Low appraisals in village still hurting home sales

Although property values in Palmetto Bay are showing signs of improvement, many homeowners thinking of selling are hindered by appraisals unfairly based on mortgage defaults and quick-sells, according to former Village Vice Mayor Linda Robinson.

“It makes me so sad with that because what happens now is that you don’t have numbers that are high enough for the last year or so,” Robinson said. “You have to go back six months to do comps [comparisons] and you don’t have the higher numbers because you have so many short sales and foreclosures.

“So then when you sell a house that is not a foreclosure or a short sale you can’t get the appraisal to make sense because the only thing you have to go by are the short sales and foreclosures, which doesn’t seem fair,” she said. “I think the appraisers should be separating the good sales that were not in trouble from the ones that are in foreclosure because the other ones will sell higher.”

Robinson, who has been a Realtor for many years and is currently with Keller Williams Realty Inc., said that what has been happening lately is that when people are selling their homes for what they already think is a low price, the mortgage appraiser comes in and appraises it even lower. Still, she is optimistic.

“I think that Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest will always do well because the schools are good,” she said. “I’ve heard of people selling their houses in Pinecrest and moving to Palmetto Bay because they can get so much more in the value, so they get out of their mega mansions and go into a really nice house.”

There are certain areas that always bring more money, according to Robinson.

“The farther east and north you go that usually raises the value of the house. If it’s updated, or if it has all the new features, that usually raises the value.

“It’s really educating the Realtors out there today,” Robinson said. “Everybody was so fearful because the market was so thin, but I see the market picking up now. Prices are still down 20 to 30 percent, but the thing is that downtown you have all of those condos that have now been absorbed, and they aren’t absorbed by purchase, they are renting them, so all of them are rented and the buildings are filled. Sometimes you can’t get your buyers in because investors are coming in with cash and they grab these units.”

What does she recommend for anyone thinking of selling a home these days?

“They need to go with a person who is knowledgeable of the market and of the area, because they’re going to need someone to go to battle for them if they get a low mortgage appraisal for whomever is buying their home,” Robinson said.

“Today, I’m advising people that if they don’t have to sell, not to sell. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of people fixing up their houses. That’s why places like Home Depot are doing so well, because people aren’t selling their house and buying another one, they’re fixing up what they have. But Palmetto Bay properties are moving.”

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