Our brown grass signs hit the TV screens

My lawn is dead, and now it’s been on TV. I mentioned a few weeks ago how I have been helping my kids make and sell signs to promote water conservation (we have a very severe drought in California). Anyway, Good Day Sacramento showed up to our brown parcel to do a story last week, and Fox 40 and CBS also did a piece recently too. Someone in Texas reached out to me to let me know the CBS story aired there too. Pretty wild, right? This was fun, so I definitely wanted to share. You can watch below and smile with me about our little signs making it to the tube.

Good Day Sacramento story (watch below or here):

The Foreclosure Look or The Conservation Look? I know brown grass isn’t really sexy, and my lawn looks like I’m going through a foreclosure. But the clincher for me to stop watering was driving by Lake Shasta two months ago. My jaw literally dropped after seeing how profoundly low the lake was. Yes, my ego does take a hit because my lawn isn’t perfect, but in this case conservation trumps image for me. In light of the severity of the drought I’ve simply had to redefine what brown grass represents. Instead of thinking of it as ugly “foreclosure lawn”, it’s instead the look of conservation and civic pride as a Californian. I don’t know about you, but when I see images like the one below, I’m alarmed and motivated to act.


CBS Story (watch below or here):

Fox 40 Story (watch below or here):


The Big Point: Whether you like the sign or not, or agree with my decision to “go brown”, I hope you’re encouraged to do all you can to save water inside and outside your home. Please know I’m not judging how others use water either.

Thanks for watching today. This project has been a blast for my family.

Question: What do you think are the best ways to save water for a household?

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An interview with the “Voice of Appraisal” show

I did an interview recently with Phil Crawford of the Voice of Appraisal show. This was a real honor since I love what Phil is doing for the appraisal industry. It’s nice to hear a fresh voice in a field that needs more unity and sometimes a reminder to embrace a progressive vision for business. Give the interview a listen below (or here) and let me know what you think. Phil and I talk shop for about 20 minutes, and my segment begins at 15:11. Thank you so much to anyone who came here after listening to the show too. I am truly honored.

Thoughts on Being a Local Real Estate Expert: One of the things Phil and I talked about briefly was the importance of becoming a local real estate expert. I cannot emphasize how vital it is for both appraisers and real estate agents to pay close attention to local real estate data. I know that sounds dull, but keep in mind how effective it is for business when you can speak confidently and definitely about HOW the market is moving and WHY it is moving. Being in tune with your real estate market in depth is especially helpful since consumers are trusting websites like Zillow more and more these days. Why not invite consumers to trust you instead? Why let a big company become the go-to source for real estate data and information?

knowing real estate trends

This is a slide from one of the presentations I give in real estate offices each month on seeing the current market. I unpack this slide a bit further in 3 reasons why knowing real estate trends is NOT just for data geeks.

voice of appraisal interview

Blog Tidbits: For any new subscribers, I post two times per week (sometimes only once). Most of the time I talk about issues that are relevant nationally for the real estate community, though at least twice a month I have two very hyper-local posts on the Sacramento housing market. Trends here of course often tend to echo what is happening in other places too.

Question: Any thoughts on marketing in real estate, the appraisal industry, or knowing local data? I’d love to hear your take. If you’re here for the first time too, please introduce yourself.

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A podcast interview with an appraiser and real estate broker

I did a podcast interview recently with Real Estate Broker Marguerite Crespillo, so I wanted to share. Our conversation is perfect background noise while working, driving, cooking, or doing Zumba (okay, maybe not Zumba). We talk about the flat market, how appraisers make adjustments, using price per sq ft in real estate, a suicide house I appraised, what market value is, Zillow, and many other topics. Thank you Marguerite for the invite. It was an honor. Listen below (or here). You can check out the podcast on Marguerite’s blog too at Understanding the Value of Real Estate. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

interivew with marguerite crespillo and ryan lundquist Thanks so much for listening.

SacBee Blog Love: By the way, I was quoted a few days ago in a Sacramento Bee news story, which is always an honor. I’ll admit though I was tickled to see they mentioned my blog on the front page. I’m not bragging in any way, so I hope it’s not coming across that way. I just thought it was cool, and thought you might too.


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10 quick real estate trends to know about in Placer County

Flat. That’s sort of how the market has felt in Placer County. Well, there has been a slight uptick lately, but otherwise the market seemed to level out a few quarters ago after a massive stint of appreciation. Let’s take a look at the latest trends below, and touch on what is happening in the regional market too. I hope this is helpful.

Two ways to read this post:

  1. Scan the highlighted text and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

If you want an email with all graphs in this post for free, fill out the form below:

free graphs from sacramento appraisal blog


1) Prices have been mostly flat (small uptick):

Placer County median price and inventory - by home appraiser blog

The market has felt much more flat in Placer County compared to Sacramento County. The median price and average price per sq ft did see an uptick last month on paper, but by in large values have been somewhat flat overall. The market has felt very price sensitive in that if a property is not priced right, it’s going to sit. Of course not all cities or places in Placer County are experiencing the same trends, so take county-wide stats with a grain of salt since they do not apply across the board to every market niche.

2) Inventory is about the same as it was last month:

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

The higher the price, the more inventory there is. Right now inventory is at 2.5 months for Placer County, which is about the same as it was last month. There are actually more listings this month (which is normal), but there are also more sales (also normal).

3) The higher the price, the longer it is taking to sell:

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

On average properties took 54 days to sell in May compared with 55 in April (cumulative days on market). Just as it is in Sacramento County, the same holds true in Placer that higher-priced listings take longer to sell.

4) Volume is down by 12% from last year, but up 15% from April:

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog Sales volume is up by 15% from last month, but for some perspective it is down 12% from May 2013. Nonetheless, it’s been good to see more sales these past two months after a more sluggish start to the year.

5) Listings increased by 15% from last month to this month (normal):

number of listings in PLACER county - May 2014 - by home appraiser blogThis is what the market looks like in terms of listings in Placer County. There is very little for sale under $200,000, but quite a bit between $300K to $750K.

6) “Layers” to watch over the next two quarters:

interest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

What is driving the market in Placer County? Low interest rates and low inventory are two of the bigger “layers of the market” right now. Values really leveled off last summer after cash investors began to pull back from the Sacramento Region and inventory increased. Cash investors were far more dominant in Sacramento County during the heat of the market last year, but you have to remember cash had a ripple effect throughout the market, and what happened in Sacramento County impacted surrounding counties too. Interestingly enough, Blackstone is still buying properties in Placer County. Their purchases have been fairly minimal in 2014 in Placer County, but virtually non-existent in Sacramento County these past six months. The job market is also a factor in Placer County as we need to see higher paying jobs to support higher values. The unemployment rate as of April 2014 in Placer County is 6.1% (compared with 7.1% in Sacramento County).

7) Sacramento County vs Placer County:

median price in placer county and sacramento county by sacramento appraisal blog

For reference, there is about a $100,000 median price difference between Placer County and Sacramento County.


8) Inventory increased slightly last month in the Sacramento Region:

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

number of listings in Placer  Yolo El Dorado Sacramento - by home appraiser blog

Keeping an eye on regional trends is important for context. When considering Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, & El Dorado County, inventory saw a slight uptick from last month and is now hovering at 2.23 months for May 2014 (still very low). The higher the price, the higher the inventory.

9) On average it’s taking 52 days to sell a house in the Sacramento Region:

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog There was no change in CDOM from last month to this month. On average properties are taking 52 days to sell (which is about 40% longer than last year).

10) What prices look like in the Sacramento area:

number of listings in Placer Sacramento Yolo El Dorado county - May 2014 - by home appraiser blog

This is evidence of a market that has really changed these past few years. There are increasingly less listings available under $100,000 since the market is no longer saturated with REOs, and values have simply risen exponentially.

Sharing Trends with your Clients? If you want to share graphs online or in your newsletter, please see my sharing policy. Thank you for sharing.

Questions: How else would you describe the market? I’d love to hear your take.

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