Archive for November, 2010

Unusual Structures
Who says architecture has to be serious? Here’s our round-up of buildings that are weird, silly, or just for fun.

Dancing House
A building that should really get your attention when walking pass it. The Dancing House is considered as one of the more real controversial buildings in Prague. The DH was actually designed by a great architect from California, which only proves that he had done some type of hallucinogen while designing it.

Ripley’s Building
If you saw this picture for the first time, you’d probably thought that it was hit by a massive earthquake. But in true fashion of the Ripley Legacy, it was built to reflect the odd 1812 earthquake that measured 8.0 on the rick. The building has now become one of the most photographed in the world because of it.

Upside Downer
Take a journey into the unknown with a building called Wonder Works. Its central Florida’s only upside down attraction and an amusement park for your mind. This odd building has over 100 wacky interactive exhibits for your entire family to experience.

Crooked House
The Crooked House was built in 2004 as an addition at a popular shopping center, and is a major tourist attraction in Sopot, Poland.

135 Degree Angle
This bizarre house really doesn’t have an official name. Unfortunately, the only info we have about this house is that it was built in China or Japan. And that it has a silly pink roof. And if you look real close, you’ll notice that its on a 135 degree angle.
Architectural terms

Bay Window
A window that projects out from a wall, in a semicircular, rectangular, or polygonal design. Used frequently in Gothic and Victorian designs.

The principal horizontal members of a roof, often attached to girders or a main beam which would be larger

Belle vedere means beautiful view in Italian. A belvedere is an architectural feature on a roof, in a garden, or on a terrace, that affords a beautiful view.
Architectural Styles

Mission Revival (1890s – 1920s)
Historic mission churches built by Spanish colonists inspired the turn-of-the-century house style known as Mission, Spanish Mission, or California Mission. Some resemble old Spanish mission churches with bell towers and elaborate arches.
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Famous Architects

Walter Gropius (1883 – 1969)
Walter Gropius was a German architect and art educator who founded the Bauhaus school of design, which became a dominant force in architecture and the applied arts in the 20th century.
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Celebrity Homes

Graceland Mansion (1939)
The Colonial Revival Graceland Mansion was home to rock star Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death on August 16, 1977. Today it is a National Historic Landmark and the most popular tourist attraction in Memphis, Tennessee.
Read More

Ortner Design Newsletter – Issue 8 – November 29, 2010


The Appraiser Independence Requirements

Appraiser Independence RequirementsThe Appraiser Independence Requirements have replaced the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC). These requirements maintain the spirit and intent of the HVCC and continue to provide important protections for mortgage investors, home buyers, and the housing market.

View Announcement

Tools and Resources for Appraisers

Appraiser Independence Requirements and Appraisal Resources
Guidance for Lenders and Appraisers

(.pdf, 130K, 26 pages)

Market Conditions Addendum (Form 1004MC) Recorded Training
Market Conditions Addendum (Form 1004MC) FAQs (.pdf)
Current and Previous Lender Announcements
Selling & Servicing Guide Forms
Single-Family Selling & Servicing Guides


Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP)
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have jointly established the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP) under the direction of our regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to provide common requirements for appraisal and loan delivery data, including:

A Uniform Appraisal Dataset that standardizes key appraisal data elements to enhance data quality and promote consistency.
A Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) for the electronic collection of appraisal data.

For more information and resources, including FAQs, visit the UMDP page.
UMDP page

MH Select™
Fannie Mae’s MH Select Initiative offers financing flexibility for high-quality manufactured housing for which manufacturers and dealer/retailers commit to specific design and service standards. The appraiser must select the most comparable sales available for comparison purposes. Therefore, for MH Select, comparables of similar quality and visually appealing manufactured housing, site-built housing, modular housing and/or any combination thereof, are permitted with appropriate justification and analysis.

MH Select Appraisal Guidelines

(.pdf, 31K, 1 page)

MH Select Design and Aesthetic Characteristics

(.pdf, 32K, 1 page)



Multifamily Guide Forms & Exhibits
Multifamily Loan Documents


“Usual and Customary Fees”


EPA Recognizes Nation’s First WaterSense Labeled Homes

Jalil Isa (Media Inquiries only)

November 23, 2010

EPA Recognizes Nation’s First WaterSense Labeled Homes

Water efficiency program aims to help homebuyers save money on utility bills while cutting their water and energy use

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the first WaterSense labeled homes in the country. WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by EPA that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water.
The program is helping homebuyers cut their water and energy use while at the same time saving money on utility bills. Four WaterSense labeled new homes have been built by KB Home in Roseville, California, and will help families save an average of 10,000 gallons of water and at least $100 on utility costs each year.

“To meet the environmental and economic needs of homes and communities, it’s important that we’re doing everything we can to conserve water and energy and shrink costs for American consumers,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The construction of the first WaterSense labeled homes, and the plans to build more, mark the beginning of an innovative approach that gives homeowners the chance to cut their water and energy bills and protect a vital environmental resource.”

Since signing on as the first national builder to partner with WaterSense, KB Home has agreed to build three communities of homes that will earn the WaterSense label, which will be the first in the nation to meet WaterSense criteria for newly built homes. Each house includes WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, an efficient hot water delivery system, water-efficient landscape design, and other water and energy-efficient features.

Each WaterSense labeled new home is independently inspected and certified to ensure EPA’s criteria are met for both water efficiency and performance. A WaterSense labeled new home is built to use about 20 percent less water than a typical new home.

EPA estimates that if the approximately 500,000 new homes built last year had met WaterSense criteria, the homes would save Americans 5 billion gallons of water and more than $50 million in utility bills annually.

More information on WaterSense:


New Lending Guidelines Benefit Young Borrowers

New Lending Guidelines Benefit Young Borrowers
Under Fannie Mae’s new lending guidelines, which will take effect Dec. 13, securing a mortgage will become easier for some borrowers and more difficult for others.

These new rules will allow buyers to use gifts and grants from nonprofit groups for their minimum 5 percent down payment. Freddie Mac is also considering similar new guidelines, according to spokesman Brad German. Borrowers previously were required to contribute a minimum 5 percent down payment from their own funds, with additional down payment money permitted from a gift.

These new rules are “definitely going to help upgrade buyers and young couples who for whatever reason don’t have enough money and are getting some from their families,” said Edward Ades, the owner of broker Universal Mortgage. The gift rules apply only to single-family principal residences and cover mortgage amounts in excess of 80 percent of the property’s value. The loan balance also has a limit of $729,000 in high-cost areas like New York City and $417,000 in other areas.

At the same time, Fannie Mae is cracking down on debt-to-income ratios, with the maximum ratio for those seeking a conventional mortgage set to drop from 55 percent to 45 percent under the new guidelines. Fannie Mae is also increasing its scrutiny of payment histories on revolving debt, and buyers who have missed a payment will have 5 percent of the total balance added to their ratios.

Under the new rules, borrowers who have gone through foreclosure will be excluded from obtaining a Fannie-backed loan for seven years, an increase from the previous limit of four years.

Source: The New York Times, Lynnley Browning (11/21/10)


FTC Is on the Attack Against Relief Scams

FTC Is on the Attack Against Relief Scams
The Federal Trade Commission last week announced new rules that prevent providers of mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until home owners have a written offer from their lenders that they decide is acceptable.

“Peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of home owners without ever delivering results,” FTC chair Jon Leibowitz said. “By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.”

The new rules also require that companies disclose that:

· They are not associated with the government, and their services have not been approved by the government or the consumer’s lender.

· The lender may not agree to change the consumer’s loan.

· If companies tell consumers to stop paying their mortgage, they must also tell them that they could lose their home and damage their credit rating.

Source: Federal Trade Commission (11/19/2010)


Residential Appraising in Declining Real Estate Markets

Solicitation for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):
Residential Appraising in Declining Real Estate Markets
Background: The Appraisal Practices Board (APB) of The Appraisal Foundation issues
voluntary guidance on recognized valuation methods and techniques. The APB accomplishes
this by utilizing panels of volunteer Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), which will be comprised of
individuals with expertise in the specific topic being considered.
The SME panel will research and cite all pertinent sources of existing information on the given
topic, which may include multiple recognized methods or techniques (and may also include
some which are not recognized). The SME panel will work in conjunction with an assigned
liaison(s) from the APB in drafting the guidance. After review by the APB, it will
subsequently vet the issue through a public exposure process. Based upon the feedback from
the exposure process, the APB will either return the document to the panel or ultimately adopt
guidance that addresses the specific topic.
The APB is now seeking SME volunteers to assist in the research and development of
voluntary guidance on Residential Appraising in Declining Real Estate Markets.
Scope of Work: The SME panel chosen to address this topic will accomplish its goal by, at a
minimum, gathering, citing and researching all existing literature and publications pertaining
to how to:
 Identify the subject and competing marketplaces
 Identify definitions of applicable terms (e.g. short sale, foreclosure, etc)
 Identify appropriate comparable sales and listings
 Properly conduct the adjustment process in the sales comparison approach
The SME panel may also address other aspects related to the scope of work stated above, but
only if they are relevant and critical to the process. Additions to the Scope of Work will have
to be approved by the APB.
Qualifications for SMEs: The APB envisions individuals selected for this SME panel to have
experience in residential appraisal in declining real estate markets from the perspective of one
or more of the following:
 Certified Residential or Certified General Real Estate Appraisers
 Related Trades or Professions
 Users of Appraisal Services
Solicitation for Subject Matter Experts
Residential Appraising in Declining Real Estate Markets
Page 2
 Educators, Writers and Researchers
 Service in a government or government-related agency


If you cannot see this email correctly click Here

This Week…
• What is…
• Luis Barragan House (1947)
• Michael Graves (1934 – Present)
• Architecture and Aesthetic
• Beaux Arts (1885s – 1925s)
• Tudor Revival (1890s – Present)
• Cotswold Cottage (1890s – 1940s)
• Barrel Vault
• Base
• Battlement

What is…
These are just a few definitions of environmental Architecture that are becoming reality, hopefully, leading the human race into a way of life that could be sustained for many more centuries to come.
Read More

Unique homes

Luis Barragan House (1947)
On a sleepy Mexican street, the former home of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán is quiet and unassuming. However, beyond its stark facade, the Barragán House is a showplace for his use of color, form, texture, light, and shadow.
Read More

Famous Architects

Michael Graves (1934 – Present)
Borrowing heavily from the past, architect Michael Graves combines whimsy and sophistication. His buildings often incorporate columns, pediments, arches, and other historic details.
Read More

Design Elements

Architecture and Aesthetic
Architecture is considered a visual art like painting and sculpture. Architects design buildings using a creative process by which they manipulate art elements to create a unified and pleasing artistic statement.
Read More

Architectural Styles

Beaux Arts (1885s – 1925s)
The Beaux Arts (French for “fine art”) style originated in the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Many American architects studied at this legendary architectural school, where they learned about the aesthetic principles of classical design and brought them to the United States.
Read More

Tudor Revival (1890s – Present)
Heavy chimneys and decorative half-timbering give Tudor style houses a Medieval flavor. The name Tudor suggests that these houses were built in the 1500s, during the Tudor Dynasty in England. But of course, Tudor houses in the United States are modern-day re-inventions and are more accurately called Tudor Revival or Medieval Revival.
Read More

Cotswold Cottage (1890s – 1940s)
The small, fanciful Cotswold Cottage is a popular subtype of the Tudor Revival house style. This quaint English country style is based on the cottages built since medieval times in the Cotswold region of southwestern England. A fascination for medieval styles inspired American architects create modern versions of the rustic homes.
Read More

Architectural Terms

Barrel Vault
Originally found in Roman architecture, an extended arch shape covering a walkway, gallery or entrance.

The division of a column on which the shaft is placed, or the lower part of a pillar or wall. The torus and scotia form the elements of the base.

A design for a parapet that has alternating solid parts and openings, originally used for defense, but later used as a decorative motif.
Ortner Design Newsletter – Issue 7 – November 22, 2010


Your career and industry are at stake. Please get involved today.
Join the Mortgage Action Alliance, Inc.®

Dear Industry Member,

Earlier this month, U.S. voters ushered in a clear sea change that is certain to impact the political and policy making landscapes governing the real estate finance industry. This change, which brought a Republican majority to the U.S. House of Representatives and increased that party’s minority share of the Senate, is a direct result of individual activism. Political hopefuls and their supporters engaged in enthusiastic grassroots campaigns across the country to make these changes happen.

With your voice and activism, the real estate finance industry can have the same kind of effect as the new Congress addresses issues that affect the way you do business. You have a role in the lawmaking process and can do something to support your best interests.

The Mortgage Action Alliance, Inc. (MAA) is the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) voluntary, non-partisan, nationwide grassroots lobbying network of real estate finance industry professionals. It is free, simple and you don’t have to be an employee of an MBA member firm to participate. There are more than 10,000 mortgage professionals involved in MAA, but we need more.

MAA uses the power of numbers. At key moments it mobilizes its industry volunteers to contact their members of Congress, as well as members of their state legislature, illustrating the potential effects of legislation on their businesses, the community and their customers. And it only takes a few minutes to participate. MAA is the only nationwide real estate finance program that allows industry firms to build and maintain important relationships with legislators.

When the 112th U.S. Congress is sworn in this January and your state and local government begins their 2011 sessions, they will address issues that affect our industry. As Congress turns its attention from the newly passed regulatory reform to secondary markets and the FHA, your state and local government will also consider proposed legislation that could impact the real estate finance industry.

Please join MAA today to become an advocate and start using your voice to make a difference to your industry and to your career.

Join MAA today.
The Process
Register for MAA: Once you have registered for MAA and have received your membership log-in and password, you will periodically receive “Call to Action” emails and newsletters.

Receive the MAA Newsletter: Each Monday you will receive an electronic newsletter updating you on the latest legislative and regulatory activities.

Receive “Call to Action” emails: These emails describe legislation that is at a critical point in the legislative process on Capitol Hill and explains the industry’s position.

Take Action: All you have to do is follow the link provided in the email to the MAA homepage, log in so that your elected officials are correctly identified and then review the draft letter/email prepared for you by MAA staff. The letter will urge your elected officials to support the industry’s position on the issue and identify you as a constituent who works in the real estate finance industry. You can choose to edit or further personalize the letter or send it as written. Click a button to send the letter, and you are done. It is that simple. And, of course, if you disagree with the industry’s position, you don’t have to send it at all.
Imagine our entire industry taking action on an issue critical to how we do business across the country. In this case, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Thank you in advance for your efforts on behalf of our industry during this important time.
Make your voice heard. Make your industry heard.
Join MAA today.
John A. Courson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mortgage Bankers Association


Marsha L. Williams, Esq.
Chair, Mortgage Action Alliance Steering Committee
Attorney, Middleberg Riddle & Gianna
Please direct comments or questions to If you have difficulties reading this HTML email, please go to


Bank Lawyer’s Blog – Bank of America Foreclosure Reversed
In This Issue…
• Bank of America Foreclosure Reversed
• More Recent Articles
• Search Bank Lawyer’s Blog

Bank of America Foreclosure Reversed
It appears that Manny Pacquiao isn’t the only Filipino who’s beating up much larger opponents these days. According to Filipino news site ABS/, a “73-year-old Filipino woman made history when she became the first person in California to win her house back from her lender even after it was foreclosed in San Jose, California.”
The woman, Corazon Palma, a 73 year-old cancer survivor living on a fixed income, in 2008 asked Washington Mutual to modify a loan to reduce her monthly payment of $3900.00 on a rental home. I’m not sure what the “fixed income” might be, but it must not have been enough to cover that awfully high monthly housing “nut” after the rent she received was deducted. She mailed in a modification “packet” provided by the lender, but according to an article in the Pudget Sound Business Journal, instead of getting a modification, she found out a few months later that the property was posted for a foreclosure sale (the loan servicing was apparently transferred to Bank of America, which foreclosed on the home). She called the bank and “a loan officer told her BofA would cancel the sale and send her documents relating to the modification.” The next thing she knew, a realtor tells the home has been sold at foreclosure. So, she did the next logical thing that any immigrant to this country who is fully assimilated would do: she hired a trial lawyer and sued the bank.
In January of this year, the trial judge issued a ruling that voided the foreclosure and the parties have been slugging it out since then over what, if anything, Ms. Palma owes the lender in connection with the loan. A decision on that issue is expected to be rendered on December 3rd. Her lawyer laid out a best case/worst case scenario.
“The best case scenario for Mrs. Palma is if a judge rules that the lender has no further right to exercise the loan against the property. Hence, Mrs. Palma gets the property for free.”
Worst-case scenario for Palma is that she continues to pay her mortgage but at a lower monthly rate.
Maybe BofA could also throw in a pull-over with the logo “I Asked For A Loan Mod, But All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt And A Foreclosure.”
I haven’t read the court documents or the legal basis for the court’s ruling. However, the borrower’s attorney alleges that “WAMU deceived Mrs. Palma into thinking they were making loan modification efforts on her behalf while they were secretly planning a foreclosure sale on the property.” It was either that, or the right hand of BofA didn’t know what the left hand was doing, or there was a Cool-Hand-Luke-like “failure to communicate” as a result of the transfer of servicing from WAMU to BofA. Whatever the basis, this is another public relations black mark for BofA, which has a proud history of foreclosure faux pas that make great fodder for reporters worldwide.


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