Tag Archives: Development

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

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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

New Energy Efficient Technology

This post is not very sexy, but hopefully interesting.  No special windows or solar-power… just insulation.  I work with a (re)developer that is partnering with Smud (our local utility co.) on a rehab project in South Sacramento.  Smud’s claim is that this is the first house on the west coast in which this product has been use.  In layman’s terms, it’s a foam, interlocking block that is stacked up around the outside of the house.  Wire and stucco are then applied.  Supposedly it is extremely easy to install (my kids would love to get a hold of this stuff) and super energy efficient.

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

Have we hit bottom in the Sacramento CA housing Market?

This is a question I get asked frequently and one that I hear attempting to be answered.  “Have we hit the bottom of the housing market?  At times I have fallen prey to the common thinking that says, “How much worse can it get?  The market has dropped ____%, how much more can it go down?”  Then the conclusion… “We must be at the bottom.”  Anyone with their head in the game has thought/asked this.

However, after just doing a little research you will find that there are key economic forces in play that have to change (unemployment for one) before “the bottom” is reached AND our economy comes out of the recession in which we find ourselves.  Forecasters have been calling the bottom for the last 2 years or longer.  So have we hit bottom yet?

For an excellent read on some of these economic factors, check out this article, The Orwellian Recovery.  The author succinctly states,  “I don’t see how housing prices can recover at the same time inventories, mortgage rates, and unemployment rise.”

A colleague an I were discussing this topic over coffee today… what’s going to happen when the government backs off the stimulus and interest rates rise?

It’s a complicated and highly opinionated topic, what are your thoughts?

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Figure 8’s Finished Product – Curtis Park, Sacramento

Here it is – after months of construction, the face lift is complete.  It’s nice to see completion, especially in light of so many stalled development projects in Sacramento.  Well done Figure 8.  Thanks for adding to bringing your unique touch to our wonderful neighborhood.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Real Estate Therapy in Sacramento, CA

Lately I’ve had the privilege of gaining several buyer referrals, where the previous real estate agent, for a variety of reasons, was not able or capable of getting the job done.  One agent was in the business part-time and did not have the availability to do the follow through.  Another situation, the agent said to the buyers, “You are too picky… you need to expand your search and buyer something [now].”  I’ve retold that story many times… how crazy is that?!  I mean, there are thoughts that might go through my head about certain buyer characteristics (especially if I’m hungry, tired, or unbalanced)… but let’s just say, FILTER!  Let me say it again, FILTER!  If I said everything I was thinking, I might get beat up (and that’s just my wife – ha ha ha).  Back to the subject… My point… plain and simple I’ve had the good fortune of capitalizing on other agent’s inability to do their job (well).  One frustrated client said, “Our agent wouldn’t return our calls!”  Most recently, I received a referral on a client whose previous agent decided that they could not make a living in real estate any more (this is pretty common these days).

While this phenomenon has been good for my business and is a nice pat on the back, as I imagine the ones referring these clients say, “Call Keith, he’s the most solid (best, most professional, gets-the-job-done, intelligent, savvy…) Realtor I know!”  Okay, emphasis on I imagine.  Bottom line, I call people back, am full-time, and don’t say (aloud) everything that passes through my head.  It’s been good to get these referral, however, I find myself having mini-counseling sessions to give these beat-up buyers real estate therapy.  These are wonderful people now on edge due to their past agents.  For the one client, she kept asking me during the showing process, “Do you think I’m too picky?”  My response, “Why yes I do, let’s stop right now, I can’t take it any longer!”  Of course not!  And I wasn’t even thinking that 🙂  Here’s the genuine and right response, “You should be picky.  You are making one of the biggest investments of your life.  My role is to assist and help you find your ideal home that fits your buying criteria.”  Agents, takes notes – this is real estate 101 / Socialization 201.

You will be helping yourselves as well as your clients when you help them focus their search.  If they don’t want a swimming pool… don’t show them homes with swimming pools.  If the client can only afford a $250,000 home, then don’t show them homes that are listed at $300,000.  If they are using a down-payment assistance program that requires that they buy an REO (bank owned property)… yep, you got it, only show them bank owned properties.  I know, not rocket science, however, it requires that the agent listens, and asks questions, and takes notes, and is actually engaged.  The other day I met a clients for the first time that was frustrated and burnt out on her last agent.  I found out through listening to her story that they’ve looked at 40-50 homes over the last 5-6 months.  Naturally I asked, “What were some of the things about those homes that did not work for you?”  She replied, “Well, most needed too much work, and I don’t have a lot of money to do a lot of work.  Many had swimming pools, and I definitely do not want a pool.  Others backed up to a busy street, and I don’t like the noise.”  She went on.  I took notes.  Wen she was done I ask more questions and learned that she also was allergic to cats, loved gardening, and has a niece that would be living with her.  I asked specific questions like, “What do you mean by ‘a lot of work’?” And, “How much money could you spend on fix up costs.”  And, “what is your favorite thing about this house?” And, “Does your niece need to be in walking distance of the school?”  And, “What matters most in buying a home on the list we’ve created?”  Again, this is not new or an unusual tool in the agent’s belt, but I am surprised how little it is used.

I’ve found it a refreshing experience to have these real estate therapy sessions. The client finds relief from frustration.  They feel cared for and in good hands.  They get motivated and excited to find that home, as they now know we are not going to just look at anything that pops up.  The homes we look at will all be potential purchases.

My therapy sessions are free.

What are some experiences you’ve had as an agent or a buyer? I’d love to hear your story.

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030