From: heidinys (
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 05:24:13 -0800 (PST)

Katie is pointing out a real concern for all communities.

Years ago  I was told by the person handling the sale of my pre-co-housing 
house  that 

'Comps were developed in the fifties when there were suburban developments of 
basically the same house.  These houses were comparable,  often even the same.  
Since then, appraisers have basically had to wing it, because houses are not 
the same.'

So, it might take some time, but it might work to bring this information to 
light.  For folks interested in appraisal--now or in the future to verify this 
info ( I have not)  and write some letters to editors/articles to whatever 
publications you can.  It is the kind of information that can then get picked 
up by, for example, the NYT or other major newspaper  Real Estate sections,  
and could effect a change.
Until we do this, we may stay stuck in the same  boat.  
It might be fun to see if we could effect a change.  I am full up with the pro 
bono work I do
pretty much every day, in addition to actually working for income, and am not 
offering to do this!

Cantines Island
Saugerties ,NY

On Feb 5, 2014, at 6:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:29:13 -0800
From: Kathryn McCamant <kmccamant [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ appraisals

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

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