What does a loblolly pine have to do with an appraisal?


It’s such a good question, and a month ago I would have told you I have no idea, or asked you what a loblolly pine is. I‘m currently the listing agent of the most adorable renovated College Park bungalow. It’s your classic 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom 1100 square foot home located just steps from Dartmouth Park in what has become one of the most popular zip codes in Orlando. It’s a well done renovation and sits on a nice deep lot with a detached two car garage in the back. One side of this garage is finished off with some nice flooring, cute light fixtures and its own air conditioning system. This is all gravy and the space wasn’t listed or marketed with this square footage included. I listed this home on a Wednesday and received a full price offer on Thursday morning, the buyers were qualified for a VA loan, sellers were thrilled. That next week we sailed through inspections with a small wood rot repair. My husband and I talk about how every once in awhile you get a sweet deal, solid property, amicable buyers and sellers, smooth sailing! I thought I was in the middle of one of those rare gems.. and the only thing left was opening the door for the appraiser. I went and met the appraiser at the home on a day when there was a wild bear roaming the streets of College Park and as weird as that sounds, it was more normal than the conversation I had with this guy. I greeted him with a smile and a folder full of comparably sold properties. I was hoping to push for a nice adjustment for that finished space in the garage. We were at a pretty high dollar per square foot but with the finishes, the lot and that nice bonus space I thought we could easily hit the purchase price. I asked the appraiser about that space and with a deep southern accent he explained to me, rather condescendingly that trying to give an air conditioned, finished bonus space value is like when he and his wife moved to Florida from south Georgia and they fell in love and bought a home in Orlando because it had loblolly pines in the yard. Huh?! That was my first clue..The conversation went downhill from there and I actually told the guy it was a pleasure, handed him my folder and headed out. 6 days later we got the appraisal and not only had Mr. Loblolly not given the bonus space any value, he had decreased the homes heated square footage. Now follow me for a second, this home is a block home and in College park, many of the homes had old porches or florida rooms that have been enclosed long ago and are under air. This home has a 125 square foot room on the front that has air conditioning and is on public record as part of the living space. Our appraisal decreased the square footage to just over 1000. When you’re talking about $248 per square foot and you “lob” off 117 square feet, well you do the math. Appraisal came in short, deal fell apart, both buyer and seller were frustrated  and complaints were filed but so much for that smooth sailing. Since then I have spoken with four different appraisers and talked with both city and county officials and been told by all that the square footage of the home is exactly as it is listed in public record. Thankfully with solid marketing the home has gone pending again. Getting a home from listing to closing is complicated but with the help and perseverance of a knowledgeable real estate agent it will happen!