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The Darker Side of Being an Appraiser

August 11th, 2015
  • The Appraisal Profession is wonderful…on the other hand
  • “Sitting is the new smoking: here’s a “healthy reminder” of what to do
  • Recent Real Estate Reports
  • Appraiser Help’s 2015 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is Now Available!
  • Rates & Dates
  • Ask Angie
  • Tell us what you think!
  • Closing Remarks

    TUESDAY, August 11, 2015

    Anchor The Appraisal Profession is wonderful…on the other hand…

    As an appraiser for the majority of my working life, I am mostly very happy with my chosen profession.  There are, however, some troubling aspects of the appraisal profession such as the health concerns we have discussed in past newsletters including those related to deadlines, stress and lack of activity/too much sitting.

    While I was reading The Age of Acquiescence by Steve Fraser recently, I was struck by how many of his observations reminded me of our profession, particularly as it relates to residential appraisers doing AMC work. has noted the long hours that many appraisers work, even when compared with the U.S. overall average which is much higher than in Europe (350 hours more per year) and even Japan.  Mr. Fraser discusses today’s “free agent” worker who is a “…lone player in the marketplace…fortified with a frontiersman’s sense of adventure…as if…migrated into cyberspace”.  While the “…portable office offers freedom to work when and where we please…” old “bureaucratic rules and routines” have been “…replaced with new forms of power and surveillance” including the “…cell phone tethering free agents to their taskmasters round the clock”.  Steve Fraser offers an analogy to a sweatshop during the first “Gilded Age”:

    “It lawlessly offered irregular employment at substandard wages for interminable hours.  It was ordinarily housed helter-skelter in a makeshift workshop that would be here today, gone tomorrow.  It was an underground enterprise that regularly absconded with its worker’s paychecks and made chiseling them out of their due into an art form”.

    Approximately 1/4 of working Americans fall into this“free agent” category and Steve Fraser ominously notes that:

    “…their newfound freedom as casual labor amounted to freedom from economic security, freedom from health care and the wherewithal to retire, freedom from all those protections standing between decency and destitution”.

    Mr. Fraser goes on to say that in today’s “white-collar Tomorrow-land” many are “…now living a precarious existence, under intense stress…And the future looked bleaker still” with some economists predicting another 40 million jobs to be ‘off-shored’ in the next twenty years including many “favored occupations of the new economy”.  He writes that:

    “Many of these jobs, envied and sought after for their high skill, inventiveness, and creativity, end up being not only insecure but boring, subject to intense surveillance, and without those ladders of upward promotion” seen in the past.

    Sound familiar?

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    Anchor“Sitting is the new smoking”: here’s a “healthy reminder” of what to do.

    For readers who may have missed it, here are the recommendations made in our last newsletter (July 28th Appraiser “Sitting Disease” which can be read in its entirety at

    The British Journal of Sports Medicine issued the following recommendations in June:

    ~During work hours, two hours of standing and light activity (i.e. light walking) is recomended with a buildup to four hours over time for desk based office workers.

    ~Break up seated based work with standing based work through the use of adjustable sit-stand work stations.

    ~Avoid lengthy “static standing” which can be as harmful as prolonged sitting.

    Here are some additional appraiser specific suggestions that we think might be helpful:

    ~Walking while talking: when staring at a computer screen is not necessary to the conversation, get up and walk around while on the phone.

    ~Get out of the car and take that comp photo: park down the block and take a short hike rather than double park in a busy location to take a photo.  Not as stressful as pulling over in a bad spot and allows for a walk and a quick stretch.

    ~Some reinforcement tools: use a pedometer, Fitbit activity tracker, smart watch or other such device to track your steps and activity level.  “Data driven” and competitive appraisers will find themselves “walking that extra mile” through the use of these techniques which are more positive type reinforcements than setting reminder alarms, for example.

    Here is the link to the British Journal of Sports Medicine news release with guidance on “curbing the health risks of too much sitting”:

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    AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers support and grow their businesses. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we and our sponsors have to offer.

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    AnchorRecent Real Estate Reports

    CoreLogic made the news for several reasons this past week.

    Earlier this morning, CoreLogic released their “National Foreclosure Report” for June which indicated that completed foreclosures were down by 4.8% from the previous month and 14.8% from the same month last year.  This represented the 44th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.  Frank Nothaft, chief economist for the company, is quoted in the release as saying:

    “The foreclosure rate for the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 2007, supported by a continuing decline in loans made before 2009, gains in employment, and higher housing prices.  The decline has not been uniform geographically, as the foreclosure rate varies across metropolitan areas.  In the Denver and San Francisco areas, the foreclosure rate has fallen to 0.3%, whereas in the Tampa market the rate is 3.5% and in Nassau and Suffolk counties (on Long Island) it is an elevated 4.8%”.

    Last week, Mr. Nothaft discussed their projection of slowing home appreciation based on several supply and demand factors including rising interest rates and additional inventory from new construction.  CoreLogic projects price appreciation of approximately 4.5% during the upcoming year, down from the 6.5% seen this past year.  Inventory is expected to increase from the current 5.9 month supply.  Mr. Nothaft noted that this national figure includes markets with only a one month supply and others with almost one year.

    Also last week, Housing Wire reported that CoreLogic acquired Landsafe from Bank of America for $70 million after considering other reported bids by Solutionstar, Fidelity and Solidifi.  In January of 2012, Landsafe ceased offering AMC services to outside loan originators but continued to do so for Bank of America.

    Additional information about CoreLogic can be found at:

    AnchorAppraiser Help’s 2015 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is Now Available!

    To help appraisers evaluate how AMCs will work for their appraisal practices, we have compiled this expanded directory of over 275 AMCs and National Appraisal Companies, listing complete, contact information and other details for each company.

    If you’re looking to maintain or expand your mortgage appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start. Order it today for $79.99 and download it immediately!

    Please visit our website now to make your purchase securely or contact us at (877) 434-2825 for more information on this comprehensive directory!

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    AnchorRates & Dates

    Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends reported falling mortgage interest rates last week.

    In their survey on August 6th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased from 3.98% to 3.91%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was 4.14%.

    The MBA reported on August 5th (for the week ending July 31st) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) declined from 4.17% to 4.13%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) fell from 4.12% to 4.08% while rates for FHA backed mortgages also moved downward, from 3.98% to 3.96%.

    Mortgage applications increased 4.7% from the previous week with the share of refinance applications as a percentage of all applications increasing from 50.6% to 51.3%.  The FHA share of applications rose from 13.7% to 13.8% and the VA share declined from 10.9% to 10.5%.

    On August 7th, Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates fell to 4.03% from 4.06% the previous week while rates for FHA-backed mortgages also decreased, from 3.85% to 3.83%.

    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

    Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

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    Appraiser Help has Released its 2015 Directory of AMC’s and National Appraisal Companies. Click the link above to learn more and to download your copy today!

    AnchorAsk Angie

    Angie is taking a short break from her August vacation to give us the answers to her last contest: Jimi Hendrix is responsible for “Even Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually”; Douglas Adams noted that “A beach house isn’t just real estate. It’s a state of mind”; and Henry James wrote “Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language”.

    In response to numerous email requests, Angie wants everyone to know that, yes, it is okay for an overworked appraiser to “google” the answers to her questions.  Certified appraisers only, though, no exceptions!

    Today’s Questions:

    1. Who said: “I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything”.

    a) Jon Stewart
    b) Alex Rodriguez
    c) Martha Stewart
    d) All of the above
    e) None of the above

    2. Who said: “I don’t care about wealth.  What seems to be upsetting is institutionalizing the advantages that wealth gives you”.

    a) Jon Stewart
    b) Donald Trump
    c) James Dolan
    d) All of the above
    e) None of the above

    3. Who said: “The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom”.

    a) Jon Stewart
    b) Steve Jobs
    c) Jerry Seinfeld
    d) All of the above
    e) None of the above

    The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a choice of one of the following:

    One Free Regular Listing on

    A Free Copy of the 2015 Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available to Members of and FREE!)

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    AnchorTell 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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    AnchorWe 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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