Appraising Historical Homes

Historical Properties and Their Unique Appraisal Approaches

Excerpts: Appraising historical properties involves a complex interplay of factors, making it a specialized field within real estate valuation. This article provides an insight into the appraisal process of historical properties, emphasizing the role of market data, potential buyers, specialized databases, appraisal methods, and the significant impact of preservation restrictions.

The appraisal process begins with a thorough analysis of market data, focusing on sales of properties that share historical or antique characteristics. This comparative market analysis extends beyond standard parameters like size and location to include age, architectural style, and historical significance. The scarcity of historical properties often requires appraisers to expand their search to find comparable sales, both geographically and over longer time frames.

The distinction between a historic property with preservation restrictions and an old house without them is crucial in the appraisal process. Preservation restrictions, often governed by the National Register or local historical commissions, can add value by ensuring the property’s integrity. However, these restrictions may also limit modifications, potentially affecting the property’s market appeal.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: If you don’t want to appraise a historic property, be sure to check it out before accepting the assignment!

Worth reading. A good summary. I suspect that a company based in Boston, MA sees lots of historic homes!

For many years I appraised in the nearby city of Berkeley, CA. There were definitely adjustments for homes built by famous, widely known, architects. Fortunately, their names were listed in the MLS.

In my small city, there are a few homes by famous architects. One was sold about 20 years ago by a famous architect, Julia Morgan. She designed more than 700 buildings in California during a long and prolific career. She is best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. No effect on value. I was surprised. If it was in Berkeley, there would be a substantial adjustment.

Some cities have large historic buildings, such as the City Hall in my city, built in 1895, twenty years after the city charter in 1872. The Gold Rush in California started in 1848, which brought many people to Northern California.

But, in my city, there are many restrictions on what can be done with older homes, such as Victorians. For example, window replacements must replicate the original windows, plus some other restrictions on exterior modifications. Restrictions are from the city, the county, and the state. In my city of 78,000 population, there are over 10,000 buildings constructed prior to 1930, including many classic Victorians.

Many downtown mixed-use buildings (retail and apartments) are in my city. I appraised many of them, but never noticed any effect, plus or minus, for historic designation.

Knowing what modifications are allowed is very important for the appraiser. Many people don’t like them. You need to know the market. Sometimes buyers like them and sometimes not.

See how many historic homes and buildings are where you do appraisals and where you live. You may be surprised!



Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on appraiser fights back against bias accusation, ok behavior when taking Zoom CE classes, estate appraisal liability issues, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

How to Reduce Appraisal Revision Requests

How to Reduce Appraisal Revision Requests

By Clear Capital November 14, 2022


To cut down on appraisal revision requests, it is important to keep these best practices in mind:

Communicate in a timely manner

Address the request thoroughly and professionally. Add additional commentary where appropriate.

Ask questions. If you disagree with the request for appraisal submissions or have concerns or need clarification, please reach out for clarification.

1. Explain ‘How’, not ‘Why’ in the appraisal report

The most common frustrations arise when the appraiser focuses more on the type of adjustments made while the reader would look for the ‘how’ in the appraisal report. For example, if a positive or negative adjustment was applied in the report, the reader wants to know how the adjustment was determined.

“How did you determine that the subject comparable was inferior or superior in condition? Don’t leave the ‘how’ part out while applying adjustments. Be sure to address those questions; it will certainly help you in the long run.” says Ken Folven, Senior Director, Appraisal Quality Assurance at Clear Capital

2. Reduce lengthy commentary

In some cases, appraisers provide lengthy boilerplate commentary in an attempt to avoid a revision request. This strategy often backfires because parties involved in the lending process cannot find the specific information they are looking for in the report. Inconsistent commentary can result in common requests for revision.

Prior to submission, read the letter of engagement in detail, which highlights the customer-specific information, and make sure to include all required information in your report. Organize your commentary and explain your comparable selection process briefly.

“I always recommend organizing commentary by adjustment rather than by comparable and make it a habit to review the pre-delivery rules,” says Khan.

Derek Mitchell, a California-based Senior Appraiser at Clear Capital, has a different approach: “I use a lot of characteristic-based comments as opposed to comparable-based comments because it cuts down on the amount of writing that I have to do and the amount of reading the reviewer has to do,” Mitchell says. “It tends to get redundant when you’re just talking about different comparables but the same characteristics.”

In addition, staying up-to-date with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and GSE guidelines and industry requirements also goes a long way in drafting error-free reports that would otherwise create unnecessary revision requests.

To read more, click here

My comments: Good practical tips. We all hate revisions unless maybe it was because we forgot to put the value in. I did this sometimes in appraisals for a local bank ;> Your clients hate them also. They take appraisers too much time and can sometimes make you very upset, which interrupts your workflow.

What Causes Appraisal Revisions?

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on retirement, classes, adjustments, real estate market, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

Read more!!

NAR: Appraisal License Equivalency Credit for RE Agents?

NAR Urges Appraisal Foundation To Establish Equivalency Credit for Education and Experience

Excerpts: The AQB previously considered the option of allowing parallel professional non-appraisal experience. In a July 9, 2015, Concept Paper – Alternate Track to the Experience Requirements in the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria, the AQB asked: “Are there practical alternatives for some (or all) of the appraisal experience requirements to include non-appraisal experience?”

The National Association of REALTORS® believes there are alternatives to some of the experience requirements that the AQB should consider.

NAR sent a letter to the Appraisal urging the Appraisal Foundation (TAF) to review the experience and education of workers in parallel professions and consider it for potential credit to satisfy the accreditation requirements of appraiser licensing.

Excerpts from the letter:

… including, but not limited to, experience in real estate market analysis and real estate brokerage, including:

• Evaluating and pricing residential real estate

• Counseling buyers, sellers, owners, and tenants on inspections and remediations, improvements, and the appraisal process

• Counseling buyers, sellers, owners, and tenants about listing and offering prices, and market rent

• Completing broker price opinions and Competitive Market Analyses

• Completing Evaluations in compliance with the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines

• Compliance with Fair Housing laws, rules, and regulations

• Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

To read the letter (PDF), click here

My comments: Real estate agents and brokers are salespersons. They provide CMAs, etc., which can relate to valuation. I don’t know if Realtors can be re-trained to see value rather than price. I speak with a lot of Realtors and many are not oriented the same as appraisers.

Over the years, I observed that successful real estate agents seldom switched to the much less profitable appraisal side. Persons who started in sales but were not very good sometimes went into appraising.

On the other side, appraisal provides excellent experience for real estate agents. I know some successful agents who were trained as appraisers and appraised for awhile. There are also agents/brokers who are licensed appraisers and do both. Appraisers with real estate sales experience know real estate from the “inside” by interacting with buyers and sellers. Appraisers are real estate reporters.

Does NAR want to allow some appraisal experience and education instead of 100% sales experience and more than one appraisal class for a broker’s license? What about a salesperson license?

I have been a licensed real estate broker since 1986. I got it mostly for MLS access and have only done one sale, representing the buyer. At that time, no sales experience was required for a broker’s license, only a 4-year degree. I am familiar with the current experience requirements for a broker’s license. Can appraisal experience count for some of these experience requirements? It should go both ways.

NAR Appraisal Survey 2022

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on George Harrison passed, Appraisal business, marketingunusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

Neighborhood Boundaries for Appraisals

Gentrification, neighborhood boundaries, and bias

By Ryan Lundquist 

Excerpts: Photo used with permission (thanks, Vicky).

Sometimes, crossing the street can make all the difference for value. In short, if we don’t understand where a neighborhood starts and ends, we might choose the wrong comps.

Q&A #3 How do we know neighborhood boundaries?

Okay, this is a big question, and it could easily be a dissertation. For starters, let’s consider what Fannie Mae says about neighborhoods:

Fannie Mae: “The appraiser should provide an outline of the neighborhood boundaries, which should be clearly delineated using ‘North,’ ‘South’, ‘East,’ and ‘West’. These boundaries may include but are not limited to streets, legally recognized neighborhood boundaries, waterways, or other natural boundaries that define the separation of one neighborhood from another. Appraisers should not reference a map or other addendum as the only example of the neighborhood boundaries.”

Other thoughts (mine): I think sometimes we focus only on major streets, but let’s also consider school boundaries and even how neighborhood associations or city websites define areas. But also, where would residents themselves draw the lines? And where would buyers be hunting for a home before shopping somewhere else? All these things could be clues.

To read more and see lots of maps and graphs, click here

My comments: Excellent analysis of specific neighborhood boundaries with maps and graphs, of course. Worth reading. The Jan. and Feb issues of the monthly Appraisal Today has this article: Does my neighborhood really need to be analyzed? Parts I II By Tim Andersen, MAI. The best neighborhood explanations I have ever read!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, ANSI, bias, smells, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

2021 Appraiser Fee Survey

2021 Appraiser Fee Survey

By Isaac Peck
Excerpt: The 2021 Appraiser Fee Survey includes 365 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), as defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, with rural areas included by state. The survey includes eight different appraisal products, including reviews and FHA appraisals, and addresses turn times, to offer insight into that controversial topic by area.
To check out the very detailed report for your MSA, click here
My comments: Lots of info by MSA! I got this info Wednesday and did not have time to look at it in detail.
Raise Your Fees, especially if working for AMCs!! Before AMC broadcast bids looking for the lowest fee, appraisal fees did not change much when volume changed. Since 1986 direct lender fees went up gradually. In my area, fees were about $250 in 1986 for SFR. Now fees have gone up to about $450 – $550 for regular long-time lender clients (and local AMCs). National AMCs are not loyal. Direct lenders can be loyal.
Fascinating and very comprehensive results by state and MSAs. I hear a lot about lenders and borrowers complaining about high appraisal fees. But in my area fees are not that high per the survey. I hear regularly about desperate AMCs who will pay $1,000 or more for appraisals. Appraisers are deluged with AMC appraisal requests, which are often deleted unopened of course. I also hear that sometimes the fee to the appraiser is much lower than the AMC fee.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, bias, fees, non-lender appraisals, UAD, Fannie Update, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

7 Things to Watch in your Appraisal Market

Seven things to watch in real estate during a pandemic

April 14, 2020 By Ryan Lundquist


1) Listings: We often think about listings increasing as a way to see the market changing, but right now many markets across the country are seeing fewer new listings. So at times change is best seen with less of something rather than more. It’s not a surprise to see fewer new properties during a pandemic, right?…

7) Prices: In real estate we are so obsessed with prices, but that’s really the last place to look to see the market. What I mean is change happens first in the areas above before showing up in sales stats a couple months down the road. In short, for now the slower pandemic trend hasn’t infiltrated sales price figures as of yet in Sacramento. This doesn’t mean the market is stable in every price range and location. All I’m saying is regional and county stats don’t show price declines right now. Normally I pull monthly price data, but I’ve switched to weekly in order to see the trend sooner rather than later.

To see the other 4 factors plus lotsa graphs and many appraiser comments , click here

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Pandemic and market for buyers and sellers: Appraisals(Opens in a new browser tab)

Very, very funny appraisal video!!(Opens in a new browser tab)

To read about lots more appraisal topics, continue reading below!

Read more!!

Appraising the White House

18 Historic Homes that Would Be Fascinating to Appraise

Excerpt: Historic homes make for complex and interesting appraisal subjects. As one appraiser said, “I love unusual properties, and the challenge they present to appraise. I have always loved appraising large, older properties. They take us back to another world back in time.” We recently asked our appraisal community, “What famous historic home would you want to appraise?” Here’s what they said.
A few of the homes:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
The White House
Norman Bates “Psycho” House
To read the full list plus many comments click here
My comment: For me, none of the above ;> Too difficult!

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

News: 1004MC not required by Fannie

Bye-bye 1004MC, Hello Analysis

By Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS
Excerpt: What does this mean to the residential practitioner operating in the mortgage space? It means that the requirement for analyzing the market remains, and it is now up to the practitioner to support their opinion, without the benefit of a flawed format. Appraisers can now choose how they present their analysis, which may include multiple sources to support an opinion. Fannie Mae is clear that the one-unit housing trends section should reflect properties that are directly competitive with the property being appraised. The following information relates to several different ways to support trends, but is not an exhaustive list.

Read the full article here:

My comment: FHA and VA still require 1004mc, plus some lenders and AMCs. Freddie is expected to drop the requirement.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

To read more of this 8-16-20 long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!


Read more!!

4-20-17 Newz//Ocwen Sued, ASA+NAIFA, Dog Mansions, Real Estate Holdout

Take Pet Pampering to the Next Level with These Fabulous Dog Houses

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Dog owners are infamous for providing their furry ones with a better lifestyle than their own. For instance, you might recall the time Paris Hilton had a replica of her mansion done for her pet Chihuahua.
We don’t need to go there, but there are definitely plenty of crazy options in the market. Who knows, one of them might catch your fancy.
Check out Mediterranean Villa, Victorian and 2 Mansions.

My comment: check out the fotos!! Wonder what my cat would think about these Dog Houses? I need a Big Cat House, way up high on a pedestal, with mice ;>


Pets and Homebuying – Animals are family members

2017 NAR survey
Among pet-owning homeowners who responded to NAR’s survey, 99 percent said they did indeed view their animals as a family member… Eighty-nine percent said they would not give up their pet in deference to housing restrictions or limitations. Nineteen percent said they would consider moving to accommodate their pet, and 12 percent said they have actually done so.

Read more!!

8-25-16 Newz://What are C&R fees when fees are changing?, 8 colorful cities, Flooded appraiser donations

Donation Fundraising for Louisiana Appraisers

Thanks (again) to Dave Towne for this info!!


The Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Coalition (LAREAC) has started a fund raising campaign using PayPal, which will be used to equally provide donated funds to affected appraisers who are suffering as a result of the massive flooding last weekend. PayPal is being used because its administrative fee is less than another more-well-known crowd funding web site.

There are approximately 8-10 presently known appraisers who have had their homes nearly destroyed in the flood.

My comment: last week I wrote about donations to Bill Cobb, whose house was flooded. It is great that this donation method is done also.


8 Colorful Cities that Look Like They Were Designed by Crayola

See the world in a whole new light through these vibrant locales.

Just for Fun!!!


Many cities are known for their distinctive profiles and unique landmarks, but all across the globe there are regions that are landmarks in and of themselves thanks to their insane colorations. From a all-blue town in Spain that is a leftover from a Smurf marketing stunt, to a Venetian island that looks as though it was born of an intense acid trip, some of the most colorful locations in the world aren’t the biggest, just the most eye-popping. Check out eight cities and towns that offer vibrantly colorful views which are just as unforgettable as any big city skyline.

My comment: None are in the U.S. Too conservative I guess…

Great article with lots of photos and comments!!

Read more!!