Appraisal News and Business Tips

Blog

11-30-17 Newz// My Client the FBI, 50 Lane Traffic Jam,Third Party Inspections

China’s 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter’s Worst Nightmare

What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

Excerpts: Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded on Tuesday in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads. Some are dubbing the traffic jam a “carpocalypse,” while others are calling it “carmageddon.”:

China is no stranger to these ridiculous traffic jams, especially on national highways. In 2010, gridlock spanning more than 74 miles on the stretch between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Beijing left drivers with nowhere to go for a staggering 12 days. That time blame fell on everything from road construction to broken down cars and fender-benders.

My comment: Check out the photos. Wow! One of my nightmares is getting stuck in a big traffic jam, but I never thought about one as bad as this…

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/10/chinas-50-lane-traffic-jam-is-every-commuters-worst-nightmare/409639

A Mysterious Device Revealed

Excerpt: On Monday, I distributed a photo (see below), which was taken by a western US appraiser at the subject property, and asked if anyone could accurately describe what this device is:

The property owner was not at the property when the appraiser was there, and the appraiser was frankly stumped as to what this ‘thing’ is.

By late afternoon Monday, the appraiser was able to talk with the property owner, and was told about this contraption. Meanwhile, dozens of appraisers wrote back with suggestions or positive “it’s a” statements.

My comment: There was a fun email thread on this topic. To sign up for Dave Towne’s emails, send an email to dtowne@fidalgo.net He has been writing a lot recently about hybrid appraisals (non-appraiser does the site inspection). Very controversial. I am working on an article for this topic in the paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal, hybrid appraisals, statistics, Trumpish speculations, weird properties

11-22-17 Newz//Thanksgiving Thoughts For Appraisers

Thanksgiving Thoughts For Appraisers

My Comments: I wrote up my usual Thanksgiving comments about family, friends, etc. which is what we all think about at Thanksgiving time. But, yesterday I received this 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.

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.
Gray
Join Our Mailing List!!
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

11-16-17 Newz//:Value Of Additional Bedrooms, 13 Animal-Shaped Homes, Timber Towers

Architectural menagerie

13 animal-shaped buildings

Just For Fun!!
Excerpt: Novelty architecture can take on many fantastical forms – think municipal water towers done up like peaches and soft serve-shaped ice cream stands – but animal-shaped buildings are in a league of their own.

Often built as roadside attractions meant to lure motorists off the highway, these completely functional structures serve a greater purpose than just kitschy ornamentation. Some are truly mimetic – that is, the building is representative of its original purpose be it a poultry shop, seafood restaurant or woolen clothing boutique. Others are more symbolic, which is probably a good thing.

Here are a few:
– Big Sheep Wool Gallery – New Zealand
– Turtle Building – Niagara Falls
– Crocodile Hotel – Australia

Good fotos and write-ups at:

Why Timber Towers Are On the Rise in France

Excerpt: Spurred by concerns over climate change and the negative impacts of concrete manufacturing, architects and developers in France are increasingly turning to wood for their office towers and apartment complexes.

Concrete was praised through much of the 20th century for its flexibility, functionality, and relative affordability. In France, the material ushered in an era of bold modernist architecture including housing by Auguste Perret and Le Corbusier. Today, however, wood is lauded for its smaller environmental footprint and the speed with which buildings can be assembled.

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal how to, bad appraisers, Mortgage applications, mortgage loan volume, statistics, unusual home, weird homes, weird properties

11-9-17 Newz// Spite Homes, Appraiser Coalitions, Mortgages and Property Taxes

9 Unique Spite Houses

Excerpt:
Here are a few:
Tyler-Spite House – Frederick, Maryland
Montlake Spite House – Seattle
Equality House – Topeka, Kansas
The Cake House – Gaylordsville, Connecticut

Thanks to long time subscriber, and old friend, John Regan for this Most Excellent Link!!
Get more info and read the fun intro and fotos at:

My comment: The first house on the post is here in Alameda – 10 ft. wide plus “pop outs” on second floor. I saw it a few years ago when it was listed. It had a reasonably good floor plan and was on a corner so it had good interior light. The writeup made me think about my neighbors from hell that I would like to put a giant something between us. Or, do something ugly or strange to my house ;>

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, Trumpish speculations, unusual homes, weird homes

11-2-17 Newz .Crazy Appraiser Stories, AirBnB and Value, 31 abandoned places

Crazy Appraiser Stories

Excerpt: I had a house where the 1st floor den was connected to the basement via spiral staircase. Wife did not want the appraiser to go down the spiral steps and said she would “show” room from the basement. Telephone rang, appraiser proceeded to the basement, opened the door and the room was full of whips, chains, and other erotica ala “50 Shades of Grey.” I said we would just call it a rec. room and shoot from the best angle to disguise the “toys”.
-Sharon Finnerty Cremen

My comment: I have heard this story a few times but never encountered it… Lots of other weirdness though, such as seeing the sky through a big hole in the ceiling, falling down backwards into a partially covered pond and destroying my camera, etc. Check out the Cat Photo and make up your own Cat Comments!! Here is mine: Those appraisers need to take more naps and Get A Life. I guess they do have a sense of humor occasionally though ;>

Check out the other stories and add your own to  the 26+ comments at:

Read more!!

Posted in: adjustments, appraisal business, appraisal how to, Mortgage applications, Strange homes, weird homes, weird properties

10-26-17 Newz//Haunted homes and Places, Liability Issues, Tax Savings

Haunted houses and places – Halloween is next Tuesday.

================================
Google Maps Listed The 31 Most Haunted Places In America And They Sound Terrifying
From cemeteries and churches to mansions and museums.
Here are a few:
13. Adam’s Street Cemetery – South Bend, Indiana
16. Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
26. The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
My comment: Photos, brief writeup and links. Most are east of Kansas. Only a few near me. Not sure what that means ;>
———————————————-
38 Real Haunted Houses and the Stories behind Them
Here are a few:
4. The White House, Washington DC
8. The Pirate’s House, Savannah, Georgia
10. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts
———————————-
Haunted House? Not a Deal Breaker for Many Homebuyers

Excerpt: According to the Haunted House Real Estate Survey realtor.com® released today, 33 percent of approximately 1,000 respondents said they are open to living in a haunted house, 25 percent might be, and 42 percent are not open to the idea.

About 40 percent of people who are open to a haunted home said they’d want to see that home price go down to put money down on it. Another 35 percent said it would have to be in a better neighborhood to make the move, 32 percent said they wanted extra footage and 29 percent said they’d move in if they had more bedrooms.

Only 8 percent of respondents said they require no additional perks to purchase a haunted home. Basically, they wouldn’t hesitate and would move right in.

What about if someone died in the house? Actually, 47 percent of those surveyed said they would live in a home where someone died, 27 percent said they might, and 26 percent said, “NO WAY.”

My comment: Very interesting results. What is the effect on value, if any. Up, down, none?? Maybe someone will pay me some big bucks sometime to figure it out…

—————————————–

From Ghost Hunters to Exorcists: Who You Gonna Call for a Haunted House?

Excerpt: Shortly after physical therapist Sally Morgan moved into her charming, late-19th-century cottage in Northampton, MA, she realized that she and her two pet corgis were not alone.

The price of the two-bedroom fixer-upper had seemed almost too good to be true. She soon discovered why she had gotten a bargain.

“Within a week, I started to feel a presence in the house. There were cold spots, and the dogs would stop and look at [invisible] things,” says Morgan, now 59. “In the shadows in the evenings, you’d think you saw a lady in a long dress. But was it her? Was it the curtains? Was it the shadows?”
My comment: Very interesting – who are you gonna call???
 
Search for haunted homes and places in your city. I found some in mine!! 

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal how to, mortgage loan volume, Strange homes, weird homes, weird properties

10-19-17 Newz// Appraisal Waivers, Crooked Houses, High-Low Home Prices

The Asymmetrical Charm of Crooked Houses

They’re like regular buildings, but with a twist.
Excerpt: THE BUILDINGS THAT OFTEN GET the most praise (one famed tower in Pisa not withstanding) are those that stand up straight, refuse to bend or bow over time. But those buildings are boring. The really compelling constructions are those buildings that, despite looking like they are slowly keeling over, continue to stand, and continue to be used.

Some whimsical tourist traps have been purpose-built at odd angles, but it’s the buildings that were never meant to lean that are far more fascinating. Whether due to construction errors, shifting ground, or just the accumulated weight of time, some buildings have become crooked masterpieces of architectural fortitude. Take a look at some of the most stunning crooked houses in the world.

My comment: Just For Fun!! Good fotos and descriptions.

Read more!!

Posted in: appraisal business, appraisal waivers, Collateral Underwriter, evaluations, Fannie, unusual home, unusual homes, USPAP

10-12-17 Newz//FHA-Appraisers responsible for water quality reporting?, Hybrid appraisal survey

New CU 4.2 makes it easier for lenders to change comp and subject data. MI companies can access CU

Excerpts: During the weekend of Dec. 9, we will implement Collateral Underwriter® (CU™) 4.2, (which includes) the ability to edit the subject and appraiser-provided comparable sales property characteristics. CU 4.2 will also provide mortgage insurers (MIs) with access to CU. Lenders will be able to give their MI risk partners access to appraisal-specific data by providing them the Doc File ID generated at the time of appraisal submission.

Comparable Sales Review Edit Feature
The ability to edit subject and appraiser-provided comparable sales property characteristics (currently available via the pencil icon in classic CU) will be added to the Comp Review page. Clicking on the pencil icon in the Edit column of the comparable sales review table will open the Edit Property Characteristic pop-up. If there are data errors or missing data elements, the edit feature can be used to modify the data elements and rerun the model with the revised data.
Click here to read the full release
My comment: Lenders have been able to change subject and comp data and now it will be easier? I didn’t know that they are able to change the data now. MI companies have access to CU? What about appraisers?

Read more!!

Posted in: Collateral Underwriter, CU, data, evaluations, FHA, lender appraisals, Reviews, state appraiser regulators

10-5-17 Newz//Increasing home prices in disaster-prone areas. USPAP and Desktop Evaluations

Home Prices Rising Twice as Fast in U.S. Cities with Highest Natural Hazard Risk Than in Lowest-Risk Cities

 Homeowners in Highest-Risk Cities Have More Equity, Longer Homeownership Tenures
 Appreciation Slower in Florida and Louisiana Cities with Highest Flood Risk, Bucking Trend

Excerpt:
ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, recently released its 2017 U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index, which found that median home prices in U.S. cities in the 80th percentile for natural hazard risk (top 20 percent with highest risk) have increased more than twice as fast over the past five years and over the past 10 years than median home prices in U.S cities in the 20th percentile for natural hazard risk (bottom 20 percent with lowest risk).

Click here to see a Heat Map of all U.S counties – what does your look like? Search by type of disaster. Plus lots more analysis. Very interesting!!

My comment: Overall high risk counties are scattered all over the country. The article mentions strong economies and scenic locations. I live in Earthquake Country. When I first started appraising here, I was surprised that it did not matter. There is no discount even for being on a fault line. Why? Lots of people want to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The fault line closest to me (about 10 miles away) is on the top of hills with very good Bay views. There are 3 in the Midwest and east. The large New Madras earthquake fault area in the midwest is on the map as Moderate (last earthquake in the 1800s). Two other small areas in NC and PA are on the map.

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal business, Appraisal fees, commercial appraisal, evaluations, fees, Freddie, real estate market, USPAP

9-28-17 Newz//Fees up or down?, Credit easing, San Francisco Castle

Albion Castle – A 140 year old castle with underground caves hidden in San Francisco.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: When Bill Gilbert was growing up near Candlestick Park, all the kids said that Albion Castle was haunted. Gilbert himself wasn’t sure, but every time his parents took him to eat at the at the old Dago Mary’s restaurant across the street, he would look at the gates that front the 145-year-old stone structure and wonder. Little did he know that as an adult, he would own the keys to the castle (literally).
My comment: It was listed in 2009 for $2,950,000 (a very bad market). The six-story square tower has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,436 sq.ft. It sold for 11/2011 for $890,000 and has been rehabbed. It needed a lot of work!!
———————————————-
Info on the history and historic photos

My comment: It was listed in 2009 for $2,950,000 (a very bad market). The six-story square tower has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,436 sq.ft. It sold for 11/2011 for $890,000 and has been rehabbed. It needed a lot of work!!

Read more!!

Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, Fannie, lender appraisals, Mortgage applications, state appraiser regulators, Strange homes, unusual homes, weird homes
Page 5 of 35« First...34567...102030...Last »