Newz// Giant turtle home, Revised FHA 4000.1, Bad AMCs

The Most Unusual Homes Available Right Now, for sale or for rent, From A Luxury Cave To A Giant Turtle

Excerpt:

Good investment or not, wacky homes sure are fun to look at and can be rewarding to owners in ways more profound than money (more on that below). So we went in search of some of the most interesting homes available today. We found a house shaped like an onion, an Irish castle and a home meant to look like a fishing reel.

My comment: Just For Fun!! I wanna rent one of the vacation rentals. The Turtle House in Egypt is only $54 to $96 per night!! And you thought some of the weirdo homes you appraised were strange… take a look at these! And, of course, Ace Appraiser Jonathan Miller is mentioned in the first paragraph ;>

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2016/09/23/from-gold-mines-to-torpedo-testing-plants-the-most-unusual-homes-available-right-now/

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What is your current appraisal turn time (order receipt to submission)?

www.appraisalport.com poll

 

 

My comment: I wonder how many are over 2 weeks? 8 weeks?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AT www.appraisaltodayblog.com !!

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Viginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals (VaCap) Open Letter to AMCs

A few weeks ago, Virginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals (VaCAP) sent out an open letter to the AMCs. This letter was republished by many coalitions, and appraiser groups across the country; liked and shared on Facebook and broadcast on several industry blogs. VaCAP received an overwhelmingly positive response from the letter. We even heard from several Realtors applauding our efforts! Activity is still ongoing with comments! Click here to read the letter and comments!

We heard you loud and clear…

The letter can now be signed by individual appraiser here on AppraisersBlogs. We will gather signatures and submit the signed letter to the FDIC, CFPB, Comptroller of the Currency and our Federal Reserve Board.

Note: To protect the appraiser identity from retaliation, only the initial of your last name and state will show on line. The copies sent to the FDIC, CFPB, Comptroller of the Currency and our Federal Reserve Board will have your full name.

Excerpt of a few points on the list:

  • – The use of an AMC has decreased the income of the appraiser, thereby harming local economies.
  • – The use of an AMC has increased the turn time for the delivery of the appraisal.
  • – AMCs operate on a fast and cheap model which has deteriorated the quality of appraisals
  • – AMCs have caused undue stress on the appraiser by demanding constant updates
  • – AMCs hire unqualified employees that lack comprehension of the appraisal process.

My comment: I usually don’t put in links to negative blog posts, but this seems to hit all the AMC issues, plus has something you can do. AMCs have been around since the 1960s but were never like this before. It is definitely a Big Mess and bad for the consumer (higher appraisal fees, delays in getting loans, etc.) Of course, they are doing what their lender clients want, but their methods are not good. There are some AMCs that are okay. Some appraisers have found a few they work for. Note: There is an ad in the middle of the post.

http://appraisersblogs.com/appraisers-sign-vacap-amc-letter/

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In the October 2016 issue of Appraisal Today

Fees are going way up!! How to get higher appraisal fees during this boom time!! By Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, PDQ and Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS . Lots and lots of practical tips.

Excerpt from the article:

How many appraisers are raising their fees?

I have been telling appraisers to raise their fees since early 2015. Below are two results of

appraisalport weekly polls.

Results from an April 2015 AppraisalPort weekly poll

Question: How long has it been since the last time you actually raised your fees?

  • 1 year 17%
  • 2-3 years 18%
  • 4-6 years 18%
  • 7+ years 26%
  • I can’t remember – I normally just accept the fee my client offers. 21%

Back in April 2015 not many appraisers were raising their fees.

In the past year, have your standard fees for a typical non-complex assignment changed?

Results from Appraisalport September 2016 poll.

  • Decreased 3
  • Stayed about the same 42
  • Increased by less than $50 27%
  • Increased by less than $100 18%
  • Increased by more than $100 11%

More appraisers are raising their fees in 9/16, but 45% have not still raised their fees! A few years ago I raised my non-lender fees to close to what borrowers pay. Why do appraisers keep working for low fees when they are so busy that they can’t take any more work? Or, they are not super busy, but want to get higher fees? Fear of never getting any more work. This is common to almost every business person, including myself. But it is not good when it keeps you from making more money, as it always does.

To read the full article with lots more data and practical tips for getting higher fees, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)

or $99 per year or $169 for two years

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters

plus 4 Special Reports, plus 2 Appraiser Marketing Books!!

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products   or call 800-839-0227.

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17 Things Appraisers Should Do Before Hiring an AMC Client

October 4th, 2016 9:54 AM

Here are two of them:

7. Google the AMC’s name and see what comes up. This might seem obvious, but some AMCs have been in the news for lawsuits related to unfavorable treatment of appraisers. You do not want to waste your time vetting an AMC that has a bad reputation. Even if no lawsuits come up, a quick Google search could result in a feel for the company and let you know if this is a company you want to work for. Remember that homeowners might think you work for this AMC when you show up to do the appraisal. Is this a company that you are okay with if homeowners get confused and think you work for them?

17. Check the AMC’s data protection policy and ask what steps have been taken to keep your private information safe. Also ask if the AMC has ever had any data breaches and if so, determine what systems have been put into place to ensure that data breaches do not happen again. Does the AMC have a policy that requires them to alert appraisers if they believe a data breach was possible?

Click here for the full Most Excellent List!!

www.aqualityappraisal.com.blog

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AMC Notes from Appraiserville by Jonathan Miller

Excerpts:

There was a CNBC article this week by Diana Olick that caused an uproar in the appraisal industry: ‘Massive’ shortage of appraisers causing home sales delays. Besides the incorrect inference of the title, the article was centered around Brian Coester, CEO of the Maryland-based CoesterVMS, currently one of the most controversial personalities in the appraisal management industry…

So I spoke with Diana Olick about the article this morning. I’ve known her for a long time and read all her stuff. She clearly did not realize what CoesterVMS represents to the appraisal industry but learned this from the outpouring of negative comments on the article by outraged appraisers. She understands now. How great is it that appraisers are getting out there and speaking their mind!

I told her that Coester is a notorious AMC in the middle of a big lawsuit that the entire appraisal industry is following. The shortage of appraisers is a myth being perpetuated by AMCS like Coester since their model only works if they pay appraisers a third to half the market rate for appraisal services.

My comment: I definitely think the current AMC model is broken, from the consumer, lender, appraisal and appraiser sides. I don’t really understand how it got so bad. I started writing in my paid newsletter about AMCs in the early 1990s. AMCs started in the were never like this before. Mostly they just paid lower fees. None had really low fees, scope creep, harassing and demeaning appraisers, etc.

To read more, Scroll down the page to Appraiserville

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/september-30-2016

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Miller was on a recent Voice of Appraisal radio interview with Phil Crawford.

Miller’s interview starts at -25:09 or 17:20 (download) 43:31 minutes total

http://www.voiceofappraisal.com/podcasts Episode 123

My comment: In last week’s email newsletter I said that the 2016 peak is almost up to the 2013 peak. In 2013 no one was complaining about high fees and turn times. In their discussion Miller said it was different because of CU/Scope Creep. He also said that business had been very slow between 2008 and 2012 and appraisers were glad for work. Appraiser attitudes about working for AMCs is much, much worse now. Good comments…Very few appraiser complaints about direct lenders and non-lender work.

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Revised FHA handbook

Thanks to Dave Towne for this info!

HUD/FHA recently updated and revised the 4000.1 Handbook…..actually on June 30, 2016………..but notice about this was sent out Friday, Sept. 30.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/handbook_4000-1

When the page opens, scroll down the page and you’ll see two entries on the left regarding the Handbook. If you open the PDF link, and let it load…it will actually show you the changes made to the appraisal section (and others).

Note….the handbook is 1000+ pages, but only about 40 or so apply to appraisals.

Note that the revised handbook has ‘moved’ the Appraiser and Property Requirements section to II D, from its former position in B.

Buried in the revision is new info on how to account for specific named ‘appliances’ in a home you are appraising. See II D 3e.

It’s going to take someone with more time (than I have now) and expertise to determine what exactly HUD changed in the reporting requirements about “appliances that remain and contribute to value.” One needs to read the former 4000.1 Handbook and compare that to this revised edition to fully understand the implications of what HUD wants reported.

You will want to compare the attic observation requirement also. Revision 4000.1 has this in II D 3k.

Crawl space observation is in II D 3m.

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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, go to https://www.mba.org

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/productsor send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 5, 2016)

Mortgage applications increased 2.9 percent from one week earlier

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 30, 2016.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.2 percent compared with the previous week and was 14 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.8 percent of total applications from 62.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 4.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.0 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.62 percent, the lowest level since July 2016, from 3.66 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.60 percent from 3.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.50 percent from 3.52 percent, with points decreasing to 0.16 from 0.21 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.93 percent from 2.95 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs remained unchanged at 2.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last 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.

9-15-16 Newz// Rush fees, Flying saucer homes, $1.1 billion home

A Map of the Last Remaining Flying Saucer Homes

All the 1960s Futuro Houses left in the world.

Just For Fun!! Take a break from writing up those darn appraisal reports ;>

Excerpt: The Futuro House, in all its space age retro splendor, is like a physical manifestation of 1960s optimism. Shaped like the Hollywood idea of a flying saucer, the Futuro is a plastic, prefabricated, portable vacation home built to easily adapt to any climate or terrain, from mountain slopes to the seaside. After enjoying a heyday in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the remaining Futuros are now scattered across all parts of the globe, from the Australian beaches to the mountains of Russia, like secluded relics of midcentury technoutopianism.

Very interesting!!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/a-map-of-the-last-remaining-flying-saucer-homes

My comment: I love atlasobscura.com. The strange homes and buildings I include in these emails are just the tip of the iceberg!!!!

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What is your typical rush fee?

www.appraisalport.com poll.

 

My comment: Rush fees are another way to make more money during this boom time, to save for the downturn when AMC fees will drop.

The most critical appraisals are those for purchases, which can require rush fees to get appraisers to drop their regular refi business and do them.

I am hearing about widely varying AMC fee increases from around the country, depending on the local market supply of appraisers willing to work for AMCs I guess. Savvy AMC appraisers reply to low bids with an increased fee. After a few weeks, sometimes their fee is accepted. Local appraisers I know only work for a very few select AMCs, if any. But, when business slows way down, they take more AMC work. I also hear from appraisers in the same market with widely varying fees that they will accept.

What do I do? Rush fees stress me out too much as I am very backed up. I just put new appraisal requests in my queue, which is typically around 60 days. Sometimes I will do one faster if it is a special circumstance and/or a referral from a local real estate agent, but I don’t require a rush fee. When I used to do appraisals for purchases, I always gave them priority but never charged a rush fee. I am definitely in the minority!!

What do you think? Post your comments at https://wp.me/p7jsxG-Cl !!!

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The Most Expensive House In The World Could Sell For $1.1 Billion

Just For Fun!! Take a break from writing up those darn appraisal reports ;>

Excerpt: What can justify a $1.1 billion price tag for a house?

Before searching for the features behind the number, let’s clarify that in this case, “the house” is rather a large, opulent mansion on the French Côte d’Azur, set in a “small” privileged refuge between Nice and Monaco frequently described as the ‘billionaires’ playground.’

First, there’s the house itself, with the understated name Villa Les Cèdres-The Cedars-at the center of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, known in French as a “presqu’île,” or “almost island.”

The description of the magnificent property in the French press includes 10 bedrooms, a ballroom, concierge, a chapel, 50-meter swimming pool dug into the rocks, a winter garden and stables for 30 horses.

My comment: I could take a few months (or more) to do an appraisal for a trip to France to appraise this property… Or maybe just an open house tour ;>

Very interesting!!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2016/08/20/at-1-1-billion-the-most-expensive-house-in-the-world-in-france-goes-to-market

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Beware of unknown desperate AMCs sending email solicitations

An appraiser I know, who only works for one AMC, received an email request from an AMC he had never heard of. He replied politely that he was not interested. He was added to their approved list and bombarded with requests for appraisals every day. It was a lot of hassle to get his name removed.

I seldom get any AMC appraisal requests by email or phone, or request to join their panel. I must be on a Do Not Call or Email List ;> I have been replying to emails saying I have never worked for an AMC. They are really getting desperate!! Now, I am thinking about not even replying.

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In the June 2016 issue of Appraisal Today

FHA attic inspection requirement 

Excerpt: Inspection Tips – Insulation and attic access by Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS

When blown in insulation is added, the installer will often add an extension or dam to the scuttle that makes it difficult to fully observe the full attic.

Formerly, attics had walkways which when blown in insulation is applied, these walkways were covered with insulation. If the scuttle is in a closet and closet shelves make it difficult to fully access the attic, the difficulty with attic must be reported and a photograph taken to demonstrate the difficulty with attic access.

However, if the access is blocked by personal possessions, it may be practical to enlist the help of the homeowner to make the attic or scuttle accessible. In the instant case of the underwriter stating that a full inspection is required, the underwriter is incorrect.

The appraiser must document why a full inspection was not performed when there is not an accessible attic. Suggested language might include: “A full attic inspection was not

performed as the subject property does not have a readily accessible attic and only has scuttle access.” Along with a photo of what can be seen from the scuttle, the appraiser might add that the appraiser completed a head and shoulders inspection of the attic.

Remember to check the block on page one of the form that the attic is accessed by a scuttle. If the property has a full attic, note if a full inspection was performed and comment how access was gained either by stairway or drop stair.

To read the full article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

 $8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy)

or $99 per year or $169 for two years

 Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters

plus 4 Special Reports, plus 2 Appraiser Marketing Books!!

 

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to

www.appraisaltoday.com/products or call 800-839-0227.

If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the September 2016 issue, emailed September 1, 2016, please send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com   and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it ;>

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Selling a $5 Million, Seven-Story Basket Is No Picnic

Its size, location, and fundamental basket-ness make it tough to sell, even at a steep discount

Thanks (again) to Jonathan Miller at http://www.millersamuel.com/housing-notes/

Excerpts: “You might see it three or four miles off before you come around the bend, and then you say, ‘That is a basket. That is unquestionably a basket,'” said Tom Rochon.

It is a basket, or rather, a seven-story office building shaped like one-a massive facsimile of the signature picnic basket made by the company once headquartered there. Some 40 miles outside Columbus, Ohio, the basket building, as it’s locally known, is one of the area’s grandest attractions, inviting quirky selfie-seekers, architecture nerds, and, of course, basket enthusiasts.

When the property – slightly larger than another Ohio landmark, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-was listed 18 months ago, the asking price was $7.5 million. Now it’s on the market for $5 million, or about $28 a square foot, about half of what traditionally shaped office buildings in the area usually sell for… commercial property in the area typically ranges from $50 to $80 a square foot.

The basket was built for about $32 million and finished in 1997.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-07/selling-a-5-million-seven-story-basket-is-no-picnic

My comment: I regularly write about weird properties in my weekly emails, including the Basket House a few years ago. Finally we find out what it is (not) worth. Definitely an Appraisal Challenge!!

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Status Quo Bias: ‘Linear” Thinking in the Real Estate Industry

by Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: When we look at forecasting, planning, trending or anything that includes a look out over the future, I find the real estate industry (i.e. appraisers, real estate agents & brokers) generally thinks along linear lines.

For example:

When housing prices rise…they will rise forever.

When housing prices fall…they will fall forever.

When sales activity rises…they will rise for ever.

When inventory falls…it will fall forever.

When rental prices rise…they will rise forever.

…and so on.

Where does this status quo bias come from?

Click here for some more interesting comments..

http://www.millersamuel.com/status-quo-bias-linear-thinking-in-the-real-estate-industry/

My comment: Of course, I completely agree. It is very important if you work in a market like mine, where residential prices seem to go from stable to increasing and back overnight. I have no idea why. I go on the broker open house tour every week and see what agents are saying. For example, only 1 or 2 offers vs. 5-6 and longer days on market

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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, go to https://www.mba.org

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 14, 2016

Mortgage applications increased 4.2 percent from one week earlier,

according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 9, 2016. This week’s results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 17 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 15 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 62.9 percent of total applications from 64.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 4.6 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.0 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.67 percent from 3.68 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.64 percent from 3.66 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.50 percent from 3.52 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.97 percent from 2.96 percent, with points unchanged at 0.34 (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 remained unchanged at 2.87 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last 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.

9-1-16 Newz:: Statistics humor, Abandoned islands, USPAP 2nd draft

Why Not to Trust Statistics – Humor

Statistics cartoons. Just for Fun!!

Mean, median, range, correlation, variance, correlation coefficient. Amazing what you can do with stats!!

Can’t describe it. Just click here for the cartoons.

https://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2016/07/13/why-not-to-trust-statistics/ Thanks to Joe Lynch for this great link!!

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The Incredible Ruins of 12 Abandoned Islands

Excerpt:

Of all the many places around the world that have been abandoned by their inhabitants and left to slump into obscurity and ruin, islands seem among the most unlikely. What’s not to love about an island? Yet there are dozens of isles scattered throughout the world’s oceans that have been deserted by their residents and left all but forgotten.

Frozen in time with nothing but a story to tell, many of these ghost islands have taken on an eerie and enticing second life in their desertion and disrepair. Here are 12 abandoned islands in the Atlas, each of which has a intriguing story behind its decline.

Good photos and comments. Just scroll down the page.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-incredible-ruins-of-12-abandoned-islands

My comment: I live on an island in San Francisco Bay. Definitely very different mentality than non-islanders. I hate leaving the island. For the past two years, almost all my appraisals have been here. When I travel, I always go to any nearby accessible islands..

Read more!!

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!!

7-7-16 Newz// Comp photos cost -Tech trends in 1776-Data and Scottish Scoundrel

The Scottish Scoundrel Who Changed How We See Data

When he wasn’t blackmailing lords and being sued for libel,

William Playfair invented the pie chart, the bar graph, and the line graph.

Excerpts:

Today, graphs and charts are seen as more efficient than words, letting us gulp information rather than sip it. For a large chunk of European history, though, this was far from the case. As statistician Howard Wainer explains in Graphic Discovery, 18th century academics actually looked down their noses at anything that resembled a picture.

Into this void stepped Playfair, a man with very little regard for tradition. Born in Scotland in 1759, Playfair was a kind of Forrest Gump of the Enlightenment, rubbing shoulders with the era’s many giants, switching careers at the drop of a hat, and throwing himself headlong into history-changing events, from the storming of the Bastille to the settling of the American West.

His graphical inventions, like many of his endeavors, were inspired by a certain disrespect for limits. He wasn’t so much an inventor as an intellectual remixer, taking bits and pieces of different people’s ideas and piecing them together into useful wholes.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-scottish-scoundrel-who-changed-how-we-see-data

My comment: Fascinating! Plus a very entertaining writeup. Another good one from www.AtlasObscura.com – one of my favorite web sites!!

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8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

1. Underwater Warfare

4. Indoor Plumbing

5. High Tech Major Appliances

Read more!!

6-9-16 Newz:: Expandable Space Station, Turn times, FHA news  

Time-lapse video of the International Space Station expandable habitat

Excerpt: On Saturday, May 14, NASA successfully completed the deployment of the first expandable habitat on the International Space Station. With help from the ground, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams began inflating the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) at 9:04AM ET.

He opened the valve 25 times to inject air into the module in short bursts, according to NASA. Time in between allowed the BEAM to expand and stabilize, as the NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams monitored the module’s internal pressure. The BEAM was expanded to its full size seven hours later, at 4:10PM ET.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/30/11812844/this-time-lapse-video-of-the-beam-inflating-on-the-international-space-station-is-awesome

My comment: WoW!!!

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United States Spy Town Auction

It’s not the first time that an entire American town has gone on the auction block, but it might be the most unusual. Sugar Grove Station, West Virginia was originally a United States Navy military base to support part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operation. Though the array of giant parabolic dishes that continue to track location and content of international telecommunications activity is still in operation and not part of the sale, they are completely obscured from view behind thick forest on their ridgetop one mile distant. When it became unnecessary to house related analytical staff at the base, it was retired in the fall of 2015 and put up for auction to the highest bidder over $1 million.

Built between 1960 and 2014, the fenced and gated rural town has private full-service utilities to support as many as 500 people on over 120 acres. Included are 80 homes on tree-lined residential streets in like-new condition, a swimming pool, bowling alley, youth daycare center, community center with fireplace which was designed to function as a restaurant with bar, a gym, full-sized indoor basketball court, tennis and racquetball courts, a football field, large playground with kiddie pool, and twelve guest cabins for visitors. There are also several large buildings for multiple use as well as a four-section hobby building for working on cars, woodworking shop and other creative pursuits. For community safety, a police station and fire station are already in place.

https://www.toptenrealestatedeals.com/homes/weekly-ten-best-home-deals/2016/06-06-2016/1/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Grove_Station

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6-2-16 Newz -Zestimate way off on Zillow CEO’s home, The Most Mansions, Replace Dodd-Frank?

Zillow CEO sold his home for 60% of the Zestimate.

There is nothing wrong with Zestimates, unless you want to know what your home is worth.

From Jonathan Miller’s Housing Notes

Note: Scroll down the linked page to read this section

Excerpts:

The day after the home sold for $1,050,000, the Zestimate showed a value of $1,750,405. This indicates that their CEO took a 40% haircut on the value of his home which was exposed to the market for a reasonable time and sold for 19% below its list price. But of course he didn’t dump the property. It couldn’t have been worth anything close to the Zestimate since the property was exposed to the market for a reasonable period of time and sold well below the list price which was well below the Zestimate.

The people at Zillow are smart and built a strong ground breaking brand, but that doesn’t always mean they are making the right decisions. Little did I know, when I met one of the founders at a party the day before they launched a decade ago, how much disruption they would cause. I innocently asked the question, “So, what do you do?” And in the response I heard things like “Expedia” and “Rhymes with Pillow.” Their intro to the public began with the “Zestimate” which unleashed a property narcissism within us as we have checked the value of our homes and compared those values to the houses of friends, colleagues, neighbors, celebrities, etc. That search tool was later de-emphasized as they focused on listings and building a nationwide property database.

Read this Most Interesting article, including Miller’s “insider” comments at:

http://www.millersamuel.com/note/may-27-2016/?goal=0_69c077008e-65219836a6-116855313

 

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Also, read this article from Inman about Zillow:

Excerpt:

Citing the chasm between the sales price of Rascoff’s former home and the property’s Zestimate may be one way for real estate professionals to show clients that Zestimates are, as Zillow says, only a conversation starter for pricing a home, not the final word on its value.

Philip Gray, a San Leandro, California-based appraiser, is taking this approach. Bringing up the Zestimate of the property Rascoff recently offloaded will help him deal with the frequent pushback he receives from homeowners “who think Zillow is the magic 8-ball,” he said.

https://www.inman.com/2016/05/18/zillow-ceo-spencer-rascoff-sold-home-for-much-less-than-zestimate/

My comments: One of my most popular blog postings, even today, is from a few years ago, is about Zillow. I regularly have people tell me what Zillow said their house was worth. Of course, I say that it is not very accurate, but it is hard for an appraiser to compete with a free “number”. Guess maybe I should write up something for consumers. Now I have something to say ;>

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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.

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4-21-16 Newz .Levitating houses .Murders in house .Unhappy appraisers

Levitating houses?

Excerpts:

… One architect’s proposed solution for low-lying cities that have trouble with flooding. Inspired by amphibious houses, Lira Luis’ concept asks: what if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

As sea levels rise, some low-lying cities have started experimenting with floating buildings and amphibious houses. But one architect has another unlikely sounding suggestion: What if buildings could avoid flooding simply by not touching the ground at all?

Architect Lira Luis thought of the concept as she was working on another installation that happened to be on water and required invisible, easily removable attachments. She started using magnets for the attachments, and when she accidentally held the magnets the wrong way, she noticed that they repelled each other even through a layer of water.

Click here to read. A bit “techie” but fascinating.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058400/this-architect-is-trying-to-build-houses-that-can-levitate

Thanks to Matt Cook for posting this Most Interesting Link!!

My comment: This is very relevant for predicted increases in sea levels. I live in a low-lying coastal city in San Francisco Bay. Recently, part of the city’s flood maps were revised to 100 year flood levels, requiring flood insurance if you have a federally insured loan. As usual, all the complaints from owners were about having to buy flood insurance. My house is about 5-6 feet above typical high tide now. When there are very high “King” tides (high tide plus heavy rains), it is closer to high tides. Flood maps for all coastal areas in the country are being revised.


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4-14-16 Newz .Bad Banks .10 Very special homes .Future of appraising

Poll: Generally speaking, how accurate do you find MLS data in your area?

 

This week’s 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?” Go to www.appraisalport.com and vote!!

My comments: I have no idea why so many people think that MLS data is correct!! Of course, it does vary a lot among MLSs. In my area it is “reasonably accurate”, except public records data is often used (and the source disclosed). For example, on the weekly open house tour last week, an agent had 2 bedrooms in the listing, because “that is what public records says”. The second bedroom was tandem with another bedroom and very small. We all know how (inaccurate) public records are. Somehow, everyone, including some appraisers, think it is accurate. Or, worse, try to make their appraisals match public records to avoid callbacks.

To make a comment, scroll down to the post below and read other appraisers’ comments and post your own!!

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10 homes that changed America (PBS – April, 2015)

Excerpt: In its 10 Homes That Changed America, a three-part series, PBS discusses the many ways that America has been shaped by its iconic and important architecture. According to series host Geoffrey Baer, narrowing the millions of houses across America down to ten examples was a challenge. The tv show tours the ten homes that have not only passed the test of time but also paved the way for those that followed.

Here are a few, with photos and brief descriptions at the link below:

– Taos Pueblo, New Mexico (circa 15th century)

– Glidehouse, Novato, California (2004)

– Mid-19th Century Tenement, New York City

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/tour-10-homes-changed-america-pbs

My comment: Fascinating!! The first one of the 3-part series has already aired. Be sure not to miss the rest. I will let you know when the first one is available for viewing online.

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