Photos from the Field

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I had an appraisal inspection this week in the Glen Clove area of Vallejo, and I snapped the following photos with my mobile phone. These shots overlook the Carquinez Straight and Carquinez Bridge. The first picture was taken at a higher elevation, the second was at water level, and the third was at the end of the Vista Del Mar gated community overlooking the Glen Cove Marina.

If you live in the Glen Cove area, what is it you enjoy about your community? What drew you to purchase a home in the neighborhood?



031 Carquinez Bridge & Glen Clove in Vallejo: Photos from the Field


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Yesterday I wrote about the Plumas Lake real estate market, and since I inspected a property in Olivehurst today (just north of Plumas Lake), I figured I’d include a few supplementary images of the area.

This photo was taken today in the southern portion of Plumas Lake (Cresleigh Meadows / Plumas Ranch). Vacant residential lots are commonplace these days and seen in the Plumas Lake area and throughout the Sacramento Region in many cities and counties.This vacant lot is located right across the street from a brand new park, and I loved the contrast of residential cables, brown grass and grazing sheep. 

plumas lake

Many newly constructed communites have “coming soon” signs for future residential and commercial construction. In general there is not enough profitability for local builders at this time, so postponed construction during the economic downturn is very standard protocol. Just think of how many jobs (and excited residents) there will be when the economy turns around and building can resume.

plumas lake 2 Sheep in Plumas Lake: Photos from the Field


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I’m disheartened to hear stats on President Obama’s “Making Home Affordable” program. So far it doesn’t look like the program is working very well (at all). A CNN article last week stated ”The administration projected that between half and three-quarters of applicants would have new mortgages at this point. As of the end of November, the number is 4.3 percent.” That’s not good.

In light of this less-than-wonderful news, I thought it would be interesting to use the “Obama Cam” app on my mobile phone to snap a few images of some local REO and Short Sale properties in the Sacramento area. The “Obama Cam” application overlays an image of President Obama (17 to choose from) on any picture taken with my mobile phone (an Android G1).

These images are in no way meant to belittle the President, make a political statement for any political party, or even rant about the Making Home Affordable program. There is actually a deep element here for me since the shots juxtapose governmental programs with real life local distressed properties. I’m reminded of the ever-present struggle in today’s economy for so many households, that recovery is going to take a long time, and also that good intentions in Washington DC do not necessarily translate to good results on “Main Street”.






What do these images evoke in you? Why is the “Making Home Affordable” program not yet working as it should? Please give your two cents and feel free to share your experience. By the way, do you have an app like this on your phone? Your comments are welcome below. ”Obama Cam” Photos in Sacramento


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While on an appraisal inspection in Los Banos this morning I made a pit stop to a local “Fotomat” style coffee shop to re-fuel. I’ve noticed this little java hub over the past several years, but never actually stopped, so I figured I would become a customer today.

FotomatI don’t know about you, but little drive-through businesses like this remind me of the small blue and yellow photo huts in years past. Do you remember “Fotomat“? Though I doubt Cafe E Via was formerly a Fotomat (too big), this shop is definitely similar in concept. In fact, when I see old Fotomats from time to time, it seems the most predominant use is a coffee shop. Maybe that’s the highest and best use? What do you think? What is the most successful type of business you’ve seen using a former Fotomat building? Did you used to shop at Fotomat?

043 “Fotomat” Coffee Shops: Photos from the Field


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The Capital Village neighborhood of Rancho Cordova has played host to the Cordova Community Council’s annual tree lighting for the past two years at Village Green Park. Here are some photos showing the lit tree, tower at Capital Village and some of the “fusion” units in the development. I made a video tour of the Capital Village neighborhood last Summer in case you want to see the layout of this community.

Capital Village Rancho Cordovay Lundquist Appraisal Company

Capital Village Rancho Cordova Lundquist Appraisal Company 3

Capital Village Rancho Cordova Lundquist Appraisal Company 2 Photos from the Field: Christmas in Capital Village


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Today I took the last batch of property tax appeals for the year to the Sacramento County Assessment Appeals Board at 700 H Street in Sacramento (as pictured below). Before I headed out of the office though I thought it would be interesting to calculate the difference between the Assessor’s property tax assessment and my calculation of fair market value. Guess what, when considering only these eight tax appeals, the Assessor’s Office had these properties valued higher by $2,860,000, which essentially means local property owners were scheduled to pay $30,000 more in property taxes than they should this year. Ouch.  


Today was the last day to appeal property taxes for 2009 in Sacramento County (and in most if not all counties in California). If you did not dispute your taxes this year, you will have the opportunity to do so next year. You can expect new assessments for 2010 to come out at some point between May to July 2010 depending on which county you are located in. The assessment appeals period will then go from July 2010 to either September 15, 2010 or November 30, 2010 (depending on which county you are located in). Remember, your property assessment for next year will be based on your property’s value on January 1, 2o10.

If you have any questions or a story to share, comment above. Assessor Value vs. Market Value: A Difference of 2.86 Million Dollars


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I had a little break in life over the past ten days. It was so relaxing to enjoy Huntington Beach in Southern California with the family. Now I am back in action and invigorated to get going for the last bit of 2009.

While spending time at Sunset Beach I snapped the following image. This photo is interesting to me because it’s definitely a “sign of the times” and even ironic in that I wonder if there would be enough time to escape to higher ground if a large earthquake hit. I am curious too how property owners (including prospective owners) feel about this new addition to their beach.


If you are interested to read more about tsunami signs, you can visit the California Department of Transportation website to see different types of signage as well as tsunami sign policies.

How does this sign strike you? What does it make you think of?  Feel free to comment below. Tsunami Hazard Zone: Photos from the Field


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I was driving through West Sacramento today after an appraisal inspection and I snapped the following images while taking comp photos. This house is located off of Jefferson Blvd. and is jacked up on what appears to be stilts. Maybe it was recently moved? Maybe it is awaiting a permanent foundation? Things like this interest me.


Here is an image of the Sacramento River from South River Road in West Sacramento. The River divides Yolo County from Sacramento County. I really enjoy days when I get to appraise properties near locations like this because the scenery is just wonderful to take in and the drive is so peaceful. Regarding properties along the river, most houses do not have a direct view of the river due to the levy, but some do have water rights, which can make a huge difference in market value.



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What is a half-built house worth in today’s market? I snapped the following image recently while heading through the Oak Park area of Sacramento. These three houses had begun construction, but during the building process they went into foreclosure.


This is not an uncommon scenario in today’s market, is it? We’ve all heard stories of builders who went under, a project that is on hold (or dead), and a very real slowness in new construction right now.


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I recently came across some heavy duty security doors and steel window coverings in a certain area of Sacramento, and I was impressed with the overall set-up. Has anyone else seen these or used them before? These types of doors and window coverings are rented by the seller and used when selling a vacant property in an area that might have a need for such doors and windows for one reason or another. Access is keyless and is granted by using a particular sequential code.  


I haven’t seen steel doors and window coverings on many properties in the Sacramento area, but my guess is they are used sporadically at most, and probably at the discretion of the Listing Agent and bank. I can see doors as such being valuable for certain vacant properties since empty houses are often sitting ducks awaiting stripping of appliances, copper wire, cabinetry, fixtures, and of course squatters. For reference, it looks like the company behind the doors and window coverings in these pictures is (no, I am not paid to mention them).


These types of things are interesting to me, not only because of the unique and clever property access, but the bigger question of why doors like this are placed in certain areas as opposed to others. How does a neighborhood over time become “worthy” of steel doors and window coverings? Why would we not imagine seeing these doors in a community like Granite Bay, but then we’d expect to see them in other neighborhoods? There just might be some social commentary and discussion to be had here. Photos from the Field: Heavy Duty Security Doors & Window Coverings for Vacant Properties


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I always enjoy appraising properties in Placerville, but this weekend was different because I took my wife to a local Bed & Breakfast called the Glen Morey Country House. We enjoyed a much needed time of relaxation where we intentionally did nothing more than have conversation, walk through Downtown Placerville, drink coffee, and read. Well, there was that one MLB playoff game we watched on TV on Friday night too. It’s so important to find time to get away from the hustle of business and raising kids.

If you have not been to Downtown Placerville, I’d encourage you to check it out. It’s an easy detour on the way to Apple Hill or South Lake Tahoe.

The photo below is of a coffee house we discovered called “Centro.” Not only was the java great, but I am such a big fan of architecture, and this building definitely was impressive in design.

Placerville Centro Lundquist Appraisal Company

Here are two photos of the Glen Morey Country House. This house was built 150 years ago in 1859. I was delighted with the era features of the home as well as the privacy and setting of the property. And of course, I really enjoyed the porch. Anyone who knows me well understands my high esteem for the role of the porch in a community. I wrote previously about the prominence of the porch HERE.



No, I am not being paid to advertise any of the businesses above. I’m simply sharing some “Photos from the Field“. Usually this category includes images I snapped between appraisal inspections, but the ones here were simply about leisure. Photos from the Field: Placerville


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