You are currently browsing articles tagged Sacramento.

What is the substance in the pictures below? How would you describe it if you were telling a friend about the images? Have you ever encountered a property like this before? If you are a real estate agent, have you sold something similar? If you were planning to purchase a fixer-upper in the Sacramento Region (or elsewhere), would a blackish-greenish substance like this deter you from entering contract?

When appraisers come across issues like this, one would think we’d simply call the substance “mold”, but that’s not the case. The truth is that since a real estate appraiser is not a fungus or mold specialist, it’s important to not speak definitively about something that another licensed professional should be the expert on. Moreover, what if the substance was not just mold caused by excessive moisture damage, but ”toxic mold”?

mold (16)


mold (2)

mold (5)

mold (10)

mold (11)

So what do appraisers say when encountering properties with an issue like this? Well, until we get clarification or a definitive pronouncement from a licensed mold professional, we simply describe the substance in words similar to “an unknown blackish-greenish substance”. When we do find out what the substance is, then we can better determine the impact on market value depending on cost-to-cure and the reaction in the marketplace to the existence of such a substance.

On Fannie Mae’s 1004 Appraisal Form, real estate appraisers are asked to identify any physical deficiencies or adverse conditions that might affect the livability, soundness or structural integrity of a property. The blackish-greenish substance in the photos above might potentially impact livability, right?

For further reading on mold, see the following links. You are welcome to suggest a link or share a story above in the comments sections.  Thank you to an appraiser colleague who provided these images to me out of his work file.

Mold Links: An Unknown Blackish-Greenish Substance


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on my favorite appraisal assignments of the year. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit since 2009 is not quite over, but that’s okay. I won’t get specific about addresses or location because I take client confidentiality very seriously.

Top 10 Favorite Appraisal Assignments of 2009

  1. water-bill-few-easy-steps-200X200Facuets Left On:  I appraised a bank-owned property in Solano County. It was a very nice property, but unfortunately all faucets and spickets were left on (with clogged drains), so there was extensive water damage. It was unclear if the damage was done by the disgruntled home owner or a vandal.
  2. oak park kj imagery former starbucksOak Park Fixers:  This year I appraised quite a few fixer properties in the Oak Park area of Sacramento that were purchased by an investment group, re-habbed, and then re-sold on the open market to first-time home buyers. It’s nice to be a part of a project where the end result is good for the community.
  3. 008Vacant Subdivision Land in Sacramento:  Acting as a property tax consultant, I valued two parcels in Sacramento County under the supervision of an AG (Commercial Appraiser). These sites were scheduled to be finished out as a subdivision, but then the market burst and subdivision building virtually stopped.
  4. imagesCA9RGC87Spring Water & Cesspool:  I appraised a house in Placer County that was on spring water and a cesspool (as opposed to a well and septic tank). Do you think this would have an impact on market value? How much of a price discount would it take for the typical buyer to look over an atypical feature such as this to purchase the property?
  5. Dilapidated Fourplex:  This property was interesting because it had repeated damage from squatters. I had to climb through a window to inspect one of the units too, and I cut my finger on broken glass (that made me remember this property even more).
  6. fixer-property-lundquist-appraisalUpgraded Duplex:  The residential-income market in Sacramento saw a huge decline in value over recent years. All of the latest sales in this particular neighborhood were fixers. So what is a bright and shiny upgraded non-bank-owned duplex worth in a marketplace of REO fixers?
  7. city-thumbnailRancho Cordova Property:  I’ll be honest. Since my office is located in Rancho Cordova, it sure is nice to get local assignments in the same city. I don’t mind at all driving to other counties, but it’s a great thing to travel a mile from the office to take care of business. My business in Rancho Cordova definitely increased this year.  
  8. Divorce Appraisals:  I do work for home owners and attorneys during a divorcedifficult time of life. It was a pleasure to provide excellent service to home owners in need this year and at least make the appraisal process smooth in the midst of a challenging situation. I grew up in a divorced home and I know it’s not an easy time of life.
  9. Pre-Listing Appraisals for Local Agent:  I am a realtor logohuge fan of working with local Realtors and it was a pleasure to establish a new working relationship with a particular agent who began to rely upon my knowledge and services this year. This year I had more referral work from Realtors and that’s a wonderful thing!!! I am also really grateful to be more connected to some stellar local real estate agents on Facebook and Twitter too.
  10. imagesCA42V1MYRipon New Subdivision:  There was nothing terribly complex about this assignment, but I really felt like I did a solid job on this appraisal in Stanislaus County and my client was very happy with the end-product. It’s just one of those I remember putting in a good amount of time and really enjoying the finished product.

I appreciate all my clients and colleagues who made 2009 a fantastic year. This has been a trying year for the appraisal industry in light of HVCC, but I am grateful nonetheless for all the good things that happened this year. Thank you.

If you are a real estate agent or home owner, what was the best experience you had this year with an appraiser? If you are a real estate appraiser reading this post, what were some of your favorite assignments this year. My Top 10 Favorite Appraisals of 2009


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Congratulations to Exit Realty West for their fantastic Christmas CanTree auction last night. The event was managed well (with humor) and there were so many generous Realtors, agents, mortgage consultants, and others that handed over cash for gift baskets, 49ers tickets, wine bottles, Kings tickets, cookies, and other random stuff. I know Jeff Dominguez and Francisco Cuellar of Exit Realty West put in some hard work to pull this off. Great work guys!! Thank you for advocating for families in need and providing a hub to bring others together to participate. 



The photos are a bit blurry. My mobile phone takes really great pictures, but when it comes to shots in a dimly lit room -  not so good. Exit Realty West Hosts Successful CanTree Auction


Tags: , , , , , ,

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.


Tags: , , ,

I inspected a property in Oak Park yesterday, and while on the road I snapped a shot of the now vacant “Starbucks building” on Broadway. It’s been just about two weeks since the Oak Park Starbucks shut its doors. I know it can be popular in some circles to hate Starbucks, but this one felt a little different because it was connected to an exciting commercial renovation project for the community. Now it’s just another vacant building, one among many, in the current real estate market.


Businesses starting and failing is a part of the cycle of capitalism, and that’s just life, but let’s hope for great things for the next company that moves in on this corner. If you are familiar with this project, how does the image above strike you? Does it make you sad? Or are you full of optimism for what is next? Feel free to comment above. Photos from the Field: Oak Park Vacant “Starbucks Building”


Tags: , , , ,

I had someone ask me the other day about when a real estate appraisal is needed during the divorce process. I have written previously about some of the details of divorce valuations, but to answer the question here, I’ll say the following. An appraisal should be completed whenever your attorney gives you the go-ahead to have an appraisal done. Usually that takes place after divorce papers have been formally filed and before any court or mediation date. On the other hand, if you are not working with an attorney, then it’s really up to you. 

Keep in mind that the appraised value is typically based upon the date that divorce papers were filed, so it’s not a bad idea to hire an appraiser not long after filing (maybe a matter of months as opposed to waiting two years). I find that most clients dealing with divorce in the Sacramento Region typically order these types of appraisals within 3-6 months of papers being filed, though each situation is different.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach me at or 916-595-3735. You can see our divorce appraisal website also at When do you do the appraisal during a divorce?


Tags: , ,

On this coming Sunday, the Starbucks in the “Oak Park” area of Sacramento will be closing. Between appraisal inspections today, I paid my respects by buying a cup of coffee for the last time at the location. Oak Park native, Kevin Johnson (former NBA All Star / current Mayor of Sacramento), was instrumental in bringing Starbucks to the area and helping to reinvent the corner on which it is located. 

I always liked the art on the inside of this store because it had somewhat of a typical Starbucks feel to it, but it also incorporated local Oak Park flavor by using KJ imagery. I took the following shots with my mobile phone.




According to a Sacramento Bee article, the word is that Old Soul Company is potentially interested in this corner spot, so hopefully they or another coffee house will soon establish roots. Whatever happens, the hope is that the new business willl be a step forward in redevelopment for Oak Park. 

Further Background & Articles: R.I.P. Oak Park Starbucks


Tags: , , , ,

On Saturday, I took 801 black and white pictures while riding my bike on the American River trail in Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. I built a mount for my bike (for only 87 cents, by the way) to hold down my camera and then I had to manually push the button to take photos. The images were then placed in sequence to show as a “video”. You can see my previous outing HERE.

I road an average of 15 mph throughout this brief ride and I tried the “continuous shooting” feature on my camera so that as long as I was holding the button down, my camera was taking photos.

I think the video got a bit washed out in the middle because of the sun. If you notice, when there are few trees along the bike path, the pictures look very bright. It was either that or evidence of my camera’s death since the last frame in this ride was the very last breath of life for my camera (bummer).


By the way, at the very beginning of the video there is a snake on the trail. Did you see it? A group of riders stopped to watch it cross the pavement.

I’m no photographer, but just a guy who loves biking and is experimenting with taking photos while on the road. This is my third “video” like this and I can only see my methodology evolving over time to capture some of the essence of the trails and how fun it is to ride them. The first “video” I made is much inferior to the second and third, but I’ll keep it up because that’s usually how experimentation goes. We tend to get better at what we do as time goes on. Riding my Bike on the American River: Round 3 – A “Video” in Black & White


Tags: , , , ,

After work and getting the kids down to an early bed time last night, it was time to do run # 2 for my latest project. At dusk I headed over to the American River trails in Rancho Cordova to take some photos while riding my bike. I showed a video in a previous post of the first round of this biking / photography experiment, and now I have a second video.

Last time (the first time), I manually held the camera on my handlebars and managed to snap 800+ photos while riding. Yes, my fingers and wrists were extremely tired. The video turned out okay considering it was a first stab, but since I wanted to increase stabilization this time, I put on my MacGyver thinking cap and ended up making a contraption to mount the camera on my handlebars. The great thing too is that this device cost me only 87 cents.

2009-08-24 18.57.30

2009-08-24 18.57.24

2009-08-24 18.57.37

I found that the mount helped to stabilize the camera a whole lot better (not perfect though), but since I still had to manually click each of the 653 pictures, I am still on the hunt to find a way to take images with a remote or some other method so that I can give maximum attention to steering. The more I can steer straight, the better the end product will be. Whatever the case, it’s fun to be creative and to learn something new. You can see the new video on my YouTube page or below.

If you have any ideas or resources for me to improve my technique and explore the possibilities for biking / photography, I am open to your suggestions. Thank you. Riding my Bike on the American River Trails: Turning 653 Pictures into a “Video”


Tags: , , ,

I wanted to put up a brief post to talk about neighborhood boundaries and how important it is to know the local market when appraising (or hunting for real estate). Often times it is obvious when a new neighborhood or housing niche begins because the style of homes change or there is a natural barrier such as railroad tracks, a main street, commercial property or a highway. Other times it is not so obvious to the unfamiliar eye.

The image below is a portion of Sacramento known as Tahoe Park South (blue), Tallac Village (green) and Fruitridge Manor (orange).

Tahoe Park - Tallac Village - Fruitridge Manor

According to our uniform appraisal standards called USPAP, appraisers are to select the best available comparable sales when doing an appraisal. Lenders know this and so most of the time they have a standard requirement for the “comps” to be located within a one-mile radius from the subject property (NOTE: the best comps are not always located within a one mile radius). So when applying this lending guideline, in theory an appraiser can value a property location in the orange section (Fruitridge Manor) and then find comparables in the blue portion (Tahoe Park South), right? Well, not really because even though these housing areas are well within a one-mile radius of each other, they are actually much different market areas as illustrated with the data below.

Tahoe Park South (blue):

  • 5 sales over past 90 days
  • 32 sales over past 12 months
  • Median price over past 90 days:  $225,000
  • Current Actives:  11

Tallac Village (green)

  • 20 sales over past 90 days
  • 59 sales over past 12 months
  • Median price over past 90 days:  $89,500
  • Current Actives:  31

Fruitridge Manor (orange)

  • 13 sales over past 90 days
  • 66 sales over past 12 months
  • Median Price over past 90 days:  $85,000
  • Current Actives:  31

The most obvious difference above is the striking change once you head North of 21st Avenue from Tallac Village to Tahoe Park South. If one were comparing property values between the areas above, the median price levels alone tell you that property in the current real estate market in Tahoe Park South sells for a great deal more than Tallac Village or Fruitridge Manor. For more information on the Tahoe Park area, click HERE.

We can also see that Fruitridge Manor and Tallac Village have a similar median price level and so they appear more similar on paper. However, one important difference to note that comes from knowing the local market is that the bulk of houses in Tallac Village are block construction (yes, houses made out of block) in comparison to the typical stick-built houses in Fruitridge Manor.

Knowing local neighborhoods is important when buying a house, investing in real estate and definitely when appraising properties. This post is not meant to be exhaustive, but only briefly informative. If you have further questions or any real estate appraisal needs, you are welcome to contact me at 916-595-3735 or  A Lesson in Neighborhood Boundaries: Tahoe Park, Tallac Village & Fruitridge Manor in Sacramento


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What’s been happening in the Rosemont area of Sacramento in terms of real estate activity? The trend graph below is based upon the past 90 days of sales and listings from information provided in Sacramento MLS (the only listings included in the graph are those which were actually listed in the past 90 days – some listings have been on the market for well over 90 days and were not used in the graph).


From the trend graph it appears that there are many recent sales and current listings being priced between $175-200K. It appears too that there are a good amount of listings priced below the level of the most recent sales, which is a classic feature of a declining market.

Data for Rosemont Area of Sacramento as of 02/27/09:

  • 7 current Actives
  • 20 current Short Sale Actives
  • 20 current Pendings
  • 27 sales over the past 90 days
  • Median Price of $190,000 over past 90 days
  • Average price per square foot over past 90 days: $126.33

The graph and data is based upon the following boundaries:


Please contact Lundquist Appraisal Company if you have further questions about the Rosemont area of Sacramento or other areas we cover within the Greater Sacramento Region. Thank you. Market Trends: Past 90 Days in the Rosemont Area


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Older entries