Appraisal News and Business Tips

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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!!

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!!

5-19-16 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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5-12-16 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!!

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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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.

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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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4-14-16 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!!

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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3-31-16 Newz .College degree .1004mc .Home price recovery

Man moves to San Francisco, pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ living room

Excerpts: With the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $3,670 a month, the city’s housing crisis has pushed frugal renters to the edge of their comfort limits.

From tents to trucks, the next logical step in San Francisco has taken shape – in the form of a literal box.

Very interesting!! Check out the comments, video, photos, and the rest of the article at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/29/man-moves-to-san-francisco-pays-400-a-month-to-sleep-in-wooden-box-inside-friends-living-room/

My comment: I live 10 miles from San Francisco. Rents in my city are well below San Francisco’s, but have increased 50% over the past 3 years. I don’t know anyone living in a box, but I do have friends who left the state to find affordable housing. Many others are worried that their rents will go way up any day. I am very glad I am an owner, not a renter. San Francisco has strict rent controls, but I don’t know if it applies to boxes… I gotta increase the rents on my apartments!! Greedy (or Evil) landlord ;>

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College degree requirement misguided

By David Brauner

Excerpt: The college degree requirement seems more like a forced attempt at elevating the status of the profession by closing the club, and that strikes me as elitist. Not everyone has the opportunity, resources or aptitude to attend and/or flourish in college…

The requirement is even more dubious when you consider that a degree in any subject passes muster for becoming a Certified Appraiser, no matter how unrelated (think French Literature for instance), while someone with the skills to flourish in this business would be shut out for all intents and purposes without a degree.

Read more!!