How to Find Comps With Few Sales

The challenge of pulling comps in 2024

By Ryan Lundquist

February 14, 2024

Excerpts: Pulling comps in 2024 is tough. Think about it this way. If we have 40% fewer sales happening, that means there are 40% fewer comps. Yikes. Let’s talk about this. I also have some market recap visuals to unpack what’s been happening in 2024 so far.


One of the things I’m doing more often today is looking at older comps in the immediate neighborhood. I find myself scouring 2021 onward especially. The truth is there are portions of 2021 and 2022 where prices are exactly the same as today too, so if I use an older comp, I don’t always need to adjust for the way the market has changed. But backing up, I can look at older stuff for the sake of research, but this doesn’t mean I’ll use a super old comp in a report. In short, it’s not enough today to go back 90-180 days because there just aren’t enough data points in so many cases…


The median price for the region doesn’t translate rigidly to neighborhoods, so be careful about saying stuff like, “The median is up 3% this year, so neighborhood prices are up 3%.” Maybe. Maybe not. Look to the comps most of all. In my experience, some people get really upset when I share median trends because the sentiment is the median isn’t a perfect metric (true)…


Looking up other nearby neighborhoods is something I’ve done much more of lately since sales volume has plummeted. The ideal is to compare areas with similar prices, but even if the price point is a bit different, it can be valuable to see what is happening in a different nearby neighborhood. I may or may not use comps from a different neighborhood. I’m just trying to understand what the market is doing…

To read more and see the graphs with excellent illustrations, Click Here

My comments: Very good tips from Ryan. Market conditions is the easiest adjustment to make. This is my first choice for any unusual homes without current data in any market. I quit making dollar adjustments on form appraisals many years ago, but I always do market conditions adjustments when needed. I appraise a lot of 2-4 units and regularly go to other neighborhoods for comps.

I have been doing this for many years. I do a lot of estate appraisals, which are not current value.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on residential fee appraiser testifies at bias hearing, what happens to Fannie complaints, Why I love real estate appraising,  unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Concrete Chateau Artisan Rising From a Lake in Miami FL Is Available for $21.8M

Excerpts: 8 bedrooms, 7.5+ baths, 12,770 sq.ft., 13.74 acre lot, built in 2007

The chateau was listed in 2014 for $12.8 million, then in June 2023 for $19.7 million. It was recently relisted at a markup.

The estate was built in the middle of an artificial lake and includes a three-level main home and two guesthouses.

“If you want to replicate this property today, you wouldn’t be able to,” Rossato (agent) says. “I don’t think that you are allowed to dig out and do what they did to create the moat surrounding the home.”

“I couldn’t believe that something like that was out there. The first time physically going through the home was really breathtaking,” he says. “The photos and videos don’t really do it justice.”

Resembling a modern French Chteau, it features a freshwater lake, manicured gardens, and three levels of luxurious living spaces. The double stair foyer leads to a chef’s kitchen, music room, and fireplaces for intimate gatherings. With super yacht-like bedrooms

To read more, Click Here

To see the listing with a virtual tour and 17 photos, Click Here


Why I Still Love Real Estate Appraising

February 13, 2024

By Shannon Slater

Excerpts: This May will complete my 18th year as a real estate appraiser as I switched from being an elementary school teacher to the field of appraising. I wrote that blog after 8 years of experience. Now, 10 years later, how am I feeling about our profession?

Fascinating– in my original post I used the term, “interesting” but now I would nuance it more into the realm of fascinating. Fascinating? Really? Isn’t appraising boring? Not for me!

Challenging– No one said it was easy to become an appraiser or to appraise real estate. I have found that there is always something to learn.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: After 49 years of appraising, I agree with Shannon. I wrote an article Why I am an appraiser, in a recent paid monthly newsletter (excerpts below). I will always be an appraiser, even if I “retire” or do fewer of them. Driving down the street, I analyze possible issues. When going inside homes or commercial buildings, I look at the appraisal side. When I travel, I always check out the local real estate market.


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Why I am an Appraiser

What I like about appraising

I have always been curious and wanted to learn new things. Also, I am very

good at collecting and analyzing various pieces of information to come to a

conclusion. Appraising was perfect for me. My scientific background fits well with appraising.

I have been an appraiser for 49 years. Every property is different. I am never bored. I love that someone is paying me to find out about the real estate market. I really like finding out the “story behind the sale.” For example, I had been wondering for over a year about the small apartment market in a nearby city. I read articles online and in the local newspaper, but they didn’t have much information. A local lender gave me an appraisal assignment on the proposed construction of 7 units in the city. I researched and learned about the market.

Even tract homes are still interesting to me. Our local real estate market

(San Francisco Bay Area) is very dynamic, with both big declines and increases.

My first appraisal job

I worked on the 1970 census and loved being in the field and checking out

the homes, streets, and more. Before I became an appraiser, I worked in labs for 7 years (biology degree), but it was sort of boring and not very challenging.

In the mid-1970s, I saw an ad for an appraiser assistant at a California

Assessor’s office. It said, “Work in the field.” I had never heard of appraising, and I got a book on appraising at the local library before my interview. At the library, I met an appraiser at the assessor’s office, who helped me understand what they were looking for.

I started appraising in 1975. At the assessor’s office, I was given a geographic area and had to appraise all the properties. My job was to equalize values so taxpayers had their “fair share”. Definitely the best experience I ever had. No pressure, no hassles. Leave at 9 am and return to the office at 4 pm. If I had stayed, I would have had a very nice pension now. But, I quit and started my appraisal business in 1986. Very different, but I loved being self-employed for the first time.

I am a professional

I have always seen myself as a professional appraiser, not working in the “Appraisal Industry”.

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Inside Access to Fannie Mae’s Complaint Process

by Isaac Peck

Excerpts: For the last three years, there’s been plenty of rumors and anecdotal reporting about the flood of state board complaints filed against appraisers by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Finally, we have an inside look (and some hard numbers) at how Fannie’s complaint process works and how many complaints these Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) are actually filing against appraisers.

Fannie reports that it filed 1,083 state board tips (complaints) against appraisers associated with its 2022 loan production—for just one year. Although we don’t have the hard data from Freddie Mac, if we assume a similar proportion and procedure, this means the GSEs combined are filing in the neighborhood of 2,000 state board complaints against appraisers every year.

Not Automated

Fannie indicates that it never files its tips in an automated fashion and (1) every complaint is reviewed manually, and (2) every complaint is issued as part of a loan buyback demand with the lender.

Buybacks First

One of the illuminating things about Fannie’s explanation is that it indicates Fannie is pushing a significant number of buyback demands on lenders relating to appraisal deficiencies. In other words, every state “tip” Fannie is sending has been preceded by a buyback of the loan in question.

State Responses Vary

How individual state appraisal boards or regulatory agencies choose to respond to the GSEs’ tsunami of appraisal complaints varies widely by state.

What’s an Appraiser To Do?

From a risk management perspective, there are a number of steps appraisers can take to protect themselves and minimize their exposure to these issues.

Take Note of GSE Requirements

To read more, Click Here

My comment: If you do residential lending appraisals, read this article! Very comprehensive. I have been hearing rumors for years about GSE complaints. Now we have some facts.


Appraisal Subcommittee Fourth Public Hearing on Appraisal BiasOral and Written Testimony of Maureen Sweeney, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA

February 13, 2024


  • David S. Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation
  • E.C. Neelly IV, Executive Director, Mississippi Appraisal Board
  • Maureen Sweeney, SRA, AI-RRS, President, Maureen Sweeney, Real Estate Appraiser, Ltd.
  • Melissa Tran, Director, Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board
  • Jillian White, SRA, Chief Executive Officer, Appraisal Insights

Comments from Jonathan Miller’s Feb. 16 Housing Notes

Excerpt: In the fourth public hearing on appraisal bias on Tuesday, February 13th, Chicago residential appraiser Maureen Sweeney kicked @$$. She hammered the AMC model and the lack of transparency on the cost of appraisal vs AMC’s, which are lumped together in settlement statements as “Appraisal Fee.”

To read the full Miller post with lots of comments on the Bias meeting, Click Here. Search for Sweeney to find it in the long post.

Sweeney’s Oral Testimony (3 pages) – read this first

Excerpts –

  • Alternative valuation products that require the collection of data by specific data apps open the door to a host of problems, including the data being sent and analyzed by unknown and unlicensed individuals out of the United States, subject to out of country laws, review, and ownership of the data, as well as unlicensed and unaccountable property data collectors. Again, who controls and regulates the data?
  • Who controls the consumer’s data when it is collected on data collection apps, by Appraisal Management Companies, and by appraisal software providers? The collected data, including scans, videos, and photos of consumer’s homes and possessions, must be protected and access to data must be controlled.
  • The property data collection process by unlicensed and unregulated people hampers the appraiser trainee’s development and hurts the next generation of licensed and certified appraisers. Property data collectors should be replaced with appraiser trainees working towards a career as a licensed or certified appraiser.
  • Allow the appraisers to speak directly to the lender/client, instead of going through the third-party agent. This will save time, especially when consumers request a Reconsideration of Value.

To read the Sweeney Oral Testimony pdf, Click Here

Sorry, the hearing is not online yet.

Sweeney Written Testimony (19 pages)

The first short paragraph includes: “I represent no professional or not-for-profit organization; rather, I represent the independent fee appraiser in this fourth Public Hearing on Appraisal Bias. The following comments

and experiences are my own.”

Very detailed with a history of the issues. Worth reading.

To Read the Sweeney written testimony pdf, Click Here

USPAP BLUES VIDEO Maureen Sweeney, Composer and performer. Very Creative!! Watch the a capella rap. To Watch Click Here


Converted 5-Story ‘Flour Tower’ on the Columbia River (in Washington) listed for $945K

Excerpts: 4 bedrooms, 5.5+ baths, 8,500 sq.ft., 0.67 acre lot

Originally built in 1910, the building was once the main supplier of grain and dairy to the sleepy town. As such, it has been dubbed the Flour Tower. But the waterfront building’s more-recent design is rooted in a nautical past.

The four-bedroom home at 1313 Jefferson Ave. was converted in 2012, when visionary mariner Capt. Winfield “Scott” Wright stumbled across it.

5 story elevator, wine cellar & storage in the basement. The Grand Salon houses the shop, garage, green house, half bath, family room & additional kitchen. The 3rd floor has the Main Suite, two bathrooms and laundry. 2 cozy guest bedroom suites are on the 2nd floor. The main kitchen and formal dining, living and family rooms are on the 4th floor.

The 5th floor boasts a lounge, kitchenette area & loft; stunning river views. This property has multiple zoning possibilities

To read more, Click Here

To read the Full listing with 40 photos, Click Here

My comments: An elevator for the 5 floors! I once had to appraise a very large home (5 stories) with no elevator. Up and down all the floors during the appraisal was quite a workout! Limited market.


HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, Click Here.

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Many appraisers are not busy. Some are busy, usually with non-lender appraisals. When rates go up, as they always do, appraisers will be busy. Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier


Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 21, 2024) — Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 16, 2024.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 10.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 8 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 11 percent from the previous week and was 0.1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 13 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates moved back above 7 percent last week following news that inflation picked up in January, dimming hopes of a near term rate cut,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist. “Mortgage applications dropped as a result with a larger decline in refinance applications. Potential homebuyers are quite sensitive to these rate changes, as affordability is strained with both higher rates and higher home values in this supply-constrained market.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 32.6 percent of total applications from 34.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 13.2 percent from 13.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 13.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) increased to 7.06 percent from 6.87 percent, with points increasing to 0.66 from 0.65 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $766,550) increased to 7.16 percent from 7.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.45 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 6.91 percent from 6.68 percent, with points increasing to 1.03 from 0.89 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.61 percent from 6.53 percent, with points decreasing to 0.77 from 0.94 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 6.37 percent from 6.30 percent, with points increasing to 0.71 from 0.60 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

Note: Results for week ending 2/9/24 were revised due to a revised data submission and results are re-released this week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.


Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone: 510-865-8041



UAD and Forms Redesign Update for Appraisers

UAD and Forms Redesign Update

Excerpts: Improving the Quality and Consistency of Appraisal Data

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the GSEs) have worked on the UAD redesign since 2018, leveraging extensive stakeholder input to update the appraisal dataset, align it with current mortgage industry data standards (MISMO® v3.6), and replace the GSE appraisal forms with a single data-driven, flexible, and dynamic appraisal report for any residential property type.

To watch the Excellent UAD and Forms Redesign Video (3 min. 47 seconds) Click Here

For more detailed information on web page Click Here

My comments: Watch the short video. On the links list on the right side of the webpage, GSE Experts Answer Your UAD Redesign Questions is short and understandable.

The UAD and Appraisers – Past, Present, and Future

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Non-lender appraisals, handline wide swings in appraisal volume, economic analysis for appraisers, Wells Fargo Mortgage discrimination, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Read more!!

2024 USPAP For Appraisers

2024 USPAP

Source: Appraisal Foundation

The 2024 Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice is now available for purchase in physical and digital formats.

This year, for the first time, you can purchase just the book of USPAP standards for $35. This covers all Definitions, Rules, and Standards.

We also have a new product launching this year. All Advisory Opinions, Frequently Asked Questions and the recently launched Reference Manual will now be part of a standalone publication called the 2024 USPAP Guidance and Reference Manual.

This change reflects the maturation of USPAP, resulting in longer effective dates. The ASB will continue to review USPAP for changes when necessary but will shift much of its focus to providing more guidance to the marketplace. Appraisers can now buy one set of USPAP standards and keep that publication on their bookshelf for as long as that edition is effective and purchase just the Guidance and Reference Manual as needed for coursework and updates.

If you like having the USPAP standards and guidance material linked, we still have you covered. You can also purchase a linked digital version of the eUSPAP and Guidance and Reference Manual and get seamless access across both documents.

To read the full letter, click here

My comments: USPAP 2024 is effective January 1, 2024. I’ve been waiting for a very long time for longer than 2 years between effective dates. Also, there is no ending date for the 2024 version.

When USPAP started, it was very exciting as appraisers had to decide what needed to be changed or added. Lots of people wanted to be on the ASB. Over time, I quit following the updates as there were few significant changes.

2024-2025 USPAP 7-Hour Update Course is being approved or is approved, in the states. I assume a new class will be required every two years in the future. Gotta keep that money coming into the Appraisal Foundation, I guess…

I really hated the classes when there was not much to say except a rehash of the past. I taught USPAP before the ASB told you what to teach. It was my favorite class as we could focus on issues in our current market. Of course, now there is appraiser discrimination, the current hot topic. Personally, I think there is very, very little intentional discrimination by appraisers, compared with the intentional discrimination by lenders (and others). “Red Lining” still exists, some are in the same locations.


Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  non-lender appraisals, economics analysis, Fannie getting rid of appraisers?, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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NAR Member Survey on Appraisal Data Collectors

NAR  Member Survey on Data Collectors

Excerpts: In May 2023, NAR surveyed its members pertaining to data collectors in the appraisal process. Here are a few of the many survey results.

Survey respondents

Sales agents accounted for the largest proportion, with 45% of participants holding this license. Brokers followed with 24%, and appraisal-certified professionals comprised 14% of the respondents. Broker-Associates and Appraisal Licensees accounted for 13% and two percent, respectively, while the remaining two percent reported holding other types of real estate licenses.

According to the survey responses, the majority of participants (76%) perceive the quality of property data collected by data collectors to be lower than that collected by appraisers themselves. Conversely, 23% of respondents believe that the quality of data collected by data collectors is comparable to that of appraisers.

The survey findings indicate that 30% of respondents reported that a data collector had given them the impression that they were the appraiser or had a role other than merely collecting property data.

Fifty-one percent of respondents expressed safety concerns with the data collection process.

To read more, click here

My comments: Now we know what NAR members think about it. Not very positive. I was surprised at how negative they were. Read the full report. Very interesting. I am working on an article on Hybrid Appraisals for the November issue of Appraisal Today. To me, the big issue is who is doing the inspections. Only appraisers do the appraisals. I see very different levels of inspectors.

Before Covid, I talked with various AMC upper-level managers who were testing it. What they were doing about inspectors had a wide range. They included appraisers, real estate agents, and someone with a week, a month, or online video training. They should definitely not be paid the same. An AMC can offer different levels to their clients, depending on how much reliability their lender customers want or need.

On a more positive side, I have done thousands of drive by appraisals since 1986. I drove by the house and looked at what was nearby, etc. For example, I’m appraising a Victorian built before 1910. There is no way to know what the inside looks like or the foundation (many are brick). Using MLS photos is a joke, as real estate agents don’t take photos of defects. A buyer gets a seller’s disclosure statement for that information. I would be more comfortable if someone used an app that was set up to take specific photos, do floor plan, etc. At least I would have some independent photos.

Data Collectors: Appraisers vs. Uber Drivers

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  Fannie and state regulators, appraiser inspection training, real estate market, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

NAR Appraiser Survey July, 2023

In July 2023, NAR Research conducted a survey of all 9,800 appraiser members and 50,000 randomly-selected residential-focused non-appraiser members.

The survey results had a comparison of 2022 and 2023, which was very interesting.

  • Appraiser Topics
  • Greatest challenges in business
  • Lesser challenges with business
  • Valuations
  • Comfort with valuation tools
  • Radius in which appraisals are conducted
  • Radius by area type (rural, small town, urban, resort, suburban)
  • How often asked to conduct appraisals outside geographic area/Property type of expertise

Sample: Greatest challenges in business

(AMCs) in general among their greatest challenges. This year, this option was broken into three separate AMC-related issues. Forty-four percent cite at least one of these, with 28 percent specifically citing AMC requests for revisions.

This year, however, the single greatest challenge, cited by almost half (47 percent), is “fee pressures,” which, based on comments, is also related in many cases to pressure from AMCs. This is up sharply from 27 percent last year.

One-quarter (26 percent) cite technology fees (not an option in 2022). Appraisers are less likely this year to cite expanding regulations/interpretations of regulations, lender requirements, pressure from real estate agents/brokers, and liability concerns.

The 21 percent who cite other challenges are most likely to cite lack of business/slow market, rising interest rates, low fees, and to reiterate pressure from AMCs.

A very good graphic is included for each section.

To read the report, click here

My comments: Read the appraiser sections in the long report. Fortunately, appraiser results are in the first section. I read the full survey. Most of the questions were for all NAR members, both appraisers and non-appraiser members. Some may be of interest to you. Much of the appraiser results were what we already sort of suspected, but it is good to see actual survey results.

NAR Appraisal Survey 2022

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on  GSE Appraisal Independence Update, Private money lender appraials, ADUs, adjustments, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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Apps for Appraisers

7 Must-Have Apps for Appraisers

By: McKissock


1. Dragon Anywhere

Dragon Anywhere is a dictation and speech-to-text app that allows you to create, edit, and share documents from your mobile device. This professional-grade dictation service could save you tons of time on typing reports and taking notes in the field. The company boasts a 99% accuracy rate as well as powerful voice editing capabilities. Dragon is very well-liked among appraisal professionals, making it number one on our list of must-have apps for appraisers.

6. Genius Scan

This app gets a lot of love from appraisers. Genius Scan makes it easy to scan, upload, and share documents using your mobile devices. It can even scan handwriting and convert it into text. This tool is excellent for making copies of tax records, floor plans, etc. Over 200 million users and thousands of small businesses are currently using Genius Scan. This app could be a lifesaver for your workfile creation.

To read about the other 5 apps, click here

My comments: Worth checking out. When business is slow is an excellent time to look for new apps, learn how to use your MLS and forms software, etc. etc. Dragon has been around a long time and is popular with commercial appraisers.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, MLS  hacked, real estate market, UAD redesign and new formats for appraisal reports, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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The End of Lender Appraisals?

The End of Home Appraisals?

By Jeremy Bagott, MAI

Excerpts: In his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” the late British novelist, essayist and critic George Orwell examined the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of the English language. In a truly Orwellian move, mortgage giant Freddie Mac recently announced its intent to censor an arbitrary collection of words such as “desirable,” “safe,” “well-kept,” “student” and “crime” when they appear, in any context, in the hundreds of thousands of appraisal reports it relies on in mortgage underwriting. It would be hard to make this up.

As with all banned words, Freddie’s list will lead to the need to ban additional words over time as appraisers, expunging the word “desirable,” will find synonyms when analyzing market reaction to the views of two homes or to the cul-de-sac location of a home versus the midblock location of a comparable. When discussing how market participants view side-by-side school districts, appraisers will figure out they can use synonyms like “advantageous,” “preferable,” or “beneficial” instead. Soon, these words, too, will need to be banned. In a college town, the banned word “students” will become “matriculants,” a word that will likewise need to be banned.

The attack on the protected speech of independent appraisers erodes their ability to describe how the properties they appraise relate to the preferences of market participants. The censorship is part of a march toward what appraiser and podcaster Phil Crawford has coined “universal basic home value” – a utopian vision among idealogues in which government technocrats dictate the supposed value of a property using algorithms and machine learning. The censorship began with Fannie Mae, and has now predictably spread to Freddie Mac.

To read more plus appraiser comments, click here

My comment: Worth reading. Lots more AMC/lender appraisal correction requests. Last week’s email had a discussion of the “words” which got a lot of clicks by appraisers wanting more information.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

Click here to subscribe to our FREE weekly appraiser email newsletter and get the latest appraisal news!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, USPAP, Bias, real estate market, mortgage rates, unusual homes, mortgage origination


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Appraisers: Be Careful with Your Words

Pesky Words. Keeping Appraisers out of Language Purgatory

Appraisers: Be Careful with Your Words!

by Dave Towne

Excerpts: Appraisers, on July 17, 2023, a document from Freddie Mac was circulated to numerous appraisers around the US which identified certain words and other info that can be considered to be ‘BIASED’ in appraisal reports. Here is the Link to the Bulletin.

We need to step back for a moment and carefully analyze and consider why that was done, and what it means to appraisers.

In many ways, appraisers forget the purpose of the appraisal assignment – which is to value real estate. In other words, the physical structures tied to the land.

But too often, elements of personal or neighborhood demographics or other comments seep into the reports. Maybe not consciously or on purpose, but because appraisers are not critically reading what they write and may not realize the implications of how what they write can be interpreted.

To read more, click here

To read the Freddie document, click here

My comments: Well written and worth reading. Thanks to Dave Towne! I have subscribed to his emails for a long time. To join his list, send an email to requesting to join. I wrote about the July 17 Freddie announcement in this newsletter’s June 16, 2023 issue. Guess it finally got out into the appraiser internet world.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Fannie: Words and Phrases in Appraisals

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, USPAP and Bias, Fannie changes, unusual homes, mortgage origination

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What Tools for Measuring Houses for Appraisals

What tool do you prefer to use when measuring a house?

Recent Appraisal Buzz survey

  • Measuring tape – over half
  • Laser – less than half
  • Guesstimate – a few, but way too many!
  • Phone app. – not many

To see the graph, click here

My comments: I have always wondered about this. I prefer my phone app – no more rose bush thorns, dog poop, tripping over miscellaneous stuff, etc. I was hooked the first time I used it! I was surprised to see how few use phone apps.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on changing real estate market, E&O tips, Fannie condo appraisal requirements changing, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


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Appraiser Countersues Alleged Discrimination

Appraiser Countersues Black Plaintiffs Who Alleged Discrimination

by Isaac Peck, Publisher WorkingRE

There are now a number of lawsuits facing appraisers where the primary allegation is racial discrimination.

Tate-Austin v. Janette Miller, filed in California in Dec. 2021, was one of the first (and perhaps the most publicized). But since late 2021, a number of similar lawsuits have popped up—from North Carolina to Maryland.

Connolly & Mott v. Shane Lanham et al. is one highly publicized lawsuit covered at length by mainstream media–CBS News, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC News, and more.

Filed in August 2022 in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Connolly and Mott allege that Lanham discriminated against them and violated professional appraisal standards because of his allegedly “racist beliefs” (among other things).

Mr. Lanham is now countersuing Connolly and Mott for labeling him a racist, making false and defamatory accusations, and causing severe harm to his business, his reputation, and his well-being. Alongside his counterclaim, Lanham has also filed a Motion to Dismiss Connolly and Mott’s initial claim, arguing that they have failed to show any facts that support he discriminated against them.

“Plaintiffs cannot transform allegations of incompetence or a breach of appraisal industry standards into racial discrimination by baldly alleging that Mr. Lanham believed that Plaintiffs did not belong in their neighborhood and that their home was worth less than other homes because of their race. There are no facts alleged in the First Amended Complaint, and none can be alleged with good faith, that Mr. Lanham treated Plaintiffs any differently than homeowners of other races,” the motion reads.

To read more, click here

My comments: Long article and worth reading. Discusses many issues and lawsuits. I don’t write about this topic much. My opinion is that everyone is biased against something. I learned I was biased against young Black men when I was on a criminal jury many years ago.

When a young Black man, the defendant, walked into court, I immediately thought he was guilty. I sent a note to the judge who excused me publically in court. I was very, very embarrassed. But it would have been a lot worse to stay on the jury and vote to convict him. My parents raised us not to be prejudiced against anyone. But I grew up in Tulsa, OK, next to Greenwood, an area of successful Black residents prior to 1921. The Tulsa race massacre occurred on May 31, 1921. I never heard it mentioned by anyone. Older people, who knew about it, never spoke of it. Some newspaper issues were destroyed.

I assume that since I had been appraising in high crime neighborhoods, I became prejudiced. I work hard not to show it. I don’t cross the street when I see a young black man coming towards me, and I smile when we pass, but I do get a little nervous. What is most important is recognizing and not acting on your prejudice.

I have been tempted to lower a value when an owner’s large do dog jumps on me or tries to bite me. But I know I don’t like aggressive large dogs and don’t let it affect my value.

Of course, some appraisers could be biased. But, for residential lender appraisers, there is no advantage to coming in “low” on any residential lender appraisal. You may lose a client.

In the past, appraisers were trained by FHA to redline, with lower values in Black neighborhoods. Appraisal textbooks and classes included this. But, it all changed in the mid-1970s, when I started appraising and was no longer allowed. Hopefully, I would not have become an appraiser working for residential lenders before then because of the obvious bias.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on AirBnB, state board complaints, real estate market, non-lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.



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