Common Valuation Mistakes On Realtor

OK OK… I don’t really mean to not trust your Realtor or other advisors, unless they give you really bad advice, like the three mistakes outlined in this article. Many Realtors understand how to value real estate and can be a great asset (especially the ones that focus on real estate investors), but the unfortunate truth is that many investors and agents make these common mistakes:

· Add value to a property for a bedroom

· Incorrectly adjusting for square footage

· Compare non similar style homes with no adjustment

Add value to a property for a bedroom

This is by far the most common error that I see. In some cases a bedroom will add value but normally you cannot count on it. If a house has more bedrooms it is likely bigger and the large home is more valuable, but the bedroom itself is not adding the value, the square footage is. If two houses are the same size and one has an additional bedroom it is lacking something else OR has much smaller rooms, which will deter some buyers. It is basically a wash for valuation purposes. The one exception to this is if the house does not conform to the neighborhood. For example, if the entire neighborhood is two or three bedrooms and you have a one bedroom, it actually should add value to add a bedroom, even if you are keeping the house the same size. I would be very careful in these rare cases because it is hard to know how much value a bedroom will actually add. So when you are looking at your comps, look at the size and not the number of bedrooms.

This does not hold true for bathrooms. Bathrooms will almost always add value.

Incorrectly adjust for square footage

A less common, but more devastating error that I see is to use a price per square foot model to value a home. Many agents make this mistake. The error is to use an average price per square foot and multiply that number by the size of the house you are trying to value. It is not wise to use this method, especially if your house is on the small or large size for an area. Think about it. Is a 2,000 square foot house really worth twice as much as a 1,000 square foot house that might be next door? The area brings a certain range of values that all houses fall in and the lot values should be close to identical no matter what size house is on it. Using a price per sq foot model does not account for the lot.

It is true that you need to adjust for size, because larger homes carry more value, but it is easy to mess the adjustment up. The best way to do this is to dig into your comps and get an idea for the required adjustment. This can be very tricky because the value per square foot decreases as the homes get larger. It is a safe bet to never buy the largest or smallest house in an area, but if you do, use a very conservative adjustment for size. One rule of thumb that I like to use is 1/3rd of the average price per square foot as the size adjustment. This is pretty close to average, so it is nice; but again is a rule of thumb and is not science.

Keep in mind that the adjustments that I mentioned are above the ground adjustments. Basements do NOT carry the same value. In fact, it is normally worth less than half of the above ground square footage. For example, in a nice area an above ground adjustment might be $90.00 above ground but basements in that area might only be worth an adjustment of $30.00 per finished sq foot. I never have understood this because if finished it is usable/livable space and people love basements. I gave up trying to understand why the basement has little value and have just accepted it. You don’t need to understand why it is true as long as you know it is true and use that to help come up with an accurate value.

Compare non similar style homes with no adjustment

This one makes me laugh when I hear it. The biggie that I see here is comparing the ranch or rambler style home to a home with stairs, like a bi-level or 2-story. The house with no stairs is always more valuable. You need to think of yourself as the buyer and what a buyer would want. Another common example of this mistake is comparing older homes to newer homes. In fact, we just took a call today from a client that was comparing her home to a never been lived in house one neighborhood over. They were almost identical in size and were within a quarter of a mile to each other, but one is about 30 years old and one was just built. Do you really think that someone would buy a used home for the same price they can get a new home for? The newer home is worth more, so it is best to not even use that comp; but if you need to use it, be sure to adjust for the age.

My hope is that by understanding these common mistakes you will be able to come up with more accurate after repaired values, and be a better investor for it.

 

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Between Buy and Build Property

When families, or individuals, first begin to think about purchasing a home, the question often arises as to whether they should buy a previously owned house, and then add a few personal touches, or whether they should hire a custom home building company to help them design their own. There are benefits and downfalls to both, making it a tough choice.

Buying

Buying a new home has certain conveniences that many people appreciate, like the fact that everything is already done. For example, the washer hook up is already in place, the walls are already insulated and the bathroom is all ready to be used. This saves the hassle, and possible conflict of making major decisions, which can be a huge relief for individuals that are a bit indecisive. Buying a home means that buyers can move in sooner, and they may save money in the long run, depending on the house.

The same things that are positives have the potential to turn into negatives. It may be nice that the washer hook up is already in its designated spot, but what if it is in the kitchen and buyers would prefer it in the bathroom. This is a small adjustment, but when a buyer is not satisfied with the minor things, it can all build up over time. Also, the bathroom may already be ready to be used, but how old are the pipes?

The pipes, furnace, central air system and the very foundation of all previously owned homes have been in use for several years when the building is purchased, and they may need replaced sooner than buyers are prepared for. A used furnace is more likely to need repaired than a brand new one, and the same rule applies to everything in the house.

Building

Working with a professional home builder can be fun and exciting. Every room will be the exact size that the buyer wants or needs, buyers will be able to have an energy-efficient home, and the ability to personalize every space guarantees that custom homes will have more personality. Even the floors will be perfect, whether they are hardwood, tile or carpet.

Vital components of new homes, such as the furnace, will have less wear and tear, costing first time buyers less money in the long run, and less hassle. Last, a professional home builder will make sure that everything is exactly how the buyer wants it, eliminating the need for renovations, and the stress that can come with each new project.

Building a house can be stressful for buyers that are unsure of what they want. Are open spaces better or closed off rooms? Where should the washer hook up go? Qualified home builders with enough experience can help make some of these decisions a little bit easier.

The only other downside to custom-built homes is that it may be more expensive when looking at the short-term cost. Brand new furnaces are not cheap. On the other hand, most buyers will wind up with a brand new furnace if they purchase an older (cheaper) house in the long run anyway.

All in all, it boils down to whether buyers would like to spend a little bit more money when first buying a home for a brand new home that has been designed to meet their needs, or whether home owners would like to spend more money in the long run as renovations take place and things, like the furnace, need replaced. Taking the time and money to hire an experienced home builder can save families years’ worth of stress and hassle.

 

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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Investing In An Apartment Building

An apartment building can still be a good investment today. Why? For starters, there are still a lot of people who are still looking for homes to rent. In addition, the units of an apartment building do not just have to be spaces for residence or homes for families and individuals. By getting the right permits, units in an apartment building can be rented out as commercial spaces.

First-time buyers of apartment buildings will certainly have high expectations regarding this particular investment. This is mainly because they will invest a significant amount of money for this venture. As such, if you want to make sure you will own the right apartment building that can help you find success in the field of property rentals, make sure you avoid these common (and costly) rookie mistakes:

Not looking into the history and reputation of the apartment building’s builder or developer.

As a first-time owner of an apartment building, the last thing you want to happen is to stumble upon some structural problems or system failures. As such, it is important to check the background, capability, and reputation of the company that constructed the whole property. Going online and asking companies or individuals that have worked with the property developer is a good way to get some ideas about their competency. If the property developer has a good reputation and has stellar reviews about the properties they built, chances are, it is quite safe to buy a building that they constructed.

Buying a property that is located in an unpopular area.

When purchasing an apartment building, keep in mind that aside from your budget, an important factor you have to consider is its location. Real estate experts say that it is a good idea to buy a property in an area that is improving since buying in a declining location will simply result in high vacancies and rent drops.

Not having sufficient cash flow and reserves.

As a newbie investor, if you are not confident with your reserved funds, you have to get into deals that will create a quick cash flow only. Avoid going into deals that won’t provide a cash flow from day one even if that transaction promises a huge potential profit since you may be put at risk of being unable to pay the bills.

In addition, make sure you have enough cash reserves. Failure to do so can get you involved in different complicated situations. As a property owner, keep in mind that a lot of unexpected issues can happen. As such, you need to have a reserve fund that is adequate to pay for these emergencies.

 

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Tips To Value a Freehold Property

There are no yardsticks to measure the value of a freehold property. This is because evaluating a freehold is not an accurate science. However, you can follow certain guidelines on what you need to take into consideration when valuing a freehold, which is produced by the advisory services that give free advice to leaseholders. You must also take these three factors into consideration:

1. The current value of the property

2. The annual ground rent

3. The number of years currently left on the lease

Also, evaluate the expected percentage increase in property value that results from extending the leases of different lengths, along with forecasted long term interest rates and inflation rates.

Take help from an expert valuer rather than trying to work out a figure all by yourself, to present before the freeholder. An expert valuer will be able to give you the best advice, which will enable you to make a practical offer.

You will find expert valuers online. They will help you with the entire process of negotiation and buying the freehold.

For the benefit of the freehold, most surveyors add a little extra to a property’s value. This is done after comparing it with similar property with the same number of years on the lease but no freehold.

First, approach your freeholder informally, before you serve him with a first notice. This document should include your preliminary offer for the freehold, which starts off the legal process of buying it.

A word of caution. Never produce an initial notice without obtaining an expert valuation. If you make the wrong evaluation in the initial notice you won’t be able to take back the offer. After the initial notice, wait for the freeholder to reply to it with a counter notice by a date that you have given. The freeholder must be sanctioned at least two months from the date the initial notice is served.

If the freeholder is not sending his counter notice within this period, the leaseholders can take matters into their hands. They can apply for a vesting order at a court. It is now up to the court to move the freehold to the leaseholders. So freeholder’s should respond on time to the initial notice for their own benefit.

Buying a share of freehold will make little profit if you already have had a decent length lease. You would still have to give the same authorized costs as someone with a short hire, but would lead to a drop in the value of the property.

 

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