Newz// Giant turtle home, Revised FHA 4000.1, Bad AMCs

The Most Unusual Homes Available Right Now, for sale or for rent, From A Luxury Cave To A Giant Turtle

Excerpt:

Good investment or not, wacky homes sure are fun to look at and can be rewarding to owners in ways more profound than money (more on that below). So we went in search of some of the most interesting homes available today. We found a house shaped like an onion, an Irish castle and a home meant to look like a fishing reel.

My comment: Just For Fun!! I wanna rent one of the vacation rentals. The Turtle House in Egypt is only $54 to $96 per night!! And you thought some of the weirdo homes you appraised were strange… take a look at these! And, of course, Ace Appraiser Jonathan Miller is mentioned in the first paragraph ;>

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2016/09/23/from-gold-mines-to-torpedo-testing-plants-the-most-unusual-homes-available-right-now/

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What is your current appraisal turn time (order receipt to submission)?

www.appraisalport.com poll

 

 

My comment: I wonder how many are over 2 weeks? 8 weeks?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com !!

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Viginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals (VaCap) Open Letter to AMCs

A few weeks ago, Virginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals (VaCAP) sent out an open letter to the AMCs. This letter was republished by many coalitions, and appraiser groups across the country; liked and shared on Facebook and broadcast on several industry blogs. VaCAP received an overwhelmingly positive response from the letter. We even heard from several Realtors applauding our efforts! Activity is still ongoing with comments! Click here to read the letter and comments!

We heard you loud and clear…

The letter can now be signed by individual appraiser here on AppraisersBlogs. We will gather signatures and submit the signed letter to the FDIC, CFPB, Comptroller of the Currency and our Federal Reserve Board.

Note: To protect the appraiser identity from retaliation, only the initial of your last name and state will show on line. The copies sent to the FDIC, CFPB, Comptroller of the Currency and our Federal Reserve Board will have your full name.

Excerpt of a few points on the list:

  • – The use of an AMC has decreased the income of the appraiser, thereby harming local economies.
  • – The use of an AMC has increased the turn time for the delivery of the appraisal.
  • – AMCs operate on a fast and cheap model which has deteriorated the quality of appraisals
  • – AMCs have caused undue stress on the appraiser by demanding constant updates
  • – AMCs hire unqualified employees that lack comprehension of the appraisal process.

My comment: I usually don’t put in links to negative blog posts, but this seems to hit all the AMC issues, plus has something you can do. AMCs have been around since the 1960s but were never like this before. It is definitely a Big Mess and bad for the consumer (higher appraisal fees, delays in getting loans, etc.) Of course, they are doing what their lender clients want, but their methods are not good. There are some AMCs that are okay. Some appraisers have found a few they work for. Note: There is an ad in the middle of the post.

http://appraisersblogs.com/appraisers-sign-vacap-amc-letter/

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In the October 2016 issue of Appraisal Today

Fees are going way up!! How to get higher appraisal fees during this boom time!! By Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, PDQ and Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS . Lots and lots of practical tips.

Excerpt from the article:

How many appraisers are raising their fees?

I have been telling appraisers to raise their fees since early 2015. Below are two results of

appraisalport weekly polls.

Results from an April 2015 AppraisalPort weekly poll

Question: How long has it been since the last time you actually raised your fees?

  • 1 year 17%
  • 2-3 years 18%
  • 4-6 years 18%
  • 7+ years 26%
  • I can’t remember – I normally just accept the fee my client offers. 21%

Back in April 2015 not many appraisers were raising their fees.

In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment changed?

Results from Appraisalport September 2016 poll.

  • Decreased 3
  • Stayed about the same 42
  • Increased by less than $50 27%
  • Increased by less than $100 18%
  • Increased by more than $100 11%

More appraisers are raising their fees in 9/16, but 45% have not still raised their fees! A few years ago I raised my non-lender fees to close to what borrowers pay. Why do appraisers keep working for low fees when they are so busy that they can’t take any more work? Or, they are not super busy, but want to get higher fees? Fear of never getting any more work. This is common to almost every business person, including myself. But it is not good when it keeps you from making more money, as it always does.

To read the full article with lots more data and practical tips for getting higher fees, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)

or $99 per year or $169 for two years

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters

plus 4 Special Reports, plus 2 Appraiser Marketing Books!!

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products   or call 800-839-0227.

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17 Things Appraisers Should Do Before Hiring an AMC Client

October 4th, 2016 9:54 AM

Here are two of them:

7. Google the AMC’s name and see what comes up. This might seem obvious, but some AMCs have been in the news for lawsuits related to unfavorable treatment of appraisers. You do not want to waste your time vetting an AMC that has a bad reputation. Even if no lawsuits come up, a quick Google search could result in a feel for the company and let you know if this is a company you want to work for. Remember that homeowners might think you work for this AMC when you show up to do the appraisal. Is this a company that you are okay with if homeowners get confused and think you work for them?

17. Check the AMC’s data protection policy and ask what steps have been taken to keep your private information safe. Also ask if the AMC has ever had any data breaches and if so, determine what systems have been put into place to ensure that data breaches do not happen again. Does the AMC have a policy that requires them to alert appraisers if they believe a data breach was possible?

Click here for the full Most Excellent List!!

www.aqualityappraisal.com.blog

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AMC Notes from Appraiserville by Jonathan Miller

Excerpts:

There was a CNBC article this week by Diana Olick that caused an uproar in the appraisal industry: ‘Massive’ shortage of appraisers causing home sales delays. Besides the incorrect inference of the title, the article was centered around Brian Coester, CEO of the Maryland-based CoesterVMS, currently one of the most controversial personalities in the appraisal management industry…

So I spoke with Diana Olick about the article this morning. I’ve known her for a long time and read all her stuff. She clearly did not realize what CoesterVMS represents to the appraisal industry but learned this from the outpouring of negative comments on the article by outraged appraisers. She understands now. How great is it that appraisers are getting out there and speaking their mind!

I told her that Coester is a notorious AMC in the middle of a big lawsuit that the entire appraisal industry is following. The shortage of appraisers is a myth being perpetuated by AMCS like Coester since their model only works if they pay appraisers a third to half the market rate for appraisal services.

My comment: I definitely think the current AMC model is broken, from the consumer, lender, appraisal and appraiser sides. I don’t really understand how it got so bad. I started writing in my paid newsletter about AMCs in the early 1990s. AMCs started in the were never like this before. Mostly they just paid lower fees. None had really low fees, scope creep, harassing and demeaning appraisers, etc.

To read more, Scroll down the page to Appraiserville

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/september-30-2016

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Miller was on a recent Voice of Appraisal radio interview with Phil Crawford.

Miller’s interview starts at -25:09 or 17:20 (download) 43:31 minutes total

http://www.voiceofappraisal.com/podcasts Episode 123

My comment: In last week’s email newsletter I said that the 2016 peak is almost up to the 2013 peak. In 2013 no one was complaining about high fees and turn times. In their discussion Miller said it was different because of CU/Scope Creep. He also said that business had been very slow between 2008 and 2012 and appraisers were glad for work. Appraiser attitudes about working for AMCs is much, much worse now. Good comments…Very few appraiser complaints about direct lenders and non-lender work.

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Revised FHA handbook

Thanks to Dave Towne for this info!

HUD/FHA recently updated and revised the 4000.1 Handbook…..actually on June 30, 2016………..but notice about this was sent out Friday, Sept. 30.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/handbook_4000-1

When the page opens, scroll down the page and you’ll see two entries on the left regarding the Handbook. If you open the PDF link, and let it load…it will actually show you the changes made to the appraisal section (and others).

Note….the handbook is 1000+ pages, but only about 40 or so apply to appraisals.

Note that the revised handbook has ‘moved’ the Appraiser and Property Requirements section to II D, from its former position in B.

Buried in the revision is new info on how to account for specific named ‘appliances’ in a home you are appraising. See II D 3e.

It’s going to take someone with more time (than I have now) and expertise to determine what exactly HUD changed in the reporting requirements about “appliances that remain and contribute to value.” One needs to read the former 4000.1 Handbook and compare that to this revised edition to fully understand the implications of what HUD wants reported.

You will want to compare the attic observation requirement also. Revision 4000.1 has this in II D 3k.

Crawl space observation is in II D 3m.

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HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to https://www.mba.org

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/productsor send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 5, 2016)

Mortgage applications increased 2.9 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 30, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.2 percent compared with the previous week and was 14 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.8 percent of total applications from 62.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 4.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.0 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.62 percent, the lowest level since July 2016, from 3.66 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (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 $417,000) decreased to 3.60 percent from 3.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.28 (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 3.50 percent from 3.52 percent, with points decreasing to 0.16 from 0.21 (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 2.93 percent from 2.95 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.38 (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 remained unchanged at 2.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.

9-22-16 Newz: Appraisers in the news, Coester lawsuit, Miniature homes

The Revolutionary Concept of Standard Sizes Only Dates to the 1920s

Nearly everything in your home is a certain size, thanks to German architect Ernst Neufert.

Excerpt: Almost every kitchen counter in the United States is 36 inches tall. And 25 inches deep. Eighteen inches above the counters are the cabinets, which are 16 inches deep.

Where do these sizes and dimensions come from? Have they always been so exact?

Building standards, as these numbers and rules are often known, are everywhere, helping shape everything from your kitchen cabinets and the sidewalk in front of your house to the layout of your favorite restaurant. Despite their prevalence, building standards really only came into being in the last century. A major turning point in their wild proliferation arrived in the 1920s, when the German government made the then-radical decision to standardize the size of office paper.

My comment: Fascinating!! Lots more info and images at the link below.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-revolutionary-concept-of-standard-sizes-only-dates-to-the-1920s

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What does the CU interface look like to underwriters?
Below are links to see. Here’s a tidbit – 50% of appraisals have no or 1 messages.
Learn More About Collateral Underwriter’s Powerful Features and New Look

Do you have questions about using Collateral Underwriter® (CU™)? Register to attend the upcomingAsk the Expert webinar on September 27, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Additional webinars and eLearning courses are available on the CU web page.

Have you heard about CU’s easier-to-use design and layout coming later this year? Check out the preview. You can also view the new CU infographic for an overview of CU’s powerful features. CU gives you the feedback you need, when you need it, with a CU risk score, alerts, and messages provided real-time in the Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®). For all the latest news and resources, visit the CU web page.

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Scheer Motion to Dismiss Coester vs Scheer Lawsuit

Excerpt: More CVMS Fraud and Coester’s Fraudulent Activities Revealed

Robert Scheer, former Coester Senior VP, has filed a motion to dismiss Coester vs. Scheer lawsuit. There are also whispers in the appraisal community that Brian Coester’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit against him was denied. Looks like Scheer vs. Coester lawsuit is going to trial. Scheer continues to reveal more dirt against Coester while appraisers continue to flood social media with comments, and sometimes with humorous reactions…

This article includes the motion to dismiss.

http://appraisersblogs.com/cvms-fraud-coester–scheer

Previous post on this topic: Coester Allegedly Engaged in Fraud Sued by Former Senior VP

http://appraisersblogs.com/Coester-VMS-lawsuit-fraud-forgery

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Dollhouse Real-Estate: Inside the Elite Market for Miniature Homes

Priced as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars, these elaborate dollhouses count sex therapist Ruth Westheimer and a member of Qatar’s royal family as collectors

Excerpt: This Victorian-style home features four bedrooms, one bathroom and ornate period details like a clawfoot bathtub, crystal chandeliers and mahogany fireplaces. It is currently on the market, fully furnished, for $149,000. Since the home is roughly 18 square feet, the price comes to about $8,278 per square foot.

http://www.mansionglobal.com/articles/39456-dollhouse-real-estate-inside-the-elite-market-for-miniature-homes

My comment: Thanks to Jonathan Miller for this Fun Link!!

Doll houses will never be the same for me ;>

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Coming in the October 2016 issue of Appraisal Today

How to get higher appraisal fees !!!

 Topics include:

  • Why AMC fees started going up last year.
  • Comparison of AMCs, direct lenders and non-lender fees. Why they are very different.
  • How to find out what AMCs are say they are paying and what appraisers are really getting.
  • Lots of fee negotiating tips

 Not just a lot of ranting. Practical advice on how to successfully make more money during this Boom that will not last forever.

To read the full article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)

or $99 per year or $169 for two years

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters plus 4 Special Reports, plus 2 Appraiser Marketing Books!!

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/productsor call 800-839-0227.

 If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the September 2016 issue, emailed September 1, 2016, 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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APPRAISERS IN THE NEWS. THE ARTICLES BELOW ARE ABOUT FEES, TURN TIMES, APPRAISER SHORTAGE, ETC. THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR LENDERS, REAL ESTATE AGENTS, HOME OWNERS, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC. All allow comments, which can be very interesting!!

5 things to consider about higher appraisal fees and longer turn-times By Ryan Lundquist. Written for real estate agents and home owners

Excerpt: 4) Not Getting All the Money: A loan officer I spoke with was frustrated that his Borrowers were paying $550 for conventional appraisals and $750 for jumbo appraisals – and still experiencing longer turn-times. When he told me the Appraisal Management Company (AMC) he uses though, that’s where the problem comes in. This AMC regularly pays appraisers $350, which means they’re pocketing 40% of the fee the Borrower thinks is going to the appraiser. A few days ago on Facebook there was an appraiser who had an offer from an AMC to appraise a property for $850, but the AMC was charging the Borrower $1,385. Let’s remember appraisers are supposed to be paid “customary and reasonable” fees under Dodd-Frank, but a reasonable fee is what the appraiser gets – NOT what the Borrower pays.

My comments: Well written – for real estate agents and home owners, but has good explanations for everyone. (Ryan’s blog is primarily marketing for his appraisal business.) This article also discusses the decline in the number of appraisers in California, with data, but is relevant for many other states.

http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2016/09/20/5-things-to-consider-about-higher-appraisal-fees-and-longer-turn-times

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Appraiser Shortage? By Greg Stephens, SRA, MetroWest AMC

Reprinted from a June 2016 mortgage magazine. Written for lenders.

Excerpt: A topic very relevant to mortgage professionals has been receiving increasing attention lately-the question whether there is or is not a shortage of appraisers? Regulators, as well as market participants, have been weighing in, and depending upon who you talk to, the answers vary. The problem so far is that most of the discussion has been anecdotal.

What also needs to be included in stakeholder discussions on the topic is the status of future appraisers in the pipeline to replace the aging population of practicing appraisers.

To answer the question-not only whether there is a current shortage, but also if there is the potential for a shortage either in the near future (three to five years) or perhaps even longer, I conducted some in-depth research to glean as much factual information as possible.

My comments: This article has some good data on declines in number of trainees, problems with ASC data,lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own, etc. Written for mortgage lender publication. Of course, it does not discuss low fees, scope creep, and treating appraisers “poorly” as a reason for the shortage of appraisers willing to work for many, or all, AMCs.

http://www.nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news/60306/appraisal-industry-update

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Need an appraisal right away? It may cost more than you’d expect. By Ken Harney. Written for the general public. Syndicated in national newspapers.

Excerpt: The problem is part work overload, part resentment over fees. In many markets, diminishing numbers of experienced appraisers are available – and willing – to handle requests for their work on tight timetables and at fees sometimes lower than they earned a decade or more ago.

The net result: The system is getting gummed up. …. A recent survey of agents by the National Association of Realtors found that appraisal problems were connected with 27 percent of delayed closings, up from 16 percent earlier this year.

In some cases, panicked lenders and management companies are offering appraisers fat bonuses and “rush fees” to meet deadlines. The extra charges can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, turning $500 appraisals into $1,200 or $1,500 expenses, which typically get paid by home buyers.

My comment: Harney has been a nationally syndicated real estate columnist for a long time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/need-an-appraisal-right-away-it-may-cost-more-than-youd-expect/2016/09/12/5ce8fa98-790c-11e6-bd86-b7bbd53d2b5d_story.htm

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HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to https://www.mba.org

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/productsor send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 21, 2016)

Mortgage applications decreased 7.3 percent from one week earlier,

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 16, 2016. The prior week’s results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 8 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since June 2016. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 15 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.1 percent of total applications from 62.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 4.4 percent of total applications.

 

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.2 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.6 percent from 12.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to its highest level since June 2016, 3.70 percent, from 3.67 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to 3.69 percent from 3.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.56 percent from 3.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.99 percent from 2.97 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.96 percent from 2.87 percent, with points

decreasing to 0.26 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased 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.

9-8-16 Newz// Increasing fees, Flawed FEMA maps, Loan apps way up

How many appraisers are increasing their fees?

Poll: In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment? www.appraisalport.com

 

 

 

 

My comment: Good news that the majority of responses were for increased fees. But, less than $50 annual increase is low. If you work for AMCs, your fees will drop when business slows down, assuming you are not getting very low fees now. If you don’t ask for higher fees now, or drop AMCs that insist on low fees, you are losing lots of money. I keep increasing my fees by $50 every 3-4 months and am still below other local appraisers’ fees. Remember, there is little or no AMC “loyalty” to appraisers. They will not remember you when business slows down and you really need work.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AND READ OTHER COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com

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McMansion Hell in Roseville CA

Just for Fun!!

Excerpt: Nothing in this world is a better metaphor for what politicians and marketers like to call “The American Dream” than the Californian tract house. Imagine – you too, could have your own sloppily put together plot of land on a nice street lined with other sloppily put together plots of land.

But you, of course, want your sloppily put together plot of land to be different from the sloppily put together plots of land of your peers. Now, your houses may have been built at the same time with the same plan by the same builder, but damn are you not determined to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Finally, after the nth hour of HGTV, it dawns on you: the windows.

http://www.mcmansionhell.com/post/149807609446/roseville-ca

My comment: check out other interesting stuff on this web site. I didn’t even know there were any McMansions in Roseville!!

Read more!!

8-11-16 Newz//How to fix the appraiser shortage now, Photo blurring, Gold medal for town planning in 1936 Olympics

America’s First Medal at the Nazi Olympics Was For…Town Planning

Excerpt: Yes, from 1928 until 1948, town planning was an actual Olympic sport.

Town planning fell under an “architectural design” category at the Olympic art competition. The field that year was dominated by German entries. Yet the first U.S. medal of the Olympics went to Lay, a New York architect, for his ambitious blueprint to modernize Marine Park in Brooklyn.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/americas-first-medal-at-the-nazi-olympics-was-fortown-planning

My comment: I love these Obscure Olympic Facts ;>

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Photo blurring gone waay overboard!!

Excerpt: At issue was the ubiquitous “client requirement” involving digital masking of people from images. While lenders and AMCs wave the Fair Housing penalty flag in order to assure compliance; there is NO such law. Never has been.

Lenders need to re-examine the reason for all of these pointless and invasive interior shots. They add nothing meaningful to the file. Nobody is laying out mortgages for Beanie Baby collections and bad drapes. So why are appraisers wasting megapixels on decorating images?

AMCs are on notice to cease demanding and insisting that appraisers do digital staging. That is clearly in violation of Illinois law.

Click here to read the full article plus the comments, of course…

http://appraisersblogs.com/digital-staging-amc-fair-housing-myth

My comment: Blurring interior pictures on walls, personal objects, etc. seems very excessive. Don’t know about rooms with strange devices and chains hanging from walls and ceilings, etc ;> Maybe appraisers will only be able to appraise vacant homes with nothing in them without getting requests for blurring. This applies only to AMCs doing business in Illinois, but maybe the AMCs will quit doing it in other states.

Read more!!

7-21-16 Newz//Bracketing-AMC staff appraisers-Appraiserville

8 Spooky New York Places That Should Be in the New Ghostbusters Movie

There’s something strange in these neighborhoods.

Excerpt: Here is one, but you gotta see the photos and the other 7!!

The Morris-Jumel Mansion

On a hill overlooking the Harlem River, the stately Morris-Jumel mansion is not only Manhattan’s oldest home but supposedly one of its most haunted. Its macabre history started after owner Stephen Jumel died in 1832. His wife Eliza was rumored to have had a hand in the death-there was some suspicion afoot that she orchestrated the carriage accident that killed him….

Take a break from typing appraisal reports and check it out!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/8-spooky-new-york-places-that-should-be-in-the-new-ghostbusters-movie

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The Shrinking of the American Lawn

As houses have gotten bigger, yard sizes have receded. What gives?

Excerpts:

The American house is growing. These days, the average new home encompasses 2,500 square feet, about 50 percent more area than the average house in the late 1970s, according to Census data. Compared to the typical house of 40 years ago, today’s likely has another bathroom and an extra bedroom, making it about the same size as the Brady Bunch house, which famously fit two families.

This expansion has come at a cost: the American lawn.

As homes have grown larger, the lots they’re built on have actually gotten smaller-average area is down 13 percent since 1978, to 0.19 acres. That might not seem like a lot, but after adjusting for houses’ bigger footprints, it appears the median yard has shrunk by more than 26 percent, and now stands at just 0.14 acres. The actual value lies somewhere between those two numbers, since a house’s square footage could include a second (or third) floor. Either way, it’s a substantial reduction.

Read the full story at: Very interesting!!

http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/07/the-shrinking-of-the-american-lawn/490157/

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There Go My Brackets

From the Illinois Appraiser June 2016

Excerpt:

Is it a USPAP violation to fail to bracket or end up with a tight bracket?

Read more!!

5-19-16 Newz: Fannie CU 3.2 – Inflated appraisals – Professional attire

5 of the oldest homes in the country (listings) Video

Worth waiting for the commercial to end. Very short video. All were built before George Washington was born, back to the 16th century.

http://www.realtor.com/videos/video-time-travel-through-five-of-the-oldest-homes-in-the-u-s-/17cbb54f-71b3-4170-a8af-17864c820fde?playlist_id=ec2ed8e8-16a1-46f8-a91e-c6753b0417e0

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Professional attire for appraisers from Dave Towne, of course…

Recommended new attire to please all AMC’s who demand that ‘we’ dress professionally.

But this actually looks best with white shorts and silver edged flip flops!


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5-5-16 Newz .Using listings .CU update .Low inventory and stats

Collateral Underwriter Update from Fannie Mae

Source: Appraisal Buzz

Excerpt:

The Buzz staff recently asked Zach Dawson, Director of Collateral Policy and Strategy, Fannie Mae, to provide appraisers with an update on the development of Collateral Underwriter.

A few of the questions:

– Buzz: Can you bring us up to date on CU? What have you learned from this data initiative?

– Buzz: Can you tell us more about AQM and the objectives of that project?

– Buzz: How many appraisers does Fannie Mae refuse to accept appraisals from?

https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/collateral-underwriter-update/

My comment: Definitely hits the Hot Topics!! Nothing much new, but good to directly from Fannie Mae, in writing…

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Can Living Near a Starbucks Boost Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

It seems that being close to a Starbucks does have a marked effect on home values, particularly in the East, according to a Zillow report.

Between 1997 and 2014, homes within walking distance, or one-quarter mile, of a Starbucks appreciated 96 percent. Compared to the national average for the same time period, 65 percent, it seems having a barista close by is a smart real estate move.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2015/08/19/starbucks-boost-home-values/#4084f9eb2c70

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Does a new Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in Your Neighborhood Increase Your Home Value?

Excerpt:

A 2015 study by the real estate information company RealtyTrac analyzed this trend. The study included 4 million homes located in a ZIP code with either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s location, finding that average property values in a ZIP code with Trader Joe’s appreciated by about 40 percent since they were purchased, while homes with a Whole Foods in the ZIP code appreciated by nearly 34 percent, which matches the national average increase according to the survey.

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/does-the-new-whole-foods-in-your-neighborhood-increase-your-home-value

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Do you still enjoy appraising after all the new rules?

Poll: Now that we have been living for some time with all the new rules governing residential appraisal, do you still enjoy doing the actual appraisal work?
www.appraisalport.com

My comments: Hmmm…. All the analyses (Appraisal Foundation, Appraisal Buzz, etc.) about the appraiser “shortage” don’t seem to mention this. How many appraisers are working for AMCs? Low fees are mentioned sometimes. They also don’t mention the “brain drain” of experienced appraisers not willing to work for AMCs. Many appraisers that I know do little, if any, AMC work.

Who wants more appraisers? AMCs. Supply and Demand. The more appraisers there are, the more the fee competition, and the lower fees.

Once again, they also just look at “appraisers” There few problems with commercial appraiser “shortages” due to the issues above because they don’t work for AMCs, although fees are low in many areas, including where I live. Definitely no trainee problems.

Direct lenders have increased requirements, but you know what they are and don’t get 5-15 pages of “requirements” plus call backs. Yes, there are shortages in rural areas that are not close to a metropolitan area where appraisers travel from (less than 2 hour drive, one way, for example). Shortages of rural appraisers is nothing new. It has always been that way.

I wrote about this issue in the November 2015 issue of the paid Appraisal Today: “Staying positive with unreasonable fees and Scope Creep from AMCs”

I also spoke about it on a Dustin Harris 12/13/15 podcast, “How to Stay Happy as an Appraiser”

Click here to listen

http://theappraisercoach.libsyn.com/075-how-to-stay-happy-as-an-appraiser-with-ann-orourke

 

4-21-16 Newz .Levitating houses .Murders in house .Unhappy appraisers

Levitating houses?

Excerpts:

… One architect’s proposed solution for low-lying cities that have trouble with flooding. Inspired by amphibious houses, Lira Luis’ concept asks: what if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

As sea levels rise, some low-lying cities have started experimenting with floating buildings and amphibious houses. But one architect has another unlikely sounding suggestion: What if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

Architect Lira Luis thought of the concept as she was working on another installation that happened to be on water and required invisible, easily removable attachments. She started using magnets for the attachments, and when she accidentally held the magnets the wrong way, she noticed that they repelled each other even through a layer of water.

Click here to read. A bit “techie” but fascinating.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058400/this-architect-is-trying-to-build-houses-that-can-levitate

Thanks to Matt Cook for posting this Most Interesting Link!!

My comment: This is very relevant for predicted increases in sea levels. I live in a low-lying coastal city in San Francisco Bay. Recently, part of the city’s flood maps were revised to 100 year flood levels, requiring flood insurance if you have a federally insured loan. As usual, all the complaints from owners were about having to buy flood insurance. My house is about 5-6 feet above typical high tide now. When there are very high “King” tides (high tide plus heavy rains), it is closer to high tides. Flood maps for all coastal areas in the country are being revised.


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4-7-16 Newz .Verifying sales .Big data .Weird bathrooms

8 Bizarre Bathrooms from Around the World

“From pop-up toilets in city streets to a bathroom surrounded entirely by an aquarium, these public and private bathrooms are beyond bizarre-and you need to see them!”

Take a break from appraising and check these out. Definitely Weird!!

http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/keepin-it-weird-8-bizarre-bathrooms

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Recent acquisitions of appraisal and title companies

Another great commentary from Dave Towne. Thanks again, Dave!!

From the article in Housingwire.com:

First American Mortgage Solutions, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation, acquired Forsythe Appraisals, supplementing its existing valuation capabilities.

Forsythe Appraisals is one of the largest independent residential appraisal company in the United States and offers real estate valuation solutions with nationwide coverage.

Under the acquisition, Forsythe’s management team, including President and CEO John Forsythe, Senior Director of Customer Development Tim Forsythe and Chief Appraiser Alan Hummel, will continue to lead those operations.

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36672-first-american-mortgage-snaps-up-valuation-veteran-forsythe-appraisals

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