10-12-17 Newz//FHA-Appraisers responsible for water quality reporting?, Hybrid appraisal survey

New CU 4.2 makes it easier for lenders to change comp and subject data. MI companies can access CU

Excerpts: During the weekend of Dec. 9, we will implement Collateral Underwriter® (CU™) 4.2, (which includes) the ability to edit the subject and appraiser-provided comparable sales property characteristics. CU 4.2 will also provide mortgage insurers (MIs) with access to CU. Lenders will be able to give their MI risk partners access to appraisal-specific data by providing them the Doc File ID generated at the time of appraisal submission.

Comparable Sales Review Edit Feature
The ability to edit subject and appraiser-provided comparable sales property characteristics (currently available via the pencil icon in classic CU) will be added to the Comp Review page. Clicking on the pencil icon in the Edit column of the comparable sales review table will open the Edit Property Characteristic pop-up. If there are data errors or missing data elements, the edit feature can be used to modify the data elements and rerun the model with the revised data.
Click here to read the full release
My comment: Lenders have been able to change subject and comp data and now it will be easier? I didn’t know that they are able to change the data now. MI companies have access to CU? What about appraisers?

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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.

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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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8-17-17 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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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.

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8-3-17 Newz// Forest Guitar, Wells Fargo-no AMCs, Creepy Scope

Forest Guitar made of trees, dedicated to a man’s lost love.

Excerpt: Breaking up the flat agricultural areas of Argentina’s Pampas is a guitar formed entirely out of trees. Stretching for 2/3 of a mile, the multi-colored instrument was created by one Argentine farmer to memorialize his wife who tragically died at the age of 25.
My comment: Just for Fun ;> Fascinating photo and brief writeup.

Scope Creep Causes Creepy Scope

By George Dell, MAI, SRA

Excerpt: …scope creep has turned into scope running. I’m sure many appraisers, particularly residential people will agree. He (David Braun) points out that as the reviewers ask for more, appraisers are finding ways to not be specific. This has turned into a self-perpetuating loop:  “As the providers, users, and enforcement bodies have differing opinions on the proper level of the scope required . . .”

My comment: Interesting blog post. Short. Worth reading.

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7-20-17 Newz// Fannie data, USPS gyrocopters, Costar data

When the U.S. Postal Service Used Gyrocopters to Deliver the Mail The flying machines hopped from roof to roof of post offices.

Excerpt: Sensing opportunity, the United States Postal Service-then the U.S. Post Office Department-decided to invest in the new technology. In 1937, Congress appropriated money to fund a series of experiments on autogyro mail delivery, and within a year the first flight-from Bethesda, Maryland to Washington, D.C.-was made.

My comment: Check out the photos (no videos in 1937). Very interesting!!

Why Fannie Mae Shouldn’t Keep Data Secret

Excerpt: Today’s lenders have access to massive amounts of data. According to (Richard) Hagar, government lenders have access to every recorded sale in most every county across the U.S. via information providers like CoreLogic. He believes appraisal adjustments should be cross-checked against sales metrics of the five million home sales that occur each year.
However, appraisers typically use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for residential appraising. Data provided by MLS may vary from information shown by providers like CoreLogic. MLS has more detailed information that county records don’t contain. Oftentimes, though, MLS contains errors or missing data. In other words, both types of systems have errors, but not necessarily the same errors.
My comment: Controversial topic!! Fannie says that they want appraisers to be objective, not using Fannie’s data. For example, appraisers changing their building sketches to match public records sq.ft. to avoid underwriter/review hassles. I remember CMDC books (in california) back in the 1980s where appraisers submitted the first pages of their appraisals to go into a shared appraiser database. Before appraisers could get MLS access. Seems like that was okay…

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