Low Home Appraisal? What Do You Do Now?

July 20, 2010

by christiborden

So everything seemed to be going well in the home selling process…

  • Listed with your favorite Realtor – Check
  • Home Staged to attract buyers – Check
  • Good showing traffic and feedback – Check
  • Ready, Willing and Able Buyer presents an offer, which is negotiated and accepted – Check
  • Inspections are performed and repair items negotiated – Check
  • Appraisal is performed – Check
  • Appraisal comes in lower than acceptance price… WHAT? Back up a minute. How can that be? Shouldn’t a home be worth what a ready, willing and able buyer is willing to pay for it?

Not according to the buyer’s lender. In fact, the home needs to appraise not only at what the buyer is financing but the entire sales price as well. Why? Fraudulent loans and appraisals have caused such a backlash that lenders are very cautious and need to make sure their collateral (the property itself) is at lease worth the indebtedness so that they are covered should the buyer walk away without benefit of paying off the loan.

So, now what do we do?

Appraisals are really just the opinion of that one person and they are only human… mistakes are made. If the appraiser is unwilling to reconsider or revise, then you (the seller) can do one of three things.

  1. Accept the appraisal value and lower your sales price to match.
  2. Negotiate with buyer to pay either the original sales price regardless of appraisal or to meet somewhere in between (may mean buyer has to bring more cash to the table depending on his loan).
  3. Let buyer terminate (could be with a return of earnest money depending on the contract terms) and go back on the market hoping for a better appraisal with your next buyer. One item to note, if the buyer had an FHA loan, this appraisal stays with the address for any future FHA loans within 6 months).

How can we insure a good appraisal?

In today’s lending environment and with the HVCC  (Home Valuation Code of Conduct) rules in place, the lender has no control over who handles the appraisal. But there are things you can do to increase the chances of the property appraising if it is indeed selling for or below market value:

  1. Make sure property is in good working order on day of appraisal.
  2. Leave behind a list of any and all upgrades to the home that you wish the appraiser to consider.
  3. If there were multiple offers on the home which may have driven the sales price over list price, leave data supporting this such as copies of other offers to show a demand for this property over and above the competition.
  4. Provide comparable properties for the appraiser to view in the event he or she is not familiar with the community. While the appraiser may not use these exact comps, he or she may find it helpful. I find it is always better to offer the assistance up front prior to the appraisal rather than afterward so that there is no hint of impropriety or influence.

In our market, the majority of appraisals turn out as they should. However, as every Boy Scout knows… Be Prepared!

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Tax Credit Deadline Fast Approaches….

February 18, 2010

Deadline  rapidly approaching for Tax Credits for first time home buyers and home sellers considering moving up. Should you make your move?

Call me for a free, no-obligation consultation to see if you can benefit by making your move now versus waiting until later this year.

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009’s tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up home buyers ends April 30, 2010. You can purchase by June 30, 2010 but must have a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010.

 The first time buyers tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence also ends April 30, 2010. A purchase completed by June 30, 2010 (with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010) may qualify.

It usually takes 30 to 45 days from the moment we find the right home to the exciting day you get your keys. That means that we should start the home search process at this time. If you send me your basic criteria for your dream home (area, price, size, # of bedrooms/bathrooms, features, garage space, school requirements, etc.), I can create a complimentary client web page that will send you a list of properties that meet your criteria. You can then pick your favorites and we can schedule a private showing of these homes. Once we find your perfect home, we will run a market analysis of this property as it compares to recent sales to help you determine a fair offer price. We assist with all negotiations, attend your inspections, watch over and coordinate all aspects of the transaction (opening escrow, appraisal, survey, HOA documents, Title Commitment, etc.) to help ensure a smooth transaction.

Historically low interest rates, historically low housing prices in most areas and great values in the move up home market make this the perfect time to act. Call me for a free consultation to run the numbers for you. Don’t miss out on the great values!

Christi Borden, Realtor

832-368-5953

christi@christiborden.com

www.ChristiBorden.com


Houston Real Estate Market on the Upswing?

November 10, 2009

The table below shows the difference between the market experienced in February, June and October YTD 2009.   As you can see, as 2009 progresses, the single-family housing market is slowly marching toward a healthier market.

 

Houston Market Improvement Comparison 2009 of Single-Family Homes

Market Indicator

February ‘09

June ‘09

Oct. ‘09

% Change from

June ‘09

# units sold

-24%

-20%

-11%

+81%

Dollar volume sold

-33%

-24%

-14%

+71%

Average Sales Price

-12%

-6%

-4%

+50%

Median Sales Price

-8%

-2%

-1%

+50%

# of Pending Sales

-23%

-21%

-14%

+50%

Active Listings

-20%

-22%

-21%

-.46%

A summary of October YTD market statistics compared to last year:

 

  • Sales are down from October YTD 2008 by 11% with 45,391 single-family homes.
  • Dollar volume sold is down from October YTD 2008 by 14% with $9,202,482,156.
  • Average sales price is currently $202,738, down by 4%.
  • Median sales price is $153,000, down by 1% [half of the homes sold above and half below this midpoint range.
  • # of contracts written [pending] are 31,101 and that represents 14% fewer than found last year.
  • Active listings, a metric that is good if on a decline, are currently 27,758 or 21% less than last year.  This is also a metric that in Houston is the exact opposite heard frequently in the national news.

For more detailed information, go to Prudential Gary Greene Blog


Should we extend the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit?

September 24, 2009

Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have heard that the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit is due to expire at the end of November and along with that, the incentive for new buyers to enter the real estate market. There are some that say this is simply a boondoggle for buyers who would have bought anyway without the monetary bonus. I beg to differ… in my opinion as a “boots on the ground” Realtor working with first time home buyers who were happy renters and only decided to purchase a home with the help and benefit of this incentive… hey, $ 8500 goes a long way toward helping with the down payment, new furnishings or paying the mover.

There are several versions of this bill before our legislators at the moment seeking an extension … which is supported by the National Association of Realtors. I know what you are thinking and yes, that does sounds a bit self-serving for Realtors to support a bill that will help sell real estate. Very much like if GM or Chrysler lent its support for the extension of the infamous Cash for Clunkers program.  But it goes a bit deeper than simply trying to protect real estate transactions. Another version not only seeks an extension but also broadens the coverage to any buyer – which would be a boon to the move-up segment of our society but may prove too costly to pass. Personally, I would love this version to pass but at a minimum, the first time home buyer is the consumer who will benefit the most from an extension of the existing plan.

According to the NY Times Online in a recent article released on September 15th,

“Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com, favors expanding the credit to all home buyers, even investors, into next summer. “The risks of not doing something like this are too great,” he said. “I don’t think the coast is clear.” James Glassman of JPMorgan Chase echoed those views but said he favored continuing to restrict the credit to first-time buyers.

On the other side of the issue is the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. It labeled the original credit as one of the worst provisions of the stimulus package, on the grounds that the money is a bonus for people who would buy a house anyway. The center has an even dimmer view of extending the credit to all buyers. “Is this the best way to spend money we don’t have?” asked senior fellow Roberton Williams.

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research called the credit “a questionable redistributive policy” from renters to home buyers, but said that he used it himself when he bought a house.”

Our nation’s economic health has been and will always be driven in part by our housing market. I agree with Mr. Zandi that while the costs for the credit is high, the cost of doing nothing is so much higher. We are sitting on the edge of recovery and this extension will help push us further toward the brighter future that exists around the corner. Be sure and drop an email or note to your legislator to let them know how important this issue is to your nation’s recovery.

If you would like more information about who qualifies for the current program, click here to visit my previous post “Understanding the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit Before it is Too Late!”


First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit – Now Available for Down Payment!

May 13, 2009

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn’t receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at “The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy,” at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.

Other Solutions for Today’s Market

During his address at the summit, Donovan went on to say that the Obama administration plans to further stabilize the housing market. “I do think we have some early signs that the market overall is stabilizing,” Donovan says. “Since January we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate.”

The morning session included a panel discussion that was moderated by CNBC’s Ron Insana. Panelists examined cutting-edge solutions necessary to promote and preserve homeownership and real estate development, stimulate the economy, and protect the nation’s taxpayers. They also shared their ideas on what the role and responsibility of the federal government is in the revitalization effort.

“Right now the Federal Reserve is the market,” said panelist Jay Brinkman, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. “What will be the effect when the Fed stops buying?” Brinkman explained that an exit strategy must be planned for the long-term; the federal government cannot continue to support the mortgage markets indefinitely.

“We are thrilled that so many high-caliber individuals were able to join us today at this important meeting to promote stability in the housing market and the U.S. economy,” said NAR President Charles McMillan. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue and action toward this goal, during our midyear meetings this week and beyond.”

The real estate summit is part of the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week ending May 16, more than 8,500 REALTORS® will attend meetings, visit lawmakers and inspire action on Capitol Hill.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, H.R. 1 – How does it affect you, the home buyer?

February 12, 2009

The Economic Stimulus Bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, H.R. 1.) has been reconciled by the House and Senate. The details of the legislation have not been finalized but we expect the legislation to include a number of important housing provisions, including the remedies for the housing crisis that NAR prescribed at the annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

  • Homebuyer Tax Credit – a $7500 tax credit that will be available for qualified purchase of a principal residence by a first time homebuyer between January 1, 2009 and September 1, 2009.  The credit does not require repayment. Individuals who purchase in 2009 using financing assistance from state and local mortgage bonds will be permitted to use the credit, as well.
  • FHA, Fannie and Freddie Loan Limits – Revised loan limits for FHA, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae.  Specifics have not been released but reports indicate that the 2008 limits have been reinstated for 2009 except in those communities where the 2009 limits are higher. Additional increases in individual communities may also be available at the discretion of the HUD Secretary.
  • Foreclosure Mitigation & Neighborhood Stabilization – Funding for states and local communities to be used for neighborhood stabilization activities for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes are authorized.

These elements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are the pillars of the NAR Housing Stimulus Plan presented to the 111th Congress.  Additionally we continue to work closely with the Department of Treasury and Secretary Timothy Geithner to implement a mortgage buy-down program. NAR also recommended that the Treasury Department expand the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility (TALF) to include commercial mortgage-backed securities as eligible collateral.  The Treasury has approved this recommendation and this will encourage investment in the commercial real estate market.

The Economic Stimulus Bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, H.R. 1)
Additional Housing and Other Provisions of Interest to NAR

  • Rural Housing Service – Increased funding for the Rural Housing Service direct and guaranteed loan programs.
  • Low Income Housing Grants – Allow states to trade in a portion of their 2009 low-income housing tax credits for Treasury grants to finance the construction or acquisition and rehabilitation of low-income housing, including those with or without tax credit allocations.
  • Tax Exempt Housing Bonds – Tax-exempt interest earned on specified state and local bonds issued during 2009 and 2010 will not be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  In addition, financial institutions will have greater capacity to purchase tax-exempt state and local bonds.
  • Energy Efficient Housing – Grants for energy retrofits for federally assisted housing (section 8), funding for Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants to states, and Increases in the residential tax credit through 2010 for certain energy efficient upgrades.
  • Transportation –   Spending for upgrades and repairs of road, bridges and transit facilities.  
  • Broadband Deployment – Grants to make broadband available in unserved communities

As the leading advocate for homeowners and the real estate industry, the National Association of REALTORS will continue to address the issues facing Americans who are trying to purchase a new home, protect their current home or preserve investment opportunities in residential and commercial properties.

NAR recognizes the efforts of the members of Congress and the Senate who understand that without a housing recovery, an overall economic recovery is impossible.

 


Buying Real Estate in Houston? Yes, Virginia… its a great idea!

February 11, 2009

5-10 years from now when the financial crisis has ended and housing prices are up once more, we will look in the rear view mirror and realize that we missed the golden age for buying the dream home or being the “first time home buyer”. 

Smart people say, that moment of knowing we have hit rock bottom is only indicated by the time when everyone is the most pessimistic. That moment is certainly getting closer. 

“Smart buyers are buying now.” Why?

1.       We are in the midst of the best interest rates we have seen since we are told, the 1950’s! 4.5% is an amazing rate to lock in for 30 yrs! Jumbo loans at 7%!

2.       Sellers are watching the national news and know they are not in the driver’s seat right now so they are willing to negotiate. Even though we are not in a depressed or declining market, the sellers watch national news stories that say otherwise. Buyers can take advantage of the negative mindset of the seller right now about his property not moving fast enough.

Facts:
National employment 3rd qtr 2008, down 500,000 vs. Houston employment at 60,000 new jobs. 

Stable pricing is between 6-7 months of inventory according to A&M Research Center and Metrostudy. Same period facts of 3rd qtr. 2008, 6.5 months of new home supply in the market according to MLS and MetroStudy. 

State Resale Supply Statistics

State/City Months Supply
South Florida 28 Months
Chicago 15 Months
Atlanta and Phoenix 13 Months
Charlotte and San Diego 10 Months
Santa Fe, Albuquerque 9 months
Colorado Springs and Raleigh Durham 8 months
San Antonio 7.5 months
Dallas Forth Worth and Houston 6.5 months
Austin 5.5 months
Sacramento 5 months


I hit the largest cities and within these stats we have Raleigh and Charlotte in top 10 Recession Proof cities in the Nation and so is Houston, DFW, Austin, San Antonio but our inventory of homes is smaller.

Texas Markets 2008 through 3rd qtr. overall appreciation metrostudy
Austin: 5%
Houston: 4.4%
San Antonio: 4%
Forth Worth: 3.1%
Dallas: 2.1%

Where are you doing business?

10 year average home appreciation for Houston: 5.31%. Houston does not have the huge appreciation but it is not a depreciating market.

Multi-Market Closings for New Homes by Annual Closings

City Annual Closings
Colorado Springs less than 3,000
Santa Fe 4,000
Tampa 7,000
Denver 9,000
*Salt Lake City 11,000
*(#1 Recession proof city in the US according to Forbes Mag. 2008)
Austin 11,000
San Francisco 12,000
Raleigh/Durham 13,000
San Antonio 13,000
Las Vegas 14,000
Chicago 15,000
Charlotte 16,000
Orlando 24,000
Atlanta 25,000
Phoenix 29,000
DFW 29,000
**Houston 35,000
**Most Flourishing Market in the Nation and State with Annual New Home Closings


Texas has had and continues to have an overall escalating market.  
From 1st qtr. 2000 – Homes in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and DFW were basically selling at $200,000.

Today DFW is around $270,000; Houston is close to $300,000; While San Antonio and Austin sell at close to $310,000. Slow and Steady… 

Why Buy?

  • Affordability – Texas and specifically Houston is among the most affordable in the US
  • More choices in Houston than most other cities – single family, condo, high rises, lofts
  • The Meltdown is in Other Markets – not Texas “We have a Stable Local Market”
  • Good time to trade up – you may sacrifice on selling end but capitalize on the buying end
  • Interest Rates are affordable “right now”…we don’t know about summer or fall 09
  • Homeowners are very realistic right now about home pricing – we could say homes are “on Sale” right now!
  • Home prices in Houston and Texas are stable.
  • Houston’s economy is strong

While others in cities that have enjoyed great appreciating markets are concerned they will not be able to build equity as rapidly as they did in real estate years past, in Texas, we have never seen the high appreciating markets, we only have seen in the past 10 years, slow and steady…If you plan to stick around in your home, you will see an appreciation of your property. NAR statistics show the average first time home buyer plans to stay in their home for 10 yrs. now as compared to last year’s survey of 7 yrs. Maybe people have become more realistic about how long it takes to earn equity or maybe they have more confidence in real estate assets they can see and feel than other market assets. 

As much as we discuss appreciation, truth be known: People buy for Life style…not investment. 

You couldn’t be in a better State or better City for selling real estate. The facts are crystal clear:

  • You will have the best year ever if you believe in psychology of real estate.
  • If you tell yourself it is a bad time – it will be.
  • If you tell yourself it is a great time – it will be.
  • But the facts say, “it has been and will be a great time for real estate”.


The Most Flourishing Market in the Nation and State with Annual New Home Closings is Houston. 
Facts from MetroStudy 11/08 

Investing in real estate assets right now is the best placement of your money; it is a better hedge than gold.
Dr. Dotzour, TX A&M Research Center 1/12/09 

You couldn’t be in a better State or better City for selling real estate than Houston Texas. 
TX A&M Research Center Data 1/12/09 

More than 2 million jobs were lost between Nov 2007 – Nov 2008 in the Nation; representing 1.2 % of its labor force. The Texas economy gained 222,900 jobs during the same time period; an increase in labor force of 2.1%. 
Real Estate Center RECON 1/13/09

Houston has the strongest job market in the US. 
Metrostud, Jan. 12, 2009

Texas has the strongest job market by State in the US exceeding the nearest competition by 1000%. 
MetroStudy, Jan. 2009. 

Houston’s inventory of homes is 5-6 months on average. This is the lowest average days on market in the US. 
TX A&M Research Center Data 1/13/09 

“We are half way through our recession in Texas. It started out last Jan. 2008.” 
Dr. Dotzour, TX A&M Research Center 1/13/09 
Dr. Gilliland, A&M Research Center Jan. 12, 2009 

Texas is the #2 Destination State for Retirees. 
Dr. Gaines, TX A&M Research Center Data 1/12/09 

Houston has the most affordable median home price of any MSA. 
TX A&M Research Center Data 1/12/09.
 

“The Texas Land Sales Market is short of Phenomenal.