I didn’t attend, but there was a meeting last week at 901 Madison at which about 40 residents attended, along with several City Council people, Mayor Zimmer, project owner/developer – Rob Grenoble, (he currently owns the Water Music studio at the site) and the architect, John Nastasi. From what I’ve been told, the session was an opportunity for local home owners to voice their many concerns about the project to the council members and the Mayor. My source tells me that public opinion was extremely negative.
Major concerns voiced by residents included increased traffic, insufficient parking, noise, safety, and the poor planning for the construction of a 12-story building amongst 6-story buildings. Local owners made it clear that they do support the arts but not this particular project at this particular location, in its proposed form. Many residents questioned why this application was approved in 2006 to begin with and why now, almost 9 years later, the project isn’t being questioned and the application approval revisited. Only two of the board members who originally voted to approve the project remain on the board (and they were not at the meeting). At one point, the developer/owner Grenoble said something to the effect that a random 12-story building “would help the Hoboken skyscape look less like the projects.” His comment was not well received.
Meanwhile, tonight at 7pm is the meeting on the development at the NJ Transit Yards on the south end of Hoboken. Go if you can.
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The Weekly Wednesday Wrap-Up – Hoboken Residential Sales and Activity for the Week of December 10th, 2014
- 116 active Hoboken listings
- 95 Condo & Co-op listings, compared to 108 last week – THIS IS NUTS!
- 8 Single-family listings, compared to 9 last week
- 13 Multi-family listings, compared to 14 last week
This Week’s Residential Property Sales & Activity:
- 14 DABOs (Deposit Accepted By Owner and Under Contract) vs. 11 last week
- 30 Sold vs 20 last week
- 8 New listings vs. 8 last week
- 3 Price changes vs. 4 last week
- 4 expired listings vs. 5 last week
Studio & 1-Bedroom Properties
37 Active listings 4 New listings 1 Price change 9 DABOs
- 307 Monroe St., 1 listed Oct 3 for $269K;
- 157 14th St., 1L listed Oct 15 for $370K;
- 326 Madison St., 2 listed Nov 24 for $375K;
- 650 2nd St., 4K listed Nov 5 for $450K;
- 606-608 Adams St., 7 listed Dec 1 for $469K;
- 1301 Adams St., 412 listed Dec 1 for $525K;
- 1300 Grand St., 314 listed Nov 3 for $578K; reduced Nov 20 to $569K;
- 1500 Hudson St., 3C listed Sept 4 for $569K;
- 1450 Washington St., 418 listed Oct 15 for $669K; reduced Oct 31 to $659K;
- 107 Harrison St., 2 listed Dec 10 for $215K; reduced Mar 8 to $210K; sold for $210K;
- 532 Adams St., 1L listed July 24 for $260K; reduced Sept 4 to $255K; sold for $240K;
- 307 Monroe St., 5 listed May 22 for $289K; reduced Aug 11 to $279K; reduced Sept 29 to $274K; reduced Oct 3 to $267K; sold for $262K;
- 422 Madison St., 5 listed Sept 2 for $299K; sold for $290K;
- 813 Willow Ave., 4N listed Aug 19 for $335K; sold for $335K;
- 333 Monroe St., 6(4B) listed Mar 10 for $375K; sold for $350K;
- 224 Jefferson St., 4R listed Sept 3 for $359K; sold for $360K;
- 88 Park Ave., 3N listed Sept 23 for $369K; sold for $380K;
- 910 Willow Ave., 3 listed Sept 29 for $409K; sold for $393K
- 101 Willow Ave., 5B listed Aug 12 for $415K; reduced Sept 12 to $405K; sold for $395K;
- 41-43 1st St., 1G listed Nov 19, 2003 for $400K; sold for $401K
- 91 Adams St., 3 listed Jun 5 for $439K; reduced Oct 1 to $415K; sold for $403K;
- 117 Bloomfield St., 2B listed Sept 24 for $425K; sold for $435K;
- 68 Park Ave., 8 listed Aug 19 for $435K; sold for $435K;
- 812 Grand St., 212 listed Oct 3 for $445K; sold for $460K;
46 Active listings 3 New listings 2 Price changes 3 DABOs
- 80 Madison St., 5 listed Dec 2 for $420K;
- 380 Newark St., 2C listed Dec 1 for $549K;
- 1500 Washington St., 11F listed Nov 3 for $980K;
- 519 Willow Ave., 7 listed Aug 1 for $350K; sold for $225K;
- 554 Observer Hghwy., 3R listed July 7 for $379K; reduced Sept 2 to $370K; sold for $355K;
- 221 Clinton St., 2R listed Sept 23 for $469K; sold for $480K;
- 118 Clinton St., 10 listed Sept 15 for $509K; sold for $504K;
- 201 Garden St., 1 listed Oct 3 for $539K; sold for $530K;
- 208 Park Ave., 1R listed Oct 15 for $549K; sold for $545K;
- 820 Hudson St., C5 listed Sept 24 for $749K; sold for $749K;
- 1331 Grand St., 206 listed Sept 24 for $775K; sold for $783K;
- 89-91 Jefferson St., 4B listed Oct 3 for $869K; sold for $925K;
- 1025 Maxwell Ln., 1110 listed Sept 3 for $1.250M; sold for $1.230M;
3-Bedroom & Larger Properties
12 Active listings 1 New listing 0 Price changes 13 Multi-Family Active listings 8 Single-Family Active listings 2 DABOs
- 80 Madison St., 2 listed Aug 20 for $575K; reduced Sept 17 to $565K; reduced Oct 9 to $558K;
- 130 Park Ave., PHB listed Oct 24 for $1.495M;
- 212 Adams St., 4 listed Sept 9 for $739K; sold for $739K;
- 504 Grand St., listed Feb 1 2013 for $825K; sold for $785K;
- 78-80 Jackson St., 5E listed Oct 8 for $1.189M; sold for $1.189M;
- 517 Garden St., listed Aug 8 for $1.589M; sold for $1.589M;
- 1007 Garden St., listed Jun 20 for $1.595M; sold for $1.591M;
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Before the mortgage meltdown and the resulting Great Recession, you paid a reasonable price for an appraisal, and your loan officer typically received a reasonable opinion of value that led to your purchase or refinance getting funded.
Not so much anymore. Swift and furious post-crisis reaction from regulators gave birth to the 2009 Home Valuation Code of Conduct or HVCC, and the federal Dodd-Frank Law, passed in 2010, (which made HVCC statutorily mute) making things far worse for you in terms of appraisal cost and resulting valuations.
Appraisal charges have gone up roughly 33%. “Appraisals were $375 before, and since HVCC the prices went up to $500,” said Yorba Linda, Calif., appraiser Myles Lawson.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Appraisal Subcommittee – a federal agency that reviews state regulators of appraisers -could not point to any post-crisis publicly available data on appraisal accuracy when contacted for this column.
Regulators believed a quid pro quo relationship existed between appraisers and their direct loan officer customers that created unsupportable opinions of value, ultimately contributing to property prices collapsing across America. The appraiser gets the order and the work as long as the targeted value is hit.
Part of the HVCC solution was to create a firewall between the appraiser and the loan agent. It is forbidden for any originator to pick an appraiser. Honest, independent appraisers and their like-minded customers were being punished for unscrupulous behavior of others in the industry.
If the goal was getting to an objective property value by preventing appraisers from being undermined by their customers, the final rules fell woefully short. Under Dodd-Frank, lenders are allowed to own appraisal management companies, thereby having direct influence on the appraiser’s livelihood. “Ask the bankers lobby why that’s in Dodd-Frank. It’s a huge flaw in the system,” said Ken Chitester, director of communications at Chicago based Appraisal Institute.
The emphasis is now on volume, not quality. Before HVCC, independent appraisers kept 100% of the appraisal fee. “Appraisers now receive between 40% and 75% of the appraisal fee, often with a lot more required work. The AMC keeps the rest. Now it’s about who will accept the job at the lowest fee and the fastest turnaround to the AMC,” said Lawson.
If you get low-balled and challenge the value, guess who ultimately decides the final value? That’s right, the original appraiser.
Loan officers, who normally advocate for you, cannot directly discuss or dispute flawed appraisals with the appraiser because they can face disciplinary action against their license if they do.
This past July Janice Charlton of Thousand Oaks, Calif., says she was low-balled on a refinance appraisal with the value coming in at $745,000. “I was completely shocked. I follow the real estate market,” said Charlton.
She appealed the value through the lender with the AMC that hired the appraiser, to no avail. “It’s arbitrary. It’s a real conflict-of-interest,” she added.
Charlton did not give up. She applied elsewhere. Less than a month later another appraiser through a different lender brought the value in at $860,000. Charlton’s perseverance paid off. She completed her refinance, saving $1,397 per month with her new, lower house payment.
Another reason some appraisers low-ball is to avoid claims against their errors and omissions insurance policies-for unsubstantiated value. When borrowers default or when Fannie or Freddie requires a lender to buy a loan back because of a defect in the loan file, lenders may look to blame others to recoup their losses. “Honestly, it could possibly be true,” said Anthony Mattia, co-owner and chief operating officer of North Carolina based Appraisal Nation, when asked about the insurance claim fear.
Protect yourself by quizzing the appraiser on his or her experience in your community when you are contacted to set up the appointment. If you are uncertain, request a different appraiser.
Find lenders that use panel appraisers instead of AMC’s. These are independent appraisers that tend to receive the full fee that you pay. They are more likely to be more thorough because they are getting paid full boat.
Go through proper channels to dispute problems. Have your facts at hand. Enlist your loan officer or your neighborhood realty agent to help you with your research. Vaguely saying that your value is too low will get you nowhere fast. Sometimes appraisers do own up to their mistakes. Sometimes lenders will call out bad appraisers and get you the value you deserve by ordering a new appraisal.
If you do have a complaint against an appraiser, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends the following clearinghousehttp://refermyappraisalcomplaint.asc.gov/.
Mortgage Broker Jeff Lazerson is president of California-based Mortgage Grader. He has 28 years of origination experience.
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