7-28-16 Newz Origin of tiny houses – HUD warning letters – FHA transfers

The Surprising Origins of the Tiny House Phenomenon

Why ancient hermits are the key to understanding our tiny home obsession

Excerpts”

Invariably, someone will remind you that civilization emerged from tiny houses-caves, yurts, tents, wigwams, igloos, grass huts, and so forth.

These early antecedents are beside the point. Sioux, Samoans, and Inuits were not offered more spacious alternatives. But people who opt for tiny houses-meaning the kind that tug at heartstrings and star on cable-generally choose to live small. The reasons aren’t just practical, but also ethical and emotional.

the true parents of tiny-house living are hermits. From the ancient Chinese Taoists in mountain caves to the Desert Fathers of third century Christianity and onward (the word “hermit” derives from the Greek word for “desert”), hermits were the first people to actively downsize to confined, remote, and minimally furnished living spaces.

Read the full story here:

http://www.curbed.com/2016/7/13/12162832/tiny-house-history-hermits

My comment: The most interesting article I have read on tiny houses. Of course, I started sailing sailboats in the early 1970s. Living aboard a sailboat is the Ultimate Tiny House!! Narrow and long but very portable… Another good link from Jonathan Miller…

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FHA Case Transfer, issued July 26, FHA INFO #16-49

Mortgagees should note the following about case transfers relative to appraisal reports in both the EAD (electronic appraisal delivery) portal and FHAC:

Read more!!

7-21-16 Newz//Bracketing-AMC staff appraisers-Appraiserville

8 Spooky New York Places That Should Be in the New Ghostbusters Movie

There’s something strange in these neighborhoods.

Excerpt: Here is one, but you gotta see the photos and the other 7!!

The Morris-Jumel Mansion

On a hill overlooking the Harlem River, the stately Morris-Jumel mansion is not only Manhattan’s oldest home but supposedly one of its most haunted. Its macabre history started after owner Stephen Jumel died in 1832. His wife Eliza was rumored to have had a hand in the death-there was some suspicion afoot that she orchestrated the carriage accident that killed him….

Take a break from typing appraisal reports and check it out!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/8-spooky-new-york-places-that-should-be-in-the-new-ghostbusters-movie

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The Shrinking of the American Lawn

As houses have gotten bigger, yard sizes have receded. What gives?

Excerpts:

The American house is growing. These days, the average new home encompasses 2,500 square feet, about 50 percent more area than the average house in the late 1970s, according to Census data. Compared to the typical house of 40 years ago, today’s likely has another bathroom and an extra bedroom, making it about the same size as the Brady Bunch house, which famously fit two families.

This expansion has come at a cost: the American lawn.

As homes have grown larger, the lots they’re built on have actually gotten smaller-average area is down 13 percent since 1978, to 0.19 acres. That might not seem like a lot, but after adjusting for houses’ bigger footprints, it appears the median yard has shrunk by more than 26 percent, and now stands at just 0.14 acres. The actual value lies somewhere between those two numbers, since a house’s square footage could include a second (or third) floor. Either way, it’s a substantial reduction.

Read the full story at: Very interesting!!

http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/07/the-shrinking-of-the-american-lawn/490157/

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There Go My Brackets

From the Illinois Appraiser June 2016

Excerpt:

Is it a USPAP violation to fail to bracket or end up with a tight bracket?

Read more!!

6-30-16 Newz // Most dangerous roads-Fees going up-Brexit and mortgages

The most dangerous places to drive in the world

Take a break and check out these places…

Excerpt:

Driving can be dangerous, and every one of us who attempt to control those speeding steel boxes of ours will, at some time or another, experience a dangerous or life-threatening situation. But the truth is, despite the occasional error of judgement or climate, driving in the US is largely safe, and you will most likely get to your destination calm and in one piece (or just in one piece, because traffic, right?). The world, however, is not the US, or even western Europe. And as you will see, driving styles, laws, and road conditions vary so much, that what might be an everyday commute for a native of Afghanistan would be a death-defying (or outright death-inviting) thrill ride for a driver in the Land of the Free.

http://www.grunge.com/15503/dangerous-places-drive-world/

My comment: Guess I won’t complain (as much) about getting stuck between 2 giant big rigs on the freeway ;>

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Complaints about high appraisal fees and long turn times

RAISE YOUR FEES!!!

Appraisers Remain Under Siege – Jonathan Miller

(Scroll down the page past the second graph)

Excerpt:

Here is a series of feedback from Rob Chrisman in his must read newsletter on the mortgage industry. It is a heavily read source of in-the-trenches mortgage insights that I subscribe to. He gave me permission to share his recent content on the appraisal industry and will share more of it in the coming weeks. I inserted my thoughts following each quote:

“And appraisals are always a hot topic. I received this note from an originator. “Our appraisal environment is out of control. Appraisals we used to get in 1-2 weeks have quickly gone to 3-4 weeks. Appraisals that were just $400 are now $550 and sometimes up to $1,100 for FHA and conventional appraisals. With the rules regulating appraisers on how to become an appraiser and how appraisers have to monitor everything an apprentice appraiser does, it is causing our homebuyers hardship. With the appraiser’s current workloads and the amount of appraisers we have lost in recent years, there is no motivation to bring apprentices on (due to those regulations), leaving the current appraisers working night and day to keep up with their workloads. That is also causing them to keep moving up the appraisal fees (basically rush fees to keep pushing who can pay the most up the line).”

Miller’s comments

It’s called “market forces” and because the AMC movement has gutted the industry, there are much fewer competent appraisers left. And please lay off the “hardship” angle. It’s tired and worn out. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and with the Brexit they will likely stay that way for a while. As I have said before, there is not a shortage of appraisers, there is a shortage of appraisers willing to work for half the market rate.

Worth reading, especially for Jonathon’s comments. http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-24-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-ca10724b99-116855313

Link to Chrisman article – scroll down the page to “And appraisals are always a hot topic”

http://www.robchrisman.com/2016/06/11/june-11-letters-notes-on-password-protection-mechanics-liens-and-the-current-state-of-the-appraisal-business/

My comments

Why are complaints about appraiser fees and turn times increasing so much? Supply and Demand. AMCs and lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own – no new appraisers. AMCs trained their appraisers to bid against each other. Now, they are getting payback.

The Appraisal Foundation is frantically trying to reduce requirements for appraiser licensing in response to the current appraiser shortage. But, the problem is that lenders will not allow trainees to sign on their own. There was no shortage in the last boom prior to 2008.

In all the previous boom periods, since lenders started using appraisers in the 1930s, the increase in volume was handled by hiring armies of trainees who left the profession when business slowed down. Prior to licensing, lenders did this. After licensing, fee appraisers did it. But, soon after 2008 lenders would not allow trainees to sign on their own, so there was no one to handle the increase in business.

When AMCs took over appraisal ordering, many experienced appraisers left the profession due to low fees, increasing lender requirements, hassles, etc. Some stayed, who had direct lender clients or were willing to work for AMCs.

The AMC fee model is a bidding system, with AMCs often looking for the lowest bid. Now, sometimes they spend days looking for an appraiser who will work for low fees. Some of us have finally adapted by significantly increasing our fees.

AMCs have trained us to bid against each other. Even when business is very strong, AMCs continue to try to get low fees. Finally, after 8 years of this, appraisers have realized that when there is a shortage of appraisers we can increase our fees. We finally learned about Supply and Demand. This never occurred before.

Many appraisers (and other business owners) have great difficulty turning down work, even with low fees. After years of telling appraisers to raise their fees, finally some appraisers are listening.

Read more!!

6-23-16 Newz:: San Francisco under water – Funny owner DIYs – C/R complaints

 In 100 Years, $77 Billion Worth Of San Francisco Property Could Be Underwater

Excerpts:

Around the city, more than 200,000 commercial and residential buildings-along with major infrastructure like the airport-are at risk from either temporary flooding or permanent loss due to sea level rise if the city does nothing to prepare. Even more dangerously, the risk extends well inland, and isn’t limited to property directly on the coast.

Armed with the new maps, San Francisco is currently creating a strategy to try to save as much property as possible. “It’s almost inevitable that, in the end, the plan will be a combination of multiple approaches,” says VanderMarck. “One approach in some areas will be to surrender to the fact that seas are rising-it’s impractical, either economically or for other reasons, to try to defend against that in certain areas.” In other places, the city may build higher walls or other defenses.

In the Ocean Beach neighborhood, for example, it’s likely that the city will reroute portions of the road that’s currently along the water, replacing some areas with open space, while also building up dunes and protecting some infrastructure like a wastewater tunnel. On Treasure Island, where the city is planning to build a new sustainable community, any new housing will be set back from the water, with parks along the edges-parks that very likely will be reclaimed by the bay.

My comment: FEMA is rezoning all the coastal properties in the U.S., including my small island city in San Francisco Bay. Of course, the big complaint was having to buy flood insurance for those who have mortgages….

Check out the full article and the very interesting graphics:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3060770/in-100-years-77-billion-of-san-francisco-property-could-be-underwater

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Not C/R fees? File a complaint with the FDIC!!

Excerpt:

Here is what VaCAP received from an appraiser who reached out to the FDIC:

I just had a call from an extremely pleasant lady named Susan Welch from the FDIC Consumer Response Center (1-800-378-9581). I had sent a note over regarding an AMC attempting to get me to sign a “Base Fee Letter” agreeing to a drop of my base fee for full appraisals to $325 from $400-500. She said the FDIC is VERY interested in hearing from appraisers regarding AMCs paying low fees. As you know FDIC regulates the banks, who are responsible for third party oversight with AMCs they engage. FDIC wants Regulation Z to be followed and will enforce it for appraisers.

Incidentally I opted to have them proceed while keeping me anonymous, a la whistle blower status. Susan said she would be surprised if they had not investigated this within 90 days.

FDIC bank examiners will contact the bank involved and look at their procedures for engaging appraisers, look at fees appraisers are actually paid versus what is considered C&R based on things like the VA sheet and go from there.

Click here for more info plus read the comments:

http://appraisersblogs.com/low-amc-fees-fdic-appraisers-regulationz

Read more!!

6-16-16 Newz//Appraiser Stalker -Mansion under $100,000 -Safest states -SBA loans

Mansion under $100,000

Mansions cost millions, right? Well, not necessarily. This week’s most popular home on realtor.com® is a mansion priced under a million. In fact, it’s priced below $100,000.

Yes, it’s in Toledo; and yes, it needs some work to bring it into fighting shape. But still, a mansion with a five-digit price tag is a rare beast indeed. The listing agent told us a recent open house attracted more than 1,000 people over two days. He added that this mansion would be worth millions if it were in a major coastal metro-making it a savvy purchase for a buyer who doesn’t mind summering on the Maumee River.

Scroll down the page to Number 1. FYI, Number 3 – Amityville Horror House for $850,000

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/most-popular-homes-mansion-under-100k

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Twinkies Enabled the Sale of the Playboy Mansion

By Jonathan Miller

Excerpt:

It’s been a confusing week for me.

I’ve been trying to reduces the sugar in my diet and I actually feel much better. But then I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the recent sale of the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angles, California. Apparently the next-door neighbor who restarted the Hostess brand purchased the $200 million listing for more than $100 million but the price was not disclosed.

In other words, the sale of Twinkies made this all possible.

Read the full commentary and scroll down the page for interesting comments on free appraisals, purple formica, value of a bedroom, etc.

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/june-10-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-bfd1d18c9f-116855313

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!!

5-12-16 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

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!!

Do you still enjoy appraising after all the new rules?

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?
www.appraisalport.com

My comments: Hmmm…. All the analyses (Appraisal Foundation, Appraisal Buzz, etc.) about the appraiser “shortage” don’t seem to mention this. How many appraisers are working for AMCs? Low fees are mentioned sometimes. They also don’t mention the “brain drain” of experienced appraisers not willing to work for AMCs. Many appraisers that I know do little, if any, AMC work.

Who wants more appraisers? AMCs. Supply and Demand. The more appraisers there are, the more the fee competition, and the lower fees.

Once again, they also just look at “appraisers” There few problems with commercial appraiser “shortages” due to the issues above because they don’t work for AMCs, although fees are low in many areas, including where I live. Definitely no trainee problems.

Direct lenders have increased requirements, but you know what they are and don’t get 5-15 pages of “requirements” plus call backs. Yes, there are shortages in rural areas that are not close to a metropolitan area where appraisers travel from (less than 2 hour drive, one way, for example). Shortages of rural appraisers is nothing new. It has always been that way.

I wrote about this issue in the November 2015 issue of the paid Appraisal Today: “Staying positive with unreasonable fees and Scope Creep from AMCs”

I also spoke about it on a Dustin Harris 12/13/15 podcast, “How to Stay Happy as an Appraiser”

Click here to listen

http://theappraisercoach.libsyn.com/075-how-to-stay-happy-as-an-appraiser-with-ann-orourke