Why Knowing the Actual Square Footage is So Important

This past tax appeal season we got to see first-hand how important it is to know the true square footage of a house. In this case, it saved our client over $4,000 per year!

We were hired to do a tax appeal appraisal of a home in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion Township. The homeowner was paying over $15,000 per year in property tax. It was a very straightforward assignment.

So, we inspected and measured the property. Our measurements showed that the house was 2,808 SF.  Not a big house by Main Line standards but, a good size.  The problem was that the assessor’s record and sketch of the house showed that the property was 4,438 SF.  That’s a huge disparity.

After talking with the assessor, we found out that the house had only been measured from the exterior and that the assessor never went inside the house. Had the assessor gained entry to the house they would have seen that a large part of the first floor had ceilings that were actually two stories high.  The assessor assumed that the second floor mirrored the foot print of the first floor.

In this case, knowing the true square footage got our client a 25% reduction in their assessment which translated into over $4,000 per year in savings going forward!

As an Agent, you can’t always rely on what is in the public records. If you ever find yourself questioning the square footage, it’s always best to have the property measured.  The most common lawsuit against real estate agents is for misrepresentation of a property’s square footage.  A simple “footprint” sketch can save you from all sorts of headaches and possibly a law suit.

Most appraisers can provide basic sketches that will give you a good idea of the actual square footage. If you need something more detailed and “professional” there are several services that will do architectural renderings of a property that are great for high-end marketing pieces.

 

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. We also provide “footprint” sketches for determining a more accurate square footage of a property.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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Conditionally Speaking…

Why do appraisers use alphanumeric Condition Ratings like C4 and C3?  Why not just say “Average” or “Good”?

Well, the long answer to that is there is now a thing called the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD).  It’s been around since 2011. It standardized the way appraisers classify the appraisal data. It was basically implemented as a way for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to data-mine information from appraisal reports.  But that’s a discussion for another day.

One of the bi-products of the UAD is the Condition Rating system.  It consists of classes ranging from C1 – C6 that rate a property’s overall condition.  The thought being that a property will fit neatly into one of these categories and that condition is an absolute.  Prior to the UAD appraisers would classify condition using more subjective terms such as “Good”, “Average”, “Fair” and “Poor”.  Granted, the definition of these terms varied from appraiser to appraiser and report to report, which wasn’t always ideal.

The uniformity created by the UAD is a good thing.  It basically levels the playing field and has all appraisers speaking the same “language”.  Unfortunately, the rest of the real estate industry has not adopted the Condition Rating system developed by the UAD.  Real estate agents, homeowners and others involved in real estate still use the old “Good”, “Average”, “Fair” and “Poor” method of describing condition.

As a real estate professional, it’s worth getting to know the appraiser’s language when it comes to rating the condition of a property.  Imagine showing up at an appraisal appointment and saying to the appraiser, “Hey, I’ve pulled some sales for you and they are all in C3 condition, like the subject.”  From an appraiser’s point of view, your credibility just shot up and I’m going to look over your sales data more seriously.  You may even want to start using the UAD condition ratings in your property descriptions.

Understanding the UAD Condition Rating system isn’t hard.  Here is a rundown of the classifications and the criteria for each of those classes.  When you read through them you’ll see that they are pretty cut-and-dry, and that a property will typically fall nicely into one of these ratings.

C1 – The improvements have been very recently constructed and have not previously been occupied. The entire structure and all components are new and the dwelling features no physical depreciation.

Note: Newly constructed improvements that feature recycled materials and/or components can be considered new dwellings provided that the dwelling is placed on a 100 percent new foundation and the recycled materials and the recycled components have been rehabilitated/re-manufactured into like-new condition. Improvements that have not been previously occupied are not considered “new” if they have any significant physical depreciation (that is, newly constructed dwellings that have been vacant for an extended period of time without adequate maintenance or upkeep).

C2 – The improvements feature no deferred maintenance, little or no physical depreciation, and require no repairs. Virtually all building components are new or have been recently repaired, refinished, or rehabilitated. All outdated components and finishes have been updated and/or replaced with components that meet current standards. Dwellings in this category either are almost new or have been recently completely renovated and are similar in condition to new construction.

Note: The improvements represent a relatively new property that is well-maintained with no deferred maintenance and little or no physical depreciation, or an older property that has been recently completely renovated.

C3 – The improvements are well-maintained and feature limited physical depreciation due to normal wear and tear. Some components, but not every major building component, may be updated or recently rehabilitated. The structure has been well-maintained.

Note: The improvement is in its first-cycle of replacing short-lived building components (appliances, floor coverings, HVAC, etc.) and is being well– maintained. Its estimated effective age is less than its actual age. It also may reflect a property in which the majority of short-lived building components have been replaced but not to the level of a complete renovation.

C4 – The improvements feature some minor deferred maintenance and physical deterioration due to normal wear and tear. The dwelling has been adequately maintained and requires only minimal repairs to building components/mechanical systems and cosmetic repairs. All major building components have been adequately maintained and are functionally adequate.

Note: The estimated effective age may be close to or equal to its actual age. It reflects a property in which some of the short-lived building components have been replaced, and some short-lived building components are at or near the end of their physical life expectancy; however, they still function adequately. Most minor repairs have been addressed on an ongoing basis resulting in an adequately maintained property.

C5 – The improvements feature obvious deferred maintenance and are in need of some significant repairs. Some building components need repairs, rehabilitation, or updating. The functional utility and overall livability are somewhat diminished due to condition, but the dwelling remains useable and functional as a residence.

Note: Some significant repairs are needed to the improvements due to the lack of adequate maintenance. It reflects a property in which many of its short-lived building components are at the end of or have exceeded their physical life expectancy, but remain functional.

C6 – The improvements have substantial damage or deferred maintenance with deficiencies or defects that are severe enough to affect the safety, soundness, or structural integrity of the improvements. The improvements are in need of substantial repairs and rehabilitation, including many or most major components.

Note: Substantial repairs are needed to the improvements due to the lack of adequate maintenance or property damage. It reflects a property with conditions severe enough to affect the safety, soundness, or structural integrity of the improvements.

If you have any questions about Condition Ratings or any other appraisal related matter, please feel free to contact us by phone, email or by visiting our FaceBook page.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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Tax Appeal Reduction

Each year at The Coyle Group, we work with dozens of homeowners to appeal their real estate taxes.  Honestly, getting letters like this from our clients still never gets old.  Here’s one where our client received a 34% reduction in their assessment.  In this case that translated into an annual tax savings of $18,875!!!

While results like this are not the norm, it’s nice to know that a well-prepared appraisal can help some tax payers see some pretty sweet reductions.

Tax Appeal Season starts sooner than you may think.  If you or your clients are thinking about appealing their tax appeal assessment, you may want to start in early Spring 2018.  Filing deadlines are typically in the beginning of August but, be sure to check with your county assessors office for the exact date.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

 

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FHA & VA Repairs?…be sure to Ask Questions!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, so far.  I haven’t posted recently but ran into a situation that all agents should be aware of, especially those who work with FHA & VA Buyers.

Now most FHA and VA purchase appraisals will result in a list of mandatory repairs that must be completed and signed-off on prior to the Buyer receiving FHA or VA financing.  The repairs are typically the responsibility of the Seller to complete.  The only problem, in my experience, is that the Sellers often don’t want to incur the expense of those repairs and will often cut corners in doing so.

There was a situation like this last week where our office completed an FHA appraisal for a Buyer in Mount Airy.  The appraisal was delivered to the lender along with a list of required repairs and pictures of those repair items. The lender sent the list of repairs to the Seller’s agent.  However, the photos were not sent.  What resulted was a lot of confusion and a postponement of settlement.

In this case, the Seller did not fully understand what was being requested in the list of repairs.  The Seller’s agent was not aware that the Seller was confused and was interpreting the list of repairs incorrectly.  So, when the Seller read “Stain/Paint the exposed wood on the exterior of the rear deck” they just assumed that the repair meant the deck flooring.  Had they seen the pictures in the report, they would have understood that the appraiser was calling the exposed wood in the entire deck to be stained/painted.  This included the floor decking, the railings, the handrails and posts.  Check out the photos below to see what was missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the appraiser went out to do the final inspection, he had to inform the lender that the repairs were not competed.  The lender informed the Seller’s agent and the Seller who thought the repairs were done and that they were settling the next day.  In fact, they now had to complete the additional repairs which delayed settlement for several days.

The moral of the story is, as a Seller involved with FHA/VA Buyers, it is imperative that you have a full understanding of the repairs required by the appraiser.  Be sure that you request any pictures of damage or repairs that the Seller might be responsible for completing.  Lastly, if you have any questions or are unsure about what is being asked of you and your Seller, reach out to the Buyer’s lender and ask them to obtain clarification from the appraiser.  Most appraisers are more than happy to help out.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

 

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Don’t Rely on the Public Records…

Don’t Rely on the Public Records…When It Comes to Reporting Gross Living Area Accurately.

Just today, I had a situation where I was asked to appraise a property in the Graduate Hospital area.  As it turns out, the homeowner informed me that I was the second appraiser to look at the property.  This was a For Sale By Owner, as well.  The owner also stated that the reason that a second appraisal was ordered was because the first appraiser “muffed-up” the sketch and got the GLA all wrong.  Apparently, the calculations on the sketch were a couple hundred square feet smaller that what was recorded in the public records.  I could feel my eyes beginning to roll backwards.

The homeowner was hanging her hat and the potential sale of her property on the Philadelphia public records.  Geez.  She was very insistent that the other appraiser had no idea what they were doing.  The idea that the public records could be wrong never crossed her mind.  She’d been living in a house of certain size for 10 years and no one was going to tell her different.

So, I went about my inspection, making sure to measure twice.  Upon getting back to my office I drew the floor plan up using my sketch software.  As luck would have it I must have “muffed-up” the sketch, as well.  My calculations were some 200 SF smaller than what was reported in the public records.  Imagine that, two, seasoned, professional appraisers made the same mistakes and arrived at almost the exact same GLA for her home?!?!

The lesson here is it’s never a good idea to rely solely on the public records when it comes to matters of GLA.  Think about it.  Where does the information in the public records come from?  Did an assessor measure the property?  Did a developer provide the info when submitting plans?  Was it taken from an architects rendering?  Who knows?

If you really want to know the accurate GLA of a property, you have to measure it…whether you measure it yourself or use a measuring service!  It’s not difficult to do and can help you avoid all sorts of headaches and misunderstanding.  If you have any questions about how measure a house or about our Home Measuring Services, just let me know.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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When Do You Need A Listing Appraisal?

This question was asked of me the other day…it’s one that I hear a lot.

When should I get a Listing Appraisal and do I have to share it the Listing Appraisal with potential  buyers?

Great question!  Let me break it down into two parts.

When should you get a Listing Appraisal?  There is really no “written in stone” time to get a Listing Appraisal.  However, here are a few suggestions as to when you may want to think about it:

  • When you are trying to get a new listing
  • When you are trying to retain a current listing
  • When your sellers are reluctant to adjust the price to the market
  • When your listing’s Days on Market (DOM) are higher than the average DOM for your market
  • If your listing contains the phrases “new price” or “price reduced” in the description
  • If markets are shifting either upwards or downwards (think Spring and Fall)
  • If the property is unique or an “oddball”

Benefits of a Listing Appraisal

  • Allows the agent (the marketing expert) to bring in an appraiser for a fresh set of unbiased eyes.
  • In other cases, the appraisal allows the agent to retain the relationship with their client while, the appraiser delivers the “bad news” that their home may be incorrectly priced.

Not all situations warrant an appraisal.  It’s a case-by-case kind of thing.  But I do know a couple of local agents who get appraisals as part of everyone of their listing appointments.  They tell me it puts the client at ease knowing that the agent is more focused on helping them price the property correctly than getting the listing.

Now the second part…Do I have to share the appraisal with potential buyers?  The answer to that is “no”.  You/your client own the appraisal.  It was completed for the sole purpose of helping you price the property (using it for anything like tax appeal, lending, divorce, estate, bankruptcy, etc would render it null and void).  There is no requirement that private appraisals be recorded or archived.  You are not required to disclose whether or not you had an appraisal to a potential buyer.

Hope that answers the question.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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Let’s End the Trend

For the past few years I’ve been noticing a trend in how homes, particularly new construction, are being marketed.  Perhaps you’ve noticed it, too.  What I’m referencing is the inclusion of finished basement space in the overall Gross Living Area (GLA) calculations. (I’ve even seen it where one agent included the roof deck in the overall GLA because the deck was covered)

I get it.  From a marketing perspective, bigger is better.  Everyone wants to be able to say that their home is larger.  I guess size does matter when discussing square footage.  The only problem is that this practice can be misleading and can contribute to inaccurate appraisals and failed deals.

Picture this.  There is a property in Point Breeze.  It’s new construction, three stories, finished basement, roof deck…the same house that everyone is building right now.  The agent and developer market the property as being 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and 2,400SF of living space.  Now, 600SF of that space is entirely below grade in the basement and contains one of the bedrooms and a full bath.

Along comes the appraiser.  From the appraiser’s point of view the house is a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house of 1,800SF above grade.  There is also a 600SF finished basement that contains a full bath and a room that could be used as a 4th bedroom.  The appraiser will assign contributory value to the finished basement and the rooms down there but, they will not be included it in the above grade GLA.  The reason being, most appraisers adhere to the ANSI Guidelines for measuring a dwelling.  These guidelines state that only above grade living space is to be included in the overall GLA for a property.  Anything below grade is finished basement space.  (For a copy of the ANSI Guideline, just email me)

This trend can effect the selection of comparables and by extension have an impact on the appraised value of a property.  If an appraiser inspects a property and determines it to have 1,800SF above grade and 600SF below grade, the appraiser is going to select comparables that are closer to 1,800SF, not the 2,400SF reported in the MLS listing.  This could result in the selection of comparables that are smaller and worth less money.  This could adversely impact the sale.

Also, imagine the confusion of the new homeowner when he reads the appraisal.  Here, he thought he just bought 2,400SF home but, the appraiser says it’s only 1,800SF.  In the buyer’s mind, they just overpaid.  There are likely to be some angry phone calls as a result.

But there’s hope!  The Trend MLS allows agents to separate the above grade from the below grade living space when listing a property.  This helps paint a more accurate representation of the living space within a building.  It also helps appraisers make more accurate comparisons to other homes.  I would love to see this become the new trend in Philadelphia real estate, where agents and appraisers are on the same page and above grade and below grade living spaces are separately reported.

NOTE:  If you ever have a question as to what the actually GLA is for a given property, have the house measured.  Many appraisers will perform this service as will a number of “measuring” companies.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Do Comps need to be within a Mile?

the-coyle-group-one-mile-philadelphia-appraiserThis post is basically a follow-up to my last post, The 6 Month Rule.  If you recall, I discussed how far back in time appraisers can go when selecting comparables.  In this post I’d like to address a similar misconception brought up in a comment by Portland, OR appraiser, Gary Kristensen.  He suggested that we answer another question that appraisers hear a lot…

Can you only use comparable sales that are within one mile away?

Well, as most appraisal answers begin…that depends.  It depends on the location of the property.  Are we talking urban, suburban or rural?  It depends on the type of property.  Is it a 3 bedroom Twin in Roxboro or a custom-built Mansion in Bryn Mawr?

In urban settings, like Philadelphia, were homes are often very similar and the housing stock is dense and sales are plentiful, it can be easy to find comparables.  In situations like this an appraiser may only need to search a few blocks away to find appropriate comps.  Going a mile for comparables in a place like Philly will likely put you in a completely different neighborhood, zip code and market.  Unless the property is extremely unusual chances are the appraiser will be well within a mile when selecting comps.the-coyle-group-maple-glen-house-philadelphia-appraiser

Suburban settings tend to be less built up with fewer sales.  In cases like this an appraiser may have to go more than a mile for comparables.  Even if they are more than a mile from the subject they may still be located in the same municipality, school district and general market place.  For instance, if I appraised a house in Maple Glen and went over a mile away I could still be in Upper Dublin Township & School District and the 19002 zip code…the same general market.

Appraisers have even more latitude in Rural settings.  While most of my experience has been appraising in the greater Philadelphia region in an urban/suburban market, I know appraisers who do work in Rural markets.  For them it’s not uncommon to go 10 or more miles away or into different counties (and states) in order to identify appropriate comparables.  Think about it, the market for a 500-acre horse farm could easily span across miles, counties and state borders.

The Coyle Group - Exeter - Philadelphia AppraiserNow suppose you have that custom-built Mansion that I mentioned earlier.  There may not be many sales in the immediate area that would be considered comparable.  An appraiser may have to go 4-5 (or more) miles away to find a suitable comparable.  In cases like this it may even be appropriate to go outside Lower Merion Township (Montgomery County) into neighboring Radnor Township (Delaware County) to find comps.

If the appraiser stays within an area that would be considered to be the same real estate market place*, the comparables are likely going to be appropriate.  It’s also very important for the appraiser to explain their rationale for expanding the search for comparables. This is necessary to help the end user of the appraisal understand the appraiser’s reasoning and methodology.

Bottom-line, there is no rule or law that compels an appraiser to select comparable no more than a mile from the subject.  This is a guideline established by underwriters/lenders and has nothing to do with good appraisal practice.

* A real estate market place is where forces of supply and demand operate, and where buyers and sellers interact to trade real estate for money.  Market places have mechanisms or means for (1) determining price of the traded item, (2) communicating the price information, (3) facilitating deals and transactions, and (4) effecting distribution. The market for a particular property is made up of buyers who need a home and have the ability and willingness to pay for it.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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The 6 Month Rule

The Coyle Group - 6 Month Rule - Philadelphia Real Estate AppraiserWhile at an appraisal inspection in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia I met a Realtor who asked a question that I get a lot.  As he handed me the comparables sales he used to price the property, he asked…

“Why can we only use sales that settled in the past six months?”

Ah, the old 6 Month Rule. Well, the truth is there is no rule set in stone that says appraisers can only use comparables that have sold in the last six months.  While it would be ideal, that isn’t always possible.

It’s the appraiser’s job to identify the BEST comparables available.  If that means going back 7 months, that’s OK.  If it means going back 12 months, that’s OK.  If it means going back 18 months, that’s OK, too.  However, it is the appraiser’s responsibility to explain why they used sales older than six months.

For instance, if I have a perfect comparable located next door to the subject that sold 11 months ago…you bet I’m going to use it.  I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t.  As appraisers we can and should make time adjustments to reflect any movement in the market since the time of the older sale.  Note: In our office, we start by setting our search parameters at 12 months for each assignment.

So, next time you’re meeting an appraiser and want to provide sales data, feel free to provide sales older than six months.  I’d recommend no older than 12 months unless the sale is really relevant to the subject.  I’d also recommend providing only truly comparable sales to the appraiser.  You’d be amazed at the “comparables” we are given sometimes but, that’s a topic for another blog post.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Five Fast FHA Fixes!

The Coyle Group - HUD LogoFor those Agents who deal with FHA and VA financing, you understand how the required repairs can be frustrating, costly and time consuming.  Sometimes the repairs may even kill your deal.  As Philadelphia Appraisers we certainly understand your situation. That being said, let’s keep in mine that the repair requirements are intended to protect the borrower/veteran.

There are; however, a number of fixes that can be done proactively to reduce or eliminate FHA required repairs.  Here is a list of five easy FHA repairs that can be done ahead of time that will save you and your seller time, money, hassle and in the end help the home get sold.

 

The Coyle Group - Defective Paint - Philadelphia AppraiserDefective Paint.  This is one of the biggest FHA issues out there and one of the easiest to recognize and repair prior to listing.  If a home was built prior to 1978, there is the potential for the presence of lead based paint.  This applies to the dwelling and/or all related improvements (garages, sheds, barns, fences, outbuildings and appurtenant structures).  The appraiser is to observe all interior and exterior surfaces including common areas, stairs, decks, porch, railings, windows and doors for defective paint (cracking, scaling, chipping, peeling or loose) and call for repair.

If these areas of distressed paint can be identified and taken care of ahead of time, your seller and you are ahead of the game which will result in saved time, money and hassle.

Please note that all repairs should be in compliance with HUD and EPA guidelines.

 

Missing Hot Water Heater Valve Extension.   The FHA requires that all hot water heaters be equipped with an extension to the pressure relief value that extends to within six-inches of the floor.  This is to prevent scalding should the valve release.  As appraisers in Philadelphia, we run into this one all the time.  The fortunate thing is that this is literally a $5.00 – $10.00 fix and can be done by almost anyone.  This fix can easily save hundreds in appraiser re-inspection fees, hassle and lost time that could jeopardize the deal.  Simply, go to the Plumbing Supply department of Lowe’s or Home Depot and explain your problem to an associate.  If they can’t point you a pre-made extension, they will easily be able to show you to the components to make one for yourself.

(HINT:  If you’re an agent that does a good deal of FHA/VA business in Philadelphia or the surrounding counties, you may want keep one or two of these in your car, just in case.  Also, some extensions will require an elbow joint as well.)

The Coyle Group - Hot Water Heater - Philadelphia Real Estate Appraiser

Heater without Extension

The Coyle Group - Pressure Relief Valve - Philadelphia Appraisal

Heater with Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coyle Group - GFCI Outlet - Philadelphia Appraiser

GFCI Outlets.  This is another one that we see all the time.  Look at it this way, if your seller has an electrical outlet within six-feet of a water source (a sink, washer, toilet, shower/tub, etc) they should replace it with a GFCI outlet.  If the outlet is already part of a GFCI breaker but doesn’t have the easy-to-see reset buttons, you may want to have a qualified electrical contractor write-up a certification to that effect prior to listing.  Show the cert to the appraiser and buyers.  It should take that FHA repair off the table.

 

The Coyle Group - Frayed ESW 2 - Philadelphia AppraiserFrayed Electrical Service Wires (ESW).  As a Philadelphia Appraisal firm, we appraise a lot of older homes.  Even if an older home has been updated, sometimes the exterior electrical elements can got forgotten.  After years of exposure to the elements, the exterior (and some times interior)  ESW can become cracked and frayed.  This poses an obvious hazard.  If your seller has this problem, recommend that the replace the exposed lengths of ESW.  Again, it’s an easy fix that will save money, time and hassle in the end. It will also show the buyer that the seller has been maintaining the electrical service.

 

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Non-Functional Appliances.  With the new FHA Guidelines for appraisers, one of the new requirements is that the appraiser must test that all appliances are operational.  While many appraisers feel that this is more a job for a Home Inspector, it is the way things are for now.  So, if your client has an y appliances that are non-functional, it is recommended that they repair or replace them prior to listing.  If the appraiser finds that they are not operational, the seller will have to repair/replace them anyway.  So why not proactively take the problem out of the equation?  The house will show better and there will be less wasted time, money and hassle.

By now, I’m sure you’ve caught on that these Five Fast FHA Fixes will all save your client and you a great deal of time, money and hassle.  I hope you found this informative.  If you have any questions about FHA repairs or any appraisal related matter reach out to us by email, phone or FaceBook.  Also, feel free to ask about our FHA Pre-Listing inspections where one of our appraisers will visit a property and inspect it for any potential FHA repair issues, prior to listing.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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