A Day in the Life of Appraising Iowa-Nebraska-Florida

I often get the questions, "Should I wait to buy a house? Should I sell my house now?" History repeats itself, when we are predicting the future we base it on what happened in the past.  From 1999 to 2007 I watched the housing market climb and then crash. When the rates dropped people couldn't refinance fast enough.  I also noticed, as an appraiser in the metropolitan area of Omaha and Council Bluffs, that people were not only refinancing, but they were doing it every 2-3 years as the value of the home went up, pulling out the 3%-5% gain, to pay off short term debt.  During that time there were limited systems and regulations in place for appraisers to report a fair and equitable value and there was a tremondous amount of pressure from the mortgage broker industry "to stretch the value" to "get the deal done".  I was told on occassion by few of my clients if I continued to be conservative, they would find another appraiser.  I held my ground, and I warned lenders the refinancing and inflated values was not good.  Then 2008 it all came crashing in.

People were not able to make their mortgage payment and the foreclosures began.  I went from appraising for the banks and mortgage companies to working as a "Forensic Appraisal Specialist", for Fannie Mae and other investors reviewing appraisals and reporting what the true numbers should have been at the time of the mortgage. I learned a lot.  

When a loan went bad the appraisal became the focus. Investors took a hard look at the appraisal reports and pushed back on the lenders who sold the loan, for anything that they found wrong with the appraisal report. The appraiser did not specifically cause the default, however if there were discrepencies, the appraiser became the target. Repurchasing loan demands were based on "bad appraisals" and "unacceptable appraisal practices" outlined in Fannie Mae's Selling Guide.

Some of the mistakes I found were reporting the market stable or increasing when it was declining at the time. Misreporting the condition of the subject or comparable sales, such as using houses that were obviously superior to the subject property without a condition adjustment. Using sales outside the neighborhood that had a higher price there were sales available in the subdivision. Failing to mention the proximity to railroad tracks, or a busy highway.  

When I was able to find faults with the appraisal, the selling lender either had to defend the appraisal report, or admit the valuation was inflated and repurchase the loan. 

For these reasons many checks and balances were put in place to ensure this did not happen again in the future.  Appraisal Management companies became the go between, and promised to review the appraisals before the lender made a loan decision, ensuring the loan would never be a buy back.  It used to take 1 hour to process and appraisal, and now with the new rules it takes 2-5 hours. Every T crossed and I dotted.  After the management company reviewed the appraisal report there were programs, databases and appraisal review processes created to provide assurance the appraisal .

Given past repurchase demands, these new rules that were put in place to protect the lender and the investors.  We are heading for a decline, due to the impact of Covid-19 and people losing their jobs, however I believe it is unlikely the housing market will decline like it did in 2008.  

Posted in:General and tagged: Omaha Real Estate Market
Posted by Alycia Hamaker on August 2nd, 2020 7:54 AMLeave a Comment

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Florida golf courses disappear as developers seek new type of $green$

Land along a golf course has long been coveted by golfers and non golfers alike. Even people who don’t play golf like to look at golf courses. Lined with majestic pines and oaks, the edges of the land where eagles often nest has also been sought after for building high end residential real estate. Pastoral views of rolling fairways and well maintained greens used to play the quiet, relaxing game have driven the value of these lots up for decades. Now a new phenomena is threatening the property values along courses. In areas where vacant land is at a premium, developers are purchasing the courses and setting their sights, not on bunkers and water hazards, but new construction.

What will this mean for the values of homes that already exist along a course? Homes that were purchased and priced specifically due to their location along a gorgeous swath of empty land. It’s a tough question, and one that is weighing on the minds of thousands of landowners.

Next to waterfront views, golf course views are often considered the most desirable, and are heavily factored into the property valuations performed by residential real estate appraisers.

Between 1998 and 2006, more than 4,000 new courses opened. More than 400 U.S. courses went defunct in 2016 and 2017, according to the National Golf Foundation. Florida is home to about 1250 of the nation’s remaining 15,000 or so golf courses. It has the most of any state. Let’s take a look specifically at Pinellas County, FL, and explore what this could mean for values along the Bardmoor Golf Course in the City of Seminole. The owner of the 150-acre Bardmoor course agreed earlier this year to sell to Wheelock Communities and Gentry Land, the companies that developed Starkey Ranch, a planned community of new construction homes in Pasco County.

The Bardmoor course has hosted a wide variety of golfers over the years, from High School teams to PGA Tour Champions. Bardmoor was founded in 1971, and homes began popping up around the course shortly after. Unlike many courses that have closed, Bardmoor appears to be thriving. The course and club are owned by Bayou Golf LCC, which paid $12.5 million for them in 2006. The Bardmoor course is currently designated for recreational use. Redevelopment would entail a change in land use and zoning, a long process that would involve multiple county, state and federal agencies.

Representatives of the developers claim that buffers of trees and landscaping would ensure that after they develop new homes where the course once was, homeowners who now have sweeping golf course views wouldn’t be looking into someone’s else’s windows, and to mitigate the impact on property values, the new homes would be of comparable quality as existing ones.

Realtor Bobbie Kahler, who has several listings in Bardmoor spoke to a reporter following a recent community meeting, “We don’t want any publicity on this,” she said. “There are houses under contract, closings are coming up. People won’t want to buy in here if they know the golf course might go away. This is horrific,” according to the Daily Commercial, a local news outlet.

According to Forbes, “Once closed and left untended for as little as a year, it can cost several million dollars to repair and reopen a course — nature reclaims unmaintained land quickly, and home values can drop as much as 50% within weeks of a course closing.”

Concerns not only about the loss of the golf course view, but increased traffic, taxes, and construction noise, are shared by residents not only of single family homes along the course, but also villas and multi family units.

Currently 12 homes are listed for sale along Bardmoor golf course, ranging in price from $539,000 to $875,000. 5 homes are currently pending at prices ranging from $550,000 to $1,699,000. In the last 6 months 7 homes have sold for sale prices ranging from $415,000 to $810,000.

Other recent golf course closures in the area include, The Tides Golf Club. However, properties along that course were limited to a relatively small number, and the real estate in the area, which is near the water, is already at a premium.

The main question on the minds of all property owners along the Bardmoor golf course is how will this affect my property value? The answer is complicated and dependent on several factors that are as of yet unknown. Will the land use change be approved? How will the views be affected? What amenities will be added to the community as a result of redevelopment? Will property taxes increase to pay for new infrastructure? And just what are they going to build on the Bardmoor golf course?   

There is not much information out there in terms of hard data to calculate exactly how much property values will decline due to a golf course closing. It's because each situation is unique. One thing is for sure, this is not an anomaly that will wane in the coming years. Closures will continue to increase and the crisis may even begin to affect values at golf courses which are currently operating without issue. Even the hint of uncertainty of the future of a golf course could greatly affect property values.

For a full valuation of your current or future property Contact:

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To Do:

Research existing vs historic property values around Bardmoor golf course

Research closer and property values around the The Tides Golf Club in Seminole

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Posted by Patricia Smith on April 14th, 2019 9:19 PMLeave a Comment

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