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About this blog

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. 

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal, appraisal business, Appraisal fees

1-10-19 Newz: Appraisal Firm Gets $15M VC Funding – Terrible RE Agent Fotos

A Response to: Mortgage Industry Expert Wants to “Eliminate” Appraisers

By Abdur Abdur-Malik
Excerpts: Rather than read the article and shrug, I decided to email the reporter who conducted the interview. I copied a number of the website’s editors and also the industry “expert,” the interviewee herself. Their contact information was available via a simple Google search, so below is an unredacted copy of the email I sent:

My comment: Well written and worth reading. Nothing new, but not the typical appraiser whining and/or ranting. Lots and lots of appraiser comments.
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Real estate trends to watch in 2019

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: When I ask people what they think the market is going to do I get quite a few, “I’m really not sure” answers. It seems like many people are floating the idea the market could be flat or experience something very modest – whether up or down.

Lots of topics: concessions, relocating to another state, cannabis, creative financing, etc. Plus, lots of appraiser comments, of course!!

My comment: If I knew what the real estate market was going to do I would be Very, Very  Rich!!
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Commercial Appraisal Startup Bowery Valuation raises $12M in Series A. The startup has raised $19M so far

 Excerpt from company press release:
Bowery’s Co-CEO Noah Isaacs said, “Before starting Bowery, John and I spent several years appraising at one of the largest independent appraisal firms in the country. We were spending 50-60% of our time on busy work-manual data entry and copying and pasting.” John Meadows, Co-CEO went on to say, “We knew that there was a better way to appraise and set out to build a unique toolset for appraisers. With this round of funding, we can’t wait to continue our mission of creating efficiency throughout the appraisal process and offering our clients best in class service.”

Link to press release: https://boweryres.com/press

My comment: I wondered when someone would do something techie for commercial appraisals. I was surprised that venture capitalists were interested. But, in the past, some companies invested in residential appraisal firms. It did not go well.
If you know anything about what this company is doing tech-wise or otherwise, please hit the reply button. I ran out of time to do any research and am very curious!!
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Delinquency Rates Are Up in Natural Disaster Areas but Down Nearly Everywhere Else

Excerpt: Hurricane Florence caused considerable economic disruption in September this year. Seven of the top eight metro areas that experienced the highest annual gains in the overall delinquency rate were in North Carolina and South Carolina, where the storm had significant impact. In Wilmington, the 30-day delinquency rate jumped from 1.7 percent to 3.8 percent between August and September. Data collected over the next few months will shed more light on the storm’s impact on mortgage payments.

https://www.corelogic.com/news/corelogic-loan-performance-insights-finds-delinquency-rates-are-up-in-natural-disaster-areas-but-down-nearly-everywhere-else.aspx

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How to collect all your billings!!

 

In the January 2019 issue of Appraisal Today

Excerpt: What you need to do now! Check your accounts
receivable!! Do you have any clients paying later than usual or not paying at all?

The longer you wait to do anything, the less likely you will get paid. After 120 days late, it can be very difficult.

With the latest rumors of Coester VMS in financial difficulties, and the 2019 appraisal business slowdown, I am writing about collections again. The last time was in September 2014. Remember Appraisal Loft, JVI, etc.?

This article is for anyone who does not collect fees in advance.

To read the full article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.
 
If this article helped you collect one past due billing, it is worth the subscription price!! 
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To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to
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If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the December 2018 issue, emailed Monday, December 2, 2018, please send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com  and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it.
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Another Dim Outlook for Refinancing

Excerpt: In his Economic Outlook for January, Nothaft says he expects mortgage rates to reach their highest levels in a decade this year, affecting home buyers’ monthly payments and lessening the impact of new conforming loan limits. But the larger effect will be on refinancing. Millions of homeowners have already refinanced into the record low rates over the last few years, and they, as well as those who have purchased during the same period, are unlikely to refinance unless they need to cash out some of their home equity.

My comment: Well written with good graphs. Worth reading. Is Nothaft correct? No one knows, of course… waaay to many unknown and uncertain factors…
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Most Read Blog Posts of 2018

DW Slater Blog
  • Data Analytical Tools for Appraisers
  • Why Do Appraisers Take Pictures of My Home
  • Working Together- Is it for You?
  • DO NOT REMOVE TAG- Attention Manufactured Home Owners

My comment: Very interesting collection of most read blog posts!!
FYI, for this newsletter, strange homes is almost always the most read. Appraisers going to jail was also very popular, but not too many recently… USPAP is not very popular…
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Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs

Just For Fun!!!

Excerpt: Housing prices rise and fall, buyers come and go, decor comes in and goes out of fashion, but one constant remains throughout the real estate industry.  Photographic ineptitude and a lack of attention to detail.  This blog is a tribute to an important and unrecognised photographic genre, and to the artists who contribute to it so regularly, and with such low-quality offerings.

It’s a tribute to real estate agents who take photos of their own thumbs by accident. To agents who don’t wait for your elderly relative to move out of shot.  To agents around the world who, when presented with an unmade bed in a room littered with underwear think “that looks great”. Click.

http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.com/

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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 issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7AM to noon, Pacific time.
Mortgage applications increased 23.5 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2019) – Mortgage applications increased 23.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 4, 2019. This week’s results include an adjustment for the New Year’s Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 23.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 68 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 35 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 17 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 59 percent compared with the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates fell across the board last week and applications rebounded sharply, after what was a slower than usual holiday period. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined 10 basis points to 4.74 percent, the lowest since April 2018, and other loan types saw rate decreases of between 9 and 20 basis points,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “This drop in rates spurred a flurry of refinance activity – particularly for borrowers with larger loans – and pushed the average loan size on refinance applications to the highest in the survey (at $339,800). The surge in refinance activity also brought the refinance index to its highest level since last July.”

Added Kan, “Purchase applications had their strongest week in a month, finishing over 4 percent higher than a year ago, as both conventional and government purchase activity bounced back with solid gains after a sluggish holiday season.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to its highest level since February 2018, 45.8 percent of total applications, from 42.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 8.4 percent of total applications. The average loan size for refinance applications reached a survey high at $339,800.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 10.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to its highest level since March 2017, 11.6 percent, from 11.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.6 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased to its lowest level since April 2018, 4.74 percent, from 4.84 percent, with points increasing to 0.47 from 0.42 (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 $484,350) decreased to its lowest level since February 2018, 4.52 percent, from 4.72 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.30 (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 decreased to its lowest level since April 2018, 4.70 percent, from 4.86 percent, with points decreasing to 0.47 from 0.54 (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 its lowest level since April 2018, 4.16 percent, from 4.25 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.60 (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 its lowest level since August 2018, 4.05 percent, from 4.16 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (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.

Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
2033 Clement Ave. Suite 105
Alameda, CA 94501 Phone 510-865-8041
Fax 510-523-1138
Email   ann@appraisaltoday.com
Posted in: appraisal business, commercial appraisal, future, Mortgage applications

1-2-19 Newz: Eliminating Appraisers, Hybrid Appraisals, Corelogic

Best TED Talks for Appraisers

Here is a sample:
Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth.
Her rousing treatise on the power of grit and determination. These valuable qualities can help you become your best self in relation to your appraisal career. Coming up with accurate estimates and choosing the right comps to use can be frustrating – but keeping calm and pushing through will mark you as an appraisal professional that folks will seek out for the hardest (and most lucrative) jobs.
My comments: Angela Duckworth is one of my favorite TED speakers. I listen to a lot of podcasts. The TED Radio Hour is one I listen to a lot. It combines several TED talks on the same topic with references on how to listen to the full TED talks. Fascinating!!
“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) converged, and today covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages.”

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, E&O, hybrid appraisals, lender appraisals

12-27-18 Newz:// Change Your Templates!!/Corelogic takeover?/Square footage?

CHANGE YOUR TEMPLATES!!

I am really going to try hard NOT to use 2018 on :
  • Appraisals with an effective date or date signed in early 2019
  • Checks I write manually. Will pre-date some of them for 2019.
  • Computer folders for appraisals and fotos (I have them by year).
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What Was the Most Popular Home of 2018?

 Just For Fun!!

Excerpts:
10. Cerro Gordo, Lone Pine, CA
Status: Sold for $1.4 million in July
Why it’s here: Seeking a little solitude? Look no further than Cerro Gordo, a bona fide ghost town perched 8,000 feet up in the Inyo Mountains in Southern California.

8. Beckham Creek Cave Rd, Parthenon, AR
Status: Currently off market
Why it’s here: This rustic estate carved into the side of the Ozark Mountains captured attention for its storied history of renovations. What started as a doomsday shelter was transformed into an A-list nightclub

Click here for fotos, more info, and 8 more popular homes!!
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Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal regulations, AVMS, lender appraisals, real estate market, square footage, weird homes

12-20-18 Newz//VA-No More 1004mc| Santa’s Home| What kind of appraiser are you?

The Most Astonishingly Unique Homes of 2018

Great Videos, Just for Fun!!

  • Frank Lloyd Wright Mayan inspired home
  • Dome Home, Hurricane Proof,  in South Carolina
  • Brady Bunch House in Southern California

My comment: Great to look at but don’t ask me to appraise them!!

Read more!!

Posted in: FHA, mortgage loan volume, Strange homes, unusual home, va, weird homes

12-13-18 Newz:// Futuristic Homes / Declining Prices? / Coester?

Futuristic Houses With Some Weird Architectural Designs

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: You may have watched Transformers, robots that transforms to a vehicle. Well, that’s exactly how these house designs are made. Futuristic? Sure it is. Considering that we need space to build our homes, now we can just take our homes to wherever it is we like. It transforms from a box to a home. How cool is that?

Some of these sleek, weird houses look like they’ve been ripped out of the twenty-second century and some look like they’re from the next millennium. Get ready to move into the freaky saucer homes of tomorrow.

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Fannie Appraiser Update: Special Edition for Rural Appraisal

December 2018

Excerpt: Get tips for appraising rural properties, learn more about our manufactured housing appraisal policy, read about recent appraisal policy updates, and more in the latest Fannie Mae Appraiser Update.

We love hearing from you! Please continue to use the Contact Us form for appraisers to share what’s on your mind and to submit feedback and questions on appraisal topics.

Topics include:
Adjustments, Comps, Cost Approach, etc. tips relevant for most appraisers.
Click here to download the Update PDF
My comment: Even if you don’t appraise rural homes, there are some good tips in this document for all of us! Who never gets a weird house to appraise?
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Education

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, Fannie, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, Strange homes, threshold, unusual homes, weird homes

12-6-18 Newz// Threshold Proposed Increases, Ancient Cave Homes

Proposed appraisal threshold increases keep coming – both residential and commercial !!

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House Republicans Push to Ease Property Appraisal Rules Before Giving Democrats Control
Verification of Real Estate Values Would Drop by More Than Half Under Proposal
Source: Costar

Excerpts:

Republicans in Congress and U.S. financial regulators are proposing to ease appraisal rules for real estate sales financed by credit unions, prompting critics to warn the move could recreate some conditions that fueled the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The proposals are part of a larger push by the Republican leadership in the House, which will hand over control to the Democrats next month, to roll back financial industry regulations while the GOP is still in charge in that chamber. The National Credit Union Administration is accepting comments until midnight on Monday on its plan to increase the threshold for nonresidential sales to $1 million, which it said would boost the portion of sales not requiring an appraisal to two-thirds of all transactions from 27 percent. About 210,000 commercial property transactions were valued at $1 million or less in 2017, according to CoStar data.

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18 Appraisal Groups send letter opposing credit union new commercial threshold

Excerpt: The letter noted that the federal banking regulatory agencies – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve Board – earlier this year approved increasing the commercial appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $500,000

“We are deeply concerned the NCUA proposal, if finalized at $1 million for commercial real estate transactions, will result in a regulatory ‘arms race’ between the Agencies and the NCUA,” the letter said. “This would result in the NCUA – the agency with the least direct experience in overseeing business and commercial real estate lending – effectively driving the appraisal policies for the entire financial regulatory system.”

The letter also noted that legislation adopted this year by the U.S. House (and awaiting action by the Senate) would link commercial appraisal threshold levels for two of the U.S. Small Administration’s most popular loan programs to those established by the federal banking regulatory agencies. “This (NCUA) proposal will likely impact not just credit unions and banks, but SBA lenders and risks associated with SBA loans,” the letter said.
The NCUA did not propose changes to the appraisal threshold for residential loans. “We support the NCUA’s proposal to maintain the $250,000 threshold level for residential real estate transactions,” the letter said.
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Sign the Petition!! (residential)

Written by Ryan Lundquist and Jonathan Miller
Almost 3,000 have signed the petition as of yesterday!!

Excerpt:

While the current administration clearly believes in deregulation, this doesn’t sound like a move to protect the American consumer and the United States housing market. As recent experience tells us, it’s going to cost us.

Please sign the petition to send a message to federal regulators that exposing the consumer and taxpayer to unnecessary mortgage risk is not supposed to be their role.
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Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal regulations, commercial appraisal, FHA, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, threshold, unusual home, unusual homes, weird homes, weird properties

11-29-18 Newz// Proposed $400k threshold for appraisals -The American Garage – a very strange room

$400,000 Proposed bank threshold for appraisals to be replaced by evaluations

Below are links to the proposed rule, what others are saying, and where to send your comments on the proposed rule.
OCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Exempt Residential Real Estate Transactions of $400,000 or Less from Appraisal Requirements
Excerpts: Rather than requiring an appraisal, the proposal would require that residential real estate transactions exempted by the threshold obtain an evaluation consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

Read what the OCC says in their announcement – one page www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2018/nr-occ-2018-123.html

Comments will be accepted for 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

Instructions in the full Full 69-page proposed rulemaking. Download the above link and search for comments

The word “evaluation” is included many times in the document. Google evaluation to see what it says.

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FDIC, OCC, Fed propose raising appraisal threshold for first time since 1994. Good analysis of how many loans would be affected:

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Push to cut back on home appraisals sparks controversy
By Ken Harney, long time nationally syndicated real estate writer who regularly writes about appraisal issues

Excerpt: The Trump administration wants to eliminate professional appraisals on a large number of home-sale transactions – a move that critics say could push the country back toward the see-no-evil days of mortgage lending that preceded the housing crash.

Includes comments from appraisers Ryan Lundquist and Pat Turner plus Appraisal Institute.
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Link to Appraisal Institute letter
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Get rid of appraisers while nobody’s looking
By Ryan Lundquist

 

Excerpt: I’m guessing these “evaluators” will be real estate agents who do BPOs, employees at banks and data firms, and probably some appraisers who need the work at $75-$100 a pop.

Read it here, plus the appraiser comments, of course.
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My comments:
– FIRREA increased the deminimus from $200,000 (1989) to $250,000 in 1994, but appraisals were still done. Why? Fannie and Freddie’s investors wanted them. FHA, VA, etc did not adopt the deminimus.
– What is an ‘evaluation’ and who does them? Hopefully, someone will tell me what is an evaluation?
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Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, evaluations, FHA, marketing, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, Strange homes, unusual home, weird homes

11-21-18 Thanksgiving Thoughts For Appraisers

My Comments: I sent this last Thanksgiving also. I received it from an old friend. It “spoke” to me, especially as an appraiser and business person. This is a different, very personal, way to look at what we can be thankful for in our daily lives. Feel free to forward this to whomever you want, changing the subject line if needed.

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Be Thankful

These words from an unknown poet remind me to be thankful on Thanksgiving and all the other days, too.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times, you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

I love the thought that Thanksgiving is less of a meal and more of a mindset. May your Thanksgiving be filled with friends, family, love and all that is important to you.
Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
2033 Clement Ave. Suite 105
Alameda, CA 94501 Phone 510-865-8041
Fax 510-523-1138
Email   ann@appraisaltoday.com
Posted in: Uncategorized

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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Read more!!

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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Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal how to, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, real estate market, unusual home, weird homes