What 6 photos tell us about the real estate market

I love how pictures can tell a story. Today I wanted to share some of the small but interesting things I’ve seen lately while out in the field during appraisal inspections. All of these images help tell a story about the real estate market.

Story 1:  Locks and Foreclosures

Changed lock on house - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Changed lock on house - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

There are really two stories to tell here. First off, the locks were changed because the bank took possession of the property. While the number of foreclosures decreased by 20% last year in Sacramento County, still 1 out of every 10 sales on MLS is bank-owned. Secondly, someone broke into this house while it was vacant, which is why it has now been screwed shut from the outside and inside. Nice door, huh?

Story 2:  The Surge of New Construction

New construction in Sacramento market 2013 - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Have you been seeing new construction more lately? I’ve been seeing it all over the place in Sacramento, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, Roseville, etc… This week alone I appraised two newly constructed homes. Since prices have seen an increase and housing inventory has been incredibly low, demand for new construction has been on the rise. Moreover, many new builders are working hard to not sell to investors, so this opens up opportunities for owner occupants to have more of a chance to get into contract (there is still major competition though).

Story 3:  “New” Graffiti

New construction in Sacramento market 2013 - graffiti - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Along with new construction comes graffiti. Most buyers probably don’t see stuff like this, but I see this quite a bit as an appraiser. A vacant house in almost any situation can be a target for theft and vandalism, and that’s certainly true with new construction. There was spray paint on almost every window upstairs.

Story 4:  Grandma’s Retro Flooring

Old vinyl flooring - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Did you have this pattern while growing up in the 60s or 70s? I came across this flooring recently in a duplex, and it made me smile since my Grandma had this exact pattern in her house when I was a kid. I’m always amazed how certain designs can bring back memories. Ultimately today’s buyers are not looking for flooring like this, but since sellers have more power than buyers right now in the market, buyers will tend to be less picky about certain outdated features when hunting for a home.

Story 5: Check the Details

new construction photo by Erin Stumpf

This photo was posted on Facebook by Erin Stumpf, a Realtor friend. I love her caption: “New construction final walk-through pop quiz: What’s wrong with this picture?” As you can see, the counter does not fit the cabinetry. What a great reminder to really look closely when buying a house. In a market that is saturated with investor flips, this is especially important because you want to buy a property that is remodeled well instead of a “lipstick on a pig” job so to speak. And remember, duct tape solves most problems in the world, but it’s not a good solution in real estate (I saw a duct tape “fix” recently to cover up shards of broken glass on one pane in a window). Thanks Erin for letting me use this photo.

Question: What else do these photos tell you about real estate or the market?

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