Appraisal News and Business Tips

FHA

7-7-16 Newz// Comp photos cost -Tech trends in 1776-Data and Scottish Scoundrel

The Scottish Scoundrel Who Changed How We See Data

When he wasn’t blackmailing lords and being sued for libel,

William Playfair invented the pie chart, the bar graph, and the line graph.

Excerpts:

Today, graphs and charts are seen as more efficient than words, letting us gulp information rather than sip it. For a large chunk of European history, though, this was far from the case. As statistician Howard Wainer explains in Graphic Discovery, 18th century academics actually looked down their noses at anything that resembled a picture.

Into this void stepped Playfair, a man with very little regard for tradition. Born in Scotland in 1759, Playfair was a kind of Forrest Gump of the Enlightenment, rubbing shoulders with the era’s many giants, switching careers at the drop of a hat, and throwing himself headlong into history-changing events, from the storming of the Bastille to the settling of the American West.

His graphical inventions, like many of his endeavors, were inspired by a certain disrespect for limits. He wasn’t so much an inventor as an intellectual remixer, taking bits and pieces of different people’s ideas and piecing them together into useful wholes.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-scottish-scoundrel-who-changed-how-we-see-data

My comment: Fascinating! Plus a very entertaining writeup. Another good one from www.AtlasObscura.com – one of my favorite web sites!!

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8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

1. Underwater Warfare

4. Indoor Plumbing

5. High Tech Major Appliances

Read more!!

6-9-16 Newz:: Expandable Space Station, Turn times, FHA news  

Time-lapse video of the International Space Station expandable habitat

Excerpt: On Saturday, May 14, NASA successfully completed the deployment of the first expandable habitat on the International Space Station. With help from the ground, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams began inflating the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) at 9:04AM ET.

He opened the valve 25 times to inject air into the module in short bursts, according to NASA. Time in between allowed the BEAM to expand and stabilize, as the NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams monitored the module’s internal pressure. The BEAM was expanded to its full size seven hours later, at 4:10PM ET.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/30/11812844/this-time-lapse-video-of-the-beam-inflating-on-the-international-space-station-is-awesome

My comment: WoW!!!

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United States Spy Town Auction

It’s not the first time that an entire American town has gone on the auction block, but it might be the most unusual. Sugar Grove Station, West Virginia was originally a United States Navy military base to support part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operation. Though the array of giant parabolic dishes that continue to track location and content of international telecommunications activity is still in operation and not part of the sale, they are completely obscured from view behind thick forest on their ridgetop one mile distant. When it became unnecessary to house related analytical staff at the base, it was retired in the fall of 2015 and put up for auction to the highest bidder over $1 million.

Built between 1960 and 2014, the fenced and gated rural town has private full-service utilities to support as many as 500 people on over 120 acres. Included are 80 homes on tree-lined residential streets in like-new condition, a swimming pool, bowling alley, youth daycare center, community center with fireplace which was designed to function as a restaurant with bar, a gym, full-sized indoor basketball court, tennis and racquetball courts, a football field, large playground with kiddie pool, and twelve guest cabins for visitors. There are also several large buildings for multiple use as well as a four-section hobby building for working on cars, woodworking shop and other creative pursuits. For community safety, a police station and fire station are already in place.

https://www.toptenrealestatedeals.com/homes/weekly-ten-best-home-deals/2016/06-06-2016/1/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Grove_Station

Read more!!

6-2-16 Newz -Zestimate way off on Zillow CEO’s home, The Most Mansions, Replace Dodd-Frank?

Zillow CEO sold his home for 60% of the Zestimate.

There is nothing wrong with Zestimates, unless you want to know what your home is worth.

From Jonathan Miller’s Housing Notes

Note: Scroll down the linked page to read this section

Excerpts:

The day after the home sold for $1,050,000, the Zestimate showed a value of $1,750,405. This indicates that their CEO took a 40% haircut on the value of his home which was exposed to the market for a reasonable time and sold for 19% below its list price. But of course he didn’t dump the property. It couldn’t have been worth anything close to the Zestimate since the property was exposed to the market for a reasonable period of time and sold well below the list price which was well below the Zestimate.

The people at Zillow are smart and built a strong ground breaking brand, but that doesn’t always mean they are making the right decisions. Little did I know, when I met one of the founders at a party the day before they launched a decade ago, how much disruption they would cause. I innocently asked the question, “So, what do you do?” And in the response I heard things like “Expedia” and “Rhymes with Pillow.” Their intro to the public began with the “Zestimate” which unleashed a property narcissism within us as we have checked the value of our homes and compared those values to the houses of friends, colleagues, neighbors, celebrities, etc. That search tool was later de-emphasized as they focused on listings and building a nationwide property database.

Read this Most Interesting article, including Miller’s “insider” comments at:

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/may-27-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-65219836a6-116855313

 

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Also, read this article from Inman about Zillow:

Excerpt:

Citing the chasm between the sales price of Rascoff’s former home and the property’s Zestimate may be one way for real estate professionals to show clients that Zestimates are, as Zillow says, only a conversation starter for pricing a home, not the final word on its value.

Philip Gray, a San Leandro, California-based appraiser, is taking this approach. Bringing up the Zestimate of the property Rascoff recently offloaded will help him deal with the frequent pushback he receives from homeowners “who think Zillow is the magic 8-ball,” he said.

https://www.inman.com/2016/05/18/zillow-ceo-spencer-rascoff-sold-home-for-much-less-than-zestimate/

My comments: One of my most popular blog postings, even today, is from a few years ago, is about Zillow. I regularly have people tell me what Zillow said their house was worth. Of course, I say that it is not very accurate, but it is hard for an appraiser to compete with a free “number”. Guess maybe I should write up something for consumers. Now I have something to say ;>

Read more!!

5-26-16 Newz AQB college degree .Living tree architecture .AMC violations

8 Extraordinary Pieces of Architecture Grown From Living Trees

Excerpt:

We usually use trees as building material in the form of struts and planks. But all over the world, people have found ways to create dwellings, bridges, and sculptures out of trees without even cutting them down. Using trees to create living structures is much slower to build (read: grow) than traditional methods, but it creates some truly fantastical natural creations. Take a look at some of the world’s coolest feats of arbortecture.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/8-extraordinary-pieces-of-architecture-grown-from-living-trees

My comment: All I can say is WoW!! Great photos plus some text info. Just Click On It!!

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Celebrity names not adding to appeal for home buyers?

May. 16, 2016 – 3:00 – Douglas Elliman Broker Chris Leavitt on the challenges celebrities face trying to sell their homes.

Very funny commercial before the short 4 minute video – Fox news.

Another great one from Jonathan Miller. I guess he watches a lot of tv and tweetlings, when not doing lotsa graphs and other stuff ;>

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4895807387001/celebrity-names-not-adding-to-appeal-for-home-buyers

Read more!!

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

Read more!!

4-28-15 Newz .Revision requests .Stunning churches .FHA letters

Stave Churches Are All Wood, Dragons, and Beauty

These austere churches mix Nordic dragons with Christian saints.

Excerpt:

Some of the most stunning churches in the world are also some of the simplest. Stave churches are wooden houses of worship that combine the austere, peaked architecture of Christianity with the Nordic designs and motifs of a Viking great hall.

Stave churches are characterized by the “staves,” or thick wooden posts, that hold them up. Using the same woodworking prowess that made the Vikings such adept shipbuilders, traditional stave churches were often built using nothing more that expertly crafted joints and joins, with no nails or glue. The only stones used were in the base of the structures.

Take a break from appraising and Check out the beautiful fotos and interesting article at:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/stave-churches-are-all-wood-dragons-and-beauty

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Game of Thrones-style mini kingdom in Oregon

Excerpt:

Let’s set the scene: You’re perched overlooking the mountains in your own 8,881-square-foot castle set on 700 acres dotted with trees and natural rock formations. All you can see for miles is your own lush, unspoiled property – this is your mini-kingdom. Your home, an ode to nature with curved walls and cloud-shaped windows, is easily a setting from an episode of Game of Thrones. But you aren’t the Lord of Winterfell, you’re certainly not scheming like CerseiLannister, and this home for sale in Ashland, OR, is not in the Seven Kingdoms but instead a fantasy-worthy getaway called Shining Hand Ranch.

Read more!!

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.


Read more!!

4-14-16 Newz .Bad Banks .10 Very special homes .Future of appraising

Poll: Generally speaking, how accurate do you find MLS data in your area?

 

This week’s 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?” Go to www.appraisalport.com and vote!!

My comments: I have no idea why so many people think that MLS data is correct!! Of course, it does vary a lot among MLSs. In my area it is “reasonably accurate”, except public records data is often used (and the source disclosed). For example, on the weekly open house tour last week, an agent had 2 bedrooms in the listing, because “that is what public records says”. The second bedroom was tandem with another bedroom and very small. We all know how (inaccurate) public records are. Somehow, everyone, including some appraisers, think it is accurate. Or, worse, try to make their appraisals match public records to avoid callbacks.

To make a comment, scroll down to the post below and read other appraisers’ comments and post your own!!

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10 homes that changed America (PBS – April, 2015)

Excerpt: In its 10 Homes That Changed America, a three-part series, PBS discusses the many ways that America has been shaped by its iconic and important architecture. According to series host Geoffrey Baer, narrowing the millions of houses across America down to ten examples was a challenge. The tv show tours the ten homes that have not only passed the test of time but also paved the way for those that followed.

Here are a few, with photos and brief descriptions at the link below:

– Taos Pueblo, New Mexico (circa 15th century)

– Glidehouse, Novato, California (2004)

– Mid-19th Century Tenement, New York City

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/tour-10-homes-changed-america-pbs

My comment: Fascinating!! The first one of the 3-part series has already aired. Be sure not to miss the rest. I will let you know when the first one is available for viewing online.

Read more!!

3-24-16 NEWZ .What is a bedroom .GSE reform .Property taxes

 Shushtar (Iran) Historical Hydraulic System

This beautiful system of tunnels built into natural rock serves as a centuries old plumbing system.

Excerpt: The water streaming from the caves and tunnels of Iran’s Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System looks like it is flowing through ancient tunnels created by massive worms, but really, the elaborate system of waterworks was built by different civilizations over centuries of development.

Beautiful fotos. Very interesting!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/shushtar-historical-hydraulic-system

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Most popular links from the past two weekly email newsletters:

3/17/16:

Philadelphia’s original tiny houses

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/philadelphias-trinity-houses-are-the-original-tiny-houses

Repurchase Demands and Unacceptable Appraisal Practices by Rachel Massey

http://www.workingre.com/repurchasedemands/

Read more!!

5-12-16 Newz – Geographic competency – Killing home values – Fair housing

The Most Insane Property Description Ever

Short descriptions, click here for some humor!! Reminds me of the times I am driving to the subject, hoping the house ahead is not the one I am appraising… Probably not the Most Insane, but definitely reality-based!!

http://www.thebrokeagent.com/blog-1/2016/4/the-most-insane-property-description-ever

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These Neighborhood Amenities Can Kill Your Property Value

Excerpt: In real estate, the phrase “cash is king” is oft overused. However, if you’re struggling to sell a house in a bad ‘hood, then you already know that in reality, location is king. Purchasing a home in a great area, or an area that is up-and-coming, can help maximize the value of your home investment.

So what can tear your property value down faster than a tree through the roof? The following infographic from Realtor.com offers insight-and some will surprise you!

Link to original article:

http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/these-neighborhood-amenities-can-kill-your-property-value

My comment: Of course, the effect on value varies by location – cemeteries for example.

Read more!!