http://www.batonrougerealestateappraisal.com/ – Top 10 Most Memorable Greater Baton Rouge Appraisal Assignments of 2009
I appreciate all my clients and colleagues who made 2009 a fantastic year. This has been a trying year for the appraisal industry in light of HVCC and the extra work that is now required on home appraisals which has added almost 2 hours to each appraisal order. However, I am very grateful nonetheless for all the good things that happened this year. Merry Christmas AND Thank you for your support in 2009!
1.) St. Jude Dream Home: I’ve been fortunate to have appraised the St. Jude Dream Home every year since 2000. The folks at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, their local Baton Rouge operations, have really blown me away in terms of how much they really care about their cause – helping Children. Over the years, I’ve also discovered how BIG a heart a local builder, developer and real estate broker has, that being Carlos Alvarez and Family! The 2009 Dream Home was a splendid success, helping raise money for St. Jude and bringing the Greater Baton Rouge Community together for community involvement. Be sure to follow Baton Rouge St. Jude Dream Home on Twitter for the 2010 Dream Home Event by clicking on the home photo. Here’s a video I made of the Dream Home.
2.) Vicknair Builders Buying Up Previously Expensive Lots in Former High-End Subdivisions and Lowering Overall Sold Price Per Sq. Ft.: This year while appraising a home in Acadiana of Ascension Subdivision, a once former high-end development in the mid $350K range located in Northern Ascension Parish, I made a discovery. The discovery was that since the $73,000 to $83,900 lots weren’t selling, and that since some of new high-end spec homes weren’t selling, that a large bulk package of these lots sold to Vicknair Builders and/or partners in a deal for $36,000 each and $53,900 each for lake lots. The once $136/sf sold prices will be joined by anticipated sales prices in the $96/sf to $109/sf range. It’s estimated that approx. 88% of this development will be finished out with Vicknair homes. If 88% of the homes in a development sell for less than the previous high-end homes did, then the overall prices in that development will be probably be lowered. This is also taking place in Denham Springs’ Juban Parc, where Vicknair Builders purchased a bulk large lot package and anticipated sold prices per sq. ft. will be significantly lower than the $128/sf buyers paid up to the time of the bulk lot purchase.
3.) Copper Mill Golf Community, Zachary LA: Zachary LA is a beautiful place to live and visit. In 2006-2007, Woody Jenkins wrote an article about the “10 Reasons Why Zachary Louisiana Is A Great Place To Live!”….and I agree. In 2009, I had the pleasure of appraising several homes in upscale Copper Mill Golf Community and shooting the listing video for the home on Royal Troon below. The home photo to the right is of a high quality home that looked a little like a “castle”. I appraised one home on Royal Troon that was half built in 2006-2007, abandoned, bought by an individual from the bank who finished the home. I think it’s the different architectural styles that set the homes in Copper Mill apart from some of other upscale developments within Greater Baton Rouge.
4.) An Excess Of Vacant Subdivision Lots in Greater Baton Rouge In General: In my home appraisals in general throughout the Greater Baton Rouge market, I have to estimate the value of the lot or site of the home. As I drive around, one memorable aspect about 2009 is the oversupply of vacant, very expensive residential lots on the market. That’s why they’re just sitting there vacant because they’re priced too high. In the photo, you see the Newly Developed 72 Lot Isabella Lakes Subdivision Remains Vacant Possibly Due To Very High Pricing Of Lots Within What’s Supposed To Be The “More Affordable” Walker Louisiana Housing Market From $37,400 up to $56,400. Understandably, The 72 Lot Listings Expired Unsold. The $37,400 Lots Are Tiny 50×135 In Size For Starter Homes In The Minimum 1,400sf range up to 1,600sf range. The estimated home prices would be in the $140K to $170K range. To put this into proper perspective, the lots in Collins Place sold from $40K up to $49,900 where the predominant values were in the mid $250K range. This Again Appears To Be An Example Of How The Market Is Shunning Overpriced Lots and Overpriced New Homes In This Move To The Desire Of Afordability. This is Why “Vicknair Builder Homes” are selling so well in this market. This appraiser won’t be at all surprised to see Vicknair Builders buy Isabella Lakes Subdivision and build more affordable homes for this affordable homes market.
5.) A Slow Continued Letting Out The Air Of The High-End Home’s Balloon, A Continued Oversupply, Builders Saying “This Market Is Killing Us” and Buyer Moves To More Affordable Homes: I recently reported on the high-end home values decline and oversupply in N Ascension Parish based on a recent appraisal, see: http://bit.ly/6qSogQ . In my post, I noted a -6% decline in median sales price, 66 competing listings and a 43 month supply on the market. A similar situation is verifiable for the Zachary Copper Mill market where the 2008 versus 2009 median sales price has declined almost 5%. A couple of sales in Copper Mill in 2009 took over 700 days to sell.
I’ve met a couple of builders at homes in 2009 where the first words out of their mouths are, “This market is killing us!”. And, I think to myself that they just don’t get it. The land, materials, labor….it’s all just too expensive. The average home buyer generally can’t afford to pay $136/sf to $160/sf+ for a new home. But, that’s the pricing a builder needs to make a decent profit. So, what happens? The $136/sf new construction housing market is essentially either shutdown or at a major slowdown because there are only so many people that can afford that high priced housing. The builders don’t get the fact that the high-end pricing of new homes isn’t coming back any time soon, so they better not hold their breath. Contrast all of this with what I’ve stated above and the fact that in the past year or so, Vicknair Builders has purchased approximately $10,000,000 in vacant lots in the N Ascension Parish market and their more affordable homes are selling…..and selling well. Vicknair Builders homes are selling well in both Ascension and Livingston Parishes. In the meantime, the other local builders are hoping for a return of the good old days of late 2005 to early 2008, but they won’t return any time soon. The builders that are realizing that this market has turned more affordable and that are serving that need are the builders that are surviving fairly well.
6.) Dilapidated Fourplex In Gardere Lane Area And Discovery Of Fraud Involved In That Market: This property, and several others like it I appraised in 2009, was interesting because of the gross extent of what appeared to be “black mold” growing inside. In some cases, the ceilings were falling in, Again in 2009. However, some of these 4 Plexes were just appraised very, very high in 2006 and 2007 based on private sales, not based on the many MLS sales which indicated a much lower value. The conditions noted in the appraisals was “Average” when in reality, the conditions were much less than average. Some California Investors, lured in because of the relatively low cost and higher ROI than int he California market, purchased these investment properties only to have them go into foreclosure in 2009.
7.) Fraudulent Fourplex Into Condo Coversion Gone Awry: Somewhere in the Greater Baton Rouge market, there was a condo-conversion of a “single 4 plex” on a street and in an area where there were primarily just 4 plexes. The 2007 appraisal I reviewed stated the condition was “Average”, however, the true condition looked very similar to the photos above of the mold, including exterior rotten wood and a roof that leaked so bad, it caused the mold issues. It was obvious from the street view that the roof needed replacement. These 4 units each sold in the mid $70s when they were really only worth $35K to $38K each. The piece of paper that stated this fourplex was under a condo conversion was supposed to warrant each unit to be worth $36,000 more than they were actually and verifiably worth. What else was interesting about this transaction was that the corporate address of the Condo Association, per the La Corporations Database, was in the same office complex as the lender that did the loan(s).
8.) Upscale Camp Goes Into Foreclosure: I’ll be honest. I don’t generally appraise homes or camps beyond Highway 63 as I’m really not a rural appraiser. I have 3 local appraisers I refer about 15% of the orders that come into my office and they don’t mind rural work. In the first quarter 2009, business was a little slow, so I took this Foreclosure assignment in Springfield, LA and wished I had not. This was a high quality camp located on a large lot with canal access, which had sold in late 2006 in the $400s. Due to the slower and rural market, there weren’t enough MLS sales or listings to adequately value this property. So, further research at the courthouse plus obtaining MLS sales info from the Tangipahoa MLS from an appraiser friend, Larry Wilson, was necessary. This assignment took a total of two full days and I learned my lesson not to accept these types of assignments. But, it was nice to be near the river and to see some of the beautiful high-end camps in that area.
9.) Divorce Appraisals: I perform some appraisal work for home owners and their attorneys during a difficult time of life. I was thankful to provide excellent service for home owners in need this year and at least make the appraisal process smooth in the midst of challenging situations.
10.) Pre-Listing Appraisals for Individuals and Local Real Estate Agents:
I am very thankful for both local Real Estate Agents and local Individuals that hired me to provide them with “Pre-Purchase” or “Pre-Listing” appraisals in 2009. Despite HVCC, this year I had more referral work from Real Estate Agents and that was a wonderful thing!!! I am also really grateful to be more connected to some stellar local real estate agents on Facebook and Twitter as well!!! Below is a video I made for an individual selling their home by owner (FSBO). A Free Video Both Created And Submitted To YouTube Is Standard With My Pre-Listing Appraisal Pricing!
If you are a real estate agent or home owner, what was the best experience you had this year with an appraiser? If you are a real estate appraiser reading this post, what were some of your favorite or most memorable assignments this year?
Bill Cobb, CREA, is Greater Baton Rouge’s favorite and most reputable home appraiser frequently called upon by banks, homeowners, and savvy real estate investors to assess property values. A home appraiser with 18 years experience, Bill Cobb brings a wealth of knowledge to the table as a home appraiser.
Bill’s company, Accurate Valuations Home Appraisal Group, serves Greater Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Western Livingston Parish and Northern Ascension Parish).
Contact Bill Cobb and Accurate Valuations Home Appraisal Group for your next home appraisal:
Office: 225-293-1500, Cell: 225-953-0638