A Guide to Appraisals

Here is some information that I found useful from RISMEDIA on Appraisals.

It’s easy to get confused and frustrated during the appraisal process when buying or selling a home. Because of this, the Appraisal Institute recently released tips for consumers, providing guidance for homeowners and buyers seeking to ensure their sales are completed in a timely manner.

The Appraisal Institute’s tips encourage homeowners and buyers to:

• Understand the role of appraisals.
• Make sure their lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute).
• Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property, if possible.
• Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender.
• Examine the appraisal report and ask questions.
• Appeal the appraisal if appropriate.
• Ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
• File legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.

Appraisals are especially important because they are an objective and unbiased source of information. Unlike others involved in real estate transactions, the appraiser is an independent professional who performs a service for a fee rather than for a commission.”

Normal declines in the real estate market have led to increased caution by lenders. That caution has led to delays in completing some real estate transactions.

Michele Muir White R(S), ABR, SFR
Coldwell Banker Island Properties
Wailea Gateway Office
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Maui Real Estate Year End Stats

There have been 72 home sales for the month of December at a median price of $465,706.  As compared to 12/09 when 90 homes sold at a median of $477,000, this reflects a 20% drop in sales volume.

93 condos sold at a median of $352,000. This compares to December of 2009 totals of 81 condos sold at a median sales price of $399,000. This refelcts a 15% increase in sales volume.

There were 14 land sales at a median price of $394,850. This compares to the December 2009 totals of 11 sales at a median price of $420,000. This reflects a 27% increase in sales volume compared to 2009.

Bank owned (REO) properties and short sales remain a significant portion of Maui’s inventory and monthly sales. There were a total of 30 REO closes and 25 completed short sales last month. This compares to 45 bank owned closes and 15 short sales in December of 2009. Of all home sales, 39% were shorts or REOs. For condos, 27% of the sales were REOs or shorts. There were two bank owned land sales.

Even with last year’s first time home buyer tax credit, the condo market this year outperformed December of 2009.

Land sales were up, but still remain low overall. This is going to remain a slow market segment unless we start to see a big increase in really compelling opportunities. Financing for land remains difficult. Existing home costs are also comparatively low which may make new construction less attractive. Buyers who are looking to buy land and build will find better selection and more competitive pricing from home builders.

We are now officially in our traditional buyer’s season. There are some positive signs that indicate we may have a busy winter for real estate transactions. Visitor numbers are strong and Canadian buyers are continuing to see favorable exchange rates. Sellers should be mindful that this is a buyer’s market. Sellers that are having success are continuing to price properties at or below recent comparable sales. There is still a shadow inventory of foreclosures that have the potential to exert downward pressure on prices. Buyers who are patient are going to find some good opportunities in this market. But, buyers should not be complacent. Some of the better opportunities have been attracting multiple offers. Well priced properties can sell at or above list price. Buyers must be pre-qualified for lending.  A local Maui lender knows Maui’s market best. Cash is still king and cash buyers have an advantage in this market.

With help buying or selling Maui real estate, please contact Michele Muir White R(S), ABR, SFR, Coldwell Banker Island Properties, Wailea Gateway 808.298.8448   michelewhite@hawaii.rr.com