Summer is busy for local Realtors | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Summer is busy for local Realtors

Theresa Souers
Special to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – With the pleasant change in the weather, the crowded traffic and the frequency with which our phones are ringing, we have officially declared it to be summer in Tahoe.

For those of you tracking the median home prices, despite that which has been reported through various outside sources, the data provided by the South Tahoe Association of Realtors shows a glimmer of good news. The median home price (based upon an average for the previous 12 months) was posted as $326,500. This number, posted June 30, 2010, shows the fifth month in which the median home price experienced slight increases. Another positive note is that the number of actual closed escrows for single family residences and condominiums within the South Lake Tahoe area was 559 as compared to 408 for the same period last year. It is important to note that the dollar per square foot has not gone up therefore buyers are getting more for their money. One final note – when reading reports reflecting the percentage of homes in escrow being distressed sales, please keep in mind that short sales can take a considerable amount of time, sometimes between six months and a year. While many conventional sales come and go from the pending status, the short sales can build up in number. As a result, these statistics can become quite misleading.

The South Lake Tahoe Association of Realtors held their membership luncheon on July 16 at the Embassy Suites. Close to 100 members attended to learn more about the tools available within their California Association of Realtors website as well as to hear Stella Ling, CAR senior counsel, speak on the tax consequences and liabilities associated with today’s short sale environment. Their next education program will be held Aug. 16. The guest speaker will be Robert Kleinhenz. Kleinhenz is the Deputy Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors and manages CAR’s research and economics department, which gathers and publishes information on the California housing market, and conducts survey research of consumers and CAR members. He has spoken to local, state, and national audiences and is a frequent contributor to media coverage on the housing market and economy, including coverage in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg News, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. If information regarding the upcoming economic forecasts are important to you, contact your local realtor and ask them to share what they learn.

In an attempt to prevent fraudulent appraisals, guidelines were put into place that affected the way lenders and appraisers worked together. Sadly, the pendulum swung to the far extreme and the stories such as poor report from out-of-area appraisers added to the current difficult climate of obtaining a loan. In many cases, lenders order a low-cost electronic valuation which is based upon publicly available statistical data with which to review the accuracy of the information provided by the appraiser. If there is a discrepancy between the electron valuation and the appraiser’s report, which is common in an area such as Lake Tahoe, the lender’s underwrites may reduce the appraisal figure. In some instances, real estate agents and consumers have reported that reduced appraisals have led to a cancellation of escrows as buyers may refuse to pay more than what the appraisal says the home is worth.

The good news is that this practice may change soon. According to the South Lake Tahoe Association of Realtors’ among many guidelines that are due to change, Fannie Mae lenders must contact appraisers to resolve such discrepancies between the valuation rather than simply reduce the appraisal. If it is not possible to contact the appraiser, the lender should order a second appraisal. Borrowers and/or sellers who believe a home valuation is too low may appeal the valuation or request a second option. It’s important to note that the second valuation must be more than five percent higher than the first-anything less is considered an acceptable difference.

As always, we want to remind you that when it comes to information regarding Lake Tahoe real estate – if you want the facts, go straight to your local professional realtor. No one is more connected, versed and committed to the property rights of our Lake Tahoe residents, whether full or part-time. This is our community.

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-Theresa Souers is the 2010 president of the South Tahoe Association of Realtors.