Posts Tagged California

New Hope for Underwater Homeowners

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We are all hearing  about banks helping — or not helping —  folks having trouble paying their mortgage payments. In many cases, the people that are being helped, 40 or 50% of them, default on their loans a few months after  the loan was restructured.

Underwater in East BayRestructuring almost always  extends the term of the loan or reduces the interest temporarily.  Seldom is the principal of the loan reduced.

This may change. Owners  that are under water, that is they owe more than their homes  are worth, which  here in California are about 1/3 (and in neighboring Nevada is 2/3!), have little incentive to make their payments  or take care of their homes.  Lets face it, they feel more like renters than owners.  So some banks, Wells Fargo, for instance, are reducing the principle owed or deferring payment of the principle.  In the case of  a principle reduction, some of the loan is forgiven.  In the case of deferment a  part of the principle  is deferred until the time when the owner sells the house, at which time he has to pay back the amount of principle  that was deferred.  Either way, the owner is more  motivated to stay put and continue making payments, now at a reduced level. We are hoping it works.  An agent recently told us she knew 6 people living in El Cerrito or nearby communities that hadn’t made payments in over a year but had not been foreclosed upon.  We suspect there are a lot of people out there like that which means foreclosures may increase and extend over a lot longer time.   Let’s hope effective action of some kind can be taken.

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Better Service Through Limited Areas!

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Contra Costa County FHA Appraiser - Alameda County California State Certified AppraiserHow we’re different: At Townsend Appraisals, we limit our market area to Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.  This enhances the quality of our appraisals and the level of trust that our clients experience.  We have 36+ years of combined appraisal experience.  Combined with commitment to be active in the appraisal community through speaking at Appraisal Institute conferences and other volunteer activities, we stay aware of the latest market trends, and have a network of skilled and competent professionals.

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The Story of Townsend Appraisals

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TOWNSEND APPRAISALS: Contra Costa County, CA and Alameda County, CAThe Story of Townsend Appraisals starts in 1986.  Nancy began appraising when interest rates started to drop after they had been at historical highs for a number of years.  She was mentored for five years by Donna Neff, an experienced appraiser in Orinda.  In 1991, she started her own business.  To optimize her competence and skills as an appraiser, she obtained her SRA designation from the Appraisal Institute in 1993. She is a certified expert witness in Contra Costa and Alameda County Superior Courts, as well as in Alameda Bankruptcy Court.  Her husband Peter joined her in 2001, having previously worked for over twenty years as a manager in metallurgical engineering.  His analytical mind has been a great contribution to Townsend Appraisals.

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What is a real estate appraiser?

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A common misconception is that real estate appraisers and real estate agents do the same thing.  Actually, our training and our function is very different.  Appraisers estimate the value of property.  Agents sell property.  Appraisers have much stricter licensing requirements.  Appraisers must have a minimum of 2000 hours of supervision by a mentor (2500 for a certified level which we have), at least 30 months of acceptable experience, successfully complete a number of increasingly sophisticated courses, and pass a rigorous licensing exam.  The continuing education requirements for appraisers are much more rigorous as well, than they are for agents.

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Appraisal Fees Vary By Appraisal Type

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The most common thing we are asked on the phone is “How much does an appraisal cost?”  The answer is that it depends on the property being appraised, of course, and the purpose of the appraisal. If you want an estimate of value without us inspecting the property at all, we could charge as little as $150.  If we don’t have to inspect the interior of the property and the purpose is not for divorce or litigation purposes, the fee can be as low as $275.  Appraisals that require an inspection of the interior of the property run from $400 – $550, with higher fees for more complex properties.  Appraisals which may be used for litigation are more, sometimes with an hourly charge.  Fees for expert witness testimony are $250 per hour.

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Alameda County

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Contra Costa County

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