Sacramento Home Appraiser

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Here is a brief podcast recap of the 2009 real estate market (in general) in the Greater Sacramento region. What will 2010 have in store for us? Do you think the market will surge, stabilize or decline? Do you feel like now is a good time to buy? Your comments are welcome below.

www.lundquistcompany.com/blog Recap of 2009 Sacramento Area Real Estate Market

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moneyAt some point around June 2009 the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office should be mailing a letter to certain households stating that the Assessor has lowered the assessed value on particular homes (if they determined that value declined). Don’t worry, if you are located in Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, San Joaquin, Solano or any other local county, you may also be getting a letter.

Here is the scenario: You purchased your home in the Sacramento Region for $550,000 in 2005 and so you were paying about $6,000 in property tax based upon 1.25% (the maximum percentage in CA). The assessed value of your home was based upon the purchase price which was assumed to be fair market value at the time of sale. Your home has since declined in value over time and the Assessor says your home is now worth $450,000. Thankfully your current taxes get bumped down then to around $5,500 based on the adjusted assessment at $450,000.

This is wonderful news, right? You are happy to save five hundred dollars and the Assessor looks really good too in light of gaining a ton of positive publicity in the media because he has “lowered property taxes”. This should be great cause for celebration, but the only problem is that your home is actually worth somewhere between $375,000 and $400,000 rather than $450,000. In effect, this means that you are paying for $50,000-$75,000 of value that you don’t actually have. In essence, this comes out to paying $500 to $750 out of your pocket each year that you should not have to pay.

This is only a mild scenario. There are home owners in niches of surrounding counties that are paying way more than $500 too much each year because the assessment is off by $100,000-$400,000.

Think about your property tax assessment this way:

  • Assessed Value $25,000 too high = you overpay by $250 per year
  • Assessed Value $50,000 too high = you overpay by $500 per year 
  • Assessed Value $100,000 too high = you overpay by $1,000 per year
  • Assessed Value $150,000 too high = you overpay by $1,500 per year
  • Assessed Value $200,000 too high = you overpay by $2,000 per year

What are your options?

1) Do nothing. Surprisingly, this is often an option that many people choose because appealing property taxes is unfamiliar turf that people sometimes just don’t know how to handle. Or life is busy and this whole process seems like a pain to deal with. But are you comfortable paying even $50 extra per month to the County? What else could you be doing with that extra $500 each year?

2) Pay a minimal fee to me to handle the entire situation for you. I can do all the research, stand before the appeals board on your behalf, make charts and graphs, assess neighborhood trends, and put together convincing evidence for a lowered opinion of value – a true reflection of the real estate market. You have a potential to save a great deal of money each year.

Taxes are a part of life and there is no escaping them, but we don’t want to pay a penny more than we have to. Make sure that you are keeping your hard-earned money in your pockets by paying your fair share of property tax and no more. Please contact me at 916-595-3735 for any details.

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Your Potential Savings vs. The Letter from the Sacramento County Assessors Office

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We have a new promo video. What do you think?

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog New Lundquist Appraisal Company Promo Video

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The “Arden Manor” neighborhood is located off of Watt Avenue just South of Arden Way and West of the “Arden Park” area. The map below depicts the boundaries of what is referred to as ”Arden Manor”. The subdivisions due West, East & South tend to have larger houses and lot sizes and are deemed less comparable to Arden Manor.

arden-manor-sacramento-neighborhood

The Arden Manor subdivision consists of single-story houses for the most part which range from 2-3 bedrooms typically. Houses usually have a 1-car garage and tend to be between 930-1200 square feet in size (930 and 1081 are two of the most common sizes). There are a number of households with either converted garages or additions. I have appraised quite a few houses in this neighborhood over the years.

Below are two trend graphs to depict sales over the past 36 months as well as current listings in Arden Manor as of today. 

arden-manor-36-months-of-sales-sacramento-neighborhood

arden-manor-current-listings-sacramento-neighborhood

If you have any questions regarding “Arden Manor” real estate market trends or have any appraisal-related needs in the Sacramento Region, please give me a call at 916-595-3735 or shoot me an email at ryan [at] lundquistcompany [dot] com. Our company website is located at www.lundquistcompany.com.

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  “Arden Manor” Real Estate Market Trends – Sacramento

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I snapped the following shot while inspecting a Beazer property the other day in Rancho Cordova. This type of sign is very typical in many portions of the Greater Sacramento Region for new construction.

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In hopes of selling off their inventory, most builders these days use marketing language such as “Foreclosure Pricing” or “Closing Costs Back to You” or “Tax Credits”. Builders definitely have to compete with the foreclosure and short sale properties within the marketplace and so there is quite a different marketing strategy from what we saw just five years ago. Let’s take 2004, for example, the Builders could pretty much command whatever price they wanted (prices went up 10K a month like it was nothing), “upgrades” were quite pricey, and the builder was definitely in control. Nowadays the buyer is in charge, sometimes the “upgrades” are now included as more standard features, concessions and closing costs offered within the purchase price are more normative, and prices have come down substantially in most areas.

What other ads or signs have you seen in the local market?

Tip for the Buyer of New Construction: Make sure that you are paying fair market value for the house you are purchasing. You need to have a reliable appraiser who understands the current market. It’s nice to get closing costs and concessions included within a purchase price, but if the purchase price is padded so greatly with these things, one must wonder if the house is really worth what it is being sold for. For example, if a house is being sold for $325,000 and there are $25,000-$35,000 worth of concessions within the purchase price, maybe the house is truly worth $290,000-300,000. If the house was offered for sale without concessions or closing costs covered within the purchase price, what would it sell for? That’s a good question to ask and it might save you some money in the long run. Obviously though many times the inclusion of concessions and closing costs is what helps the deal get done and assists the buyer’s financing. Even though prices are much lower in California right now, it is still very difficult for the bulk of buyers to put down 20% of the cost of a home (hence the popularity lately of FHA financing programs with 97% loans).

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 916-595-3735, see my company website at www.lundquistcompany.comor email me at ryan [at] lundquistcompany [dot] com.

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Marketing Strategy of Builders in the Sacramento Region

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papa-001aWhenever title transfers on a deed, a real estate appraisal is usually needed. Situations like the death of a loved one, inheritance of property, divorce, refinance, estate settlement, and buyout of other persons on title warrant a credible real estate appraisal so that decisions can be made about the property. 

Tips for Hiring an Appraiser for a Title Transfer Situation:

  • Make sure the appraiser knows the real estate market where the property is located. This is key toward producing a reliable appraisal. It’s okay to ask the appraiser questions about his/her experience.
  • Help the appraiser understand why the appraisal is needed. Did you inherit property? Are your elderly parents moving and title is transferring to you? Was there a death in the family? Is there a divorce or break-up in progress? The appraiser is bound to confidentiality and cannot by law share your situation with others.
  • Inform the appraiser what type of value is needed. An experienced appraiser will be able to easily figure this out with you in just a couple of minutes of conversation. Is this a market value as of today’s date or do you need an appraisal based upon a previous date? For example, in estate settlement appraisals, it is common for the appraisal to be based upon the date which title was transferred in the past or the date of death of the loved one. This is called a “retrospective value”.
  • If you are a home owner working with an attorney and it would be easiest on you for the appraiser to work directly with the attorney, that’s definitely doable. I see it work out either way and I defer to whatever the client needs and prefers.
  • Remember that the lowest-priced fees for appraisals usually produce the lowest-quality of work (my fees are very reasonable). The last thing you want is for an unreliable appraisal to get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish with a transfer of title.

If you have any questions about the information above or would like to talk more, feel free to call me at 916-595-3735, see my company website at www.lundquistcompany.com or email me at ryan [at] lundquistcompany [dot] com.  I am available to help you in your time of need and I am glad to speak with you about your situation.

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Hiring an Appraiser When Title Transfers (Sacramento Region)

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How are unemployment levels doing in Sacramento County right now? How is your city or area doing? Have a look at the data below to check out your area or places nearby to where you live. Do you think there is any impact on property values when unemployment rises? Might this lead to more foreclosures? Do you think the large decline in price levels over the past year in many areas below might be related in part to the large percentages of unemployment which have increased sharply? Does it seem like some of the hardest hit areas are also struggling with higher unemployment rates?

Unemployment Rates are based upon information provided from the Employment Development Department from February 2009.

 

State of California      10.1%     

State of California One Year Ago   6.2%

Sacramento County    10.7%

                                     

Arden Arcade CDP      10.4%

Carmichael CDP          7.9%

Citrus Heights city      7.5%

Elk Grove CDP            8.7%

Fair Oaks CDP            5.9%

Florin CDP                 16.0%

Folsom city               4.8%

Foothill Farms CDP      13.7%

Galt city                   16.2%

Gold River CDP           1.8%

Isleton city               11.5%

La Riviera CDP            5.8%

Laguna CDP               5.5%

Laguna West Lakeside CDP   7.2%

North Highlands CDP    15.8%

Orangevale CDP          7.6%

Parkway South Sacramento CDP   18.0%

Rancho Cordova City   12.3%

Rancho Murieta CDP    3.3%

Rio Linda CDP             15.7%

Rosemont CDP            8.4%

Sacramento city         12.5%

Vineyard CDP             4.9%

Walnut Grove CDP       23.6%

Wilton CDP                 6.5%

 

For further reference and to look up unemployment information and rates on any county or city in California, see the following links:

 

If you have any questions about the data above or any other appraisal-related issues or thoughts, contact me at 916-595-3735 or www.lundquistcompany.com 

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Unemployment Rates in the Sacramento Area: What Effect Does Unemployment Have on the Housing Market?

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I snapped the following photos in Los Banos, CA last week while on an inspection. Vacant construction sites are quite common in today’s market throughout the Sacramento Region. The view is fairly typical - a paved street, curbs and driveway entrances prepped, wiring ready…. but no houses being built. It’s like a ghost town in a sense. I see this situation everywhere from Rancho Cordova to West Sacramento to Atwater to Yuba City. 

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There are many streets throughout counties surrounding the Sacramento Region which face a similar phenomenon. This is a sign of the times and a lesson in supply and demand too.

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http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Vacant Construction Sites: A Sign of the Times in the Sacramento Region

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052108ins-182aI spend quite a bit of time each week thinking about houses and neighborhoods because of my chosen career as a real estate appraiser. But more than my job, I find myself often imagining how neighborhoods can improve and become more connected like they used to be. 

Below is an article I wrote in a series entitled “Community Building 101” (pdf file). “The Art of Hospitality” is the last article in this mini-essay series and I wanted to share it here on my real estate appraisal blog because life is not just about the value of our houses, but the quality and value of the relationships we have, even in our neighborhoods. Eating with neighbors is one of the the most profound but simple ways we can build a better community.

The Art of Hospitality by Ryan Lundquist

What is the best dining experience you’ve ever had? A few years ago I ate at a joint in San Francisco called Asia De Cuba. This fusion restaurant had spectacular ambiance and the feel of a hip club with its dim lights, pulsating beats, trendy décor, and exotic menu. Our group enjoyed four hours of eating and sitting together and we were never rushed to leave. The bill was substantial, but the unique experience was worth the high cost.

 

When guests leave my house after dinner, I want them to feel something similar. It would be great if they complimented the lavish food, stylish decorating, and festive atmosphere. That would be nice. I have a feeling though they’d more realistically say they’d eaten good non-gourmet food and felt mostly comfortable even though there were energized toddlers running around. Dining at the Lundquist home is not anything like an upscale restaurant, but that’s a good thing because practicing hospitality does not necessitate a gourmet experience.

 

There is something significant about welcoming others into our homes. When we ask people over we are giving them much more than a meal – we are inviting them into our lives. In an age of birthday card emails, drive-thru dinners, and brief cell phone interactions, it’s refreshing to sit down together for an unrushed hour or two and really get to know others. Sometimes though we think that being hospitable means we have to prepare the most scintillating dishes and spend all day cleaning the house. But it’s okay if the walls are not acid-washed, if toys are visible, and if there’s a stack of bills on the countertop. True hospitality is not about offering our guests perfection, but relationship. Sure, it’s nice to clean the house and spice up dinner a bit, but let’s remember that our guests are not customers to please but rather participants in a family meal. One of the most respectful things we can do is invite people into the life we really live. Besides, if we put so much effort into a meal we might exhaust ourselves and also cause our guests to feel intimidated about inviting us to their house.

 

Life is busy, so where do you find the time to eat a meal with others? Thankfully dinner is something that most of us do every night, so it’s just a matter of coordinating our schedules. If my household is eating dinner anyway and yours is too, it doesn’t seem all that overwhelming to combine efforts to dine together – especially on a weekend night. It always helps too to ask guests to bring a side dish or assist with preparation somehow.

 

The practice of hospitality is about sharing meals, but is more broadly about sharing our lives with people. This might seem like an odd topic to end a community building series, but by taking the initiative to invite other residents into our daily routines we can profoundly impact our neighborhoods. When we get intentional about helping our tracts become more connected like they used to be, we will begin to taste something wonderful – a sense of community.

 

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  The Art of Hospitality: Having Neighbors Over for Dinner???

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This is a commercial building off of J & 20th in Sacramento. I am always intrigued by design, architecture and especially odd and seemingly non-conforming features. As I recall, this particular building was rehabbed over the past five or so years.

Do you notice anything interesting about the green-ish building?

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You got it. There is a door on the second story of the building with a decent drop to the parking lot below. Maybe the interior is sheetrocked and so the door truly cannot be opened, but generally speaking it’s an okay idea to not have doors open to nowhere.   :)

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If you have any insight on this building, let me know. I am always curious to learn more when I see interesting things. This property is located across the street from Original Pete’s on J & 20th.

http://www.lundquistcompany.com/blog  Random Door in Sacramento

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