National MLS Database for Appraisers?

A National MLS Database? 

Excerpt: Instead of considering the consolidation of the governance and management structures of the MLS, thereby providing coast-to-coast cooperation among brokers, we should instead focus on MLS data and technology infrastructure, and support the movement toward a national database system.

This would create a vast information network available to application developers who, until now, couldn’t offer tools to agents and brokers without expensive and time-consuming customization for every individual MLS.

NOTE: THIS WAS PUBLISHED IN 1-18. THEY KEEPT TRYING IN 2020!!

My comment: The author is vice president of Business Development for Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®), created by NAR. More info at www.narrpr.com . Very interesting and worth reading. Poor real estate data has been a problem forever. Non-standardized MLS data is a nightmare for appraisers. This database would be accessible to appraisers, CU, and AVMs I assume. Of course, we all know how accurate MLS data is…

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

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on bath tubs, new appraisal forms,, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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11-16-17 Newz//:Value Of Additional Bedrooms, 13 Animal-Shaped Homes, Timber Towers

Architectural menagerie

13 animal-shaped buildings

Just For Fun!!
Excerpt: Novelty architecture can take on many fantastical forms – think municipal water towers done up like peaches and soft serve-shaped ice cream stands – but animal-shaped buildings are in a league of their own.

Often built as roadside attractions meant to lure motorists off the highway, these completely functional structures serve a greater purpose than just kitschy ornamentation. Some are truly mimetic – that is, the building is representative of its original purpose be it a poultry shop, seafood restaurant or woolen clothing boutique. Others are more symbolic, which is probably a good thing.

Here are a few:
– Big Sheep Wool Gallery – New Zealand
– Turtle Building – Niagara Falls
– Crocodile Hotel – Australia

Good fotos and write-ups at:

Why Timber Towers Are On the Rise in France

Excerpt: Spurred by concerns over climate change and the negative impacts of concrete manufacturing, architects and developers in France are increasingly turning to wood for their office towers and apartment complexes.

Concrete was praised through much of the 20th century for its flexibility, functionality, and relative affordability. In France, the material ushered in an era of bold modernist architecture including housing by Auguste Perret and Le Corbusier. Today, however, wood is lauded for its smaller environmental footprint and the speed with which buildings can be assembled.

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11-2-17 Newz .Crazy Appraiser Stories, AirBnB and Value, 31 abandoned places

Crazy Appraiser Stories

Excerpt: I had a house where the 1st floor den was connected to the basement via spiral staircase. Wife did not want the appraiser to go down the spiral steps and said she would “show” room from the basement. Telephone rang, appraiser proceeded to the basement, opened the door and the room was full of whips, chains, and other erotica ala “50 Shades of Grey.” I said we would just call it a rec. room and shoot from the best angle to disguise the “toys”.
-Sharon Finnerty Cremen

My comment: I have heard this story a few times but never encountered it… Lots of other weirdness though, such as seeing the sky through a big hole in the ceiling, falling down backwards into a partially covered pond and destroying my camera, etc. Check out the Cat Photo and make up your own Cat Comments!! Here is mine: Those appraisers need to take more naps and Get A Life. I guess they do have a sense of humor occasionally though ;>

Check out the other stories and add your own to  the 26+ comments at:

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9-28-17 Newz//Fees up or down?, Credit easing, San Francisco Castle

Albion Castle – A 140 year old castle with underground caves hidden in San Francisco.

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: When Bill Gilbert was growing up near Candlestick Park, all the kids said that Albion Castle was haunted. Gilbert himself wasn’t sure, but every time his parents took him to eat at the at the old Dago Mary’s restaurant across the street, he would look at the gates that front the 145-year-old stone structure and wonder. Little did he know that as an adult, he would own the keys to the castle (literally).
My comment: It was listed in 2009 for $2,950,000 (a very bad market). The six-story square tower has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,436 sq.ft. It sold for 11/2011 for $890,000 and has been rehabbed. It needed a lot of work!!
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Info on the history and historic photos

My comment: It was listed in 2009 for $2,950,000 (a very bad market). The six-story square tower has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,436 sq.ft. It sold for 11/2011 for $890,000 and has been rehabbed. It needed a lot of work!!

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9-21-17 Newz//Pivot- Not enough Appraisers To Too Many Appraisers, Appraising New Home In Old Neighborhood

How do we value a brand new house in an old neighborhood?

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: Tip #5. The wrong one & modern homes: Just because something is brand new does not mean it’s going to fetch top dollar. If it’s the wrong type of house for the neighborhood, buyers might actually pay less for the property. It’s like when someone builds a plain earth-tone stucco tract home in a classic area with Tudors and Bungalows. Despite being new it might actually sell with a price discount if it doesn’t have any hint of era charm for the neighborhood. On the other hand there are modern homes popping up all over Sacramento (CA) and beyond that seem to defy this idea. These homes definitely don’t blend into the neighborhood at all in terms of design, but they’re still fetching high prices. Keep in mind though modern homes tend to carry wide appeal, so they are often able to break the mold of the neighborhood and still command a price premium because of their style. In short, modern homes are not vibeless tract homes, so it’s not really the same thing.
Click here to read the other 4 great tips plus some interesting comments!!

http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2017/07/26/how-do-we-value-a-brand-new-house-in-an-old-neighborhood/ 

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9-14-17 Newz:// No Appraisal Waivers, How Many Comps Are Enough?, Ugliest House

Google Street Views – First Big Update with Lots More Big Data!!

Excerpt: The car-top rig includes two cameras that capture still HD images looking out to either side of the vehicle. They’re there to feed clearer, closer shots of buildings and street signs into Google’s image recognition algorithms.
Those algorithms can pore over millions of signs and storefronts without getting tired. By hoovering up vast amounts of information visible on the world’s streets-signs, business names, perhaps even opening hours posted in the window of your corner deli-Google hopes to improve its already formidable digital mapping database
My comment: Fascinating article. Check it out. I use Street Views a lot, but sometimes the images are fuzzy and are hard to figure out. Looking forward to improvements, but on the minus side, more data available that field appraisers provides now.

36 Appraisal Organizations Send Letter to Party Leaders of House Committee on Financial Services and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on “No Appraisal” Waivers

Excerpt: 36 industry groups are attempting to prevent the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSE’s) from issuing appraisal waivers by sending a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee addressing its concerns. AI recommends the halt of the waivers until the GSEs can demonstrate that the proposed program does not harm the consumer, is properly monitored, and integrates proper safeguards to prevent fraud.
We are writing this letter to raise concern over the new appraisal waiver programs recently implemented by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the ” Government Sponsored Enterprises.”)  We believe these programs will create unnecessary and unacceptable risks for taxpayers and homeowners, and they come at a time when markets are at all-time highs – when risk mitigation should be tantamount. We ask you to call on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to prevent the Enterprises from implementing the appraisal waiver programs until they can demonstrate the appraisal waiver program:

My comment: Worth reading. Read the names of all the organizations that sent the letter. I can’t remember when so many appraisal organizations agreed on anything!!

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9-7-17 Newz// Appraisers Helping Appraisers, SBA needs appraisers, It’s OK to Say No

Help Texas Appraisers Affected by Hurricane Harvey!

This fundraising campaign is co-sponsored by Mark Skapinetz (What’s It Worth Appraisal Services), Joe Mier (Joseph Mier & Associates), Lori Noble (The Noble Appraiser), Jonathan Miller (Miller Samuel Inc. Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants) and Phil Crawford (Voice of Appraisal).
As of 6pm 9/6/17 (West Coast time), at least two appraisers have donated the cost of an appraisal fee. 125 appraisers had contributed a total of $9,646 in the past 5 days.
If you have been affected by storms, you can apply to these folks to be considered to receive funding:
Mark Skapinetz:  wiwapp@gmail.com
Phil Crawford:  info@voiceofappraisal.com
Lori Noble:  lori@trpcg.com
Thanks to Dave Towne for these email addresses!
More info at:
Click here to donate
My comments: I prefer to give to people I know as it very satisfying. I started doing it 5-6 years ago. A former employee of mine became disabled and unable to work. I sent her $200 a month until she passed last year. A musician friend (my mentor), who is 82 years old, was trying to live on a small Social Security check. He sent me a Christmas card that mentioned some of his paintings for sale. I purchased a few for $400. Recently another musician friend in San Francisco was being evicted from his apartment after living there for over 25 years. I have been helping him send his records, CDs, etc. to friends around the country by using my UPS account.
I don’t know anyone personally affected by the Harvey disaster, but I contributed $100 as to help appraisers directly. I prefer to do this instead of donating to a charity. I also donate to charities, particularly local ones. I have my Amazon Smile account set up to automatically donate to the local Meals on Wheels. My living trust includes a large donation to my local NPR station, which I listen to every day.

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8-31-17 Newz// Appraiser indicted, Hurricane Donations, Appraisers’ Future

Where to contribute to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey

a la mode Software’s Relief Efforts
From Dave Bigger’s (Founder, a la mode) recent email:
We’ve already set up our systems to defer payments for those of you in the storm-hit areas on the Gulf Coast.  We’re also ready to help anyone drastically affected rebuild in any way we can – whether it’s replacing damaged Distos, laptops, printers, or anything else, we’re here.
If you know appraisers, agents, mortgage pros, or inspectors who need help, let us know and tell them to call 1-800-ALAMODE or email relief@alamode.com.
 
We  are working on several relief projects, and we encourage you to join us.   Read the announcement here. 
Yesterday, we also donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  We chose this organization because they’re local, working with many boots-on-the-ground non-profits.  They’re in rescue mode – focused on essentials like water, shelter, medical emergencies, and supplies. But our $100,000 is designed to just “prime the pump” for the broader real estate industry, including other technology companies, to step up as well.

We all need to act quickly, and show our commitment to our colleagues. Donate like we did to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund via our pass-through website, www.alamode.com/harvey . (When you donate through our site, you won’t pay credit card fees. We’ll cover those.) By coming through our portal, your donation will be grouped with other real estate professionals and vendors, showing solidarity as an industry.

Every gift makes a big difference – $10, $50, $100, or more.  Our goal is to gather enough funds within the real estate industry to at least match our donation, and preferably many times more.

Overworked and underpaid appraisers?

Excerpt: While most sectors of the industry managed the increased demand with few hiccups, the appraisal services segment of the industry did not fare as well. The uninterrupted appraisal demand throughout 2016 and into the first quarter of this year led to chronic fatigue that spread throughout the appraiser population.
This led to a number of service level issues, including missed deadlines, longer than customary turn-times, increased revision rates, unresponsiveness and higher appraiser fee demands, to name a few.
My comment: Low AMC fees are always a problem. But the “overworked” comments are out of date for my area. Low fee appraiser price competition has really heated up in the past few months. When I quote my standard fee from 2016 for estate work or don’t reply within a few hours or am not available to go out tomorrow, I don’t get the assignment. Earlier this year, prospects were glad I called them back. AMC fees are way down also.

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8-24-17 Newz .Fannie Freddie appraisal waivers, AVMs and HELOCS, Passwords

The Traveling Apprentices of Germany

 And you thought appraiser trainees have it rough!!

Just For Fun ;>
Excerpts: They hitchhike across Europe, instantly recognizable in the wide-bottomed, corduroy trousers, white shirts and colored jackets that identify them as bricklayers, bakers, carpenters, stonemasons and roofers.
While on the road, journeymen are not supposed to pay for food or accommodations, and instead live by exchanging work for room and board. In warm weather, they sleep in parks and other public spaces. They generally carry only their tools, several changes of underwear, socks and a few shirts wrapped into small bundles that can be tied to their walking sticks – and that can also double as pillows.
In an adaptation of the old rules to modern times, journeymen do not carry devices like cellphones that allow them to be found. They carry digital cameras, if they like, and write emails from public computers.
My comment: Fascinating with great photos!! Yes, there are women travelers now…

Passwords: What if Everything You Know Is Wrong?

By Shelly Palmer
Excerpt:  According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Burr (the man who wrote the NIST memo back in 2003 that recommended the cryptic craziness and frequent replacement guidelines) has had an epiphany. “Much of what I did I now regret,” said Mr. Burr, 72 years old, who is now retired. If the reporting is accurate, he had very little evidence upon which to base the NIST’s recommendations. (Sort of makes me think about the USDA Food Chart I grew up with. But that’s for another article.) Why were Mr. Burr’s assumptions wrong?…
Do what the experts are now telling you to do. Start using the longest passwords possible. I would not use correcthorsebatterystaple, but “passwordswedontneednostinkinpasswords” will absolutely do the job.

My comment: Very interesting article!! Plus the Fun Cartoons ;> Passwords are a Pain.. I think one of the most popular passwords is “password”. Looks like finally there is another way.

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8-17-17 Newz//Appraiser Goes to Jail, Mercury Network Bidding, $10,000 Lighthouse

Buy a lighthouse for $10,000

 Just For Fun!!

Excerpt:
Bidding is underway for six decommissioned lighthouses built before 1930 that the federal government has put up for auction. Five overlook the Great Lakes in Michigan, and the sixth is on the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s a tempting prospect, perhaps, for those who yearn for scenic surroundings – and who have the stamina to tackle periodic renovations.
Interesting article with photos and commentary
My comment: I Want One!!! A former lighthouse in San Francisco Bay was converted to a very popular B&B. Someday, maybe, I will stay overnight there ;>

How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest)

Excerpt: Air-conditioning has been remarkably good at creating demand for itself.
 It enabled the sweeping postwar development of the South, where all new single-family homes today include central air. In automobiles, it made the commutes between air-conditioned homes and air-conditioned offices possible. In the Southwest, its arrival facilitated new methods of rapid construction, replacing traditional building designs that once naturally withstood the region’s desert climate.
Interesting graphs and analysis.

My comment: A timely topic in today’s increasing temperatures. I have never lived in a house with air conditioning, even in Oklahoma when I was a kid. But, I used to visit my aunt in Dallas in the summer – air conditioned house, car, etc. I always say that people here in California do not know what hot is: 85 degrees and 85% humidity when I lived in Oklahoma ;>

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