You Need to Know This About Home Appraisals

r12A home appraisal is a critical component of any real estate transaction that involves a mortgage loan. If you are refinancing you will need an appraisal, if you are selling your home to someone that needs to get a mortgage, he or she will need to have an appraisal done.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an opinion on value by a qualified, unbiased third party. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to be completed when you are refinancing your mortgage. An appraisal is also completed in a transaction when someone is buying a home to make sure they have not over paid for it.

Mortgage Lenders require appraisal to ensure that homeowners are not over paying for a property because if the borrower stops paying for the mortgage the lender will take action to remove the borrower from the home and sell it to recoup their money, this is why it is important for the home to be worth more than the money loaned. In essence, a home appraisal is a lawyer of protection for the mortgage lender.

The Appraisal Process and How Appraisal Values Are Determined

These are the main factors that influence your home’s appraisal value: current market trends which are reflected in the comparable properties the appraiser selects, the house’s features,, square footage, number rooms/bedrooms & bathrooms, condition, is the property considered up to date, landscaping and exterior condition and parking (garage). The appraiser will do an interior and exterior inspection for the above noted factors and will also make note of any deferred maintenance which will be included in the report for the lender.

The appraiser will complete his report on a standard report form that is required by their appraisal jurisdiction. The information that has to be included in an appraisal report will not vary much from Canada to the United States.

A standard report includes the following: comparable sales, a street map, building sketch, square footage, photos of the front, back and street scene of the home, photographs of each comparable property used; a map showing the location of the comparables in relation to the subject property, plot map, description of intended users of the appraisal report, photo and description of each room in the house.

The cost of a residential appraisal report ranges from $250-$500 and the homeowner is typically responsible for paying the appraiser..

What Homebuyers Need to Know

When you’re buying a home an appraisal could potentially sink your deal. If you make an offer to purchase a house, towards the end of the home buying process your mortgage lender will require that the home being purchased be appraised. If the home appraises for less than your offer to purchase the lender will not provide the loan, however, this could be good for a buyer as well because you may be able to negotiate to lower purchase price but very often at the point of the home appraisal in the buying process an agreement of purchase and sale is already in place.. If a bad appraisal is standing between you and your home purchase, look into getting a second opinion via a second appraisal. Appraisers are not perfect and it is possible for them to make mistakes.

What Home Sellers Need to Know

As a seller, a low appraisal means that you may have to lower your home’s price to get it sold. Lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t require an appraisal as a condition of completing the transaction is unlikely to net you a higher sales price. No one wants to overpay for a home but more importantly a mortgage lender will not over lend on the value of a property, therefor if the appraisal comes in lower than what your buyer is offering this will likely sink your deal unless you lower the price.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing your mortgage and looking to access some of the equity in the home the appraised value is very important. Mortgage lenders will have maximum loan to value ratio that they will go up to so the larger the difference between what you owe on your current mortgage and what the home is appraised at obviously the better. Having a better loan to value ratio will also make obtaining the lowest possible mortgage rates possible. Lenders put a lot of emphasis on this ratio so a high appraisal value is very important.

The Bottom Line

The home appraisal is a very standard process these days in any real estate transaction involving a mortgage loan, it should be taken serious, you should know how the appraisal works and what the value is based upon, if you feel your home is undervalued you can speak with the appraiser and make your case or get a second opinion.

The Importance of Master Planned Communities

r11Why Master Planned Communities?

According to predictions, there will be changes around the globe in the future that will challenge the way people live. These changes include:

  • Much higher gasoline prices
  • Greater emphasis on energy efficiency
  • Environmental protection and other green features
  • Growing water shortages
  • A 24-7 world that will demand amenities that are open 24-7

To be able to keep up with the global changes, innovations are needed, especially in the real state industry. Understanding the future requires understanding the demographics and how they influenced the market. Thus the birth of the Master Planned Community.

What Is A Master Planed Community?

A Master Planned Community (MPC) is a large scale self-sustaining residential plan. It has a number of various essential amenities not normally found in a regular housing subdivision. A Master Planned Community gives the ability to work, live and play all within walking distance. Some real estate professionals consider this type of luxury real estate development a “Mixed Use” development since they include retail, housing and entertainment In previous times, clubhouses and pools were at the top of home buyers’ lists. Today, access to neighborhood retail services, hi quality restaurants and health care is becoming the top priority according to the latest research. People want to get access to everything they need quickly and at reasonable prices, thus walkable access to civic use areas is in high demand.

Convenience

Master Planned Communities are designed to provide a master planned convenience. In its varied housing within a community layout, homes are designed to conform to the lifestyle of diverse generations. They are created to provide both soft and hard amenities and services in the way people want them delivered. These luxury communities facilitate residents building and living comfortable lives and having more time to spend with their families. This lifestyle also enhances connectivity between neighbors and their surroundings through shared spaces created for everyone across varied demographics to use whether alone or together.

Important Aspects of Master Planned Communities

To highlight the benefits and most significant aspects of Master Planned Communities, listed below are some of the reasons why it is important to the home buyer.

1. Better Access to Important Resources

As mentioned above, people nowadays want to have easy and quick access from their own homes to their most important resources. In regular housing subdivisions, however, people bought all lands and built huge properties to maximize their lots, leaving no space for other amenities. In Master Planned Communities, lots and houses are planned accordingly by providing a required minimum and maximum size. That ensures that there are more open spaces for the building of other amenities. For example, park and play spaces are already built within the community and cannot be removed or replaced by any other infrastructures. In Master Planned Communities, virtually everything a resident needs is within the community or within short distances. This kind of setting is not just good for working parents, young professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and retiring baby boomers, it is also great for children going in and out of school most of all.

2. A Sense of Community Among Residents

The quality of neighbors defines a community. Not surprisingly, most people living in a luxury real estate development such as a Master Planned Community share a common interest which instantly creates a sense of togetherness among neighbors. As a result, residents feel safer, more serene, and more secure. Community events are organized within MPCs to provide residents with an avenue to socialize, get to know each other, and build strong connections. Additionally, the Master Planned Communities are founded on good governance with the rules and responsibilities of every community member that are declared beforehand. Many Luxury Master Planned Luxury Communities provide a variety of different community activities based upon the area within the PUD. For instance, in the luxury area, where homes start at $850,000 or so, you may find high end marinas, with wet slips and dry boat storage. Some luxury developments even have their own private beach in the luxury sectors. In the sections of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) where the homes are in the $300,000’s you may find community activities that involve fishing and pool parties.

3. Incorporated Agriculture

Gardens owned by the community is becoming popular in some Master Planned Communities. MPCs work to assist its residents to have their own local food production through either providing community gardens or incorporating small-scale farms.

4. Best Practices for Handling Transportation Issues

The use of multiple trails for biking and walking as well as the presence of sidewalks are necessary features of Master Planned Communities. And, as a solution to the most frequent and current demands of the community on transportation, MPCs implement various, sometimes combined, options of transporting people such as an electric autonomous vehicle systems, bus transit stops, car-sharing services, charging stations for electric vehicles, providing golf carts for driving within the community, or implementing shuttle services.

Other Significant Aspects

Play spaces, fitness boot camps, sand entry beaches, and co-workspaces are a few additional amenities to present in Master Planned Communities. Health and wellness is also one thing that MPCs are giving special attention to as more and more people are wanting to become healthier. The great outdoors with fresh, local produce and fantastic health care are things they are incorporating into the community in addition to sidewalks, pedestrian ways, multi-use trails, and social gathering places. On top of it all, Master Planned Communities have long-term increase in value which leads to great Return On Investment for home owners if planning to sell or rent their property. Master Planned Communities are also great for entrepreneurs. Business opportunities tend to be in abundance as many new partnership opportunities with companies that offer products and services wanted by the new generation of consumers emerge. For aspiring business owners, office spaces tend to be nearby at reasonable prices. The workers of businesses within planned communities tend to earn higher than average incomes.

How to Deal With a Low Home Appraisal

r10Want to learn how to deal with a low home appraisal? In a competitive real estate market, a home being sold may enter into a multiple offer situation which could potentially raise the purchase price above the comparable sales in the area. In a situation like this, it is possible that the home appraisal for the buyer’s mortgage lender will come in lower than the purchase price. In a real estate market that favors buyers (home prices are soft or declining), sellers can also face a home appraisal that is lower than what they paid for the home if they bought the house at the peak of the market. Be aware that a low home appraisal can happen in any type of real estate market.

Why Do Low Appraisals Happen?

Here are a few reasons why a home appraisals may come in low:

  • Inflated home price because of multiple offers.
  • Declining real estate market due to a large inventory of homes and not enough buyers.
  • The seller has overpriced the home.
  • The real estate appraiser lacks experience and doesn’t understand the influences on value.
  • The real estate appraiser incorrectly selected his comparable sales for his report which may have resulted in a lower home value than what should have been assessed.

Solutions for Low Appraisals

If a low home appraisal is threatening to sink your sale, purchase or refinance, stay calm, here are a couple solutions:

    • The buyer can pay you the difference between the purchase price you agreed upon and the appraised price in cash, you can sell the property for the appraised value and get the difference from the agreed upon higher price in a lump sum cash payment if the buyer is able to do so.

 

    • If you are the seller of the home you do have the option of lowering the selling price. If you don’t you will run the risk of every buyer running into the same problem and not being able to get a mortgage because of a low appraisal.

 

    • The seller can offer to carry a second mortgage for the difference.

 

    • If the buyer feels they absolutely have to have your home and you are not willing to lower the selling price and the buyer cannot come up with a lump sum to pay you (as mentioned in option 1) you could accept having them make payments to you over a period of time instead of the lump sum.

 

    • Get a second opinion, have the buyer ask the mortgage lender for a list of their approved appraisers and select another company on this list and hope for a higher value, you could end up wasting another $300 on an appraisal but appraisers are not perfect and a mistake could have happened.

 

  • Cancel the transaction.

Have your realtor put in your purchase and sale agreement a loan contingency that if the home appraises for a lower value that you will get your money back (if you’re the buyer). If you are a seller being affected by a low appraisal propose on of the above options to your buyer if you would like to try and salvage the transaction.

This Housing Bubble Is Set to Pop

r9For generations, it was always a good bet to invest in a place Americans call home. Housing had almost always increased in value, and you received a multiple of whatever you invested into it in your total return.

Until 2008 that is.

That’s when home prices tanked and our economy entered a recession, leaving people like you and me holding the proverbial paper bag when it comes to overpriced and overleveraged mortgages.

Since then, the root cause of the housing bubble has remained in place – easy-money policies by the Federal Reserve to fuel lending. It has led to another housing bubble.

One that is set to burst sooner than most are anticipating.

Since 2009, the Fed has pinned interest rates near zero in an attempt to prop up our aging, lackluster economy.

With a sub-2% GDP growth rate, it’s hard to believe that this has been a success.

But the easy-money policies have propped up aspects of the market, just not in the pockets of the everyday American. Instead, it has bloated the pockets of Wall Street and investors.

Had someone told you in 2006, 2007 or even most of 2008 to sell your home, you likely would have ignored them. Not many people on Main Street noticed the lending practices going on behind the scenes and understood the extent of the bubble that was in place.

But hindsight is always 20/20.

The problem now is spotting similar bubbles going forward.

I’ll be the first to say that timing the week, month or even year that a bubble will pop is extremely difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t notice when that day is near, and for housing it may be just around the corner.

The Truth About the Housing Bubble

There is a substantial divergence as we approach 2015. Prices have climbed about 50% since 2000 and rebounded strongly from the bottom in 2010 to 2011. But existing home sales – the amount of homes actually sold – have lagged and are up just 5% since 2000.

Median prices have topped their bubbled peaks set in 2005, but this time, the amount of homes sold is 30% less.

That means we are seeing prices set new highs as fewer buyers are in the market.

The rationale is that housing currently has a tight supply, meaning there aren’t enough homes to meet the amount of potential buyers. That may be the case to some extent. But right now, homes that are either in foreclosure, bank-owned or completely vacant are near all-time highs.

Clearly there is more going on here than just a lack of supply. The reality is that many buyers are investors, buying properties and sitting on them. This crimps supply, which helps raise prices.

Back in 2008, you could have heard the same story. The goal was to flip houses, or own a few of them to rent out. We are seeing these actions roaring back today.

And if supply was so tight, buyers would simply build new homes, but those numbers are no better than the existing home sales.

There’s a big discrepancy from new homes sold versus the price these homes are fetching – and this is supply that is practically infinite as we can always build a new home.

Something’s got to give, and it’s going to happen soon.

Fed-Fueled Crash

I see one of two scenarios at play. Which one do you think will ring true?

  • Homebuyers continue to fork over more dollars to buy properties while we sit with stagnant wage growth, stagnant economic growth and low-wage jobs being about all that’s created.
  • We are on the edge of a bubble larger than the one we experienced less than a decade ago as housing prices race back down to where it is affordable and sees demand from new buyers.

The Federal Reserve is held accountable for this fiasco. If it goes forward with a rate increase in the near future, it will be us who pay the price of another bubble.

There’s only one action to take if you ask me – lower your exposure to the industry.

In stocks, that’s homebuilders and mortgage originators. Avoid them at all costs. In your personal investments, that’s being prepared for another real estate shock.

These prices are unsustainable and due for a correction.

Once that happens, opportunity awaits you to pick up houses and housing-related stocks on the cheap.