When I studied in
college, my management teacher would constantly remind us the answer
was “It just depends”. This is a very wise statement that
homeowners should take to heart when they go to place their home on
the market, or have it appraised for a loan, or legal situation
(divorce, death in the family, or bankruptcy) There are several key
factors an appraiser must look at for an appraisal. If your home is
the worst in the neighborhood done be surprised if it appraises lower
than the last home that sold. A well educated appraiser will notice
that your driveway is not concrete compared to every other home in
the area, or that your windows are not replaced. (dual pane windows
are now common and standard for most homes.) On that note, so will
your potential buyers.
The market speaks
and the market determines the value of your home. A well educated
and trained appraiser will look at the quality of the construction,
the condition of the property, the location of the property relative
to the neighborhood and the overall market, and marketing factors.
One of my close
friends said to me, I can’t figure out why we pay appraiser’s so
much. He was in and out of my home in 15 minutes. As an appraiser I
replied, appraisers ton of research, have to document everything
they see, must prove how they get to their value, and then file and
store documentation for the next 5 years regarding the appraisal. In
addition, they have to drive in your area, take photos of the other
homes, and possible interview agents or HOA’s. The real question
should be, “are appraisers paid fairly?” Residential Appraisers
have a license which means they are accountable to the State and pay
huge insurance premiums to be bonded for the practice of appraisal.
So going back to
value and the answer is “It just depends”. The value of a home
just depends on many factors. An appraiser is paid to analyze those
factors and provide homeowners a reasonable analysis that will lead
to a “market value”. The market is exactly as stated. The
current market, the market when your parent passed and you inherited
their home, or the date that you and soon-to-be X spouse can agree on
as the date for the analysis and a dissolution of marriage.
I live and work in
the San Fernando Valley (Studio City, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood,
West Hollywood, Westchester, Encino, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Woodland
Hills, West Hills, Chatsworth, Lake Manor, Simi Valley, Calabasas,
Bell Canyon, Agoura, and Thousand Oaks. I know your neighborhood, I
know the crazy cul-de-sacs, and I know how important value is in delicate situations like a divorce, or for a retrospective appraisal.
constructed more than about 30 years ago, which is a majority of
homes in the San Fernando Valley, and Simi Valley were largely built
to whatever code seemed fancy in the moment. It wasn’t until 1997
that the International Code Council published the first edition of
the International Building Code, which has been updated and reissued
every three years since. Before that, many homes were built
professionally, but when it came time to remodel anything there were
zero standards to hold anyone to. Basically you can kind of think of
your home as a time capsule of the most terrifying variety.
you know, it might be totally straightforward. There’s literally no
way to know until you get started. So, are you ready?
matter how well you think you know your house you
don’t until you uncover what lays underneath the floors, and
between the walls, and learn what’s in your attic. you
should make sure you’ve got a respirator that can filter both lead
paint and asbestos, as well as gloves and work clothing that will
protect you from anything before you even think about getting
your taking out walls, or making a change to the structure, you
should have a structural engineer review the project before you
start, not after the wall is gone. Most cities require a permit for
this type of work, and you are best to be prepared to pay the fees
and costs to do it correctly. Inside the walls you may find hidden
metal, pipes and wiring.
Behind your kitchen’s wet wall, there’s a maze of pipes that
snake around to nowhere. Your bathroom has random metal plates just
stuck in the wall under some tiles. And, this wire… it goes
nowhere. It should go without saying that you should always use tools
that have non-conductive handles when you’re working in walls and
behind objects that you can’t see through.
mold and pests. Surprise!
You have mold and termites! Wait, that’s a bad thing… hopefully
you had a home inspection and a termite inspection that would have
found this problem ahead of time, but if you’ve owned your house a
few years, pests and mold certainly could have popped up over time.
Termites will likely require professional treatment. Mold
is a mixed bag. Some molds are very dangerous for people to breathe,
but others are just kind of always in the environment. Either
way you will need remediation.
rot is a sign that moisture has either been there or is there, and
the first part is to determine where the moisture is coming from, the
second part of the fix is to repair the damage to the effected area,
and structure. This can simple or complicated. That why contractors
can not give you the perfect price, because they don’t have any
idea what they’ll find when they open walls.
know that when you take flooring off like carpet, you may find a
problem with your floor’s leveling. Carpet is the great cover up
for unlevel floors; Solid surfaces show everything. The
cost to prepare the floor may be much more than was originally
an appraiser, we review
homes for health and safety reasons.. It is common to look for signs of water
intrusion that are severe, peeling paint, roofs that look like they are ready to be removed. Appraisers are always checking for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.for almost any type of appraisal. So, if you are contemplating remodeling and/or moving, having an appraiser give you a listing valuation can be an excellent choice, before you start to remove the carpet. It may be in your best interest to move before you find out what is behind the wall.
What do you do when
it comes to getting the best price for your home and knowing and understanding the value (or cost) of issues. . Most home owner
will clean the home, clean their baseboards, and even go as far as
removing unwanted clutter in the backyard, so the home “shows”
well. The challenge is selling your home when you continually
ignore big warning signs that there is a problem or better yet, leave
everything dated and still expect the same price as the neighbor who
has upgrade the home inside, inside the walls, and outside.
maintenance is most likely the solution, but so many times Realtor’s
ignore the signs because they want you to sign their contract. They
figure if there is enough demand, there will be someone who will buy
the home and then it’s their problem not the sellers. Whether
acting as a Realtor or an Appraiser it is beyond my responsibilities
to be knowledgeable about all types of construction issues, but over
time their things that make a Realtor or An Appraiser stop and take
Some times these
issues have already been handled by the homeowner, they just forget
how important it is to paint the ceiling, if you’ve had a roof leak
and repaired it. Or let a potential buyer know you’ve added
drains, when they see cracks in the concrete for a home that is on
the bottom of a sloped mountain.
Warning signs that
I’ve seen as an Appraiser and Realtor include the following:
(This list is not a
complete list, I am sure other Appraisers and Realtors could
If you are the
seller and see any of the above items these maybe
the reason you’re not
obtaining the price you’ve listed your home for. These are all
items a professional appraiser will notice when valuing a home and a
buyer may too.
note, and review your home for more than dust, and you will be a
successful home seller who experiences less frustration
with the repairs requests process when you get
into a sale contract And,
if you are a buyer take
note before you buy a home. You will be much happier when the bills
to live in the home don’t become the only thing you think about.
For any questions regarding residential home values be sure to vislt www. valleyhomescenter.com. I'm Pamela Evans, Certified Residential Appraiser, License No. 3002198. I work predominantly in Ventura County and Los Angeles County.
Calabasas Highlands- A Hidden Treasure For Some
Calabasas Highlands is a small area that is friendly, and surround by outstanding views, and mountains. This area was created before Calabasas became a city, and therefore it is unique and much similar to homes located off of Mulholland Hwy than homes that are in gated communities. The homes are predominantly custom, with a few builders that built serveral blocks at a time. Some are two stories, some are three stories, some have steep hillsides behind them with views in the front, others have magnificent Warner Center Views off of every room, and some have no views or backyards at all.
Calabasas Highlands is a mountainous area with a stream very close by. It is next to a ton of open space, hiking trails, and walking areas that feel like your miles away from Los Angeles, and yet it is a two minute drive to Gelsons Market and Topanga Canyon for everything you want or need. It was originally created with most homes being built with septic systems, however in the nineties there were sewers installed. (FYI, not everyone is connected and it is one of the first questions a buyer should ask about if considering a purchase in the area.
According to the City of Calabasas Planning Department there is an agreement for water between the Las Virgenes Water District for the area. Another difference for much of this area, is it has many private roads, yet they are not gated, and the city cleans all the streets on a regular basis. The lots are predominantly small at approximately 5000-6000 square feet, and current law only allows homes of 2300 sf or smaller on a single lot. Double sized lots (10,000-13,000 sf) are allowed to be built up to 3500 sf under current building code. There are no sidewalks, but plenty of dogs being walked in the area. The area appeals to professionals, and others who love the mountains. It is very close to services, schools, and the beach. It is no more than 20-30 minutes to Malibu from this location. It is also easy to get to Topanga Canyon to go towards Santa Monica or the 101 Freeway if this a requirement for your commute. For many it’s a great fit, and an affordable entry point into the Calabasas Community & Las Virgenes School District.
Sellers are hearing that prices are up and that there is limited inventory. This may be true in Bel-Air but it may not be true in Woodland Hills or Agoura Hills in the Los Angeles area. Therefore before you set the price for your home be aware of some of most common mistakes sellers make when they set unrealistic expectations for the sale price and market value.
Common Seller Mistakes:
One of the biggest pricing mistakes sellers make is to take a per square foot figure from another sale down the street and use that figure to price their property. Reality is there isn’t just one price per square foot figure that applies to every single property in a neighborhood. Keep in mind smaller homes tend to have a much higher price per square foot. It’s a matter of size, such as buying a small, medium, or large soft drink. The starting price may be a $1.59 for a small drink 12 oz. drink ($0.13 per oz.), and $2.29 for 24 oz. for the large ($0.95 per oz.) The price per ounce is larger for the smaller drink. My advice is to pay attention to price per square foot, but don’t forget to look at actual similar sales in the neighborhood, that have similar locations, gross living areas, views, and functionality.
Remember the difference between “comps” and sales: if your home is an orange, what have other oranges sold for in the neighborhood? Don’t price your orange according to what apples have sold for. Don’t consider sales for homes in gated neighborhoods against your home that is in a mountain area with narrow roads that is hard to get to because they are in the same zip code.
It is typical to think all sales are “comps”, but there is a difference between properties that are actually comparable and ones that are simply sales. It’s easy to get distracted by a few high sales in the neighborhood, but if they are nothing like your property, then don’t give them much weight and pay the most attention to homes that are actually similar to yours.
Also keep in mind, that seller can ask anything they want. Many realtors are willing to list a property for anything, therefore an informed seller should be pay more attention to sold properties than currently listed properties. In Calabasas, I have seen a home listed at $1,800,000 in the Classic area of Calabasas with 3400 sq. ft. on a large lot which sold for $1,610,000 after 331 days on the market. The owner was from outside the area. Homes less than a mile away with large lots sell for $1,800,000 to 2,200,000 all the time, however they are in an exclusive gated community not in the Calabasas Classics. If you are not realistic the market will let you know. If you choose to wait for the “one buyer who can afford to pay all cash.” Just know it can be a long wait, or better yet never materialize.
And lastly, if you have been doing your own construction and there are no permits, this may hamper your sale or your buyer’s appraisal and market value of the property. Adding rooms without permits can have an "unexpected" impact on an appraisal. If it is at all possible go get the building permit. If you can’t or are not willing to, be sure to disclose everything in your transfer disclosure paper work, and in the MLS.
Pamela Evans, MBA, Licensed Residential Appraiser, focuses on serving clients and for Estate Planning, Trust Appraisals, and General Evaluation aka Market Value Appraisals, Divorce Appraisal, Date of Death Appraisals, Probate Appraisals, Retrospective Appraisals and Mediation Appraisals.
Contact Information: Pamela Evans Appraisal@valleyhomescenter.com (818) 216-0591
You've decided to sell, and now your realtor comes to you to say, " your home is worth less than you thought. The biggest discrepancy is the square footage of the home." Is this a typical situation? ''Yes!'" So what can a homeowner do to make sure there home is accurate in public records so that they can ask top dollar for their home.Step (1) Contact your local building and safety department, (some keep excellent record on line, like Los Angeles City's website, Los Angeles Building and Safety), other smaller cities like Simi Valley or Calabasas require you to walk in to look at permits. Step (2) reconcile your permits to the square footage of your home. If you can not do it easily, or you prefer to have a professional handle this, contact a Residential Appraiser and for a fee he/she will arrange a date to measure your home for you and confirm the square footage.Step (3) Set your sale price based on your research.The actual square footage can make a difference in value it can increase or decrease the value of the property by thousands. Additionally, most homeowners are not aware that if the Assessors states that your property is 2000 square feet, and you say its 3000, you are more than likely only insured for 2000 square feet. In a fire, they may only cover the permitted square footage. What then is a homeowner to do when they realize that there home has 100's of square feet not included in permits? According to a local Building and Safety Inspector, a homeowner can request to legalize the additional square footage, If it meets all local building and safety codes, and from that point on would be considered "permitted space". (If you decide to go this route, I would recommended you contact a contractor that specializes in retrofitting for permits, prior to contacting your local Building and Safety Department. Be sure, the space can be legalized, if it can't don't move forward and be prepared to sell your home and disclose unpermitted construction. If it can be permitted, you have just improved your chances of getting a higher price for your home, even if it cost you a few dollars. Alternatively if you have no interest in the hassles of looking up your permits,measuring and/or contacting Building and Safety, you can disclose it is not permitted and be prepared as the seller to adjust the price as appropriate for the market value of a home with unpermitted construction.Note: recently, a court decision discussed disclosing square footage issues. See sq foot fraud to learn more about the court decision in 2015 regarding disclosure of square footage issues.
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