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Calling all construction guru's

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debbie graham

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Okay, keep in mind, a seller is trying to sell his home high, and I have finished the appraisal ( FHA) and came in $5,000 below sales price.
Common construction in this area is frame and concrete block. This is Florida.
Age of homes 1945 to 1965.
He believes buyers will pay more for Stem wall construction opposed to concrete block.
I have read both provide moisture control and similar overall support.
This is in an area where homes range from $70,000 to $130,000.
I have never seen this pop out through sales comparative analysis, llike frame vs concrete block.
Any opinions?
Thanks!
Debbie
 

train

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Jan 11, 2008
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Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Debbie--

I'm also in Jacksonville. I have never seen any difference in the market. Where is your subject?
 

incognito

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
I'm confused. Stem wall is a type of foundation, not a type of construction. Both a frame house and a block house can be constructed on a stem wall foundation. Stem wall foundations are generally used when a monolithic slab has the possibility of moving or floating away, by anchoring the slab to an in ground foundation. You do not see too many stem walls around here (Brevard County, FL), unless the land is low or is not flat.

You may want to clear up with your client what he is referring to.
 

debbie graham

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
construction

He is talking about the foundation. The lot is high, dry and flat. It was built in 1955 and probably just that particular builder. It is surrounded by all types of the homes, Manf. homes, frame, bungalow.
In this part of town, I do not believe that a buyer will pay more for this foundation. Buyers are aware of concrete slab or concrete block with ventilation. Also, not all homes are priced with quality of construction in mind,
In this marketing area.
At this point, most are just priced to sell!
 

incognito

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
In my opinion, a stem wall foundation would only be built because it was necessary for some reason. It is more expensive. However, I can see no reason why a stem wall would be superior to a mono slab, relative to quality, utility, or appeal. I would be pretty hard pressed to find cause to want one over the other, and I doubt a typical buyer would, either.

Many times (but not always) a house on stem wall will sit a little higher than one on a slab. If that is the case, there is a step up or two to get into the house. Is there any additional appeal to the house with regards to this style? (I doubt it in this price range). Some people hate steps, and seniors may not consider a home with steps at all, so it could actually be a negative over a ground level mono slab. Other than that, I think it is a wash (but it probably results in functional in the CA if it has not been done for a specific reason, but that is a WHOLE other discussion! :) )
 

debbie graham

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
construction

Thanks so much incognito! It does have steps up to the front.
In this area, buyers are not that picky!
Thanks
Deb
 

Mike Boyd

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Jan 18, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
Concrete block construction is considered to be the lowest quality.....unless it is framed inside and stucco'd on the outside, which is rare in California. Mono slab VS stem wall would depend on soil conditions. Most of even the lowest quality tract homes around here are frame construction with stem wall foundations and crawl space.
 

Jim Hill

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
The reason a Stem Wall in better!

A Stem Wall type of construction means that there is a block stem wall around the concrete slab that is built on top of the concrete footings which makes for a much better type of foundation.

For any professional appraiser is say that they do not see any difference means between a Monolithic Slab and a Stem Wall type of construction means that they do not know what they are talking about in my opinion.

Have you even looked at a home where the ceramic tiles floors have cracks in then?
This is the result in most cases of a Monolithic Slab type of construction.

Monolithic Slabs are constructed with wood forms being placed around them and once the concrete is poured the wood forms are removed.

The difference with the Stem Wall style of construction is it always as either a two or three course block wall around it to prevent it from moving.

Granted both types of slabs can settle but in most cases the homes with the cracked ceramic tiles were built using a Monolithic slab.

One reason many builders use a Monolithic Slab is simple it costs less to build!

It costs more to build using a two or three course Stem Wall but it also is a much better form of constrution.

Next time you are in a home with ceramic floors that have cracks running all over the place and the homeowner wondering why it happened think about which type of construction would be best in your own home.

Jim Hill
 

incognito

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Concrete block construction is considered to be the lowest quality
That is interesting Mike. In Florida, at least all areas I am familiar with, CB is considered superior to frame. Even M&S supports that. Perhaps the reasons the market here prefers CB is because it is termite proof, much more hurricane resistant, and much less susceptible to rot and WDO infestation.

Interesting how different markets see things differently. I wouldn't buy a frame home, ever, for the above reasons. I have not appraised a new construction frame home in over 5 years, and do at least 300-500 a year. In the resale market, with the huge oversupply we have, frame homes just simply do not sell, even at significant discounts...
 
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