Appraisal News and Business Tips

real estate market

3-15-18 Newz//$2,358 PSF Small Tract House, Water Heaters, Affordable Beach Towns

$2,358 per sq.ft. for small home in Sunnyvale CA

Excerpt: This home on Plymouth Drive in Sunnyvale, Calif. recently set the highest price per square foot ever recorded by the Multiple Listing Service. The two bedroom, two bath home – 848 square feet in size – sold in two days for $2 million. It had been listed for $1.45 million. That means it sold for $2,358 per square foot, which is the highest price per square foot in Sunnyvale recorded by MLS Listings which has data going back to Jan. 1, 2000.

My comment: It did have new paint inside and outside plus refinished hardwood floors ;> Check out the fotos for a boring tract house. I got Mine. I am sooo glad I bought my house in 1985 for $145,000, worth about $900,000 now!! Mine is twice the size of this one, but not close to Google or Facebook (30 miles away, but could take the employee Google bus which comes here.)

The World’s Best Affordable Beach Towns

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt:
Here are two, not too far away:
3. Tulum (Mexico) Luxury condos in new developments and single-family houses under $100,000
9. Dominical Beach (Costa Rica)

Check out all of them at:

Read more!!

3-1-18 Newz//”Just” a Residential Appraiser?, Turret Living, Price Fixing?

I Am Not “JUST” a Residential Appraiser

By Rachel Massey, SRA
Excerpt: There is no doubt that moving to obtaining a certified general appraisal license opens doors to varied and interesting work. If it is in one’s capacity to obtain this level, it is a great idea. That said, the idea of being “just” a residential appraiser has got to stop.

A good professional residential appraiser who studies the market, knows how to analyze and solve a problem, and can communicate effectively and succinctly, is a very valuable appraiser at that!

Worth reading, plus read the comments and post your opinion.
My comment: Rachel wrote a much longer, very interesting article for the paid Appraisal Today March issue: “What being designated means to me”
When I started appraising in the late 70s, residential was somehow considered “inferior”. I guess it has been going on for a very long time. I have always thought that residential appraisers are experts in one type of property: 1-4 units. If you are testifying in court on a single family home and the opposing attorney’s appraiser is an MAI who appraises a few times a year, you will blow them away!!

Read more!!

2-22-18 Newz//ASB Meeting Live Streaming, McMansions, Risky Appraisal Alternatives

Who Ordered All the McMansions? 10 Cities Where They’re Piled Highest

Excerpt: You know them when you see them.

The imposing, ostentatious structures looming over surprisingly wee plots of land. The crazily mismatched architectural styles. The hipped roofs, gabled roofs, and pyramidal roofs-all on the same house! The bank columns. The front yard Romanesque fountains. The puzzling profusion of window sizes and types. The gigantic, two-story front doors.

Click here for more info and where there are lots of them:

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/metros-with-most-mcmansions

Read more!!

1-11-18 Newz//Is it jUSt PAP?,Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos

Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos

Just For Fun!!

Most Excellent Photos and Very Creative Captions!!
Very, very funny and weird!!
You just gotta see them! Cannot be described.

10 Homes for Under $100k

Here are a few:
1701 Cleveland Ave, Waco, TX Price: $97,000
1724 Myrna Ln, Memphis, TN Price: $85,000
94-6428 Palaoa Rd, Naalehu, HI Price: $92,000

Click on each one for the full listing info. They are not all fixers or tiny homes!!

Check them out at:

My comment: I want the Hawaii house ;>

Read more!!

1-4-17// Newz .National MLS Database?, No college degree?, .AMCs in trouble?

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.

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…

No bath tubs?

Excerpts: For years, the common wisdom among both brokers and designers was that every home needed a tub. But changing lifestyles and the demand for more space are now driving some homeowners to swap out their tubs for chic, high-end showers.

There is no definitive data on whether ripping out a tub could harm resale value – or any way to quantify how many people are doing that – said Jonathan J. Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. But “for a young family, not having a tub is an issue,” he added, “so the risk of impacting the value rises as the apartment size rises.”

My comment: Just something to think about… I often see bath tubs that are seldom used. But rarely see a home with no tub.

Read more!!

12/28/17 Newz//Home prices since 1870, Change your templates!!, Very unusual airports

CHANGE YOUR TEMPLATES!!, computer folders, etc.

  • Appraisal template(s) forms, and narrative appraisals, proposals/bids, etc.
  • Set up new (sub) folders on your computer for 2018, such as 2018fotos and 2018appraisals. Every year, starting January 1, I keep using 2017 on my personal checkbook. I am setting up  about 10 checks with the year already on them so I finally will get this right ;>
  • Note: this depends on what you have already set up. Or, maybe it is time to think about setting up folders if you have difficulty finding files.

RECORD YOUR 1/1/18 AUTO ODOMETER READING AND DON’T LOSE IT!!

For your mileage log. I also always go to my mechanic for oil change, etc. to get an “official” odometer reading, which the IRS prefers. I learned a lot after miserably failing my IRS audit of my “recreated” mileage log as I did not have one.

Is Your Life Integrated? – George Dell

Tools for work, tools for life.

Excerpt: This time of the year for many is a time of reflection and hope. My reflection today is how some principles of our profession may be principles of a successful life; what those principles may be, and how they’ve contributed to my joy and sense of satisfaction and service.

Very interesting. Worth reading!!

My comment: I have known George for many years. He has appraisal ideas I have never seen anywhere else. He is a regular contributor to the paid Appraisal Today.

Read more!!

12-14-17 Newz, Underground Digs, AirBnB values, FHA loan limits and PACE

Digging into our drive to tunnel, bore, and head underground.
Just For Fun!!
Excerpt: The deepest tunnelers among animals, crocodiles that can burrow 39 feet down, cannot compete with us at all. Humans have traveled, in the deepest mine in the world, almost 2.5 miles underground (to say nothing of our boreholes, which go nearly three times deeper). The longest and deepest traffic tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, makes it possible to cross the Alps in 40 minutes or less. The world’s major cities are criss-crossed by tunnels carrying water, sewage, wires, and people. Montreal has an entire subterranean city for its residents to navigate in the cold winter.

My comment: Fascinating!! I have not appraised any properties with tunnels, but I have seen many (and traveled through some) over the years. Railroad and mass transit trains, abandoned tunnels to nowhere, underground parts of cities (mostly abandoned), old mining tunnels, etc. I have seen (and appraised) lots of basements though, some way below ground ;>

How much is Airbnb driving up home prices and rents

Excerpt: The researchers looked at rents and home prices in the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016. They found that a 10% increase in Airbnb listings leads to a 0.39% increase in rents and a 0.64% increase in house prices.

“That may sound minuscule, but between 2012 and 2016, rents rose by about 2.2% annually [on average in the 100 areas], so a 0.39% increase in that context isn’t very small at all,” says Dr. Edward Kung, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California Los Angeles and one of the study’s authors. The same is true for home prices, which rose by an average of about 4.8% annually in the 100 areas, he adds.

My comment:

Seems like Airbnb rentals are all over, such as my small city, not just in popular vacation spots. From an appraisal point of view, Airbnb rentals are tricky. More cities are regulating them. A lot more hassle than renting out an ADU for a year, for example. Tax issues for owners. To me, seems like it is business value rather than real estate value. Very confusing!!

Appraiserville from Jonathan Miller’s Housing Notes

Check out the topics below
– The Appraisal Industry Needs Better PR
No one knows what we do.
No one appreciates what we do.
– More on Tristar Bank in TN (you know, the one that shouldn’t be in the mortgage business)
– Loan origination graph 2006 to 2017
– The Next Appraisal Bombshell: Economic Growth Regulatory Reduction and Consumer Protection Act

Scroll down the page to Appraiserville, and maybe make a few stops along the way ;>

Read more!!

10-5-17 Newz//Increasing home prices in disaster-prone areas. USPAP and Desktop Evaluations

Home Prices Rising Twice as Fast in U.S. Cities with Highest Natural Hazard Risk Than in Lowest-Risk Cities

 Homeowners in Highest-Risk Cities Have More Equity, Longer Homeownership Tenures
 Appreciation Slower in Florida and Louisiana Cities with Highest Flood Risk, Bucking Trend

Excerpt:
ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, recently released its 2017 U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index, which found that median home prices in U.S. cities in the 80th percentile for natural hazard risk (top 20 percent with highest risk) have increased more than twice as fast over the past five years and over the past 10 years than median home prices in U.S cities in the 20th percentile for natural hazard risk (bottom 20 percent with lowest risk).

Click here to see a Heat Map of all U.S counties – what does your look like? Search by type of disaster. Plus lots more analysis. Very interesting!!

My comment: Overall high risk counties are scattered all over the country. The article mentions strong economies and scenic locations. I live in Earthquake Country. When I first started appraising here, I was surprised that it did not matter. There is no discount even for being on a fault line. Why? Lots of people want to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The fault line closest to me (about 10 miles away) is on the top of hills with very good Bay views. There are 3 in the Midwest and east. The large New Madras earthquake fault area in the midwest is on the map as Moderate (last earthquake in the 1800s). Two other small areas in NC and PA are on the map.

Read more!!

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 ;>

Read more!!

8-10-17 Newz// Fannie-Appraiser Future, AMC goes down, Delightful Domes

A Tour of the World’s Most Delightful Domes

17 half-spheres that do round right. Just For Fun!

Excerpt: Employing massive hemispherical roofs first became popular with the ancient Romans-most famously the iconic Pantheon, built in the 2nd century. Since then, the feature has taken many forms across the globe, providing cover for everything from ancient tombs to futuristic houses. The circular nature of domes has special significance in religious houses such as churches and mosques, where it represents the eternal, with no beginning and no end.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/domes-architecture-world-tour 

TC Valuations (AMC) Ceasing Operations!

Paying appraisers $ .25 on the dollar!!

Excerpt from letter sent to appraisers: It is with much regret, that I write this letter to inform you that TCV has commenced an orderly wind up and liquidation of operations. Unfortunately a significant downturn in revenue and the loss of part of our volume with two key clients in the second quarter of 2017, has forced the company to wind up its operations.
Read the full letter plus lots of comments at

My comment: There will be more AMCs going down, particularly small ones. In 1993, when the appraisal business crashed and I had way too many employees, I almost went out of business. But, I had no uncollected billings, even from mortgage brokers. Why? I always carefully monitor my accounts receivable. My assistant called all my clients every day until they paid. My husband, a very large man, wearing black clothes (Gangsta style ;>), went to a local mortgage broker’s office and left with a full payment check. It may be time to write a collections article for the paid Appraisal Today…  predictions are for more small AMCs Going Down.

Read more!!