How to Prepare for an Appraisal?

I have talked to so many homeowners over the years that do not understand what an appraisal is for and how to be ready for it. Today I will focus on how to prepare for it.

 Here is a simple list in no particular order:

 Return the appraiser’s phone call as quick as possible. We are under a deadline and you want to close your loan. The faster we set the appointment the quicker you report will be completed.

  1. Have a list of all recent improvements ready for us when we arrive. This will help when we do a walkthrough.
  2. Have all rooms unlocked and ready for me to inspect.(this includes bedrooms with sleeping teenagers, they should be up by noon)
  3. When I ask in the phone interview if you have an unpermitted addition, tell me the size. This way I can pull two sets of comps to make sure I have the proper square footage covered and I don’t have to drive back.
  4. Try and remove the clutter. Clutter will not count impact your value unless it has caused damage, however, it will make the pictures better.
  5. If you have a dog, make sure it is under your control before I come in.
  6. If this is a condo, have the following; HOA name, HOA contact #, HOA dues amount, number of units in HOA.
  7. I need to look in the garage; I need to make sure no one is living in there.
  8. Please don’t ask us what we think the value is, we can’t discuss this with you.
  9. Please don’t tell us what the loan amount needs to be, this might be considered “trying to influence the appraiser”
  10. If you home falls under any of the following, please tell us. Historic Property, Mills Act, Historic Neighborhood, National Registry of Historic Homes, etc…This is critical and has a impact on value and comps we choose.
  11. Remember, the appraisal is for the “lender”, not for you.

 If you have any questions regarding Appraisals or need an Appraisal in Long Beach, Los Angeles or Orange County, please call Craig at Wallace Real Estate Services  562-673-1138.

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The cost of a Busy Street

Greenbrier vs Clark Avenue

I was recently doing an appraisal of a house on Greenbrier Road in zip code 90815. This street runs paralell to Clark Avenue. Clark is a busy north/south 4 lane road, and Greenbrier is just to the east.

I went back to 2000 and pulled all the sales between Atheron and Stearns and plotted them on a chart. What is shows is a linear difference of about $60,000 from Clark to Greenbrier. Doing an appraisal, I would have to make a location adjustment for any comparable on Clark Avenue vs an interior location.

If you find this interesting and need any charts or have any Appraisal need in Long Beach, please call 562-673-1138.

So, you

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What have 1 Bedroom Homes done in Long Beach since 2000?

I recently did an appraisal of a 1 bedroom in Long Beach. During the course of my research, I wanted to see what 1 bedrooms have been doing since 1/1/2000.  I created this chart for all of  Long Beach. The higher values on the chart are from the Eastside and the Peninsula. What is most interesting to see,  is that during the peak around 2006, there are no sales under $200,000.  Think about that, these are typically first time buyer homes that are between 550 s.f. to 875 s.f. on small lots. To me, when I did a few appraisals of these back then, I would often think that this is just wrong, someone is willing to pay over $200k for a 1 bedroom, really?  But the comps actually supported those values.

Here is a link toa pdf of the chart.

1 Bedroom since 2000

If you have any Appraisal needs in Long Beach or the surrounding area, please call 562-673-1138.

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How zoning can Ruin a Neighborhood.

How can Zoning Ruin a Neighborhood?

 This is what I was think as I was driving around Long Beach doing an Appraisal. As I was driving the street it was painfully easy to see how improper zoning had destroyed what was once a nice neighborhood.

 Let me catch some of you up. Back in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s there was a boom of 4,6 and 8 unit apartments being built on lots, that previously had older single family homes or duplexes. These new apartments were typically one level of garages with two levels of apartments on top. These sprouted up all over Long Beach, but are most prevalent between Anaheim Street and PCH.

 Neighborhood density immediately grew as new tenants filled the apartments. The streets became over crowed with cars due to the lack of parking in the new apartments. Crime also increased during this time.

 Had the city had some foresight and not been so shortsighted and seeing short term revenue, they could have changed the zoning to only allow duplexes. The area could have been saved and perhaps the values would different then they are now. The city recently converted one of these into a condo in hopes that it will promote more pride and responsibility for the area.

 So, know your zoning!

If you have any appraisal related needs in the Long Beach or Southern California Area, please call me at 562-673-1138

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Alamitos Heights different values on both sides of 7th Street

 

Above 7th Street Vs Below 7th Street (this is a PDF Version)

 

I was doing an appraisal of a house here in the  Alamitos Heights area of Long Beach. I have always known there is a differance in values from one side of 7th Street to the other , so I decided to graph. I used all closed sales from 1998 until 6/30/2011. I will work on a graph that will tell us what the average percentage differance is and post it soon.

If you  need have any real estate appraisal needs in the greater Los Angeles and Long Beach Area, contact me at 562-673-1138, www.wallaceres.com

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Foreclosure and Market Trends in Long Beach

I was curious about Foreclosure activity in Long Beach.  I did some research, only to find out that Long Beach rated as one of the top Foreclosure Cities in Los Angeles County by Foreclosur Radar, and in that, the top zipcode with the most Foreclosure Activity was 90805.

Look at the Foreclosure chart for Inventories, and look at October, then look at the Median Price vs Inventory chart. Inventory of homes on the market went up as the the foreclosure inventory creeped up.

But, the bigger point to make is that values are still dropping, which could increase more foreclosures.

 

Activity for Zip Code 90805

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

If you  need have and real estate appraisal needs in the greater Los Angeles and Long Beach Area, contact me at 562-673-1138, www.wallaceres.com

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Appraisal Pictures

 

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. This is true for appraisals also. I had a conversation with a client the other day. She was telling me about an appraisal she received and how bad the pictures were in the report.

My first thought to myself was, “the appraiser inspected the property, he saw everything, does it matter how good the pictures are?” After a second, I said “yes”. An appraisal is a report, and someone, in some other location who has never been to that house and does not know the neighborhood, is going to rely on your report. They are going to look at the pictures in your report, so why not take the best pictures you can? I am not talking about learning to be a professional Architectural Photographer, just know how to take a good picture that accurately represents the home, room or condition.

 Here are a few tips:

  1.  Know the direction of light. Try not to shoot into the light.
  2. Use a wide angle or fisheye lens. How hard is it to get those interior photos, a wide angle lens can capture an entire room.
  3. Depth, try and get as much of the yard, house and pool as possible. Step back, but be careful of those “yard bombs”.
  4. Try and center what you are taking a picture of.

 Let me know what you think?

 If you have any appraisal needs or referrals, please call me at 562-673-1138

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External Factors that can have a positive impact on a neighborhood?

 

I was up in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles today doing an appraisal.  The subject house was located close off a major east west street. I pulled a few comps from different neighborhoods. I knew the range was different but I wanted to see the other areas that had higher values. Once I got to the other neighborhood, it was quiclky obvoius that the homes here are of higher value. The homes had curb appeal, all nicely landscaped and maintained. But what really let me know when I was in a higher priced area was the street. All the streets were recently repaved and or slurry sealed. This had me stop and think about how something out of the homeowners control can possibly influence the perception of buyers and how this might contribute to higher values in the long run.

What do you think?

If you  need have and real estate appraisal needs in the greater Los Angeles and Long Beach Area, contact me at 562-673-1138, www.wallaceres.com

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What if Long Beach had a Real Ocean Front?

What would a Real Beach do for Long Beach?

 Have ever thought what impact a real Beach might have on Long Beach?

Seriously, do you think have a natural; un-obstructed ocean would be good for us?

 I do!

 I was just up in the Marina Del Rey / Venice Beach Area doing an appraisal of an Oceanfront Condo. As I stood there and looked out the window, I thought how great the view was. No Breakwater, the real sound of waves crashing on the beach.  Then, when I was outside, there were people all over, walking, jogging, surfing. I walked down to the Venice Pier and looked around at all the activity. I thought of Belmont Pier and what a waste of a good thing it is.

 Just think if we had that kind of activity here. If Long Beach actually became a destination location for its beach. Wow! Crazy!

 What do you think this would do to real estate values?

 I would love to have your comments.

Here are a few shots I took of Long Beach this past December, 2010

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Double Dip?

There is a lot of talk about a “double Dip in the Housing market over the past few weeks.

Here is a Link to a story on CNBC.  Price Drop Points to Likely Double Dip in Housing Market.

So this got me think about the overall market here in Long Beach.

First, I wanted to look listings this year to new listing last year. As we can see, the chart shows that listing in the early part of this year were above the previous years, but the past 60-90 days we have seen a drop in new listings below the previous year.

This next chart really shows us something. This is the median price compared to a median price compared to the previous year.

If you would like some information like this or assistance on any Appraisals in the Long Beach/Lakewood Area, give me a call. Craig 562-673-1138 or go to www.wallaceRES.com

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