When value is higher on one street than another

The cookie cutter tract homes are the easy ones, but sometimes value can change dramatically from one street to another – especially in older eclectic areas. Maybe you’ve seen this before after pulling comps and finding a huge disparity in prices. Today let’s look at an example of this happening to me recently. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear your take.

value higher on one street - sacramento appraisal blog

Values are sometimes all over the place, and that’s exactly what I saw when appraising a house in Carmichael. Take a look below at the graph. How do you think the subject street fits into the market?

Subject street in Carmichael - Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Value Conclusion: When we look at the graph with over 17 years of neighborhood sales, it’s clear properties on the subject street tend to compete toward the mid-to-higher end of the market range (even when they aren’t all that updated). Keep in mind every sale on the graph is between 1600-2100 sq ft, so we are looking at a tight range over a long period of time. You can also see there is a range where most properties have been selling between $350,000 to $500,000 lately.

Some tips for seeing the market in eclectic neighborhoods:

1) Pay close attention to subject street sales: There were 7 available sales for me to look at on the subject street over the past two decades. This might seem limiting, but it’s much better than zero, and ultimately it means I have seven data points that might help me see the context for how the subject street fits into the market. Of course we always have to use good professional judgment and not get caught up in giving too much weight to very little data. 

2) Look through years of data: In an eclectic area where values seem to be all over the place it’s a good idea to study the market by looking at years of sales. The goal is to know how value works and be able to see which streets or types of properties are fetching price premiums. When looking at areas like Fair Oaks, Carmichael, and East Sacramento, this is very key. In this case I appraised the subject property around $450,000, but there were sales within blocks that were coming in between $350,000 to $375,000 with seemingly superior upgrades too (probably why Zillow had this one at $378,000). After studying the market and carefully comparing previous sales on the subject street it was clear the subject street sales were competing at a higher price tier compared to other streets. It would have been a shame if I hastily pulled up three “comps” and brought this one in at $350,000 when the market was clearly willing to pay more.

3) The feel of the street: On paper it might look like we are pulling good “comps”, but then after driving by other streets we might see a lower quality of construction, or unkempt homes, or maybe a negative influence from commercial property.

4) Real estate community: It’s helpful to talk with other real estate professionals who know the neighborhood. I find most real estate agents and appraisers are actually pretty helpful when you call to say, “Hey, I have a question. May I bend your ear for a minute?” I realize not everyone is receptive to talking (lame), but that doesn’t take away the importance of building good relationships in the real estate community so we can exchange information. My advice? When people call you, be the type of person you wish everyone else was. Bottom line. All things considered, it is worth noting we still have to be careful not to impose someone’s perception of the market on our value. So let’s seek insight from others, but let’s also not forget to look at actual data and support the value we say exists.

5) Learn to graph so you can see the market: The graph above was part of my research and it helped me visualize the market. I know, here I am mentioning graphing again, but I only do that because it’s revolutionized the way I see the market. Anyway, here is a tutorial I made for learning to make a basic scatter graph in Excel. If you didn’t know, there are a couple of programs you can use to quickly export neighborhood data from MLS to make graphs. I might suggest looking at Don’s 1004MC program (for locals and some other states (right now his site is down)) and Trendsheet (covers many states). These programs are built for appraisers, but I tell Realtor friends all the time to consider using them and just skip the appraiser stuff. 

UPDATE: I was asked by several people in the comments and by email how to make a graph like the one above, so I made a video tutorial. Check it out here or below.

I hope that was useful or interesting.

Questions: What is #6? Did I miss anything? How do you figure out if there is a value premium for a certain street? How do you avoid choosing the wrong comps? I’d love to hear your take.

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Two appraisals with a 20% difference in value

My appraisal was 20% higher than the other appraiser. That’s what the attorney told me after I sent in my report. My first thought was, “Wow, I’m surprised”, and my second thought was, “Yikes, I hope I didn’t get it too high.” Long story short, the reason why there was such a huge disparity in value came down to comp selection. I chose properties that made reasonable sense for the subject, and the other appraiser chose homes that on paper looked like they could be the right ones, but in the end they were too low.

36955234 - woman making choice between city and country, on gray background

How can value be so far off? Well, let’s take a quick look at this situation and consider some key points for choosing comps. Even if you aren’t from the Sacramento area, what do you notice about my comps and his comps? (Note: I removed addresses and moved the subject property icon slightly to obscure its location).

comps

The Comps – Explaining why there was a 20% difference in value:

  1. Closer to Main Street: The other appraiser chose sales that were either on a busy street (Lincoln Ave) or closer to a main street (Fair Oaks Blvd). Of course it’s fine if sales with a busy location are used, but we have to consider if a value adjustment ought to be given.
  2. Court Location: This is a key point. If you look closely, two of the other appraiser’s “comps” are located in court-type streets off Fair Oaks Blvd. These “court” locations are subject to increased traffic noise from the main street, but they also don’t have the same feel as the subject street. The court location basically has only one street of homes instead of multiple walkable streets with a more traditional neighborhood feel. We have to consider if there is a value difference here instead of blindly calling these locations similar.
  3. One-Mile Radius: The appraiser’s sales are located within a one-mile radius, but that doesn’t mean they are reasonable for use. Just because a sale is within a mile doesn’t mean it’s automatically a “comp” (key point). After all, there is a difference between a “sale” and a “comp”.
  4. Older vs. Newer: Just because it’s a newer sale doesn’t mean it’s the best “comp”. Fresh sales are ideal, but sometimes older sales are more relevant – especially if they are in the immediate neighborhood and require less adjustments than new stuff that’s really less similar (I’m not saying we should pass up new lower-priced “comps” for older higher sales). In this case the other appraiser chose newer sales that were less similar instead of older more similar sales. The irony was there was an older similar property that closed 2.5 years ago on the subject street for 5% higher than the other appraiser’s current value. Since the market has increased in value over these past years, this one sale alone could have been a tell the appraised value was simply too low.
  5. Deep Study: It’s easy to value something in a tract subdivision with model match sales galore, but it can be tricky when working in an area where values differ tremendously from street to street. This is why it’s critical to dig deeply to find how the market really views the subject street and property. I recommend finding sales on the subject’s street (even if they’re older) and asking yourself how these homes compared to the rest of the market at the time of their sale. What sold at a similar level? This type of research helps us see the context of how the subject street might fit in the overall picture of value. Also, if the subject sold in the past (and it was a legit sale), how did it compete with other sales at the time? What did it really compare to? That might also give us clues into the market. The truth is we might need to look through years of sales in the immediate neighborhood and spend multiple hours crunching numbers and scribbling notes so we get a sense of the context of value. If you’ve only struggled for 15-30 minutes, chances are you need to keep looking and continue to make comparisons and seek out advice until you get a good sense of how value tends to work on the subject street and in the immediate area. Otherwise it’s easy to pick nearby sales and call them similar even though they might trend much differently.

I hope that was helpful. Please know my goal isn’t to say my appraisal was perfect (there is no such thing) or to throw another appraiser under the bus. I love my colleagues. In this case there was a clear value difference and frankly the other appraisal just wasn’t reasonable.

real estate blogginBlogging Class: This Thursday I’m teaching a class on effective real estate blogging at SAR from 9-11am. I’d love to have you come out. We’ll have two hours to talk shop and I really hope to give you ideas and empower you to go get it when it comes to blogging. Sign up online here.

Questions: What do you see about the comps above? Any other tips for choosing comps? Anything I missed? I’d love to hear your take.

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Seeing real estate trends in Sacramento (you pick the neighborhood)

Let’s look at some specific neighborhoods today in Sacramento. How is the real estate market evolving in each of these areas? In this post I plan to include 10 graphs, but the fun part is YOU CHOOSE which ones I make.

HOW IT WORKS: Email me a request to graph a specific neighborhood or area. I’ll then make a graph like the ones below and post it here over the next few days. Keep checking back. You can use the graph as personal research, for a listing presentation or post online as you see fit. I’ll need three things:

  1. Name: Location or name of neighborhood (in Sacramento, Placer or Yolo).
  2. Time: How many years of sales do you want on the graph (1 to 5 years)?
  3. Other: Do you want to see all sales? Or would you like to refine data to see a certain square footage range, bedroom count, etc…?

Send me a quick email? Seriously. ryan@lundquistcompany.com

NOTE: I have all graphs in larger sizes if you need them. Just email me.

1) Antelope: Here all all sales over the past 5 years in Antelope per request of Scott. Isn’t it interesting to see how the market has moved? Bottomed out in early 2012, massive appreciation and then leveling off.

All Antelope Sales - 530

2) Days on Market for Antelope Sales: How long have sales in Antelope spent on the market? Here are all sales. A chart of average number of days on market each month or quarter would be great, but maybe in a different post.

days on market for all sales in Antelope in MLS - 530

3) Midtown/Downtown: Per request in a comment below, here are all sales in Midtown/Downtown from 0-2 bedrooms and under 1000 sq ft. This graph only includes single family sales – NOT condos. What do you see?

Midtown Downtown Sales in Sacramento - SFR Detached Only - NOT Condos

4) Elk Grove: Per request of Bruce, here are all sales between Bruceville, Franklin, Bilby and Elk Grove Blvd. This is the 95757 zip code. Any thoughts?

Elk Grove Market Trends - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog - 530

5) Arden Manor: Per request of Cass, here are all 3-Bed / 1-Bath sales in Arden Manor (located off Watt Avenue in Sacramento in case you are not familiar).

Arden Manor Sales - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog - 530

6) Carmichael: Per request of Susan, here are all 3-4 bedroom sales in Carmichael over the past five years. I took the liberty to include only sales under $1,000,000 because there were only a handful above that level (and including them made the graph less legible). It would be interesting to see a precise square footage range in Carmichael as a follow-up to this graph.

carmichael sales 3-4 bedrooms - 530

7) Natomas: Here are all sales in the 95835 zip code for houses at 3200 sq ft or larger (hope you like this one John).

Natomas 95835 Sales - 3200 sq ft and larger - 530

8) Elk Grove: This is a graph of all sales in Elk Grove under $400,000 with 3-4 bedrooms, 1500-3000 sq ft of living area and properties built between 1997 to 2007. Hope you like it Gary.

Elk Grove Market Data - 530

9) Condos in City of Sacramento: This pie graph helps shows all condo sales in the City of Sacramento from 2010 to 2014 – and it really says something about the market, doesn’t it? Being that many condo complexes have too many rentals, pending litigation or some other issue that is a turn-off for financing, there has been a very high percentage of cash purchases. Note this is the City of Sacramento and NOT the entire county. Hope you enjoy this one Barbara.

condo sales in city of sacramento

10) Laguna West in Elk Grove: Here are all sales with a gross living area between 2400-3000 and with no pool in the Laguna West neighborhood over the past three years. Hope you like this one Doug.

Laguna West Sales - 2400-3000 GLA - no pool - 530

Examples for Blog Post:

1479 model in Mather

Mather: This graphs shows all 1479 model sales in Mather over the past five years. I appraised a model recently that was priced beyond the highest recent sale. It was out of sync with the market.

Gold River Station Sales

Gold River Station: It’s easy to confuse Gold River Station with Gold River, but they are two different areas. Gold River Station is located just north of Highway 50 and immediately south of the Gold River HOA. Gold River Station is not a part of Gold River, which is important to consider when choosing comparable sales.

Any thoughts, insight or questions?

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The First Official Video of the Silver Horse on Marconi Avenue & Eastern Avenue in Sacramento

I think I may have produced the first official video of the new silver horse on Marconi Avenue & Eastern Avenue in Sacramento. Okay, this is not my biggest achievement in life and there will be no awards, but I definitely thought it would be fun and creative to put something together. As I mentioned in a previous post, while driving around between appraisal inspections, I stopped by the new Rite Aid shopping center on the aforementioned corner and snapped some photos. Today when I passed by this gleaming statue again, I couldn’t help but grab some more images and put them online.

I am intrigued by landmarks, architecture, neighborhood design (porches especially) and how things like this make up the feel for a neighborhood. Moreover, my career as a real estate appraiser helps me to continually analyze the appearance of neighborhoods and properties.

Enjoy the video on the Lundquist Apppraisal YouTube page or below.

www.SacramentoAppraisalBlog.com The First Official Video of the Silver Horse on Marconi Avenue & Eastern Avenue in Sacramento