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This blog has recent full FREE email newsletters (that start with the date and Newz) plus excerpts from the email newsletters where you can post comments. This newsletter has been sent out almost every week since June, 1994. I started with 6 subscribers on Compuserve. Now it is up to 17,000 subscribers!! To subscribe to the free email newsletters and get them them when they first come out, go to www.appraisaltoday.com and sign up in the big Yellow Box!!

Looking for a topic? Use Search box on the right side. There are hundreds of posts on this blog, starting in 2012. 

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Appraisal fees

11-15-18//Newz: – Ball Houses – No Appraisers Left? – Misleading and USPAP

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Bolwoningen Ball Houses

 Excerpt: Bolwoningen consists of 50 sphere houses. The balls are made of cement, reinforced with fiberglass. They are mounted on the base in the form of a cylinder. Each sphere’s diameter is 18 feet and each has 11 round windows. The layout of these structures is quite unusual. In the center of the sphere there is a bathroom and a tiny bedroom, and a living room and kitchen, are located on the second floor-level. The house can be completely disassembled and transported to any other place (the weight of this building is only about 2755 lbs). In addition, this building can be placed not only on the ground, but also on water, on a stationary platform.

Locals didn’t quite appreciate the vision of the architect, but there are plenty of tourists, who would love to visit or even experience living in these futuristic houses.

My comment: Fascinating!! It was built in 1984 and is surrounded by standard homes. Check out the 2 links above and/or google bolwoningen ball houses
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What Would Happen if There Were No Appraisers?

By Tom Horn
 
Excerpt:
7 Consequences of Eliminating Appraisers From Mortgage Transactions
1) Questionable accuracy due to faulty county records
2) No reconsideration of values
3) No critical thinking that takes into consideration nuances of the market

Click here for more commentary and to see the other 4 reasons.

My comment: Very good analysis!! Needs to be sent to all the people who say appraisals are not needed…
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Posted in: appraisal how to, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, USPAP, weird homes

11-8-18 Newz// 8 ft Wide Townhome – Election and Banking Regs – Template Tips

What’s 8 Feet Wide and Has an Elevator? Manhattan’s Tiniest Fancy Townhouse – asking $5 million.

Excerpts: On a cobblestoned lower Manhattan street near the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, a four-story house is about to go on the market for $5 million. The widest room measures 10 feet.

Small houses have a long history in New York. A Dutch-style gabled house at 75 ½ Bedford St. in Greenwich Village built in 1873 is 9 ½ feet wide. It is “popularly known as the smallest house in the city,” according to the city’s landmarks preservation commission. Its tenants have included poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and anthropologist Margaret Mead.

My comment: I wonder what an 8 ft wide floor plan, with an elevator, looks like???
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7 Quick Tips for Using Appraisal Templates

Excerpt: Use these tips for proofreading appraisal reports:
5. Proofread Will a few typos or misspellings ruin your appraisal career? Probably not. However, they do seriously undermine your professionalism and suggest that you lack attention to detail. Take the time to ensure you are putting forth polished reports.

Focus on your most recent edits. When you edit something, it’s easy to introduce new errors, such as missing or repeated words. Proof new content and comments two to three times after you edit them, but also home in on those areas again during your final proof.

For more very good tips that we can all use click here:

My comment: I use a few templates for form reports and my assistant has to very carefully check each appraisal I writeup to be sure everything is okay! I gotta make sure I change the effective date of the appraisal and signed dates around the first of the year, of course…
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Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal how to, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home, weird homes

11-1-18 Newz// $245M listing – Land value – Living Underground

$245M Bel Air CA mansion is nation’s most expensive listing

Originally listed for $350M, it’s still a potential record-breaker after a price cut

Excerpts: The limestone clad mansion in Bel Air owned by the late TV executive Jerry Perenchio just got a price cut.

But at $245 million, the commanding French neoclassical residence, which measures 25,000 square feet, is still the most expensive listing on the open market in the U.S.

The property, which came up for sale last year for a staggering $350 million, has long been the cream of the crop among high-end estates…

A 105,000-square-foot mega-mansion built on spec, also in Bel Air, has a ridiculous $500 million price tag, but it’s not listed on the open market.

My comment: And I just read that the Southern California market is in a slump… who knows about this price range ;>
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Living Beneath the Ground in an Australian Desert

For about a century, residents of Coober Pedy have escaped the searing heat by building their homes underground.
Excerpt: “Bars and restaurants are underground, churches, all these children growing up living underground,” Ms. Merino said in a telephone interview about the residents’ social and private lives. “There’s nothing different about them; they’re not cave men. They’re normal people choosing to live in a different way.”

My comment: I have been reading about this place for awhile, but the author, who “stumbled upon” it has an excellent Fascinating article with great photos!!
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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal how to, forecast, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, Strange homes, weird homes, weird properties

10-25-18 Newz// Maps streets-buildings – Warming Oceans – Actionable Education

A Map of every building in America

Excerpts: Classic maps answer questions like: How do I get from Point A to Point B? These data images, instead, evoke questions – sometimes, simply: What’s that?

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence.

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In the August 8 2018 issue of this email newsletter, I published the link

Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

Excerpt: Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

Excerpt: In Chicago or Beijing, any given street is likely to take you north, south, east, or west. But good luck following the compass in Rome or Boston, where streets grew up organically and seemingly twist and turn at random.

Fascinating!! Check it out at:
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Posted in: appraisal business, Appraisal Foundation, appraisal how to, Appraisal Standards Board, appraisal waivers, Fannie, forecast, george dell, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market

10-19-18 Newz: ;Beach House Survives – FHA Appraisal Problems – Buy This Book!

Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’

Excerpts: The elevated house that the owners call the Sand Palace, on 36th Street in Mexico Beach, Fla., came through Hurricane Michael almost unscathed…

As they built their dream house last year on the shimmering sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Russell King and his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey, painstakingly documented every detail of the elevated construction, from the 40-foot pilings buried into the ground to the types of screws drilled into the walls. They picked gleaming paints from … a palette of shore colors, chose salt-tolerant species to plant in the beach dunes and christened their creation the Sand Palace of Mexico Beach.

Very interesting. Worth reading. The aerial photos of the beach are striking – one intact beach house left.
For lots more info, photos and videos, google Sand Palace of Mexico Beach

My comment: I am so glad I live on the Left Coast. Most of it is elevated, with the beaches at water level. Plus, no big areas of rivers and streams draining into the ocean causing flooding. Much colder ocean than the East Coast. Of course, for us the Big One is a major earthquake, which I try not to think about ;>
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Mortgage-industry layoffs are picking up

Excerpt: JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Movement Mortgage this month were the latest companies to announce layoffs of hundreds of mortgage workers due to a downturn in business. Many more people in the industry can expect to lose their jobs in the coming months, Fannie Mae says.

“I do believe you will see more layoffs,” Fannie’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, said during a telephone interview. Hiring in the mortgage business has traditionally been boom and bust. Companies add staff during refinance booms and then lay off workers when the rates tick up. Given the cost to hire and fire people, the companies tend to wait and see if the downturn is permanent, Duncan said. There is usually a six-month lag before the layoffs pick up steam.

That time has arrived, Duncan said.

 “We are at the beginning of that I would say,” he said. “It is a cyclical business and it is driven by the cyclical behavior of interest rates. So, none of that should be a surprise to anyone. The only thing different in this cycle was that it was policy that drove rates, so they were so low for so long.”

https://www.scotsmanguide.com/News/2018/10/Mortgage-industry-layoffs-are-picking-up/

My comment: Looks like appraisers are finally thinking about doing non-lender work. An ad for my paid newsletter was sent out by workingre today, with twice the number of new subscribers as compared with the typical response. Appraising is cyclical as it depends on mortgage lending…
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Posted in: adjustments, FHA, forecast, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home

10-11-18 Newz://Dome Homes – Tandem Bedrooms – Competency

8 Dome Homes Ideal for Well-Rounded Buyers

Excerpt: Geodesic dome homes always strike a chord with buyers looking for a different type of house.

They’re also in favor these days thanks to their cosmic, forward-looking designs. Futurist and architect Buckminster Fuller conceived the geodesic dome in the belief that the shape of these rounded dwellings was the most efficient use of resources possible, and that the homes were ideal for mind, body, and spirit.

Here are a few:
– 37849 W Johnson Lake Ln, Marcell, MN Price: $129,000
– 35685 Lake Summit Dr, Temecula, CA Price: $775,000 – Two connected domes
– 5825 E Saguaro Rd, Cave Creek, AZPrice: $469,000 – Price includes a large maze

Check out the fotos and info at:

My comment: They all kinda look the same to me ;> I have never appraised one, but don’t miss it. Very few here. Just use other odd ball properties as comps I guess. There is one in a nearby city that I drive by regularly as a reminder of what I don’t want to appraise ;>

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Is the market tanking or softening?

Video by Ryan Lundquist
About the Sacramento CA market, but applies to all markets
21 minute video. Worth watching.
More articles by Ryan at http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com
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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal how to, data, mortgage loan volume, state appraiser regulators, unusual home, zillow

10-4-18// Newz: ;Pyramid House – Comp Sharing? – “Prove” adjustments?

Malibu Pyramid House in 3-D and Drone View

Just For Fun!!

27553 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA
Price: $5,695,000
Why it’s here: Here’s your prime directive: Live in the futuristic home as seen on season 3 of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Designed by Ellis David Gelman, the well-maintained and playful space features “four eclectic bedrooms,” an ocean-view terrace, and lavender and rose gardens spread over 2 acres.

See it in 3-D, Drone view, and lotsa photos here!!
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Is a la mode’s Smart Exchange Really a Smart Idea?

Excerpt: Alamode recently launched Smart Exchange to its users. The idea is appraisers can see what others have stated as property characteristics and transfer that information directly into your report. The system is based on mutual sharing, so if you participate, you will share all your comparable data with everyone else that is using Smart Exchange and you can see their data.

Lots more info plus appraiser comments at:

My comment: I have never used a la mode software, but do follow the Yahoo Group WinTOTAL. Lots of discussion there also. Of course, I am suspicious because Corelogic owns a la mode.

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal how to, data, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home

9-27-18 Newz//Two Appraiser Brains? -Fannie Waivers – Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Do You Have Two Appraiser Brains?

By George Dell
Excerpt: One appraiser brain says you must be “independent, impartial, and objective.” (USPAP) It wants to be good. It wants integrity and to sleep peacefully at night.

But there’s another brain. It’s primal and wants to survive. It has other responsibilities: meet the bills, feed the family, pay the mortgage, and pay government taxes/fees. And recorded in this brain is that part of the standards which say: Do what your clients expect; do what everyone else does. As paraphrased, the sole guides to an acceptable scope of work.

Worth reading. Short. Plus the comments.
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7 Fantastic Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Excerpt: Dubbed by the American Institute of Architects as the “greatest American architect of all time,” Wright designed more than 1,100 buildings, 532 of which were eventually built. From his early designs in the low-slung Prairie School style to the efficient, affordable Usonian style inspired by the Great Depression, everything Wright created aimed to create spaces that he described as “eloquent and humane.”
Photos and info at:

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/frank-lloyd-wright-homes-on-the-market

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Posted in: adjustments, appraisal how to, Appraisal Qualifications Board, appraisal waivers, commercial appraisal, Fannie, george dell, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual homes

9-20-18 Newz// Zillow Addicts – Pyramid House – Favorite Podcasts

Unusual pyramid house in Malibu takes its cues from the sun and moon

Excerpt: This one-of-a-kind residence looks like it belongs in the swirling sands of Giza rather than on a hilltop in Malibu. The three-bedroom house was designed for two astronomy photographers and built to face the magnetic north like the needle of a compass. Sitting on one of the highest points in the Santa Monica Mountains, it has perfect vantage for observing the ocean as well as the movements of the sun and moon.

Read more and see the fotos plus video!! Currently listed for $2,999,000. Has been on the market for awhile.
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Posted in: Appraisal fees, MLS, mortgage loan volume, Podcasts, real estate market, unusual home, weird homes, zillow

9-13-18 Newz// Disasters – Working Together – Nonbank lender risk

When a Disaster Strikes, Are You Prepared?

By Bruce Ford
Excerpt: In 2017, California experienced the most destructive wildfire season on record. There were over 9,000 fires that burned covering 1,381,405 acres. The fires destroyed anything in its path. Damaging more than 10,000 structures and resulting in over 40 causalities.

The author, Bruce J. Ford, Chief Appraiser of NorCal Quality Appraisals and California native… collaborated with other appraisers in the area to help those in need.

Read this article for lots more info:

My comment: Disasters can occur anywhere, any time. Fire, flood, hurricanes, etc. In my area, the 1989 earthquake and the 1991 Oakland firestorm were the most recent. I will never forget driving by all the remaining fireplaces trying to find the properties I had appraised to see which were gone. It was very, very sad. Now, I really worry about the failure to do much about the large amount of trees and brush that are a significant fire hazard in the Oakland/Berkeley hills and many other Bay Area cities.

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Posted in: appraisal business, commercial appraisal, lender appraisals, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home, unusual homes