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Appraisal volume continued to struggle to recover from the loss it witnessed due to Thanksgiving for the week of Nov. 6, increasing 3.1%, the latest data from a la mode, an appraisal forms software company that tracks appraisal volume throughout the country, said.

While volume jumped 35.7% last week, it fell a bit short of brining the volume up to the levels seen in the week before Thanksgiving.

Click to enlarge


(Source: a la mode)

Kevin Golden, director of analytics with a la mode, explained that the rise prompted by the fear of an imminent rate hike by the Federal Reserve was still not enough to overcome the seasonal slowing, leaving the index still shy of pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The Fed is supposed to announce whether or not it will raise interest rates on Wednesday.

And if rates rise, Golden said that appraisal volume will drop. “Combine this with the seasonal slowdown, it could be a significant amount,” he said. Furthermore, mortgage payments are expected to increase around 12%, by one estimation.

Appraisal volume is an indicator of market strength and has some advantages over mortgage applications. Fallout is less for appraisals since they are ordered later in the mortgage process after credit worthiness has been approved and there are few multiple-orders.

a la mode captures 50% of the appraiser market – more than 6 million appraisals per year since the fourth quarter of 2006.

Read more: Can appraisal volume survive a Fed hike in interest rates?

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Fire_Island_HomeA premium Fire Island home sold prior to its scheduled auction date, an impressive feat worthy of major bragging rights. The unique, modern home has a swanky 100 feet of direct ocean frontage and a 1,920-square-foot interior. For those not from the New York metro area, Fire Island is the large center island of the outer barrier islands parallel to the south shore of Long Island, New York.

Inside you will find lofty 10-foot ceilings, a stunning glass wall, massive bay windows facing the ocean, a large balcony with ample lounge space and an outdoor shower and dressing area. Five bedrooms and three full bathrooms provide plenty of space for a large family or lingering guests, and a chef’s kitchen and dining area that seats 12 are perfect for both the gourmand and the entertainer.

The residence is situated in a private community of 40 single-family homes nestled on the southern shore of Fire Island. Sellers Rona and Joe Forstadt purchased the home more than 35 years ago. When a fire damaged the home in 1989, the duo convinced renowned architect Horace Gifford to come out of retirement to help restore the home to its original beauty. Gifford was famous for the sleek glass and wood style showcased in this space. The project was the last one Gifford undertook before passing away in 1992.

While the sale price of the property has not been released, it was described as one of the highest prices “on the ocean” in 2015. Ahoy,...

Read more: Great Spaces: Fire Island Home Finds Buyer before Auction

mortgage_for_you(TNS)—Know these three loan types before you go mortgage shopping.

Conventional Loans:
Who they’re for: Conventional mortgages are ideal for borrowers with good or excellent credit.

How they work: Conventional mortgages are “plain vanilla” home loans. They follow fairly conservative guidelines for:

—Borrower credit scores.
—Minimum down payments.
—Debt-to-income ratios.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Percentage of monthly income that is spent on debt payments, including mortgages, student loans, auto loans, minimum credit card payments and child support.

Cost: Closing costs, down payments, mortgage insurance and points can mean the borrower has to show up at closing with a sizable sum of money out of pocket.

What’s good: Conventional mortgages generally pose fewer hurdles than Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Affairs mortgages, which may take longer to process.

What’s not as good: You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the best interest rates.

FHA Loans
Who they’re for: Federal Housing Administration mortgages have flexible lending standards to benefit:

—People whose house payments will be a big chunk of take-home pay.
—Borrowers with low credit scores.
—Homebuyers with small down payments and refinancers with little equity.

How they work: The Federal Housing Administration does not lend money. It insures mortgages.

The FHA allows borrowers to spend up to 56 percent or 57 percent of their income on monthly debt obligations, such as mortgage, credit cards, student loans...

Read more: Which Mortgage Is for You?

Question: Our condominium board of directors intentionally excluded a director from attending a finance committee meeting, which she was entitled to attend. At the annual meeting, the president said it was done because the board was discussing personnel compensation. No such matters were discussed or on the table to be discussed. Personnel matters are always discussed in executive session after a duly noticed meeting where directors are present.

Against our covenants, conditions and restrictions, the board gives bonuses to all employees and vendors. Owners have not voted on these disbursements, and we want the money to go back to the owners who paid it to the association through our assessments. Are there negative implications for the board's actions?

Answer: It is a breach of fiduciary duty to shut out any director from a board meeting. All directors have a fiduciary duty to competently represent the association, and they can do this only if they have the information they need regarding its governance.

The board is not in a position to give any money to third parties. The association is probably a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation with a tax-exempt status. Improper handling of association funds could jeopardize that status and have serious ramifications for the association and all its titleholders. If the board members want to give money away, they should pass the hat among themselves and donate their own money to whomever they choose. That way the association steers...

Read more: Excluding a director from a meeting is a breach of fiduciary duty

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