Tag Archives: Curtis Park

Appraisal Challenges and a Rebuttal with the VA

brick front doorThere is a lot of nervousness these days getting past the appraisal contingency, which is one of several things that a real estate contract usually hinges on when a purchaser requires a loan.  The contracts typically most susceptible are those from FHA and VA buyers, as these buyers many times can, and do offer more than the listing price, and the appraiser tends to scrutinize the property much more.  These loans require the least amount of down payment, with the VA requiring zero down.  A higher priced offer, over the list price, excites a seller as they see dollar signs, while a savvy agent knows that it must first get through the appraisal hurdle, or else the deal falls apart, or the seller has to lower the purchase price to the appraised value.   Many times an agent will meet the appraiser at the property in an attempt to educate, enlighten,  or justify the contract price using comparative listings and sold properties, as well as showing and detailing improvements, etc.  Some times this is helpful when done with tact, while other times it just annoys and ticks the appraiser off.  I typically just want to make sure that the appraiser is local and familiar with the area.  Homes that border neighborhoods and dividing lines can be tricky if the appraiser  is unaware of these boundaries, which a map does not show.

I am currently listing a home and in contract with a VA purchaser.  I felt that we priced the home fairly, in the sweet spot of the market.  We ended up getting two offers within a few weeks and settled in on one that was about $3000 under asking price.  All the inspections went well with no issues.  The appraiser called to let me know that the value would be coming in below the contract price, but wanted to give me an opportunity (known as “The Tide Water Process” only for VA loans) to submit my own findings and comparative sales.  I thought this was courteous, however, in our conversation he made it clear that he takes his job very seriously, and that he’s hardly ever wrong.  I interpreted that as, “go ahead and knock yourself out, but I’m not changing the value.”  I proceeded to send him the comps and a write-up as to the value of the home, including upgrades and details he may have missed.  Also I asked the question, “What other house can the buyer purchase in this area for the same price that is similar, where they can keep their kids in the same school” (which I knew was one of the buyer’s objectives).

End result:  The appraisal came in at the list price, $3000 over the contract price.  Go figure.  Seller is getting his money’s worth by hiring me.

Lesson learned:  Never give up.  Decent writing can go a long way.

Anyone else have experiences, good or bad with appraisers and appraisals?

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Keith Klassen, Broker

916.669.9030

Curtis Park Village Developement, Sacramento CA

As a Curtis Park resident, I’ve been following the most recent news on the Curtis Park Village development – here’s a recent piece that goes a little beyond our Viewpoint news.

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/05/5393743/petrovich-to-break-ground-on-long.html#mi_rss=Business

Dad’s Restaurant – Land Park/Curtis Park, Sarcramento

After eating at Dad’s Kitchen, (on the border of Curtis Park and Land Park) for maybe the 6th time, I’m finally making the call – I like it!  It’s a good spot for my kids.  It’s a good place to hang with a few friends.  While the layout is a little awkward, I will forgive them due to the good food, patio and beer!

Check it out.

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

KeithAKlassen@gmail.com

Moisture in Windows – Real Estate Sacramento

I have viewed and sold so many homes with dual pane windows that have failed.  The clear, or should I say unclear, indication is fogged up glass.  When you try to clean them, you quickly realize that there is moisture trapped in between the two panes, hence the window has failed.  Most inspectors will tell you that this does not diminish the effectiveness of the window, rather it just looks ugly.  And typically the remedy is replacing the glass or the window, which can be costly.

I ran across an article/ad regarding a newer technology, whereby they can de-moisturize and repair the window by just drilling to small holes in the corners.  Sound great if it actually is legitimate.

Has anyone out there utilized this technology?  And more importantly, does it work?  If so, this would be a great innovation to all those failed windows out there.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

KeithAKlassen@gmail.com

A Small Effort Goes a Long Way

Our family decided help out to a local effort called Project 680.  A number of years ago a few or our friends and their neighbors found out that there were 680 recorded cases of student homelessness in the Rancho Cordova school district – now it’s up to 783!  They simply asked themselves, “What can we do about it?”  They contacted a counselor in the school district and asked, “What are some of the practical needs of these students?”  The answer was, “socks!”  I remember it being hard enough just going through puberty, let alone not having socks on my feet.

One of the local news stations did a short piece on Project 680 recently and called it “Raiding the Sock Aisle,” encouraging people to go buy out all the socks in the aisle (or at least the ones that the kids desire) – so this is what we did. For more specifics you can watch the news cast video here.

We resonate with this effort and want to support it when we can.  Here is our small contribution this year.  We took a few short clips and Ryan Lundquist stitched them together and made it look pretty.  Check out the video below.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Do Governmental Housing Programs Work?

This is in reference specifically to the programs as of late that have tried to keep people in their homes through loan modification. This is a question I and many others have been asking and trying to figure out for some time now.

While I attempt to be eternally optimistic, numbers usually don’t lie (if they are presented honestly – ha ha).  Seriously though, I am an avid reader of anything Mish writes and he nailed it on the head here –

Statistical Nonsense On “Help”

For the 40% that end up defaulting anyway, how much money, time and mental energy did they waste in these programs? Assuming the other 60% keep their houses I have to ask “Who was it that was really helped? The bank or the home owner?”

I suggest in most instances if anyone was “helped” it was the lender. It is no favor to make someone a debt slave forever in these programs. Finally, one must look at other costs.

For example, how many people stopped paying their mortgages just to get “help”? Also note that the sooner housing prices bottom, the better off everyone will be. These programs harm price disclosure, help to keep prices elevated, and thus curtail genuine demand.

From these perspectives, HAMP and the entire gamut of “help” programs has done anything but help. Speaking of government help programs, please consider the Mission Statement of Fannie Mae.

We are a shareholder-owned company with a public mission. We exist to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market.

A quick check now shows the link I had with that mission statement has been redirected to About Fannie Mae

The link now states “Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) chartered by Congress with a mission to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets.”

Fannie Mae clearly failed its mission to provide stability and affordability to housing. The truth is no government program ever provides stability or affordability. HAMP won’t either, and the truth should be easy to see.

You can find the full article here

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030


Housing Tax Credits

Quick run down…

The Federal Government is offering and has extended an $8000 tax credit through the end of this month.  Home buyers need to be in contract on a home by April 30, 2010 and close escrow by June 30, 2010.

Many of my clients have asked how they get the credit once they close.  Go to this website, which will answer most all of your questions – http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/home.html

OR

just click here

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California Housing Tax Credit

Up to (key phrase) $10,000 tax credit from the State of California for first-time home buyers, who purchase a home after May 1, 2010.  A few qualifications:

– The money is credited over 3 years ($3,333/year) for taxable income.

– The money ($100M) will run out.  While the programs runs through the end of December 2010, some are predicting toward mid-August it will be gone!

Here is site to visit for questions and how to claim this incentive – Ftb.ca.gov

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Overview of Curtis Park Village

Recently the environmental plans were approved for the Curtis Park Village development. I have not formed a strong opinion about this project…  I’m all for trading a toxic wasteland for development.  However, I like what one person said about the scale of the retail development side of things – I can move to Roseville if I wanted a suburban neighborhood and outlet stores. Others complain about it being too auto-centric.  I just hope that it will not be a strip mall feel, but somehow reflect the historic Curtis Park and Land Park feel.  I know many of my neighbors who are adamantly for or against it.  It always if fascinating to watch public administration in action and how opinions and attitudes are shaped based on how it affects people.  Currently, I am gathering more information as I now see some bigger progress.

Here is the overview from Petrovich’s website.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Job Perks – Sacramento Real Estate

I had the good fortune of closing a short sale (after 4 months) in El Dorado Hills.  My clients had big plans to update the home and do some minor renovations.  In the discussion process I overheard them point to the pellet stove insert and say, “That thing has got to go!”  Little did they know I had been shopping for one on and off for the last few years.  I guess I was not very motivated to drop the $2000+ on one of these bad boys.

The clients and I did our final walk through before the close of the sale and I said, “Hey, what are you going to do with that old pellet stove?”  Like how I “beat it up”a bit?  “Oh, we are getting rid of it and putting a gas insert in its place.”  I said, “Hmmm… I’ve actually been looking for one and that would fit perfectly in my 1930’s home – my wife would love it.  I’d be willing to take it off your hands and haul it off.”  He said, “Make me an offer.”

Long story short, I picked it up last weekend and installed it last night.  A shout out to Robin McDonell (and Bruce), “The Pellet Stove Guys!” Robin seriously saved me about $700+ in parts and labor and gave me the tutorial on everything I wanted to know about pellet stoves.  This guy kicks some serious ass when it comes to pellet stoves.  Check out his blog/website here.  Not flashy, but they take care of business.  Put it this way, I was not paying for his fancy showroom.  Thanks Robin for the hook up!

Also, my neighbors came through – Thanks Pete for the bag of pellets and Jay for the use of the truck to make it all happen – true neighbors.

I am currently sitting in my chair enjoying the blaze of the Whitfield Advantage (which I got for a ‘song’).  It’s a cool 53 degrees outside, I’m sipping my coffee, blogging, and watching my kids play Legos in front of the fire.  It’s like Christmas come early.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Philosophy Meets Real Estate in Sacramento CA and Beyond

While this post has everything to do with, and is focused on the details of the real estate market, the economy, investing, buying and selling property, my little neighborhood in Curtis Park, Sacramento, sometimes I can get a little philosophical.  What is the meaning of life?  What is the purpose of my life?  How do the situations and the context which I find myself shape life?  Are there forces at work bigger than the indexes?  Is this depressed economy doing something in our culture and country that may actually be positive?

I mused the other day over the thought that storms and hard times in my life have been the things that has been pivotal or a “rescue” of sorts for my life.  Let me give you an example.

When I hit the ripe age of 31, I started having chronic back pain.  This was the same time as we had our first child.  I have painful memories of not being able to carry my newborn son very far in the Baby Bjorn (front carrier), due to back pain.  My wife just thought I was trying to get out of carrying the baby 🙂  I tried a lot of quick fixes like a hot pad, muscle relaxing creams, simple stretching, and more.  I continued to not be very active and I lost sleep due to the discomfort.  As a result, I made a determination that I had to seek physical therapy and strengthen my core muscles, or I may go through the rest of my life with a dull, (kind of) bearable back pain.  I could not deal with the idea that I would not be able to carry, let alone wrestle with my sons as they got older.  As a result, I buckled down, swallowed my pride and got help.  I now stretch daily, am aware of my posture, wear orthotics, work out 4-5 days a week (focusing on core muscles) and am in the best shape of my life.  Oh yeah, there are nightly wrestling matches with my boys, now 4 and 6 years old.  I can sleep soundly and walk/run long distances without pain.  This pain-in-the-back changed my life for the better.

Whether it be a health situation, a tragedy of some sort, or a financial crisis, the “storms” in life will reveal in us who we really are and what lies at the core of our being.  I wonder, is this housing storm revealing what our nation is really about?  While it’s tragic for many (including myself), is there something underneath it all that is good?  Is there a corrective measure that we need as a country that will be of great benefit in the long-run?

I read an article lately about “The return to frugality” – how saving money is back in vogue.  Trends show that people are staying home and finding inexpensive ways to be entertained.  Maybe couples are conversing more and experiencing greater intimacy?  Maybe families are doing things like going on bike rides together, or spending a day at the park with a picnic lunch?  Maybe people are reading more?  Maybe consumption is down (I know that is not helping our economy in the traditional ways)?  Maybe people are shopping more locally?  Maybe people are saving resources by not driving as much, or using as much power?  I’ve heard that micro farming is becoming a big thing for some families, or at least there is rise in growing your own produce.  Maybe neighbors are talking more and sharing ideas and bonding over a shared plight?   Maybe people are looking after their physical health more?  I notice the gym is packed on Fridays with “furlough Fridays” in effect for state workers,.

I got to thinking a little deeper…. Usually I try to escape storms and run away from them – this is the rational thing to do, right?  However, if I am constantly trying to escape the thing that could radically change my life for the better, maybe I should attempt to look at storms a bit differently?  Do I just continue to put “Icy Hot” on my dull back  pain, or am I going to embrace the trauma and enter into a larger, positive, more life-impacting shift?

Your deep thoughts?

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030