If you’re like me, you have many things racing through your mind. When it comes to real estate there is always so much to talk about, so today I wanted to mention a few topics I’ve been thinking of over the past week. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear your take.
Smoking Pricing Crack: Did you see that listing in Waco Texas of the property that was rehabbed by Chip & JoAnna Gaines of the reality show Fixer Upper? It was purchased for $28,000 and now it’s listed for sale at $950,000.
I’m not located in Waco obviously, but I have a feeling someone might be smoking pricing crack on this one so to speak. A quick glance at Realtor.com for listings priced at $1M in Waco shows us there are zero other 1000 sq ft 1-bedroom homes anywhere near this level. Thus let’s remember a lofty list price doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with real value. Often times prices like this are more about publicity than anything. This is true not just in Waco, but in every market in the country. However, we still have to ask, would the market pay more for a home that was rehabbed by reality stars? Or is it just the upgrades people are paying more for rather than who installed them? (Photo credit above: Realtor.com).
Era Charm: I recently appraised a house in an older neighborhood of Sacramento and ended up bringing the value in on the lower side of the competitive range. Why? Because the house lacked era charm that buyers tend to pay more for in the neighborhood.
Instead of the home having wood siding, wood flooring, and a “charming” vibe from yesteryear, it had stucco siding, cheap laminate flooring, and it stood out in a bad way because it didn’t look the same as other homes from the curb. This might sound like I’m being subjective, but the proof of a lower value was in the comps. I found a couple “vibe-less” sales and they definitely closed at a lower price tier. I also talked with the previous Listing Agent who had the home on the market before it was withdrawn. She confirmed one of the bigger issues with why the house did not sell was the lack of era charm. This is a good reminder that value doesn’t always increase just because there are newer “upgrades.” By the way, the photo above is not the house I appraised, but it’s one in Tahoe Park that sold recently from Realtor Lola Mouras (photo credit: MLS).
Blaming Appraisers: I saw an economist on Twitter recently suggest appraisers are holding back the housing market. I’m not mentioning this to call this person out or start an argument, but I wanted to pitch in some thoughts because it’s really easy to blame appraisers.
The truth is appraisers don’t make markets move up or down. Appraisers are more like a ruler to measure the market rather than a gas pedal or brake pedal for real estate values. In other words, we’ve seen massive value increases over the past 5 years, but that’s not because appraisers have driven the market up. Some of the big value drivers have been historically low interest rates, an influx of cash investors, and a shrinking housing inventory. Or right now in Sacramento we are seeing more price reductions, so is a slowing market being caused by appraisers? Nope. The market usually begins to slow at this time of year. This is exactly why I love the multi-layered real estate cake analogy because there is a recognition the market is influenced by many different factors or “layers” so to speak. I’m not discounting the reality that massive appraisal fraud can play in a market, but only saying we have to remember there are huge forces at play that are so much bigger than what appraisers are doing.
Well, that’s what’s on my mind today. I hope everyone had an incredible 4th of July. Let’s make it a great rest of the summer now.
Questions: Would you pay more for a Chip & Jo house? How much do you think era charm really matters in real estate? Do you think appraisers are holding back the housing market? I’d love to hear your take.