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Housing Needs as Baby Boomers Age

February 21st, 2017 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Challenges Impacting Baby Boomers.

Earlier today, Freddie Mac released a report titled “Older Americans Face Challenges When Aging in Place” in which they discussed their survey results indicating that a significant majority would like to stay in their current home as they age.  The survey noted that ½ of Americans older than 55 and ¾ of those over 75 are impacted by at least one physical ailment limiting their ability to perform basic daily functions such as walking modest distances, climbing steps, carrying items, etc. The Census Bureau reports that the 55+ demographic comprises about 90 million people, approximately ¼ of the overall population of the U.S.  The importance of retrofitting homes (i.e. altering physical characteristics such as one story living with elimination of steps, wider hallways, accessibility features) is emphasized by these numbers and the Bureau’s projection that those over 55 will grow to 136 million by 2050.

Some highlights of the report:

~The survey indicated that 43 million people, almost 2/3 of homeowners, wish to “age in place”.

~2/3 of those surveyed report that their homes are not wheelchair accessible or conducive for those with arthritis or limited mobility.

~Approximately 1.5 million older households need retrofitting now this another ½ million by 2030. Major retrofits, if needed, in some cases can be up to 40 times more expensive than simple retrofits (i.e. adding grab bars or new drawer handles).

~In many cases the cost of retrofitting is simply too expensive and those wishing to age in place will not be able to do so.

Added Sean Becketti, the chief economist of Freddie Mac:

“Nearly a quarter of all Baby Boomers are going to be faced with the financial realities of aging in place, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Of course, the cost depends on the type and condition of the home. Many older homes, such as many of the colonial-style homes common in the Northeast and Midwest, may not be good candidates for retrofitting. For some of them, aging in place until the bitter end may not even be a possibility. Like Betty Davis said, ‘Old age is not for sissies.'”

Click here for entire Freddie Mac report

A Reader Comments

For years, we have received a large number of emails from appraisers complaining about the use by some AMCs of “broadcast solicitations” for procuring appraisers.

Sometimes we feel like just saying “enough already”; we apologize to those readers who do not involve themselves with such AMCs and are tired of reading about it.  On the other hand, some of the practices are so egregious that we would be derelict in our duties as a serious appraiser newsletter if not reported.

Before we continue with this bit of news about “bad” AMCs, let’s have a shout out for one that appears to be the opposite.  From our experience and emails we have received, the North Carolina AMC Elliott & Company Appraisers seems to be conducting business in a focused, professional manner.  With a specialty in title company work, this AMC seems to work towards engaging professional appraisers and review appraisers and provides a valuable service to their clients.  We welcome emails from appraisers interested in providing genuine, positive reviews about AMCs as well as the negative ones.

Back to the dark side: this week, we received the following email from long time California appraiser Gary Crabtree, SRA, about two AMCs that appear to be continuing the questionable practice of obtaining appraisers through broadcast methods.

“Hi Bill,

No I haven’t faded away quite just yet, but with the current AMC practices, it won’t be long.  55 years is long enough.

Speaking of AMC’s – The worst, by far, is Clear Capital and guess who their major client is?  Chase. They also had appraisers doing work for Fannie Mae at $225/ per.

The latest is a AMC called Collateral Risk Solutions out of California.  They blast assignments out and the first to accept is the winner, but wait – if you win (lose) the assignment and another appraiser comes in lower, they cancel the assignment with you and give it to the lowest appraiser.  They are also constantly blasting out requests for fee quotes and turn times even before their clients have decided to order an appraisal.

Dodd-Frank needs to be repealed especially the section dealing with appraisal independence and pressuring appraisers”.

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Back by Popular Demand: Random Tweets to Make You Smile

1) I couldn’t quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.

2) The truth may ring out like a bell, but it is seldom tolled.

3) Pretty amazing how many people remember what you did to them, but how many remember what you did for them.

4) What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

5) School for 12 years, college for 4 years, and then you work until you die. You got one life, LIVE IT!  (And for appraisers, just add: qualifying classes, hours of training, continuing education, etc.)

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) reported mixed results in the movement of mortgage interest rates last week.

Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) reported mixed results in the movement of mortgage interest rates last week.

In their survey on February 16th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages moved downward from 4.17% the prior week to 4.15%. They also noted that one year ago, the 30-year rate was at 3.65%.

Sean Becketti, the chief economist of Freddie Mac noted that:

“For the last 46 years, the 30-year mortgage rate has been almost perfectly correlated with the yield on the 10-year Treasury, but not this year. From Dec. 29, 2016, through today, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 17 basis points to this week’s reading of 4.15 percent. In contrast, the 10-year Treasury yield began and ended the same period at 2.49 percent. While we expect mortgage rates to fall into line with Treasury yields shortly, this just may be a year full of surprises.”

The MBA reported on February 15th (for the week ending February 10th) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) fell to 4.32% from 4.35%. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) moved up, from 4.27% to 4.28% and rates for FHA backed mortgages dropped from 4.16% to 4.12%.

Mortgage applications fell by 3.7% from the previous period.  Refinance applications as a percentage of all applications declined from 47.9% to 46.9%, the lowest level since June of 2009. The FHA share of applications was unchanged at 11.9% while the VA share declined to 11.8% from 12.7%.

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS – Freddie Mac

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site at: Research and Forecasts – Mortgage Bankers Association

Ask Angie

Angie would first like to acknowledge the winner of her last contest: California appraiser John Thermos of John Thermos & Associates. John was the first to answer correctly that Charley Chaplin was the answer to all three questions in the last newsletter: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot”; Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles”; and “A day without laughter is a day wasted”.

Today’s questions:

Who said the following:

“I remain one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown.  It places me on a far higher plane than any politician”.

“This is a ruthless world and one must be ruthless to cope with it”.

“In the end, everything is a gag”.

a) Groucho Marx
b) Charlie Chaplin
c) Amy Schumer
d) Joan Rivers
e) None of the above

The first to respond with the correct answers wins:

One Free Regular Listing on

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Tell us what you think!

We invite your responses to any of the issues raised in this newsletter. Please e-mail us at: with your thoughts!

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We really hope you find our newsletter to be informative!  If you have any input on future topics for discussion, please email me your questions and I will do my best to address them in the next issue.  If you want to look back at past issues you can see our archive at


Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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