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  Tue Aug 07

Real Estate Info

Common Appraisal Myths

An appraisal is an important part of many real estate transactions. An appraisal is typically done if a buyer requires a mortgage loan to purchase a property. The appraisal is done by an appraiser (who is licensed), and it's based on multiple data gathered during an inspection by the appraiser. When it comes to appraisals, there are many myths or misconceptions around them. Whether you're looking to buy a home, looking to refinance a current mortgage, or you're looking for more information about all that goes into real estate transactions, here are some of the most common myths when it comes to appraisals.

An Appraisal is the same as a Home Inspection

While both an appraisal and home inspection provide important information to all parties, the two are not the same. An appraisal is done to determine the value of a property, generally for the benefit of a lender. The appraiser will inspect a property for improvements and deficiencies but only to determine the overall value of a property. A home inspection, on the other hand, is an inspection, but its main purpose is to look at the 'guts' of a property, assessing the overall condition, and inspecting the major systems, appliances and structure to determine the shape of a property. The appraisal is done to determine the value of a property; a home inspection (which isn't required) is done to determine the overall health of a property.

Assessed Value, Appraised Value and Market Value are all the Same

For many properties and in many states, the idea that the assessed value, appraised value and the market value are equal is understandable. But, in many areas and instances, this isn't the case. Assessed value is determined by an assessor (who works for a city, town or county) and is usually used to levy taxes; if the assessor doesn't actually physically inspect the property, s/he won't know if any improvements (remodeling projects, interior updates, additions, etc.) have been done. The same can also be said if nearby properties have not been reassessed for a long period of time or they don't reflect the area's current real estate market. Appraised value is determined by an appraiser, and is a result of a detailed physical inspection of a property and research done on the neighborhood and any nearby recently sold properties. Market values are consumer-driven and can be influenced by a buyer - if a buyer is willing and able to pay more for a property, then the market value is what the buyer is willing to pay. While all three values can be similar, all three also have the chance of being vastly different.

The Appraiser is Hired by the Buyer

An appraisal is required when a home is being purchased with a mortgage loan; a current homeowner is looking to refinance his/her existing mortgage; or when someone is selling a home to someone that is not an all-cash buyer. The appraisal acts as a security for the lender to understand the value of the property when making the loan decision. Due to federal changes several years ago, although the lender orders the appraisal, the lender does not hire a specific appraiser; the appraiser comes from a 'pool'. For the majority of property transactions, the buyer is responsible for the cost of the appraisal (sometimes a seller will cover the cost of the appraisal, but this is unique, and for the most part the buyer or borrower pays the costs through the lender). There are times when a seller may want to get an appraisal to get an idea of a home's value before listing the property - in this case, the seller would hire the appraiser and pay for the appraisal.

The Appraisal Varies Whether it's For the Buyer or Seller

Typically, an appraiser has no vested interest in the price of a property - s/he doesn't represent any particular person. The appraiser should complete an independent and objective appraisal, simply performing the service of determining a property's appraised value. Appraisals can be done for a number of reasons: insurance, home loans, tax losses, estates, liquidation and net worth. Because of this, depending upon the purpose of the appraisal, the market value and appraised value can vary, but the appraiser does not complete an appraisal in favor of the seller or the buyer.

Appraisers Use a Formula to Determine the Value of a Property

The way in which appraisers determine the value of a property is very detailed. An appraiser will analyze all aspects of a property: location, condition, size, proximity to amenities and other facilities, and s/he will also consider the recent sale prices of comparable properties in the area. Other items that are considered in the appraisal: number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the floor plan functionality. The appraiser does a visual and physical inspection of the interior and exterior of the property. S/he will take into consideration the type of flooring in a home; the materials used in the kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms; the siding and any other recent upgrades. An appraiser will also consider things that need to be repaired, and other miscellaneous items. Far from a specific formula, appraisers use a lot of data to determine the appraised value of a property and an appraisal can take a number of hours to complete depending on the size of a house and complexity of the property.

 
   
  Wed Jul 25

Long Island Index Releases Study of Region’s Complex Relationship with Accessory Apartments

Long Island Index Releases Study of Region’s Complex Relationship with Accessory Apartments

That Experience Should Inform Future Policies Relating to the Need for Affordable Housing

Garden City, NY – June 26, 2017 – The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, today released a study that explores the complex relationship between Long Island and accessory apartments, a housing type that has been used both legally and illegally in a wide range of communities to address the need for affordable housing and the desire of seniors to remain in their homes. A classic accessory apartment is a separate, secondary, dwelling unit of much smaller size than the primary home, either in the house itself or in a carriage house or converted garage.

The study – titled “Home Remedies, Accessory Apartments on Long Island: Lessons Learned” – is written by former Newsday reporter and freelance writer Elizabeth Moore. It reveals that almost four decades after some Long Island towns began cautiously allowing accessory apartments in single-family homes, this housing type is broadly accepted in Suffolk County, even as it remains controversial in much of Nassau. At the same time, despite any number of crackdowns, amnesties and code changes, both counties continue to contend with rampant illegal apartments whose owners are uninterested in finding ways to be legal. Several jurisdictions have all but resigned themselves to the illegality by assessing extra taxes on presumed scofflaws who refuse to allow inspectors access to their homes. Still, for many Long Islanders accessory apartments are essential, and Long Island’s experience with them holds a key to addressing the need for affordable housing in the future.

The study reveals lessons learned on Long Island, as well as in other parts of the country. Those lessons illuminate the forms of accessory apartments that have gained traction in local communities and the communities’ capacity to enforce existing zoning codes.

The study includes a map showing where on Long Island accessory apartments are permitted, limited, grandfathered, and not permitted. It also includes an appendix containing the local policy on accessory apartments in every city, town, and incorporated village on Long Island.

The need for accessory apartments stems from the fact that Long Island has gone from being one of the most affordable places to raise a family to one of the least affordable. The single-family neighborhoods that defined Long Island’s appeal are now home to shrinking families struggling to cover the costs of all those empty bedrooms, even as the region’s work force faces a shortage of moderately priced rental housing. As a result, single-family homeowners installed an estimated 90,000 illegal apartments by the mid-1980s, according to the Long Island Regional Planning Board.

Accessory apartments have proven their worth as the most affordable type of rental housing in the region. They can be easily accommodated because they don’t require large infusions of capital, new roads, new sewers or expansion of the electrical grid. Instead, existing neighborhoods absorb the rental-seeking population like a sponge, while stabilizing finances for tax-strapped homeowners. They also provide affordable housing that is blended throughout the community rather than clustered, and having a resident homeowner usually means that they are better maintained than rentals with absentee owners.

Today, nine of Suffolk’s 10 towns have established procedures to legalize or authorize accessory apartments for nonrelatives. In Nassau only one has: the town of Hempstead allows homeowners 62 and older to apply for “senior residence” accessory apartment permits, and 848 apartments currently hold such permits. Another 1,344 so-called “mother-daughter” permits have been issued by the town to homeowners who build apartments for family members. Oyster Bay, Smithtown and North Hempstead only permit mother-daughter apartments, or (in Oyster Bay) apartments for domestic servants.

Of 97 Long Island villages with zoning powers, seven issue permits for accessory apartments, while another four allow continuation of apartments that predated their codes. Another 24 permit apartments only in limited circumstances. But 62 do not allow them.

“This study offers a fascinating account of how Long Island has struggled with accessory apartments,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “It reveals lessons that should inform future policy, as the challenge to provide affordable housing continues.”

“Affordability is key to the region’s economic future,” said Ann Golob, Director of the Long Island Index. “Accessory apartments are not the only solution, but this study shows that they are a necessary one.”

For further information, contact Henry Miller at hmiller@highimpactpartnering.com.

About the Long Island Index
Now in its 14th year, the Long Island Index is a source of unbiased reliable data for businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, educators, and townships throughout the region. Funded by the Rauch Foundation, its overarching goals are to measure where we are and show trends over time, encourage regional thinking, compare Long Island’s situation with those in similar regions, increase awareness of issues and their interrelatedness, and inspire Long Islanders to work together to achieve shared goals. The Long Island Index reports are available for download at www.longislandindex.org; its interactive maps – an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information – are also accessible from the Index’s website.

About the Rauch Foundation
The Rauch Foundation (www.rauchfoundation.org) is a Long Island-based family foundation that invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain early success in children and systemic change in our communities. The Foundation was established in 1961 by Louis Rauch and Philip Rauch, Jr. Funding for the Foundation was made possible by the success of the Ideal Corporation, an auto parts manufacturer founded in 1913 by their father, Philip Rauch, Sr.

   
  Sun Jul 22

2018 Indicators Report Long Island

Challenges Facing the Region Essays

A Better Long Island for All by Bob Keeler

The Need to Tackle Segregation Head-On by Elaine Gross

Build Apartments, and They Will Come by Marianne Garvin

Education and the Economy by Tom Rogers

Moving a Region Forward by Shuprotim Bhaumik

Building Regional Leadership for the Innovation Economy by Bruce Stillman

Creating Alliances Among Long Island’s 665 Government Entities by Jeffrey Kraut

 

Press Release Announcing the Final Long Island Index Report

April 19, 2018

The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, released today its final report of regional indicators. The report provides the latest data on conditions on Long Island, trends over time, and comparisons with competing suburbs – prepared by Regional Plan Association. It also illuminates the Index’s now-proven formula for regional progress, reveals the results of a recent public opinion survey, and contains reflections by members of the Index’s Advisory Committee on challenges and opportunities facing Long Island. In doing so, the report points the way to maximizing the region’s extraordinary potential, noting that, while progress is being made, “maintaining Long Island’s high quality of life, and extending its benefits to more of its residents, will require accelerated response and innovative approaches.”

The data covers such topics as the economy, communities, health and education, environment, and governance. It reveals, for instance, that Nassau and Suffolk’s economy continues to expand, but not by enough or in the types of industries to raise standards of living for everyone. More people moved out of Long Island than moved in, not including foreign immigration, during every year since 2000, even though most Long Islanders identify very strongly with their county – at least twice as strongly as residents of Westchester, southern Connecticut, and northern New Jersey.

The data also shows that Long Island’s population is growing slowly but changing rapidly. Long Island is doing well by health outcome measures, such as life expectancy, but there is a wide gap between the health of affluent and lower-income residents. Long Island spends more per student than other parts of the region, but with smaller and wealthier school districts spending more in local taxes than larger and poorer ones.

In 2018, Long Island looks physically much as it did a generation ago – with attractive neighborhoods of single-family homes built mostly during Long Island’s growth spurt from the 1940s to the 1970s. While there are a growing number of communities starting to provide more diverse housing options, Long Island is lagging other parts of the New York region and is unaffordable for too many. Long Island also has some of the highest rates of carbon emission and water consumption in the region, and declining rates of open space protection. In addition, Long Island’s 665 units of local government are far more than in other parts of the United States, and few Long Island residents have confidence that public officials will address their concerns if they tried to bring them to their attention.

Fifteen years ago, the Rauch Foundation created the Long Island Index, a regional index to inspire and advance regional thinking. It was a bold – now proven – experiment by the Foundation, which had always intended, once the experiment was completed, to pass the responsibility to another entity. The Rauch Foundation and Newsday recently announced that a new research entity at Newsday – called nextLI – will succeed the Long Island Index as the regional index for Long Island. nextLI will carry on the tradition of producing and publishing high-caliber research and information that is essential to understanding Long Island’s regional challenges, while creating an innovative digital platform for civic engagement. The Long Island Index’s website (www.longislandindex.org) will continue to present the 15 years of data that it has compiled, and the Rauch Foundation will initially support the new research entity to ensure a smooth transition.

During those 15 years, the Long Island Index has revealed a now-proven formula for maximizing Long Island’s extraordinary potential for economic growth and prosperity for all. That formula has four components: provide objective data that illuminates Long Island in a broader context; focus on regional assets and the potential for leveraging them; generate new models of working together; and realize progress through concerted advocacy and public engagement.

There is no better example of the impact and potential of this model than the successful effort to achieve MTA approval of construction of the Long Island Rail Road’s Third Track. The Long Island Index conducted the research that revealed the regional benefits of the Third Track, which strengthens a key regional asset, the LIRR. The Right Track for Long Island Coalition provided a new way of working together and generated crucial public engagement, complementing the strong leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, to advance the initiative to the point of MTA approval.

“The Long Island Index has created a remarkable legacy of providing objective data to inspire regional thinking,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “But, while the region is making progress, it’s not rapid enough. We must implement the Index’s proven formula more fully, in other areas highlighted in this report, to maximize regional progress.”

“This final report illuminates Long Island’s challenges and opportunities,” said Ann Golob, Director of the Long Island Index. “It’s time to address them more aggressively, making progress on many more fronts simultaneously. This report points the way. If we follow it, we can make Long Island the centerpiece of a vibrant economy that enhances the lives of all Long Islanders.”

   
  Sun Jul 22

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT ?

 Education & Experience

You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost roughly the same. Why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We're all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.

Agents are Buffers

Agents take the spam out of your property showings and visits. If you're a buyer of new homes, your agent will whip out her sword and keep the builder's agents at bay, preventing them from biting or nipping at your heels. If you're a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookie loos and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.

Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.
 
 

 

   
  Thu Jun 28

Rent Or Purchase ?

 

House in HandsTrulia released a Rent vs. Buy Report. The report explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas by an average of 38%!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Even though prices increased sharply in many markets over the past year, low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting.
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening economy and Fed tapering.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

Buying a home now makes sense. You can lock in a mortgage payment before home prices and mortgage rates rise as experts expect they will. If you rent, your housing expense will only continue to increase.

   
  Thu Aug 16

Remodeling? Recoup Your Investment When You Sell

Remodeling? Recoup Your Investment When You Sell

Before you pour your savings into a new kitchen and a rainforest shower for the master, think about whether or not you'll be able to recoup your investment when it comes time to sell. 

If you have equity in your home, you can make improvements, but don't go over the limit of what other buyers can spend for a home similar to yours in your neighborhood. 

While it's tempting to make your home more beautiful, you have to consider the rest of your neighborhood. If most residences in your neighborhood are three-bedroom single-story homes, buyers are unlikely to shop in your area for two-story four-bedroom homes. 

Buyers want to shop for a home where there is the most selection of homes that fit their criteria. If they want a swimming pool, they're going to look in neighborhoods where many homes have pools. They won't be aware of your home if you have the only pool in your subdivision.  

That's why over-improving for the neighborhood is a bad idea. Not only will you not get your money back for some updates, your home my be harder to sell because of them.  

Another reason buyers don't tend to pay as much for updates as you might think is broad differences in taste. Your updates may include choices your buyer wouldn't have made because of several reasons:  

You only improved one or two rooms, leaving the rest of the home looking unfinished. 

Your updates were too radical, such as cold minimalism in a traditional setting. 

Your updates masked a problem but didn't solve it, such as a kitchen that's too small. If the kitchen is still too small after you've put in granite counters, don't expect buyers to care. 

You failed to do necessary repairs and updates that were less visible than the new décor but buyers noticed anyway. 

Your updates are beautiful but require a lot of cost and upkeep. 

Buyers want to make a home their own, and don't want to be distracted or confused by design statements that they don't agree with. Enjoy your home while you can, but make sure your new look can be easily depersonalized when it comes time to sell. 

Don't expect to set a listing price based on what you've put into your home no matter how long you own it. Your home will be worth market value no matter when you sell, whatever the value is for that point in time. 

All the improvements in the world won't change that basic fact. Your home and the improvements you make are only worth what willing buyers say they will pay. 

Before you begin renovations, talk to your Realtor and your lender. They will help you develop a reasonable plan for updates that will add value to your home. 

   
  Thu Aug 16

Home Purchase in Winter

As the temperature in many areas of the country starts to cool down, you might think that the housing market will do the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Here are 4 reasons you should consider buying your dream home this winter instead of waiting for spring!

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.3% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.2% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates are Projected to Increase

Your monthly housing cost is as much related to the price you pay for your home as it is to the mortgage interest rate you secure.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage are currently at 4.08%. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.


   
  Sat Aug 11

REAL ESTATE

Long Island home prices posted their biggest gains in more than a decade at the end of last year, with increases throughout the region as buyers competed for scarce inventory. 

The median home price on Long Island, excluding the East End, rose year-over-year by 6.6 percent in the last three months of 2017, to $415,000. The gain was the biggest annual increase since 2006 and the 19th straight quarter of yearly gains, a report to be released Thursday by the brokerage Douglas Elliman and the appraisal company Miller Samuel shows.

In the Hamptons, the median price rose to $995,000, an annual increase of 7.6 percent. North Fork home prices ticked up by 0.4 percent, to $597,500. 

   
  Wed Jul 25

Home water quality issues to address before a sale

Community water systems must test and monitor drinking water supplies to ensure safe, clean and good-tasting water. But what happens once water hits neighborhoods and homes?

The answer: It varies. Which is why homesellers, especially those in older homes, should test their water to ensure they support clean, healthy water. And their listing agents should support them, because home water quality issues can complicate a sale.

The water quality tests homesellers should do varies based on their home water setups. We outline the four most common, and how to address them, below.

Beware of lead

Older homes may have lead-based service lines, which can leach lead into water as it enters the house. Older lead fixtures, or those with lead-soldered joints, can also cause elevated lead levels.

Without a doubt, pipes and fixtures containing lead should be replaced with new materials when possible.

Watch for corrosion

Many homes built before the 1960s have galvanized steel pipes. While galvanized pipes do not create chemical contaminants on their own, they are susceptible to severe corrosion, which can flake off and clog taps and faucets. In some instances, rust can also build up inside galvanized pipes.

To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to have all galvanized piping replaced.

Prevent emerging contaminants

“Emerging contaminants” are another water-quality concern for homeowners. If present in a home, they usually occur in very low amounts. They create two primary concerns: one being health, the other aesthetic.

Emerging contaminants that affect health include detergents, pesticides and medications. Other contaminants that don’t affect health may adversely alter water taste, odor or color.

Home filtration systems are the most common way of reducing emerging contaminants. Options include filters within faucets, in separate pitchers, or in the plumbing itself. There are also reverse-osmosis filters, which treat the entire home’s water supply.

Any filtration system used should meet national standards for reducing multiple contaminants.

Maintain your well, if you have one

While most North Americans get their water from community water systems, millions rely on well water at home.

   
  Tue Jul 24

HOT TOPIC - RENT OR BUY

Gen Z expected to outspend millennials on rent
This young generation will shell out over $102k on rent by age 30, study finds.

When it comes to rental costs, millennials carry a burden heavier than that of any other generation in history — but if average rental rates continue to soar at their current pace, Generation Z will have it worse.

A new study from RentCafe revealed that the nation’s estimated 80 million millennials pay approximately 45 percent of their total income toward rent. And due to a preference for city living over suburban sprawl, and the uninterrupted rise of rental rates nationwide, most millennials will shell out $92,600 in rent before 30, according to data pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau.

But a new generation of renters, Generation Z, are forecasted to spend a staggering $102,100 on rent by the time they turn 30, according to Florentina Sarac, writing for RentCafe’s blog.

“Given their overwhelming student loan debt, younger Millennials may carry on renting, simply because the prospect of buying is not yet attainable,” wrote Sarac. “On the other hand, older Millennials are starting to slowly shift towards home ownership. As they are finally catching up with the American Dream, this will surely drive demand for homes for sale.”

By comparison, Generation X renters (those born between 1965 and 1984) paid an average of $82,200 before the age of 30, and baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) paid $71,000 in rent by age 30, according to RentCafe.

“Both Gen Xers and Baby Boomers made less money than Millennials but they also spent less on rent,” the authors of the study wrote. “Gen Xers spent a total of $82,200 on rent when they were in their 20s, and they earned about $202,100. The same is true for Baby Boomers as they earned $195,700 while $71,000 of that went towards rent.”

   
   
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