Re: appraisals
From: Kathryn McCamant (
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 11:34:06 -0800 (PST)
Dear Ann,

That's great that new condo developments in DC are including extensive
common facilities! I am curious how many units that typically have.... How
many share these common facilities?

But keep in mind, that is very unusual in most of the rest of the country.
We have built the only two new condominium developments in our county in
the last 10 years! Nevada City Cohousing and Wolf Creek Lodge. The only
other condos in the region are old and cheap. We have no comparables at
all in the viceninity. I have found this to be commonplace in many
regions, generally anywhere outside of the major cities.

Cohousing shares appraisal challenges with any residential development
build "outside the box" ... No two car garage, solar panels, green
building, a home connected to a business, etc.....  Banks are fearful of
getting stuck with loans that don't meet Fannie Mae regulations (so they
can sell them on the secondary market and have the government guarantee
backing them) and thus are extra cautious on lending on anything that
might raise issues ...they would rather not do the loan than take the

In addition, they are now much stricter about having out-of-project even if you have recent sales in your community that justify
the price, that may not be enough. And, or course, if haven't had any
sales for a while you won't even have "in project" comps.

I would actually like to advocate a national policy that allows you to
choose to pay extra for an special, more indepth appraisal when it is
clear there are not easy local comps.

If you get a bad appraisal, its very hard to undue with that lender. Given
the current state of residential lending in the US, the tough restrictions
on appraisals, and the inherit difficulty of finding comparables sales for
cohousing outside of major cities....I wouldn't mind paying a couple
hundred dollars for a good appraisal that gets me the loan I need..... A
small change in the interest rate or a requirement for a smaller down
payment  will recover that cost immediately. What I find much more
frustrating is when you are ready to pay more for a better research
appraisal but the bank insist on only the standard low fee appraisal, and
then won't do the loan.


Nevada City Cohousing
Kathryn McCamant, President, Architect
CoHousing Partners, LLC
241 Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755

On 2/1/14 2:50 PM, "Ann Zabaldo" <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

>Katie ―
>You are the expert and I bow to your experience and expertise.
>Somehow, the argument for additional charges because “it’s cohousing”
>doesn’t ring true for me.  I really want to see the argument for it from
>the appraiser charging the extra fees.
>For instance, you say it’s hard to equate our CHs w/ “Clubhouses”  Here
>in DC, the condos coming on line have “clubhouses” that would make you
>weep they are so extensive and beautiful ― they look like and function
>very much like a CH.  In fact, it’s now somewhat hard in re: marketing to
>say “look we have this great common space!”  Standard condos now have
>them, too.  I guess cohousing taught them something about design,
>marketing and community!  I’m saying that the CH difference isn’t much of
>an argument anymore since more and more condos have this extensive space.
>Plus ― at TVC we haven’t had a problem in the recent resales or
>refinancing.  At Eastern Village, just 1.3 miles away, a founding member
>had problems refinancing his home w/ THE SAME LENDER because “it’s
>cohousing.”  It was cohousing when he bought eight years ago.  Really?
>It’s capricious.  Or so it seems to me.
>Yes.  Lending restrictions have gotten tighter.  I advise people seeking
>financing to emphasize that you  are “just a condo” like it says in your
>organizing documents.
>Maybe we should go back to the days when we didn’t breathe the word
>cohousing in the same room as a lender.
>My 1.5 cents worth.
>Best --
>Ann Zabaldo
>Takoma Village Cohousing
>Washington, DC
>Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
>Falls Church VA
>On Jan 31, 2014, at 6:23 PM, Kathryn McCamant
><kmccamant [at]> wrote:
>> If it is the appraiser, or the banks underwriter that is giving extra
>> review to the appraisal, that is charging more that is probably
>> Since 2009 residential appraisers are working under very strict
>> and relatively low fees. In most of the communities I am familiar with,
>> its hard to make sense of sales prices on the standard appraisal check
>> lists and costs per square foot pricing conventional homes are appraised
>> on. For example, the box they check for a "club house" is does not
>> to the 3000-4000+ square feet we have in our common houses--not unusual
>> be more than 100 sf/unit . I would much rather pay a little more for a
>> better appraisal that justifies the price (and cohousing is more
>> to create), than have to deal with the aftermath of a bad, low priced
>> appraisal. 
>> Katie 
>> Nevada City Cohousing
>> -- 
>> Kathryn McCamant, President, Architect
>> CoHousing Partners, LLC
>> 241 Commercial Street
>> Nevada City, CA 95959
>> T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755
>> On 1/31/14 1:07 PM, "Ann Zabaldo" <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
>>> Hi Holly and all -
>>> Does this person have this in WRITING that that¹s why she is being
>>> charged the extra $250?  This would be very helpful.
>>> We¹ve been hearing these things about ³cohousing² for some time now
>>> including not being able to get refinancing for a loan that was
>>> originally financed through the same company.
>>> On Jan 31, 2014, at 3:25 PM, Holly Wilder <hollywilder23 [at]>
>>>> I heard from a former Nylander who is buying at another community and
>>>> was just told she has to pay $250 extra because it's cohousing.
>>>> know anything about this?  Seems very lame to me. - Holly
>>>> Holly Wilder
>>>> Visionary Properties LLC
>>>> hollywilder23 [at]
>>>> (303) 517-4180 cell
>>>> _________________________________________________________________
>>>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
>>> Best --
>>> Ann Zabaldo
>>> Takoma Village Cohousing
>>> Washington, DC
>>> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
>>> Falls Church VA
>>> 703-688-2646
>>> _________________________________________________________________
>>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
>> _________________________________________________________________
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