merits of octagonal structures over traditional square or rectangular dwellings in his book.

In 1872, tea importer Joseph Stiner purchased the home as a country retreat. While Armour’s original design for the house adhered strictly to Fowler’s practical philosophies, Stiner turned it into an ornate Victorian folly.

Walking around the home today, which still serves as a private residence, you can see the influences of previous and current owners and the times in which they lived. You might see a TV in one room and a phrenologist bust in the next, a collection of antique tea tins in the kitchen, and a 1930s mystery novel, The Octagon House by Phoebe Atwood Taylor, on a nightstand.

And, of course, no Victorian home is complete without a resident ghost.

To read more and see the photos, click here

My comments: Very interesting stories about the home’s history. Worth reading. I love atlas obscura and always read their emails. Lots of unusual topics, especialIy music related. I have have appraised octagonal shaped homes, but none of them were domed Victorians.


Is The Housing Market OK?

The two questions that dominate the housing market industry continue to be either:

By Jonathan Miller

Q1: When will the Fed cut interest rates?

A1: Back Half of 2024? – My wild guess is that rate cuts will be in the back half of 2024. Not in March. Not in June. Unemployment is way too low. In reality, you probably shouldn’t listen to me. Here’s an historical look at how quickly those cuts occur.

Q2: When will NAR membership collapse?

A2: Two to Three Years? – It is reasonable to assume that NAR will become a shadow of its current self as a trade group in a few years. What does it do for its members now that it’s no longer required for most real estate agents? Look for competitors like American REA to change the trade group space. The market has proved that trade groups should be “opted into” rather than required to enter the profession just like other industries. I’ve made a wild guess that NAR membership will be reduced to 300K members in 2-3 years from its current 1.6 million members…

To read more, Click Here

My Comments: This is at the top of Jonathan Miller’s recent post.

Lots of very interesting comments on a wide range of topics, similar to his other posts.


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. Many appraisers are not busy. Some are busy, usually with non-lender appraisals.Mortgage applications increased 9.7 percent from one week earlier


Mortgage applications increased 9.7 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 6, 2024) — Mortgage applications increased 9.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 1, 2024.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 9.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 12 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 8 percent from the previous week and was 2 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 13 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“The latest data on inflation was not markedly better nor worse than expected, which was enough to bring mortgage rates down a bit, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate declining slightly last week to 7.02 percent,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist. “Mortgage applications were up considerably relative to the prior week, which included the President’s Day holiday. Of note, purchase volume – particularly for FHA loans – was up strongly, again showing how sensitive the first-time homebuyer segment is to relatively small changes in the direction of rates. Other sources of housing data are showing increases in new listings, which is a real positive for the spring buying season given the lack of for-sale inventory.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 30.2 percent of total applications from 31.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.7 percent from 13.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4 percent from 11.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) decreased to 7.02 percent from 7.04 percent, with points unchanged at 0.67 (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 $766,550) increased to 7.21 percent from 7.20 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.57 (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 was unchanged at 6.86 percent, with points decreasing to 0.90 from 0.99 (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 6.66 percent from 6.70 percent, with points decreasing to 0.67 from 0.68 (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 6.38 percent from 6.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.67 from 0.58 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.


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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