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Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are They Comparing Apples to Apples??

When you and I purchase a new computer we compare the memory, the speed, the screen size: does it come with a camera, DVD player/recorder and more. A home the largest purchase most of us will ever make often is not reviewed with such detail by the people doing the lending and sometimes by the people doing the spending. Yes, they look at the square footage, the general condition, and the location. Appraisers often do not have any idea of the cost of section one termite repairs. The differential in repair costs could be 3%, 5% even 10% of the purchase price. Roofs costs could range between $5000 to $25,000. A home with a two year old roof should be valued higher than one with a 25 year old roof. Appraisers know roughly how old the roof is on the subject property but they don’t know the age of the comparables. Same with double paned windows and furnaces. A home with copper piping through out or or with upgraded electric needs to have additional value added to it. All this information does not show up in the MLS. The MLS shows if the kitchen or baths have been cosmetically remodeled but does not go into detail if the cabinets, floors, lighting was all upgraded and how much they were upgraded. Is the home landscaped and does it have automatic sprinklers? This could add $5000, $10,000 up to $50,000 or $60,000. So.. What am I saying. The government has put in all of these new laws to make appraisals non biased but we as an industry have to work together and help them compare apples to apples.

We need to add more info to our MLS data reports. Even comparing selling prices is not a fair comparison if you don’t have all of the information. So many purchases have a credit for closing costs and or repair costs. Whole neighborhoods will be overpriced real quick when just a few homes were compared to homes with 3% credit backs. I realize some MLS’s are more progressive than others and include some of this information now. Some appraisers call and get this information. We as agents, could make this a very simple process. I suggest we add the following categories to the MLS data: age of roof, furnace, type of plumbing and electric, Cost of section one termite repairs if not completed, Amount of credit back, type of financing. If we put this in an area only available to agents we will be more valuable to our clients and help the appraisers compare apples to apples.