Zoning and Appraisals

The Infamous History of Zoning in the Housing Industry (Video)

Excerpts: History of zoning in the housing industry and how past practices shape the problems we are currently experienced today.

What was the purpose of zoning in the very beginning? How exactly were these practices harmful to people of color? What are some of the problems we see today because of this? These questions and much more will be answered.

To watch the video, click here

My comment: A controversial topic. Today this often involves “downzoning,” allowing for properties to have more than one unit or more density – apartments, condos and townhomes.

Experts Say Zoning Changes Are Most Effective Path to Boost Housing Supply for a More-Balanced Market

Excerpt: A Zillow survey of economists and other real estate experts finds high costs are expected to slow construction and may lower homeownership among today’s 30-somethings. Relaxing zoning rules is what the panel says would be most productive to increase new housing supply.

Other ways include:

  • Ease the land subdivision process for landowners
  • Relax local review regulations for projects of a certain size
  • Accelerate adoption of new construction technologies (e.g., modular building, 3D printing of certain components)

To read more, including details and the full list of survey suggestions, click here

Zoning in the Appraisal Process

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, slowing market?, appraisal business, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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20174977 – new long empty road in the summer

Is the housing market starting to slow?

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts:

c) The x-factor of mortgage rates: If mortgage rates dip below 3% again it could easily change the speed and trajectory of the market.

e) Say something different if the temperature changes: If the market speeds up in the coming months and we don’t end up seeing seasonal slowing, then that’s what we need to say. The best we can do at any given moment is interpret the stats in front of us and let that shape what we say. So, for now it looks like we see some slowing. What does the future hold? We’ll see….

Lots of good ideas. Good tips for appraisers.

To read a lot more, click here

My comment: Appraisers need to keep a very close watch on market changes. Locally, some market segments are different from others, for example, detached homes vs. townhomes vs. condos. We are all worried about a repeat of the 2008 crash, but most say it is very unlikely.

I am always surprised to hear that appraisers are still not making market condition adjustments, even when prices are going up. That’s why the 1004MC was done. It is a very easy adjustment to estimate. Take George Dell’s free time adjustment webinar below!!Getting too many ad-only emails?

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4 ways to get only the FREE email newsletters and NOT the ad-only emails.
Click here for the list of 4 ways plus information on why I take ads, etc.

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Managing Multiple Appraisal Deadlines.

By Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS

“Without the management of time, you will soon have nothing left to

manage.” William D. Reiff

Excerpt: The stress of managing multiple reports takes its toll on the appraiser’s ability to maintain confidence and make sound decisions under stress.

While technology now dominates our discussions and what we read in the trade magazines, appraisers must not overlook real and lasting productivity gains in management techniques and principles.

Some of these advantages the skills appraisers apply every day. Other techniques are not new but deserve even more emphasis.

To read the article with lots of practical productivity tips, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

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Who Needs Appraisers When One Has Cash?

Excerpts: That’s a question a good friend asked me after telling me that a home on the same street from them sold, in hours, for a much higher price than many other generally similar homes are selling for in the neighborhood. The buyers paid cash. I must admit, in the past year, there have been times when I have felt like many buyers don’t really care about value anymore.

Single-family homes often appreciate at different rates than condominiums and multi-family properties. That’s because they appeal to different segments of the market. All these different types of homes usually have different rates of price change. But a buyer wouldn’t necessarily know that or how to measure that. A good appraiser can and will measure these differences.

So, in this crazy market, while some buyers with cash may not care about how much over the market value they may pay, I believe that most buyers do care. Just because they are willing to pay more than the home appraises for is not an indication that they don’t care about the market value of the home.

To read more, click here

My comment: Worth reading. Good tips for understanding and communicating your current market.

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What is Critical Appraisal Theory?

Is this profession built on a lie?

By George Dell

Excerpt: CRT (Critical Race Theory) is about regulations, laws and institutional settings, and even history. And how past facts, habits, and ways of doing things become embedded in our society or our profession.

CAT (Critical Appraisal Theory) is about regulations, laws, institutions, history, and change resistance. Humans and appraisers tend to resist change. It can be fearful of finding something or someone upending my years of learning, experience, habit, and success, all from a codified “proven body of knowledge.” Both are about how or why current laws and regulations (including appraiser licensing) have not made a difference, or worse.

The embedded inertia. The justification for personal righteousness at some point becomes circular.

To read more, click here

My comments: Once again, George has explanations I had never thought of before!! There is definitely been systemic racism in the housing market, starting where I live with geographic red-lining decades ago. Also discrimination in the rental market and agent “steering”. My house was red-lined.

FREE Time Adjustment Webinar by George Dell and Craig Gilbert June 30 noon, Pacific Time Excellent webinar. Second time offered. Worth attending. Please don’t wait, as it may fill up again with a limit of 500 attendees. The first time sold out.

To register for the webinar, click here

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Darth Vader House in Houston

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: The exterior of the contemporary home features narrow openings and sharp angles reminiscent of Darth Vader’s face-shielding helmet. But the owner was actually aiming for an aviation-inspired design – dark and mysterious. He wanted the inspiration to be the stealth fighter, the aircraft..

7,040-square-foot. Listed for $4.3 million.

To read more, click here

To see lots more photos, click here

My comment; Sorry, no Star Wars Memorabilia inside or outside. Waiting for a Star Wars fan to buy??

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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 www.mbaa.org Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

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Mortgage applications decreased 3.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 9, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 3.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 4, 2021. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 13 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 27 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Most of the decline in mortgage rates came late last week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declining to 3.15 percent. This likely impacted refinance applications, which fell 5 percent for both conventional and government loans. With fewer homeowners able to take advantage of lower rates, the refinance share dipped to the lowest level since April,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications were up slightly last week, and the large annual decline was the result of Memorial Day 2021 being compared to a non-holiday week, as well as the big upswing in applications seen last May once pandemic-induced lockdowns started to lift.”   

Added Kan, “The average loan size on a purchase application edged down to $407,000, below the record $418,000 set in February, but still far above 2020’s average of $353,900. Home-price growth continues to accelerate, driven by favorable demographics, the recovering job market and economy, and housing demand far outpacing supply.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.4 percent of total applications from 61.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.2 percent from 10.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.15 percent from 3.17 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.39 (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 $548,250) decreased to 3.29 percent from 3.34 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.12 percent from 3.16 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.31 (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 2.52 percent from 2.56 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.31 (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 2.54 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged 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.

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Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041

Email  ann@appraisaltoday.com 

www.appraisaltoday.com

Appraising vs. the Public Good?

Has Appraising Failed the Public Good?

by Steven R. Smith, MSREA, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: The term Public Good is in the opening paragraph of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). An appraiser friend once wrote that our regulations and guidelines are intentionally ambiguous—and that may be. But what is crystal clear to me is that the industry has put the interests of its clients before the public good.

The Public Trust statement and the Ethics Rule have been largely ignored over the years with loan production put first…

What can an individual appraiser do to support the public good, even before they start an assignment? For me, the answer always has been to appraise the client and the appraisal assignment. There are some clients and assignments that simply should be avoided because of the wants, needs and desires of the client, with respect to the assignment results.

To read more, click here

My comments: I have known Steve Smith for a long time. To read more comments from Steve and other savvy appraisers, join the National Appraisers Forum, an email discussion group. I have been a member since it started. It is my “go-to” resource for appraisal topics. Moderated. Very different from Facebook and other appraiser online discussion groups where filling out forms and dealing with AMCs are discussed.

The future of residential appraising

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, appraiser diversity, Cost Approach, liability, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Read more!!

80 ft. long train car is part of home: appraisal?

80-Foot-Long Train Car Is Part of Washington Home: appraisal?

Excerpts: The former passenger-train car is about 80 feet long, 12 feet wide, and has been incorporated into the rest of the residence.

“[The first owners] connected it to the house, so you walk from the kitchen out into this train,” Anderson explains.

“You walk past the kitchen island and into a hallway where there is stained glass—and you walk into the train.”

To read more and see lots of interesting photos click here:

My comment: Sorry, I would Just Say No on this appraisal. Too busy now is my excuse. But really the appraisal would drive me crazy!!

Appraisal Process Challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Appraising Weird Stuff is Challenging!(Opens in a new browser tab)

Read more!!

Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos for Appraisers

Just For Fun and Oddities!!

If M C Escher had tried interior design.

<< 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and extensive opportunities for open plan off-roading.


Inexplicably bad property photographs.

It’s that simple

Don’t miss the Very Funny Captions!!

 

To see more, click here

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

For lots more appraisal topics, Click  Read More below!

Read more!!

Urban, Suburban, Rural in Appraisals

Urban, Suburban, Rural?

By Tim Andersen, MAI

Excerpt: QUESTION: Can you help me to understand the differences between urban, suburban, and rural? Where I live and work, everything is essentially one big megalopolis for 30 miles in every direction. Therefore, in my reports, I tend to refer to everything as suburban. A reviewer called me on this, but I can’t figure out why. Please set me straight.

ANSWER: At one time, a location was urban if there were high-rise office buildings and no houses close by, suburban if there were merely low-rise office buildings and many houses nearby, and rural if there were no office buildings and lots of farms, ranches, and vacant land close by. However, that was back in the day, so we need new definitions….

To read more, click here

My comment: This is a tricky issue. This post has some good tips. Tim is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today with much longer articles, focusing on USPAP, lender appraising, state board complaints, etc. He reviews lots of lender form appraisals and wants to help appraisers write better reports. More info at https://theappraisersadvocate.com/

10-20 UPDATE: For lots of Covid analysis and news, go to my new covidscienceblog.com

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

What’s the appraisal definition for suburban?(Opens in a new browser tab)

For lots more appraisal topics, Click  Read More below!

Read more!!

6 Reasons Appraisers Are NOT Needed

Appraisers Are NOT Needed???

Excerpt: You can buy a car in little to no time so why not a house? Over the years I have heard that the home buying process is too long. There are too many headaches for buyers and the process should be easier.

We are in a microwave society and everybody wants things instantly. This should, of course, carry over to the home buying process, right?

A house is probably the most expensive purchase people will ever make but that doesn’t mean that the process needs to consume your entire life, right? The appraiser just adds to the stumbling block that most home buyers face in getting into the house of their dreams. Today I am going to discuss 6 reasons that appraisers are not needed (wink, wink) in the home buying process.

Written for home buyers but good explanations for appraisers to use.

To read more click here

My comment: I have appraised many apartment properties. 2-4 unit properties are more difficult to appraise than a 60 unit apartment building, which I appraised recently! Owner occupants, motivations, etc. are big issues. 4 units are the most difficult.

My city has had rent control, which keeps getting stricter, for 4 years. CA recently passed rent control for the state. Must use actual, not market, rents in appraisals. Very, very difficult to appraise. 3 weeks ago I decided not to do them any more.

But, last week a family was thinking about selling their 4 unit property. I pre-screened them. If it had low rents, I don’t know who would buy it. Fortunately the rents were around 80% of market. They wanted to know if it was good time to sell. I told them I would let them know, then do the appraisal. Not a good market now.

I met one of the owners this week at the inspection. He brought a copy of the 2005 date of death appraisal and asked for an “update” or an “evaluation”, for a lower fee, which his sisters requested. I told him I could not do it and did not know any licensed appraiser who would do it. And told him to use a local real estate agent for free. I doubt if they would recommend not listing now as I speak with them regularly at open houses.

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Top Ten Reasons Why It Is Great to be an Appraiser Humor(Opens in a new browser tab)

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

Read more!!

When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal

When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: One of the most interesting homes I’ve seen just sold. It was brand new, four stories, and a halfplex. Oh, and on paper it was 3,000 sq ft, but about 1,000 sq ft didn’t count in the square footage. This is definitely a conversation piece, so I’m thankful Realtor Brian McMartin agreed to do a Q&A. I hope this will be valuable and interesting. Any thoughts? This is an example of When 1,000 square feet doesn’t count in an appraisal

Quick points:

This house has 1,000 sq ft that is not permitted as square footage. The “non-conditioned” space looks just like square footage.

Understanding permits really does matter…

Interview with selling agent plus Ryan’s (and appraisers’) comments. Worth reading.

To read more, click here

My comment: I see non-permitted areas in homes a lot in my city, typically converted basements. Fortunately, I can get the permit info easily from the city and the property owner does not “get into trouble” because of my inquiry. I am lucky.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

What is Included in Appraisal Square Footage?

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

Read more!!

What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

They are very different.
To see what is in the paid Monthly newsletters, see the FREE appraisal business articles at Appraisal Business Tips
To see samples of the free weekly emails,  go to www.appraisaltoday.com and scroll down the page to see links to the last 10 newsletters are available.  
In the Free weekly emails, there is a very wide range of topics each week. They are links to online articles with brief excerpts. I write short comments. I get lots of emails with information every day plus blog posts. I look for the most interesting topics and include them. I write the newsletter on Thursday, to go out early Friday morning. I do not typically plan what is in the newsletters. It is very last minute, as I try to make the content as recent as possible, appropriate for a weekly newsletter. Weird homes and properties are typically the most popular topics. Plus business and appraisal “how to” tips. It is advertiser supported.
It is a lot of fun deciding what to put in the newsletter and finding out which topics are the most popular. Hint: weird houses are very popular. USPAP is not very popular, but I put it in so you know what is happening.
I started the free email newsletter in 1994 with 4 subscribers. Bruce Hahn still subscribes. It is advertiser supported.  One of my first advertisers was Liability Insurance Administrators, who runs an ad in every email.
The paid monthly newsletters are totally different. They are typically about a few appraisal and business topics. I sometimes work on an article idea for several years before finally writing up an article. I do the research and writing plus have guest authors. They are 12 to 17 pages long and take a long time to write up. Since they are in PDF format, the newsletters can be any length. I have never taken ads.
The paid newsletter was started in June, 1992 with 250 subscribers, starting in print and shifting to PDF in 2008. There have never been any ads.
To see what the paid newsletter is like, see the FREE appraisal business articles at Appraisal Business Tips 
The paid newsletter started as a printed newsletter in 1992. The 12-18+ pages are print style PDFs with 3 columns and wordprocessing (1 column) formats. The articles are much longer than this email, from 1 to 8 (or more) pages for each topic.
Everything is original, not just a link. Most of the articles are written by myself, but I have always had contributors. I like to write about business topics, so there are lots of marketing, etc. articles. When there are hot topics, such as CU, AMCs, etc. I write about them. Plus other appraisal related topics, mostly done by contributors.
Ever since I got my MBA in 1980, I look at everything from a business point of view. I had been appraising for 5 years at that time, but never took even a basic economics class. I needed to learn more bout business to be a better appraiser. For unknown reasons I don’t like to write about appraisal topics, although I love discussing them with other appraisers!!
I never run out of topics to write about. I regularly get ideas by communicating with other appraisers by phone or email.
If there is a topic you would like to read about, send an email to ann@appraisaltoday.com

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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

7-12-18 Newz// 3 Story Homes, Auction Prices, Portable Architecture

The Most Popular Article From Last Week’s Newsletter: Former Appraiser’s Hot Dog Stand!! FYI, unusual and weird stuff is very popular with appraisers ;>

Three-story Single-family Homes and Townhomes

Excerpt: Of the 729,000 single-family detached homes started in 2017, a little over 18,000 (2.5 percent) had three or more stories, according to National Association of Home Builder tabulation of recently released Census data.

In contrast, the 23,000 3-plus story townhomes represent 22.0 percent of single-family townhome starts.

More info here:

My comment: 3 story detached homes are not popular in very many areas. It is a long walk up to the 3rd floor. I have appraised them (attic conversions of a classic older home to a master bedroom, for example). I always look to see if an elevator can be added – usually has to be on the exterior of the home. Definitely a functional problem. I rarely see them on existing homes, except for attic conversions. Some newer detached homes have a small room on the 3rd story – family room, extra bedroom, etc.

For townhomes, I have seen a significant increase in 3 story new construction townhomes in my city (within the past few years) and other Bay Area cities. The first floor is a garage plus entry, second floor living room and kitchen, bedrooms on 3rd floor. Very profitable for home builders, especially in areas with high land prices and infill tracts. I have appraised them and the owners did not object to the 3 floors. There are sometimes a few townhomes that are 2 story.

My first apartment when I moved to San Francisco in my 20s was a third floor walkup. I vowed Never Again ;>

Read more!!

Comps From Different Neighborhood for Appraisals

Can you use comps from a different neighborhood?

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: BIG CAUTION: If one area has smaller homes, heavy fixers, not enough data, more foreclosures, or more remodeled properties, we might draw the wrong conclusions when looking at stats if we’re not careful. In other words, we need to know how to think through the numbers rather than taking them at face value.

Good analysis and graphs from Sacramento area, but applies to many other locations. Worth reading.

My comments: Going to another neighborhood is tricky if a location adjustment is required. However, I do it occasionally. If the two neighborhoods are similar, it is easy. FYI, I attended a Fannie webinar last week that showed how CU displays comps in neighborhoods, based on census tract blocks, showing how median prices vary. I will be writing about how underwriters use CU in next month’s paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at covidscienceblog.com

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 What is an Island, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

Read more!!