Saturday, April 7, 2007

How to choose a Real Estate Appraiser

People who want to get a professional estimate done on the market value of a piece of property will often choose to hire a real estate appraiser. Because of the importance of getting an accurate and detailed appraisal in the selling or purchasing of real estate, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced real estate appraiser. When choosing a real estate appraiser, you should look for one that has a large amount of professional experience and that meets all national licensing requirements and professional standards for the appraisal industry. You should try to avoid choosing an appraiser that has been recommended or is affiliated with you real estate agent because of the conflict of interest issues that can often arise. Because getting an accurate estimate of your real estate’s market value is an important step in determining your property’s listing price, it is important to choose a reliable and independent real estate appraiser. Before choosing a real estate appraiser, you should make sure that they have the qualifications and experience that is needed to do a good job. Some things to look for when choosing a real estate appraiser are whether or not they are a member of a professional organization such as the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA), or various state and local certification board. Since most professional real estate appraisers will be a member of some professional organization, you should find out exactly how much professional experience they have in real estate appraisals. Real estate appraisers with many years of professional experience will usually have a track record of providing accurate and detailed appraisals.

Because the process of appraising a piece of real estate is usually done at the location of the property, most appraisers will be able to meet their clients at their homes or offices in order to discuss their services. Although some real estate appraisers may have offices where they do research on a property and customers can come and discuss their needs, most interactions with a real estate appraiser will happen at the location of the property. When meeting with a real estate appraiser to discuss your needs and their services, take note of how helpful they are in answering your questions regarding the appraisal process and the services you will receive for your payment. Real estate appraisers may offer a variety of different features associated with their services, so you should find out before hand exactly what you will receive in regards to your appraisal. Some real estate appraisers will offer digital signatures and color photographs along with their final report, as well as computer generated floor plans, replacement cost reports, and email and electronic delivery of appraisal reports and related documents. Depending on your specific appraisal needs, you should find out exactly what services a real estate appraiser offers before deciding to hire them. Because getting an accurate and detailed appraisal is an important part in determining the market value of your property, choosing an experienced and independant real estate appraiser is an important decision.

Future of housing market debated Local real estate insiders scoff at predicted 'nose dive'

Bakersfield's housing market is still healthy and is simply going through a market correction that was inevitable after its meteoric rise, according to several local real estate professionals.
"I don't think it's all doom and gloom," said Jon Busby, a real estate agent with Bakersfield Premier Realty. "We had the investors that came and the builders that came and drove the prices up. It's just correcting itself now."
In December there were 3,181 homes listed on the market, down 13 percent from the month before, according to a preliminary report on December sales compiled by local appraiser Gary Crabtree. The full report is due out next week.
The preliminary report also shows the median list price of existing homes declined from $289,000 in November to $288,000 in December.
"Listings are going down," Crabtree said. "Sellers have come to the realization that the party is over and they can no longer get the prices they were expecting before. We've reached a plateau and that plateau is holding. It is not taking this gigantic nose dive everyone was predicting."
After being one of the nation's hottest real estate markets in recent years, some have described local market conditions as a bubble and predicted Bakersfield's real estate market will be one of the nation's worst in 2007.
But local real estate experts disagree.
"They are crazy. We don't have one of the worst housing markets in the country," said Ray Karpe, the president of Karpe Real Estate Center and the incoming president of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors. "The market is not bad at all. The market has just slowed. It has gone from a ridiculously good market to a good market. We couldn't maintain that forever."
The real estate slowdown has led homebuilders to scale back their building pace locally.
In November, 120 building permits were pulled for single family residences in the city of Bakersfield, down from 225 a year earlier and 650 in August 2005.
Crabtree projects that home prices will decline by about 5 percent in 2007, but he says more dire national projections are off base.
"They don't see the whole picture," Crabtree said. "They're not here. They don't have their feet on the ground. They don't know what's going on."
Leslie Appleton-Young, the chief economist with the California Association of Realtors, anticipates a 7 percent drop in the statewide median sales price in 2007. She said areas like Bakersfield that had a wave of new construction during the housing boom, adding more supply, will experience greater price decreases.
But she said while the housing market is softening, she doesn't believe it is a bubble.
She said she doesn't foresee a real estate crash like the one in the mid-1990s unless the economy slips into recession, causing mass job losses.
"It's all relative. The housing market in general has been accused of being a bubble," Appleton-Young said. "There has been talk of a bubble for four years. In the last year and a half we have seen a significant decline in sales. But the actual decline in prices has been slower. What is protecting the market is we have an improving economy."
But increased foreclosures and a rise in interest rates could spell trouble for the housing market, Appleton-Young said.
Crabtree said last year he routinely saw between 20 and 30 notices of default filed a month. The numbers jumped to 41 in November 2005 and 179 in November 2006.
Local appraiser Jeremy Jans anticipates the local market will actually pick up a little this spring, despite a possible increase in home listings some are predicting.
"Although we will not get back to where it was, it will be a strong market this year," Jans said. "We are a unique market. We always react a lot slower than everyone else. We are a lot more affordable than other places."
Bakersfield's relatively affordable housing market compared to the rest of the state has prevented a more dramatic market correction, according to Delores Conway, the director of the Casden Forecast at USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate.
"It's slowing like all places are slowing because the speculators are pretty much gone," Conway said. "Bakersfield has been fairly strong, partly because of lower prices and the shift in population into central California.
"In Southern California we are pretty much land constrained. Bakersfield can still build. As long as the builders don't get crazy, there still is demand. It's just that the housing market is returning to more of a normal level."

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bakersfield has almost 500,000 population. WOW!

Bakersfield (pop. 372,320) is the county seat of Kern County, California, USA. It is one of the fastest-growing, large-population cities in the United States. As of 2007, the population was estimated at 372,320 within the city limits, making it the 11th largest municipality in California and 61st largest city in the nation according to U.S. Census estimates. The greater Bakersfield area has a population of around 468,000, including unincorporated areas, according to local municipal sources. It is California's third largest inland city, after Fresno and Sacramento. The city's economy relies on agriculture, petroleum extraction, and refinement industries.