Appraisal News and Business Tips

Posts Tagged weird properties

8-17-17 Newz//Appraiser Goes to Jail, Mercury Network Bidding, $10,000 Lighthouse

Buy a lighthouse for $10,000

 Just For Fun!!

Excerpt:
Bidding is underway for six decommissioned lighthouses built before 1930 that the federal government has put up for auction. Five overlook the Great Lakes in Michigan, and the sixth is on the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s a tempting prospect, perhaps, for those who yearn for scenic surroundings – and who have the stamina to tackle periodic renovations.
Interesting article with photos and commentary
My comment: I Want One!!! A former lighthouse in San Francisco Bay was converted to a very popular B&B. Someday, maybe, I will stay overnight there ;>

How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest)

Excerpt: Air-conditioning has been remarkably good at creating demand for itself.
 It enabled the sweeping postwar development of the South, where all new single-family homes today include central air. In automobiles, it made the commutes between air-conditioned homes and air-conditioned offices possible. In the Southwest, its arrival facilitated new methods of rapid construction, replacing traditional building designs that once naturally withstood the region’s desert climate.
Interesting graphs and analysis.

My comment: A timely topic in today’s increasing temperatures. I have never lived in a house with air conditioning, even in Oklahoma when I was a kid. But, I used to visit my aunt in Dallas in the summer – air conditioned house, car, etc. I always say that people here in California do not know what hot is: 85 degrees and 85% humidity when I lived in Oklahoma ;>

Read more!!

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

A Tour of the World’s Most Delightful Domes

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

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

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

TC Valuations (AMC) Ceasing Operations!

Paying appraisers $ .25 on the dollar!!

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

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

Read more!!

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.

Read more!!

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…

Read more!!

6-8-17 Newz// Appraisal Waivers, Blue Bathrooms, Corelogic buys Mercury Network

 The Sunken World Hiding Under the Water’s Surface

27 drowned places that used to be above ground.
Excerpt: here is an entire submerged world hidden just below sea level, largely out of sight to terrestrial beings today. The Earth’s shores are lined with sunken cities, flooded crypts, drowned forests, and submerged structures that have been lost underwater over the millennia, overtaken by nature or human development.

Rising sea levels and flooding caused by earthquakes, landslides, changing tides, melting glaciers, or manmade dams have wiped entire villages off the map. And sometimes, when the water recedes, these submerged cities and landscapes reemerge from the depths, an eerie glimpse at the invisible sunken world.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/lists/sunken-cities-flooded-drowned 

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Appraiser shortage = appraisal waivers??

Excerpt:
Key government agencies finally addressed the critically growing appraisal shortage crisis that’s hampering the mortgage process, highlighting two alternative options to help areas that are facing a shortage.
Particularly, the alternative options are aimed at helping rural areas that are struggling with the availability of state certified and licensed appraisers.

Read more!!

6-1-17 Newz .Our 25th Anniversary! .Zillow Class Action Lawsuit, FTC Says No to LA Setting AMC Fees

FTC Challenges Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Regulations that Restrict Competition

Restrictions on fee setting violate federal antitrust rules, agency alleges

Excerpt from FTC: The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, alleging that the group is unreasonably restraining price competition for appraisal services in Louisiana, contrary to federal antitrust law. The complaint will be submitted to adjudication before an Administrative Law Judge, who will review it and render an initial decision.
In the administrative complaint, the FTC alleges that the Louisiana appraisers board limits the freedom of individual appraisers and their customers to engage in bona fide negotiations to set appraisal fees for real estate appraisals in Louisiana.
Excerpt from LA appraisal board comments:
In a statement, the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board denies the FTC claims, adding that it is operating well within its rights and any accusations beyond that are “ludicrous” and without merit.
“Respectfully, the FTC is just plain wrong. By issuing this legally faulty and factually incorrect complaint, the FTC is seeking to punish a Louisiana state agency for following federal regulatory mandates,” Bruce Unangst, executive director of the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, said in a statement.
Read the details here from the FTC:
More info, including comments from LA appraisal board
My comment: Very interesting angle… I always wondered if it was ok for states to set AMC appraisal fees. I wondered who complained????
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When Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight

Play real-life Chutes and Ladders at these obscure thruways.

Read more!!

4-20-17 Newz// The Narrowest House, State Appraisal Boards, Low Housing Inventory

Keret House- The world’s narrowest house makes for an awkward, four-foot-wide living space.

Excerpt: Designed by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny, the Keret House in Warsaw is wedged inside a four-foot crevice, nicknamed a “cushion of air,” between two buildings. The Keret House stretches over 30 feet tall but is simultaneously only 28 inches wide at its narrowest point-thinner than a stovetop-and just four feet wide at its widest.
My comment: Check out the fotos and full article. Wow!! I have written about narrow houses in this weekly email before, but this is definitely the narrowest!!
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When You Get Notice of a State Complaint…

By Ted Whitmer
If you are an appraiser, it is likely that at some point in your career you will receive notice that a complaint was filed against you. In one particular busy year in Texas, roughly one in six residential appraisers were filed against with the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. When you run the number of complaints in one year against the number of appraisers, one can expect a complaint every eight to ten years.

Read more!!

4-13-17 Newz// Desktop Appraisals .Fannie Appraiser Update .Trump Dump Dodd-Frank Regs

Sign up for Fannie’s new Appraiser Update and other appraisal-related news!

How do appraiser-related policy updates, technology changes, and industry trends affect your business? To stay on top of the latest Fannie Mae appraisal news and policies, check out the new Fannie Mae Appraiser Update, a newsletter providing periodic updates for residential appraisers serving Fannie Mae lender customers.  Sign up today to receive the newsletter and other appraisal-related updates.
My comment: I get all the Fannie announcements and have to scroll through them looking for anything relevant to appraisers for this email newsletter. Hopefully, Fannie’s appraiser info will be send frequently. The first newsletter is available.
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Ecological Plastic Bottle House

One family’s mission to exemplify sustainability took on a whole new life as a surprisingly beautiful home.
Excerpt: Alfredo Santa Cruz and his family built the bottle house out of trash and recyclables they collected. Aluminum cans, glass jars, CDs, cardboard cartons, and of course, plastic bottles were all used as construction materials. The house has multiple rooms, and even furniture constructed from all these items.
Scroll down the page to see bottle houses in Michigan, Canada, and Azerbaijan!!
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Read more!!

3-30-17 Newz: Corelogic Taking Over?, Oldest Living Things, NAR Appraiser Survey

The Oldest Living Things in the World

Fifteen places to find some of the most ancient life on Earth.

Just For Fun ;>

Excerpt:
On every continent on the planet you can find ancient lifeforms that have been living for thousands, or in some cases tens of thousands of years, their lifespans varying wildly depending on the type of organism.
Many of these are trees. Earth is dotted with ancient trees representing the oldest individual examples of their species, the most elderly of which have been around for between 2,000 and 5,000 years, providing food and shade for some of the earliest human civilizations.
But the real longevity champions of the plant world are clonal colonies, a Utah aspen colony is up to about 80,000 years old!
 
My comment: And I thought California’s 4,800 year old bristle cone pine tree was old! This email newsletter would be a lot more boring without atlas obscura!! Somehow uspap, etc. can be sorta boring ;>
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Corelogic taking over? Lots of data, AMCs, MLS, education…

Excerpt: This morning, as I do every morning, I made some coffee and began work on one of the two appraisal reports that were soon to be due. The first was for an AMC known as Speedy Title and Appraisal Review Services. This appraisal management company is owned by CoreLogic. From their website…

Read more!!

3-9-17 Newz .Non-lender fees .Mortgage volume since 2013 .AMCs gone wild

Why are barns painted red and the White House white?

Just for fun!! Great short video plus good explanation.
Excerpts: there are some paint choices that never seem to come up for question. Ever wondered why barns are red? Why is the White House white? And is the Golden Gate Bridge supposed to be … gold, instead of a reddish-orange?
My comment:
Also discusses: Why are green rooms green? For musicians, this is where you ‘hang out’ waiting to play. I have never been in a green room painted green ;> Now I know where the name comes from ;>
Click here to watch the short video and read the info below
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Strip-Mall Totems: The Trees of Sprawl
Just for Fun ;>
Excerpt: These forgotten or overlooked trees engage with us on multiple levels, whether we notice or not; they’re full of stories. Many, obviously, were planted – planted to soften a massive hardscape, arrest fresh-bared soil, comply with municipal regulations. A few might be legacy trees from pre-sprawl farmland or prairie copses. Others colonize the sprawl-scape via a bird’s gut or a propitious breeze.
My comment: Strip mall trees will never be the same again for me ;> check out the photos and the comments.
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Valuation Management Group Co-hosts Webinar with Fannie Mae – Collateral Policy & Technology Guidance for Appraisers, March 29 2017
Fannie Mae is presenting a free webinar for residential real estate appraisers on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 11 am EST. This webinar will cover collateral policy, technology guidance for appraisers, and the latest information on Fannie Mae’s appraisal policies. Fannie Mae agreed to a second event due to maximum capacity and positive feedback and response to the previous co-hosted event.
Julie Jones, Fannie Mae Credit Risk Analyst will be the presenter, and Jeremy Staudenmaier, also a Fannie Mae Credit Risk Analyst who helped develop the information, will be participating and answering questions. The goal of the webinar is for appraisers to gain a better understanding of Fannie Mae’s mission, to dispel common appraisal myths, and to improve communication with appraisers.

To register,click here:

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What will you do when business really slows down? Start looking for non-lender work when everyone else does?  

It’s a lot easier to get non-lender work when business is strong. There is very little competition. Other appraisers assume/hope/etc. that it will always be busy and do nothing. Lending always goes up and down.
I have been writing about getting non-lender work in my paid newsletter since 1992. For example, I can tell you how to get your business in the top of google search listing at no cost and just a few minutes of time. Half my appraisal business comes from Internet searches.
The two most popular non-lender work for residential appraisers is estate/trust and divorce. Subscribers learn the pluses and minuses of these types of non-lender appraisals and many other types. I have not done any lender work since 2005 and regularly turn down work as I am too busy.
 
If my articles help you get one non-lender appraisal,
it is worth the subscription price!! 
$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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How much are you charging for non-lender work?
You should base your non-lender appraisal fees on what local borrowers are paying for their mortgage appraisals. Call around and ask.DO NOT charge what lenders and AMCs pay you. 
I keep hearing about appraisers charging low lender/AMC fees. I have no idea why. If so, they should never complain about low fees again.
My non-lender appraisal fees keep going up and up as borrowers keep paying more and more, due to high demand from lenders. I am still below what they pay, so it seems like a “good deal” to non-lender clients.

I have been writing about non-lender work since 1992 in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter.

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The ugly truth about appraisal fees
By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpt: The Issue: I was asked to appraise something challenging, so I quoted a fee that was higher than a standard fee in Sacramento but still reasonable for the job because the house was funky. Anyway, I was comfortable with the fee and it was accepted by the AMC (Appraisal Management Company) that the lender hired to manage the appraisal ordering process.
But then things got interesting because through the course of the transaction someone showed me an email from the loan officer where I learned the AMC was actually charging the buyer $345 higher than the fee I quoted. What the? That seemed excessive, but the real clincher for me was the email showed a chain of conversation with the AMC where they said I was the one who quoted the much higher fee. Not only was the AMC gouging the buyer in my opinion, but there was a blatant lie that I was the one dictating this fee that was 43% higher than the one I quoted.
Look, I’m not a complainer and I am a total optimist, but this is not okay on so many levels.
My comment: See above for non-lender fees. 
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Slow Pay AMCs
 by Dave Towne
Excerpt: Through several of the ‘media sources’ I read recently, I’ve learned that “a particular AMC” based on the west coast has a slow pay reputation.
As so often happens with low echelon AMCs with few clients, when business slows down, their payment process becomes a Ponzi scheme. Ultimately they go out of business.
I currently have an outstanding report with that AMC, but the payment due date to me is March 7. So I’m respectfully withholding their name publicly from others, until and unless they don’t pay me on time.
Over past years I’ve written about how appraisers MUST keep close track of their submitted reports and payments due for them. Too many appraisers get busy and neglect to monitor their Accounts Payable for their business.
My comment: A good reminder of AMCs that are in trouble. Read Dave’s suggestions. I am very strict and have loss less than $2,000 in 30 years of fee appraising. It was my fault for poor client screening. I write about this topic regularly in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter, usually when business slows down.
Click here to read plus the many comments.
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AMC Fined for Removing Appraiser from Panel
By Isaac Peck, Editor
Excerpt: Many states also have AMC laws that have stringent requirements that AMCs must notify an appraiser when he or she is removed from an appraisal panel. Unfortunately, the lack of enforcement actions against AMCs for such violations has caused many appraisers to question whether such regulations have any effect at all.
However, in a precedent setting move, the Washington State Department of Licensing has recently become the first regulatory agency to fine an AMC for removing an appraiser from an appraiser panel without proper notification. In September 2015, the American Reporting Company (ARC) was sanctioned for “removing a real estate appraiser from [an] appraiser panel without proper notifications” and failing to “provide [a] real estate appraiser [the] opportunity to respond to removal from panel.”
Click here to read the full article for lots more info, plus the comments from appraisers.
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Rules checking software gone wild!!
If the ‘story’ can be told using 3 comps, why are 4 or more really necessary?
By Dave Towne
Excerpt: Interesting report data from review of 1.5 million appraisals. A few of the stats:
– 4.72% of the appraisals Market Value is higher than the adjusted comp values. But real estate is not perfect, and sometimes it does make sense
– 12.10 % of the appraisals use comps from different Cities. And the concern is?
– 6.25% of the reports did not use 5 or more comps. And the concern is??
Be sure to read Dave’s full comments plus the comments at the end from other appraisers:

http://appraisersblogs.com/comps-rules-check-software 

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Mortgage loan origination volume from 2013 to 2017
This graph has been in every issue of the paid Appraisal Today since 1992. I use the data from the MBA below. Business has been slowing down since the peak in 9/16.
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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 www.mbaa.org 
Note: I publish a graph of this data (see above) every month in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time.
Mortgage applications increased 3.3 percent from one week earlier
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 8, 2017) – Mortgage applications increased 3.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 3, 2017. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the President’s Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 3.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 16 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week to the highest level since December 2016. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 15 percent compared with the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 45.4 percent of total applications from 45.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.7 percent of total applications to the highest level since October 2014. The average loan size for purchase applications reached a survey high at $313,300.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.8 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.6 percent from 11.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.9 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to 4.36 percent from 4.30 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.38 (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 $424,100) increased to 4.27 percent from 4.23 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.25 (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 4.18 percent from 4.07 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.37 (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 3.57 percent from 3.51 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.36 (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 3.48 percent from 3.35 percent, with points decreasing to 0.20 from 0.29 (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.

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