The value of a pool for Homes?

July 18, 2023 By Ryan Lundquist


Some areas have more pools than others

Real estate is about location. That’s what we always hear. And, it’s true. Homes in different locations and price points tend to have different amenities, and that includes pools. Keep in mind the presence of a pool could be about lot size also – not just the price range.

More pools at higher prices

Here’s a look at the percentage of homes sold with pools by price range in a few local counties. In short, the higher the price, the greater chance of having a pool. This likely has to do with the cost of building a pool, cost of maintaining a pool, and even larger parcels at higher ranges – not to mention buyers at higher price points expecting a pool more often.

NOTE: Does your market look similar?

Adjustments for pools

Last but not least, let’s remember there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all adjustment for a built-in pool because the value of a pool is going to depend on quality, condition, and even age. But it’s also about location because some price ranges and areas simply expect a pool to be present. In contrast, pools hardly exist in some locations, so it’s less of a factor because buyers don’t expect a pool. Ultimately, let’s look to the comps for the answers. What are buyers willing to pay? The ideal is to find similar homes with and without pools to help us understand that.

To read more and see Ryan’s tables and graphs on pools, click here

My comments: I live in an island city with a “Mediterranean” climate located on San Francisco Bay, which means some fog and moderate temperatures. This week, the highest temperature will be under 70 degrees. About 10-15 miles away, east of the hills, the climate is totally different, with very hot summers. The current high temperature there is about 100 degrees.

Where I live, very few homes have pools. After 35 years of appraising here, the value effect is none. Often, the MLS mentions that the sellers will fill in the pool, but I don’t know if that has ever happened. In dramatic contrast, when I first started appraising “over the hill”, 10-15 miles away where there are many subdivisions, I noticed that in certain neighborhoods, a pool was almost mandatory. I used comps with pools for any homes with and without pools to see any adjustment.

If you are not in an area where this is clear, making pool adjustments can be tough without adequate comps. I have appraised a few homes with pools in areas with few pools. It was tricky.

Pools can be a significant hazard, especially for children. Also, maintenance and heating is a hassle.

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non lender appraisals, foreclosures way down from 2008, Freddie and ANSI, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

click below to read more


$42.5 Million California Mansion Has a See-Through Spa That Floats Over the Main Pool

Located in Dana Point, the French provincial pad affords ocean views from every level. Nearly 10,600-square-foot with 5 bedrooms and 9 baths. About ¼ acre lot.

Located in Orange County’s affluent Dana Point, the swanky beachfront estate offers direct access to 70 feet of sandy shoreline, ocean vistas on every level, and three spots for swimming on the grounds.

Listed for $42.5 million, the French provincial pad is positioned on a sprawling quarter-acre lot in an exclusive neighborhood called the Strand. The sellers originally bought the land for $12 million back in 2010. Shortly after, Oatman Architects was brought on for the construction, which wrapped three years later in 2013.

To read more and see lots of photos, click here 


Foreclosure Activity from 2008 to 2023
Why there is so little work for residential lender appraisers now

by ATTOM Jul 13, 2023

Excerpts: ATTOM, a leading curator of land, property, and real estate data, today released its Midyear 2023 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 185,580 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in the first six months of 2023. That figure is up 13 percent from the same time period a year ago and up 185 percent from the same time period two years ago.

Q2 2023 foreclosure activity below pre-recession averages in 78 percent of major markets

There were a total of 97,608 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filings during the second quarter of 2023, up 2 percent from the previous quarter and up 8 percent from a year ago.

The national foreclosure activity total in Q2 2023 was 65 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 per quarter from Q1 2006 to Q3 2007.

To read more, click here

My comments: The worst appraisal market I ever saw was from 1980 to 1985 when mortgage rates were 18%+ due to the very high inflation rates in the 1970s, and the Federal Reserve’s attempt to cut inflation way back (similar to today but mortgage rates today rates did not go up that high).

Most residential appraisers were staff appraisers at lenders then. Almost all were laid off. A few worked as bank tellers. I had recently obtained my MBA and got a job with a biotech company managing their real estate. I had 7 years of lab experience and 5 years of appraisal experience. I returned to appraising in 1986, a boom time for appraisers, which lasted until the early 1990s in my market.

In my market after 1986, all the down markets, such as 2008, had significant price declines in foreclosures, and appraisers were needed to appraise them. Appraising started in the U.S. during the Depression when lenders, mostly S&Ls, needed to know what the homes were worth when lenders foreclosed. This was long before the GSEs purchased and securitized the loans.


Non Lender Appraisal Tips from Appraisal Today

  • Pluses and minuses of the many different types of non lender appraisals to help you choose what you want to do.
  • Communicating with non-lender clients: Very different from lenders. Side by side comparisons to help you understand.
  • FREE Google Business Profile – how to get on the top of searches for appraisers in your area. Website not required!!
  • How to get referrals from real estate agents. The primary source of non lender appraisals.
  • How to get non lender business by networking at meetings. You may be the only appraiser there!
  • Speaking at real estate sales meetings is an easy way to market your appraisal business. When I started my business, I spoke at all the local sales meetings. Very effective.

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Interest rate predictions: keep them in perspective

From Rob Chrisman’s report: July 13: LO jobs; search engine for sale; co-issue, TPO, LO survey, credit, HELOC servicing products; be wary of interest rate predictions.

Excerpts: I am asked all the time, “Hey Rob, where do you think rates will be in six months?” My answer, after I say that I can’t even predict where I’m going to have lunch tomorrow, is always the same, “Higher, or lower, or possibly the same.” Or sure, one can have a prediction until a ship becomes stuck in the Suez Canal, or a pandemic occurs. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Interest Rates are Like the Weather? Or Like Signs of the Zodiac?”

For some outside input I asked James Hedvall, grizzled capital markets veteran. He replied, “The interest rate markets have a way of humbling almost all the ‘experts’ and the very first thing you learn in Secondary Marketing is that you shouldn’t take a view on where rates are headed because half the time, you’re wrong anyway. In Q4 last year the arm-chair prognosticators were predicting that we’d see rates come down by the end of 2023, however, that simply does not appear to be the case as many LOs are originating in the 7% range currently.

To read more, click here To find this commentary, Scroll down the page or search for Interest rate predictions

My comment: Some good links. Excerpts above are from Rob Chrisman’s weekly emailed report. I have subscribed for many years. He almost always has some humorous comment ;>


Freddie Mac Announces Adoption of ANSI Measurement Standard, effective November 2, 2023

Excerpts: When Fannie Mae adopted the ANSI Z765 measurement standard, effective in April of 2022, appraisers and industry stakeholders wondered if (or when) Freddie Mac would follow suit. That question has finally been answered.

On July 5, 2023, Freddie Mac issued Guide Bulletin 2023-15 which announced several revisions to their Seller/Servicer Guide. Among them: Freddie Mac will require appraisers to begin using ANSI Z765 to measure one-unit detached and attached dwellings as of November 2, 2023.

To read more, click here

My comment: I suspect most lender appraisers are using ANSI, as Fannie has required it for quite a while. Appraisers usually don’t know if the loan will be sold to Freddie or Fannie.


What Is a Craftsman Bungalow? A Cute Home Once Sold by Catalog

These small homes, anchored by charming front porches, originated in colonial India (that’s the “bungalow” part). But bungalows really took off in the United States after the style was adopted by the Arts and Crafts movement (that’s the “Craftsman” part), which added intricate woodwork and handcrafted details to the interior and exterior.

Think: focal-point fireplaces, charming dormers, coffered ceilings, exposed rafter tails, and open floor plans. At one point, the Craftsman became such an American classic, you could even build your own bungalow from a kit in a mail-order catalog. Just one more thing to love about these Craftsman cuties!

The term “bungalow” dates to 18th century India. Bangla, or bangala, is the Hindi word meaning “of the province of Bengal,” and was also used to refer to small, one-story huts, typically with thatched roofs (but still quite comfortable for India at that time). The term came to be used to mean houses built for the British colonial authorities.

To read more, click here


5 Craftsman Bungalows Priced Below $300K

5. 116 W 10th St, Tifton, GA (photo above)

Price: $295,000

Work and play: The 2,350-square-foot home’s wide, wraparound porch is plenty welcoming—to friends, family, or even clients. Zoned as residential/professional, the property currently appears to be used as an office.

But it could easily be converted back into a three-bedroom, two-bath family residence. It has lovely architectural features, including exposed rafters, patterned window panes, tapered columns, hardwood floors, and a double-sided fireplace.

Built in 1915, the house has outdoor space that residents of any era will love. The backyard is fenced, and there’s a separate garage for parking and storage. There’s also a covered porch on the side, perfect for a grill and dining table. It’s a truly versatile property.

To read more, click here

My comments: The history article above is fascinating! Craftsman Bungalows are all over the U.S. I have appraised hundreds of craftsman homes but never really knew about where they came from. My city is full of Craftsman and Victorian homes. Now I also know what a “real” one is like. Of course, the listing above would be way over $1,000,000 here as it is large for a Craftsman. Many are small 2 bedroom/1 bath homes.


HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, click here.I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Some appraisers are very busy, and others have little work. Varies widely around the country.


Mortgage applications increased 1.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2023) — Mortgage applications increased 1.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 14, 2023. Last week’s results included an adjustment for Independence Day.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 27 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 7 percent from the previous week and was 32 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 24 percent compared with the previous week and was 21 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates declined last week, as markets responded positively to incoming data showing that U.S. inflation continues to cool. Most rates in our survey declined, with the 30-year fixed rate falling to 6.87 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Refinance applications increased more than 7 percent, but that activity accounted for only 28 percent of applications and was more than 30 percent behind last year’s pace. Despite last week’s lower rates, purchase applications decreased, as home purchase activity is still being held back by low housing supply and rates that are still much higher than a year ago.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 28.4 percent of total applications from 26.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.3 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.6 percent from 13.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.87 percent from 7.07 percent, with points decreasing to 0.66 from 0.74 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $726,200) decreased to 6.89 percent from 7.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.64 from 0.59 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 6.77 percent from 6.86 percent, with points decreasing to 1.12 from 1.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.36 percent from 6.42 percent, with points decreasing to 0.72 from 1.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 6.27 percent from 6.24 percent, with points decreasing to 0.91 from 1.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.


Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


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