Tag Archives: Realtor

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

Appraiser Kills Another Deal

[in a very sarcastic tone of voice]

I love spending uncountable hours searching the internet, showing many properties, counseling the buyer, writing a contract (with many revisions), coordinating with the lender/loan officer, scheduling and attending multiple inspections, re-showing the property, counseling the client, meeting for lunch and coffee multiple time to sign disclosures and paperwork, running numbers, Negotiating repairs, etc., etc., etc., …. ONLY TO BE KILLED BY AN APPRAISAL THAT COMES IN $16,000 UNDER THE CONTRACT PRICE.  This killed the deal for both the seller and buyer.  It is not a flip, short sale, or bank owned.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I excel in these situations, but this is ridiculous!

[in a serious tone of voice]

Here are some of the wonderful aspect of the property…

New paint (inside and out); Newer roof; New electrical and plumbing; Renovated kitchen and bathroom; Newer central heat and air; Double size lot; Historic built-in china cabinet; New front door; Several new windows; Section 1 and 2 of pest report to be cleared, and more!

Yes, this property happens to be in Oak Park, Sacramento, but most all knowledgeable appraisers and agents know that Oak Park is “street by street.”  I personally know several of the residents on this street.  Comparing this home to homes a mile away does not do the home justice.

I am coming to believe that this area is being redlined.

Again, my question stands:  When will the market drive the market oppose to appraiser and bank practices?

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

One Fortunate Buyer in Sacramento CA

I just closed a deal that could not have gotten much better for the buyer.

1) She was paying $1700 in rent for a decent unit in Midtown (but, still a lot of money).  the buyer got into contract for $122,750 on a 1890’s Victorian home (just what she dreamed about!).  Here housing payments were going to be about $730/month.

2) We got into contract before April 30, 2010 as to qualify for the Federal Tax Credit of $8000.

3) We closed after May 1, 2010 so to qualify for the $10,000 Tax Credit from the State.

4) The appraisal came back at a value of $105,000, so the seller was compelled to come down to that price. Now her payments will drop below $650/month!

Let’s do the math… About $18,000 savings on the purchase price (with a lower deposit amount), $18,000 in tax incentives – that’s a nice, quick $36,000.

5) The home inspection came back very clean and the pest inspection had minor work needed.  A few bonuses:  We found out that the foundation was redone at some point in the last 10 years; The roof was only about 1-year-old; There is hardwood underneath the laminate overlay, which is part of the buyer’s dream too!

Congratulations Laila!  I look forward to champagne this afternoon.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Is Green Really Worth the Green?

I caught a news piece this morning while at the gym.  The title was something like the one above.  The segment dealt with the question, Do energy efficient upgrades in a home make a difference in the sale price? Even with long-term energy savings, the short and resounding answer was, “NO.”  While it makes all the difference for the environment, the sale prices do not reflect the upgrades, whether it be solar, added insulation, dual flush toilets, Energy Star appliances, etc.  The target then got pinned on appraisers.  They bluntly said that it was the appraisers fault… [paraphrased] The appraisers are behind the curve on this one.  It’s the appraisers that have not gotten up to speed and are not giving correct value to these items.  When an appraiser sees a furnace, whether it’s energy efficient or not, they just see a furnace…”

Now I have friends that are appraisers that will read this and have an acid reflex response (a little sour taste in their mouth).  And I know theses appraisers do know the difference and can spot energy efficient systems.

I would love a response/rebuttal from the appraisal world.  Sound off.

And don’t kill/hate the messenger – I’m just reiterating what I saw on the news this morning.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Energy Efficient Home In Sacramento CA

I am fortunate to do regular work with the developers, Housing Group Fund, especially in acquiring and selling properties.  They recently partnered with Smud (our local utility company) on a home in a middle to lower-income area to rehabilitate it and make it energy-efficient.  Yesterday they held an open house for the real estate community.  They had the Quad-Lock blocks on display (see an earlier post of mind on this product, on this home).

This home is a great example of what true stimulus can accomplish.  Neighborhoods that usually do not get attention like this, could be transformed.

A friend of mine and appraiser, Ryan Lundquist, was there too and put together a fantastic video showing off the home.  Check it out below.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

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

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