Appraisal News and Business Tips

Blog

Vertical forest in Milan

I’ve been hearing about this for awhile and it is finally under construction!!

Excerpt:
The Bosco Verticale is a new superstructure designed to bring the world’s first vertical forest to Milan, Italy. While many were skeptical when it came to the feasibility of construction, Boeri Studio reports that the structure is certainly more than just a fantasy — in fact it’s well on its way to being completed this year. The project’s two towers have already reached full height, and since April of 2012 teams have been installing trees on the structure. Though construction has slowed due to rain and snowfall in Milan over the last couple months, things are anticipated to kick up again very soon to meet the late 2013 opening.

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in the world – the Bosco Verticale project aims to mitigate some of the environmental damage that has been inflicted upon the city by urbanization.

The two towers measure 260 feet and 367 feet tall respectively, and together they have the capacity to hold 480 big and medium size trees, 250 small size trees, 11,000 ground-cover plants and 5,000 shrubs (that’s the equivalent of 2.5 acres of forest). The types of trees were chosen based on where they would be positioned on the buildings’ facades and it took over two years of working with botanists to decide which trees would be most appropriate for the buildings and the climate. The plants used in the project were grown specifically for the building, pre-cultivated so that they would gradually acclimate to the conditions they would experience once placed on the building.

Link to original photos and article

Posted in: unusual homes

ES AMC out of business

ES Appraisal Services/Evalonline.com/Evaluation Solutions AMC in bankruptcy and is outclosed fighting over dollars of business

Another AMC closes its doors. I have been predicting AMCs going out of business for a long time. Why? The cost of starting a national AMC is in the millions. To handle cash flow problems, such as losing a main client (ES and JVI are examples) millions more are needed in cash reserves. There are over 400 AMCs now since HVCC in 5/09. I don’t know how many have lots of cash reserves. I suspect that many don’t. It is very similar to an appraisal business being dependent on one client and then losing the client. Nothing new.

ES is in bankruptcy. Employees and back payroll taxes must paid first. Vendors/suppliers typically don’t get much.

What is surprising to me is how many appraisers keep accepting orders, even though there are many Internet postings about them, often for many months.

A few months ago, in the September 2012 issue of my paid newsletter, I wrote about how to collect from AMCs. It is not that hard. It is not that hard. I will be setting up a special AMC Watch List for my paid subscribers. To subscribe to the newsletter, click the banner below.

I have always known which AMCs were in trouble long before they went out of business. Real estate agents have been complaining for 2007 about BPO payment problems. Appraisers started speaking up in early January, 2012.

In the January, 2013 issue I have a profile of a mid-size AMC including how I evaluated their financial strength and ability to handle a downturn.

Sorry, I can’t give it all away as I spend a lot of time on the research and writing ;>

Appraisal Today newsletter

Posted in: AMCs

Largest home in the U.S.

Largest home in the U.S.

Excerpt:
Biltmore Estate is a large private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately-owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) and featuring 250 rooms.

Still owned by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age, and of significant gardens in the jardin à la française and English Landscape garden styles in the United States. In 2007, it was ranked eighth in America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

Wikepedia link:

Link to photos

Posted in: unusual homes

Working on Xmas = USPAP violation

stress-relax signs

AppraisalPort Poll Results 12/10/12
www.appraisalport.com

During this holiday season, I plan to:

=======================================================================

Take some time off to relax at home with family and friends. 1,720 votes  37%
Take some time off to travel and see family and friends. 457 votes           10%
Take some time off to catch-up on all those home improvement projects. 195 votes   4%
Take some time off to go somewhere for a real vacation. 162 votes           3%
Work straight through the Holidays – way too busy to stop. 2,109 votes  45%

Total Votes: 4,643

My comment: Bad, Bad, Bad for 45% who will be working! And this does not even count just not working on Xmas!!

Appraisal Today newsletter

Posted in: appraisal, appraisers

Doomsday shelters

Excerpts: You know all about the real-estate market. But what about the “underground” real-estate market — the secretive efforts of homeowners to install doomsday shelters at home?

If suppliers’ reports are a gauge, the market is small but growing. Unlike 1950s-era fallout shelters and newer aboveground “safe rooms,” meant to protect against storms and home invasions, bunkers are buried at least 6 feet under, in part to shield occupants from nuclear radiation.

You can buy a bare-bones shelter for $38,000 uninstalled or spend tens of millions of dollars — and a surprising number do — on a lavish, custom-made subterranean sanctuary.

And yet, the fears are powerful. About 30% of Camden’s clients are into “2012 stuff, the-world-as-you-know-it-coming-to-an-end type stuff,” he says. “I’d say at least half, if not 55%, is all geared for economic collapse and anarchy.” The remaining 20% involves the military, data storage and EMP mitigation.

“Our typical client is a wealthy, white Republican, highly educated, usually with a minimum of a master’s degree,” Camden says. Typically, the shelter is attached to their primary residence. These clients, he says, fear that economic collapse is near.

My comment: Yes, I have watched a few episodes of Doomsday Preppers on TV. Very interesting, but somewhat strange. And I am a big fan of sci-fi post-disaster survivor movies and tv shows.

Click here for more info

Posted in: unusual homes

Safe House: For when security cameras just don't cut it (Poland)

Excerpt: With its drawbridge and various mechanically operated moving parts, this 6,100-square foot concrete cuboid compound in the country was designed by for clients whose “top priority was to gain the feeling of maximum security in their future house.” Either that or they wanted to live in what’s essentially an aboveground Batcave with a swimming pool.

The house is situated in a small village at the outskirts of Warsaw. The surroundings are dominated with usual „polish cubes” from the sixties and old wooden barns.

Click here to read the article

Posted in: unusual home

Why are there so many increasing lender/AMC requirements?

Today, lenders are very worried about investors requiring loan buy-backs. I keep hearing aboutpiles of paper minor appraisal errors, such as typos, resulting in buy backs. Of course, many of the loan documents, including appraisals, have been lost.

Is this realistic? I don’t know, but lenders are worried so they tell their agents, AMCs, to increase appraisal requirements. There were much more significant changes in 1989, such as appraiser licensing, that will not be reversed.

AMCs work for lenders, and do what they say. But, if one of an AMCs lender’s require something, that AMC may require that it be done for all of their lenders because it is too much of a “hassle” to send out separate engagement letters for each lender’s appraisals.

This is a short excerpt from an article in the January, 2013 issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter, which focuses on AMCs, including background checks and a profile of an AMC that pays well and that appraisers like to work for.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal, lender appraisals, unusual homes

Lord of the Rings – Hobbit houses from the movie

Hobbit Homes

Excerpt:

The Hobbit scenes from Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy were filmed on a hillside lot in Matamata, New Zealand. Now the little Hobbit Homes have become a tourist attraction, but also they became homes for some of the sheep from a nearby farm. The interiors of these white structures were never finished because the scenes shot inside were actually filmed on a studio set.

Although the place where these Hobbit houses rest under the sun are not an intimidating fun Disneyland-like  amusement park, one can visit the countryside and get a chance to learn more about the sheep raised here and even pet the lambs. From inside the little houses the scenery opens to a beautiful valley with trees scattered here and there. The panorama is almost untouched by humans and it gives one the feeling of being in the right place at the right time. Round entrances and windows blend beautifully with the green grass creating a surreal environment that could give Lord of the Rings fans an exquisite travel experience.

http://freshome.com/2010/10/25/cute-lord-of-the-rings-hobbit-houses-in-new-zealand/

Posted in: Strange homes, unusual home, unusual homes

Hobbit House of Montana

Excerpt:

The Hobbit House, in northwest Montana, about a three-hour drive from Spokane, Wash., is a guesthouse. Number of units: one. But it is a large unit. The Web site, which the reporter studies before arriving, shows a 1,000-square-foot structure built into a hill, on a 20-acre site dotted with structures that range from small to perfect for squashing with your foot: a four-foot stump-shaped troll house, a few round-door hobbit houses with chimney pipes and several shoe-box-size fairy houses.

But what is a visit to the Hobbit House without a tour of the shire? Into the RTV we go, accompanied by Mr. Michaels’s dog, Libby, a collie-shepherd mix. Here is a tiny sod-roof house belonging to Frodo, a Baggins relation; there, in the trunk of a tree, is a mother-son fairy abode (complete with two doors). Not everything is hobbitically accurate: there is a two-foot-tall hairy-back frog, because Mr. Michaels figured that if hobbits were hairy, their frogs should be, too.

“And look,” he says, steering the cart toward the sod-covered roof of the life-size guesthouse. “You can drive over the house, because it’s built into the ground. Right now, we’re 30 feet over your bedroom.”

Link to a story written by a New York Times reporter with a photo slide show
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/garden/the-hobbit-house-in-montana.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Posted in: Strange homes, unusual homes

AQB issues 2nd Exposure Draft of Proposed Supervisors/Trainees Courses

2 appraisers“One of the changes adopted by the AQB requires that individuals who become Supervisory Appraisers or Trainee Appraisers after January 1, 2015, complete a course that, at a minimum, complies with the specifications for course content established by the AQB. The course must be completed by the Trainee Appraiser prior to obtaining a Trainee Appraiser credential, and completed by the Supervisory Appraiser prior to supervising a Trainee
Appraiser.”

Written comments requested by January 11, 2013.

If this is an issue for you, be sure to speak out!! The AQB reads all comments.

Link: https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/d/s8623b44b00f462db
Issued on November 29, 2012.

Posted in: appraisers
Page 33 of 35« First...1020...3132333435