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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

ASB issues 3rd USPAP Exposure Draft

The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) has issued the following document:

Issued on November 30, 2012


Written comments requested by January 25, 2013

Third Exposure Draft of Proposed Changes for the 2014-15 edition of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)

 

 

This exposure draft includes:
Revisions to Reporting and Communication Requirements
Reporting Options
Retirement of STANDARDS 4 and 5
Other revisions and additions as needed to ensure clarity and relevance

Summary of proposed changes:
– Proposed Retirement of STANDARDS 4 and 5 (including revisions and additional Illustrations proposed for Advisory Opinion 21)
– Proposed Revisions to the DEFINITIONS of “Assignment Results,” “Report,” and “Scope of Work”
– Proposed Revisions to the RECORD KEEPING RULE- Report Options (includes proposal for options in STANDARDS 2, 8, and 10)
– Proposed Revisions to Advisory Opinion 11, Content of the  Appraisal Report Options of Standards Rules 2-2 and 8-2 and Advisory Opinion 12, Use of the Appraisal Report Options of Standards Rules 2-2 and 8-2
– Proposed Revisions to the COMPETENCY RULE
– Proposed Revisions to the PREAMBLE – When Do USPAP Rules and Standards Apply?
– Proposed Revisions to Standards Rule 3-5
– Certification Requirement Related to Current or Prospective Interest and Prior Services

The Board currently intends to adopt any revisions for the 2014-15 edition of USPAP at its public meeting in San Francisco on February 1, 2013.

Any such revisions would become effective on January 1, 2014, and any updates related to USPAP course material should be available by late summer 2013.

Link:  https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/d/sbe05929a13844d89
Send Comments to ASBComments@appraisalfoundation.org

If there are any issues in this USPAP draft, be sure to speak out by 1/25/13!! This may be your Last Chance!! Members of the ASB read all comments.

Posted in: Appraisal Foundation, Appraisal Standards Board

2,300 sq.ft. House built in 2hrs 52 mins 29secs – a record!!

Excerpts:
embed [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2HqW-AAb20?rel=0&w=420&h=315]

A new World Record was set in 2005, as the 2 Hour House was constructed in 2hrs 52 mins 29secs. The event took place in Tyler, Texas, where volunteers from various building trades came together in an unprecedented show of team spirit. In July 2006, the 2 Hour House project donated $30,000 back to the East Texas community, through six non-profit charitable organizations. This clip is an excerpt from the 60-minute documentary. For information and to purchase the full-length DVD, visit http://www.2HourHouse.com

Scroll down the page to see the stats – here are a few:
•It takes a day to set the forms, dig footings and set steel.     8 min
• It takes a half a day to rough-in the plumbing.                    7min
• It takes a day to pour and finish concrete.                         40min

I love the music!! I shoulda been there drumming!!

Thanks to Brad Stinson of Zaio for this great link!!

Posted in: unusual homes