04/29/11 12:15pm

Property-tax assessments dropped overall in Harris County this year, but a reader in Montgomery County writes in to brag about the remarkable rise in value her small neighborhood in The Woodlands experienced over the same period: Assessments for a group of 42 homes in the Village of Panther Creek went up by a minimum of 80 percent over last year’s values. To get a taste of the boom, our reader suggests, try a search for “Wedgewood Glen” on the MCAD website. The datasheets for any of the properties listed will show the appraisal history. “With increases like that, The Woodlands may be the hottest real estate market in the country,” she writes. And she says she’s ready to sell her 30-something-year-old home now — if she can get anyone to buy her home at the price the county assessor says it’s worth.


03/31/11 10:07pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW MUCH FOR THAT RIVERSIDE TERRACE HOUSE WITH THE TURRETS? “. . . how does one set a price point for a house like this? I’m not one to persist in preserving things just because they’re kooky, but in this case it was one individual’s personal vision that has entertained and piqued local interest over the years.” [Claire de Lune, commenting on Charles Fondow Leaves His Wichita St. Mystery House Unfinished]

03/31/11 4:38pm

In 2005, Houston’s transportation agency agreed to pay $15 million for 17.3 acres of flood-prone land along the northern bank of White Oak Bayou just north of Downtown, reports the West University Examiner‘s Michael Reed. Former Houston Rockets and UH basketball star Hakeem Olajuwon had purchased the property from the Union Pacific Railroad for an estimated $2 million six years earlier. But even more eye-popping than Olajuwon’s roughly estimated $13 million profit on the sale is this little nugget: A separate appraisal — conducted the same year as the sale — valued the property at only $2.6 million.


06/26/09 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IDYLWOOD APPRAISAL CASE CLOSED “All of you people are batsh!t crazy if you think you can get a house like that in Idylwood for the low $200’s. If houses LESS than 1300 sq ft have been selling for just under $200,000 or $145 to $150+ a foot. Do the math. 500 more sq ft, a second bath that not all of the other sales had and more upgrades for only $10,000 or so more? . . . This house has closed. It sold for $242,000 as well it should.” [Robert, commenting on Idling in Idylwood: Where’s a Friendly Appraiser When You Need One?]

06/24/09 11:15am

FIGHTING THE NEW APPRAISAL RULES A Swamplot reader draws attention to a “rumored email” purporting to show that the National Association of Realtors is gearing up for a campaign against the Housing Valuation Code of Conduct that went into effect at the beginning of May. The HVCC was meant to safeguard the independence of appraisals — in part by prohibiting loan officers, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents from selecting the appraiser for a particular property. The email, posted on a San Fernando Valley real-estate blog, indicates that the NAR is pushing Congress to impose an 18-month moratorium on the new code. Our reader wonders if recent stories of “unfair appraisals” — such as this one — are the result of a larger “orchestrated campaign” against the new rules. [Effective Demand; Swamplot inbox]

06/18/09 4:14pm

The Chronicle’s Nancy
Sarnoff says low appraisals are becoming the “newest threat” to Houston’s housing market. Her example? The story of the redone bungalow at 6707 Fairfield St. in Idylwood, where the sellers accepted a full-price offer less than a week after the property was listed.

But the appraisal on the 1,780-square-foot home came in at just $206,000. The buyer couldn’t come up with enough cash to make up the difference and [co-owner Derrick] DeCristofaro wasn’t willing to drop the price, so the deal fell through.

Why can’t the appraiser buy that $242,900 asking price?