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episode # 9

Appraisals & The Reno That Will Sink Your Property Value with Leigh Walker

Leigh Walker joins Adam and Matt to discuss appraisals, finding market value in a rising market & which home renovations add the most value.


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Episode Summary


Intro: Get ready for Vancouver’s premium real estate podcast. Your source for buying, selling and investing in Vancouver’s real estate market, with your hosts, two guys with faces for radio, Adam and Matt Scalena.

Adam: And welcome back to Vancouver Real Estate Podcast. I’m your host Adam Scalena.

Matt: And I’m your other host, Matt Scalena.

Adam: And we have a great show for you today.

Matt: Yeah, it’s excellent.

Adam: We have Lee Walker who is the managing partner of Lawrenson Walker which is an appraisal company. One of the leading appraisal companies in the Lower Mainland for sure and I’m super excited about this interview. I think that…

Matt: Yeah, this is another one that you took on yourself and – but from…

Adam: Matt was supposed to be joining us but he was 10 minutes away and…

Matt: I got here and listened to it from the other room. At least Adam’s portion of it and…

Adam: You saw the on-air sign blinking.

Matt: Yeah, in the new podcast studio. You’re right. Right.

Adam: We do have a new podcast studio. We’re not using it today but we’re moving into it. And it’s interesting so what I’ve been doing is, well, I was kind of telling you about this. I’ve got this kind of shed area at the bottom of my house which has a separate door that we’ve always just had. It’s been gravel and it’s been for bikes and gardening equipment, that sort of thing. So I started telling Sabrina, my fiancé a few months back, let’s build a gym. We both have been trying to go to the gym. It’s very hard to get to the gym.

Matt: It is but if it’s in your house…

Adam: …you have no excuse.

Matt: Yeah.

Adam: So I’ve been telling her we’re going to build a gym, we’re going to build a gym and finally I got my general contractor to come here and we poured concrete, we did the flooring…

Matt: Yeah. Looks – the process was fairly extensive but it looks amazing.

Adam: Yeah. It’s like an extra 150 square feet that we didn’t have…

Matt: You really did – you added some windows.

Adam: Yeah, for sure. It’s great space and it will make a great gym. Unfortunately…

Matt: It’s not going to be a gym.

Adam: It’s turning into – I started bring the podcast gear down there and Sabrina fortunately doesn’t listen to this but…

Matt: No longer live from Yaletown, we’re live from East Van.

Adam: East Van… We’re live from a sub ground…

Matt: …an undisclosed location in East Van.

Adam: Yeah, exactly. Undisclosed because I don’t want the city to know about the renovation. Anyways, so we have an excellent show for you today. Lee is a fantastic guy, he tells – you’ve got to stay tuned to the end of the interview and…

Matt: Good information but also great stories.

Adam: He’s got some great stories. He’s had a very interesting career. He started out in real estate and later on got his CRA with the Appraisal Institute of Canada. And he’s moved on and now he owns his very successful company and he’s just a really well-rounded guy, very interesting to talk to. And has a lot of information about not only appraisals but just how to approach stuff in the general market. I asked him two questions that I think are really helpful. What is a small thing that you can do to increase the value of your home?

Matt: Everybody wants to know that.

Adam: Yeah.

Matt: And one is to build a podcast studio. Am I right?

Adam: Well, I think if anything that it definitely will help. Somebody will think of it as a man or woman cave. There’s something to do with it. Or maybe it will finally find it’s a – at the end day of its life, it’ll become a gym for someone just not us. Again, it’s going to be a gym. This podcast studio is going to last for about 2 weeks I think. So anyway, then I also asked him what was a big thing that you – what was a major kind of change that you can do to increase the value of your home. So everybody always hears the kitchen, so is that true? I guess you have to stay tuned and listen to the interview.

Matt: Wait for it…

Adam: For sure.

Matt: And couples – yeah, there’s a – and again, wait for the stories at the end too.

Adam: Yeah, there’s some very interesting stories. So without further ado, here’s our interview with Lee Walker, managing partner of Lawrenson Walker. Hope you enjoy.

So hi Lee, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Lee Walker: Sure, thanks Adam. I’m a real estate appraiser, specializing in residential real estate appraisals. I began as a realtor in the early 90’s and at that time I was working in kind of a completely different industry and I switched over to real estate sales so I became a realtor. While I was in college discovered what appraisals were, switched over into the Langara real estate appraisal program. Again, that was probably in the early 90’s. I did some time at BC Assessments. I realized that to be a union type of career wasn’t what I was interested in and I switched at that time to – now we’re in 1996 I started working for a company called Don Lawrenson & Associates which I purchased in 2008 and now it’s the company that I – we switched the name to Lawrenson Walker Real Estate Appraisers in 2008.

Adam: Okay, excellent. So who were some of your clients?

Lee Walker: We do work for a large variety of clients. Typically they’re banks, credit unions, other private lenders, mortgage insurance companies. We do work with a lot of mortgage brokers, lawyers and sometimes we do work for home owners. So for instance a home owner is interested in learning what their property is worth because they’re looking to put it on the market and they want an independent opinion on the value, not necessary from the realtor.

Adam: Right. Okay. So basically a lot of our clients talk about trying to figure out market value and the question of the appraisal when we’re talking about financing comes up. So can you explain what is an appraisal and why is it important?

Lee Walker: So the real textbook and simple answer of what an appraisal is, it’s an independent opinion of value that can be relied upon by third party lenders. Buyers, sellers of course, etc. So really what it is is that if you were to go to your bank and looking for a loan, they’ll want to do an appraisal of the property to ensure that the security that they’re lending on is indeed worth what we’re proposing it to be worth so… Is the home that you’re purchasing actually worth a price that you’re paying? And typically the banks want to make sure that they have in their – in terms of their risk portfolio, they want to make sure there’s an appraisal attached to their deal each and every time.

Adam: Okay. So what’s the process of an appraisal?

Lee Walker: So typically what will happen is that we will be contacted for an appraisal from our clients. And our client is the person who engages with the appraisal assignment so it may or may not be the home owner. So let’s go through a simple – a typical purchase appraisal.

So you are looking to purchase a home, you make an offer, it’s accepted. You go back to your bank and give them the contract and say this is the home I’m looking to purchase. Your bank will in turn then contact us or contact me and I will make arrangements with the listing agent to go in and do the appraisal on that property. Now, all of this is taking place not necessarily behind the scenes. We’re not seeing any of this take place. You do know an appraisal is taking place but you won’t be privy to that appraisal as it’s happening. And secondly if there’s – let’s take for instance, you are a home owner and you are re-financing your property and looking to take a little bit of equity out. In that case, the lender will call us, the bank will call us and say, they will appraise this particular property, we will contact you, the home owner and we will make an arrangement to go in and view your property at that point. And then we send the appraisal report back to your lender.

Adam: Right. Okay. And so and you’re trying to figure out essentially what the market value of the property is I assume.

Lee Walker: Correct.

Adam: So what is the process of actually – how do you get to market value?

Lee Walker: Market value is for a single family house is based on what’s called direct comparison approach which means that we gather the information on a particular type of property, a subject property. And then we compare that to the data we have of all the other homes that have sold in the marketplace. So where does the subject property sit when take a look at all the other homes in the area that have sold that are similar within a reasonably short time frame and then what we need to do is make adjustments for the differences in the properties.

So a very similar home to the subject sold next door, however it has a double garage instead of the subject’s single garage and we need to use our sort of “appraiser experience” to determine the difference between a single and a double garage would be. So we go through all of the differences between the properties and then we arrive at adjusted values and then we reconcile those adjusted values into a final value from the subject.

Adam: Right. Okay. So can we talk about some of those factors?

Lee Walker: Absolutely. The one you’ve always heard of is location. We don’t call it location, location, location but we just call it location because there are so many other factors that play into value. It’s not as simple as location. But that is one of the main key futures. So first of all it’s location within a region. It’s also location on a street, it’s also which side of the street. Sometimes the values can be quite different. So for instance in an area like West End, where there’s deeply sloping topography neighborhoods, does the view come from the front of your house or does the view come from the back of your house? In terms of location those are vastly different.

We obviously want to take a look at the type of properties that you have. We also want to take a look at the condition, the quality, the floor plan, all of these things are taken into consideration and then we layered that on top of market conditions. Let’s correct market conditions and then trends in the immediate area. For instance is one neighborhood particularly stagnant or is one neighborhood particularly hot for one reason or another?

So we do need to analyze all those things. Sometimes we’ll – we can describe it as we are looking at your property through the eyes of the market. So if we are “every buyer”, how would we view your home in the marketplace considering we’re taking a look at all other homes like yours that have sold recently. So we try to look through the eyes of every buyer to look at your house.

Adam: Right. Okay. Interesting. So in a market like today’s market we’ve got basically a jumping market. We’ve got multiple offers on a lot of properties and in a lot of people’s opinion the sold comparables just aren’t supporting the sale price at the end of the day. Is there a strategy that you guys employ to figure out where the sale price might land?

Lee Walker: So it becomes really difficult because appraisers themselves we have to use
sales evidence that’s already taken place. So when a realtor determines the value of a property they can project forward and say, I think that this property can get X number of dollars 6 weeks from now based on the trends in the market. However, from an appraiser’s standpoint we need to look over our shoulders at sales that are taking place. And by the time we’re using these sales, they are actually already dated.

So if I use a sale that was even 30 to 60 days old, right now if we look at the market that we’re in today, there’s quite a bit different market conditions today than there were 30 to 60 days ago. Very, very hot market moving up very rapidly. And again, when we look over our shoulder, we’re always looking in the past. A realtor is always looking forward. So the gap between what I know a property is worth because I’m a person who analyzes the market is different than what I can show on an appraisal report which can be problematic.

And so when we deal with something like a multiple offer situation where – in years past when we had a multiple offer situation, let’s say something had listed at 700,000, 4 people make offers on the property and it sells for 720,000. Typically we could probably arrive at the $720,000 value mission based on the analysis of the market. However, in what’s going on in today’s market, same property listed 700,000, you have 12 people putting multiple offers on it, it sells for 950,000. We’ve heard stories of like that every day in the news. I can’t guarantee in that case that the actual market value is going to be 950,000. It very well can be the case that one of those people in the bidding decided to pay more than it was actually worth, just to secure the property.

So my advice to people in multiple offer situations is just be careful. Go and have your realtor and look at the fundamentals and don’t be discouraged with the multiple offer situation. Put your best foot forward, the best that you can and be aware that you could possibly be paying more than what an appraiser can support. So if you are looking for a mortgage with the bank, you may need to come up with some cash because the bank will only finance to the amount of the appraisal, not necessarily the purchase price.

Adam: Exactly. And that’s actually – that was actually my next – that’s where I was going with this. What we’ve been seeing is for example Vancity Buzz just had an article yesterday about a house that’s sold for I think 760 or so thousand dollars over asking with no comparables that really support it. So there is always that risk that if you are getting a mortgage and you’re planning on putting say 20% down, you could be on the hook from the lender to make up that difference, right?

Lee Walker: Correct.

Adam: If it doesn’t appraise for what you paid for the property.

Lee Walker: What’s interesting in that scenario is that let’s say for instance you did a longer close, so you did a 90 day close in that case, probably by the time the 90 days is coming to an end, the market’s caught up, so if your appraiser then has tools in terms of a risk comparable sale that would support the higher number but you wouldn’t have it 90 days ago so to speak.

Adam: Interesting. So you could actually get an appraisal done closer to the closing date if you had a long close that may offer a very different price point or…

Lee Walker: Correct. Usually what will happen is as soon as athe property has – the deal has been signed and there’s an accepted offer, that’s typically when an appraisal is going to be triggered. However, when you’re dealing with a long close, the market is going to be different in 90 days. So you may want to do another appraisal at that point and then maybe you will have to – if you are in a multiple offer situation then pay more than what the appraisal came in at initially that might be an opportunity for you to close the gap.

Adam: Okay. Okay. So a lot of people in the Lower Mainland talk about BC Assessment. I hear that all the time in my open houses. What’s the BC Assessment? Is this a useful number to gauge market value? Is it a useful strategy for buyers?

Lee Walker: Unfortunately not. Not usually. I can’t find any case where BC Assessment data can be used to determine what a person should do in the marketplace.

Adam: Okay.

Lee Walker: Data information is there for a particular purpose which is to determine the tax base. Just to give you an example. So BC Assessments – I did spend some time working with BC Assessments so I’m pretty familiar with their process. They value the property, every property in the province as of July 1st of the previous year.

So let’s say for instance we’re talking June. BC Assessment evaluation date is 11 months old at that point. They appraise properties on a bulk basis, generally speaking neighborhood X is going to be done on a bulk basis based on a particular rate that you’re going to use based on home type, whether it’s an apartment, townhome or a single family home, it won’t pick up things like is the street a busy street, is it a corner lot, does it have a view, has the property been renovated? It does not pick up on things like this.

So when people are trying to figure out what their property is worth, especially in Vancouver, in the Lower Mainland, there are very savvy people and they’ve been watching the market, watching sales and they’re probably able to pinpoint a value just with their own knowledge better than what BC Assessment is able to do. And so BC Assessment certainly serves a purpose, however in our hot, fast-paced real estate market I think that it’s not a decent tool. It can set people – it can set sort of expectations where everyone thinks that whatever the BC Assessment value is we add 10% to 15% to it and that’s always going to be a general value. Or what happens if a property has had a $200,000 renovation to the property that the BC Assessment didn’t yet know about? Well, that 10% to 15% “policy” doesn’t apply there.

And I can tell you that the BC Assessment value is often higher than the actual value and it’s often lower than the actual value. People get surprised when they sell their home below BC Assessment value. However I can tell you, it happens all the time across the Lower Mainland.

Adam: Right. Okay. Okay. So just thinking about – we’re doing market analysis all the time for clients and often if the property is pretty typical like say an O6 plan in a large building where there’s several O6 plans that have sold recently, it can be quite straight forward. What about for unique properties? Both maybe commercial and residential. Is there – when there’s very few comparables to kind of look at, what kind of methods do you rely on?

Lee Walker: So I’m going to get back to “appraisal 101” back in school. There are 3 different methods of appraisals. And we call them the approaches to value. The first approach to value is an income approach to value. That’s where you determine the value based on the income the property receives. So we’re looking at some sort of an income producing property whether it’s an apartment block or one of the Bentall Towers, the value is based on the income it derives.

The second approach to value is called the cost approach to value. And you use the cost approach when there’s a lot of other market sales evidence. The cost approach basically takes into consideration what the land is worth and then what the cost to construct the building that’s on the property and then subtracting some depreciation by various methods of calculation.

The third approach is the one that we use to with residential which is, again, the direct comparison approach. But Adam, you mentioned in cases where that very rare – you’d sometimes can look at the cost approach. So for instance, we’re looking at a property in Point Grey where there are a lot of sales of big concrete homes, multimillion dollar homes on Point Grey road with water views and beach access. You would not be completely relying on the direct comparison approach just because there’s not a lot of sales. You would also consider the cost approach to back up what sales, what little – what few sales you do have. So you would consider what is this piece of land worth? What would it cost to reproduce this structure or the cost on a square foot basis and then figure out what sort of depreciation that is there. In that case you’d use a combination of direct comparison and cost approach and that would be the sort of way we approach that.

You mentioned OC plan in a particular tower, I think in Vancouver you used the example.

Adam: Right. Yeah. So just meaning that if there’s several plans that are virtually identical on the same unit, some people might say, well, it’s the same finishes, it’s the exact same plan and it’s a very recent sale, well, maybe I’ll account for it somewhere between $2000 to $10,000 per floor depending on the view and generally that’s…

Lee Walker: Exactly. That is – that’s exactly how I would approach something like that. And I do want to bring up something that’s – that I get asked quite a bit. Oftentimes I get asked what the price per square foot in a particular neighborhood is for condos. And appraisers don’t use price per square foot models when appraising condos. That is a – that’s a realtor term. That’s a term and a method that came out when Bob [inaudible 22:01] said that marketing properties need to figure out how to price a 150 units within a single tower. That’s really where price per square foot makes sense because like you said we’re dealing with the same building, the same finishes, roughly the same floor plans, possibly the same views. The problem is that – let’s say what’s the price per square foot in Yaletown? We’re dealing with a lot of different buildings. Some have problems, some are great buildings, some are low end, some are high end. Some look at the water, some look at the city. When we start only looking at price per square foot, it sends people in a completely different direction about the actual values.

So I do caution people from purely looking at the price per square foot model because I can tell you that a 600 square foot unit in let’s just say Coal Harbor can be quite a wide range or value and quite a wide range of cost per square foot or price per square foot.

Adam: Right. And that’s what we often tell our clients is there’s no way, there’s no kind of blanketed approach to understanding the price of one specific unit. Every unit is unique in its own way. There’s ways to kind of get to the price but each specific unit or house has to be interpreted on its own accord.

Lee Walker: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Adam: So speaking about some of the more challenging properties, do you have a challenging appraisal that you worked on that you’d care to share?

Lee Walker: I can give you – yeah, I have a couple. I can give you a recent one and then one from a number of years ago.

Adam: Sure.

Lee Walker: The first one I call the Titanic apartment and it was on [inaudible 23:48] Drive in Coal Harbor. Really, really high end condo with a water view and large decks overlooking basically Stanley Park and Coal Harbor Marina. At the time the unit was purchased for 2.7 million dollars. And the owner put 1 million dollars in renovations. And this is when I was called in to come and appraise the property. They were believing the property was worth approximately 4 to 5 million dollars at that point. And based on that information I thought this should be an interesting property to see because it’s – you know, a 1 million dollar renovation is pretty significant for a property in Coal Harbor.

So when I got to the property and opened the door and I was immediately struck by mahogany panels across all of the walls, furniture from the early 19 hundreds, inlaid flooring in gold. So essentially it’s called a Titanic property because its owner of the apartment spent 1 million dollars replicating the drying room of the Titanic in his apartment. Right down to the cabinets were made – the kitchen cabinets were made in the same factory in England that made all the cabinetry for the Titanic.

Adam: Wow.

Lee Walker: The company that did all the wood inlay in the Titanic and all the banisters going into the ball rooms and stuff were brought in from England to do the interior of this place. So form an appraisal standpoint were 99.9% of the condo stock in Coal Harbor is “modernest”, this one certainly stood out, so…

Adam: And the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea so you cannot use that.

Lee Walker: The Titanic was at the bottom of the sea, exactly. This one was someone’s dream home and I don’t think that it would have been – if we were to bring 10 buyers in, I don’t think it would have been the dream home for said buyers. So that was a very, very challenging property to appraise and in the end what we ended up appraising there was just very slightly more than he paid for it which was a market increase. One could argue that so he didn’t make any of his 1 million dollars back in his renovations. But one could argue that he might have – you can decrease the value because most of the people that would be looking at buying that unit would consider chairing a bidding out and starting from scratch again again.

Adam: Yeah and it would actually cost them more than if it was just the original finishes.

Lee Walker: That’s correct. So the owner was aware of all this. He went into this with open eyes, however he wanted to build his dream property. So I give him credit for following through with the project, regardless of what the best advice was.

Adam: Wow.

Lee Walker: Very interestingly.

Adam: Yeah. No kidding. Deep pockets I guess.

Lee Walker: Deep pockets and deep conviction to fulfilling the dream which is really interesting.

Adam: Right. Right. And then you were saying you had another one.

Lee Walker: Have another one. In 1996 I was asked by a credit union to go take a look at acreage in Port Coquitlam. I was pretty new in the business at the time and I was told by the lender to just – the owner of the property would meet me there and he was a bit eccentric. It’s the word that they used. And just not to be caught off-guard when I was there just to make sure that I was prepared for the person I was about to meet because he was a little odd.

So that was the first time a lender had ever warned me about that. I arrived at the property in Port Coquitlam and there was a rundown home, lots of vehicles thrown all over the front of the property, dogs were greeting me when I got out of my vehicle and a gentleman, a slim gentleman was sitting there, dune boots and with a beer he came out to me immediatelyto the car and introduced himself as Willie Pickton…

Adam: Oh, wow.

Lee Walker: And I didn’t know who Willie Pickton was at the time but he proceeded to walk me through the property into the home, into the various outbuildings on the property that were substantial outbuildings. I guess they had been using the property as a staging ground for their demolition company I guess. They would buy equipment from other businesses and just sort of bring in to the property and just sort of tear it apart and just sell it. So they took me through warehouses, they took me through barns, they took me through various different storage areas of the property. I was getting an uncomfortable feeling just being there. And there were other people on the property so I felt okay but there was a point where he took me back and he pointed into the back acreage and I could see that he had school buses stacked on top of each other, various old trucks and then there was also Sea-Can containers, those cargo containers that go onto ships.

Adam: Right:

Lee Walker: Old cargo containers that were currently being excavated, that was digging up part of the back acreage and then burying these cargo containers. I thought that at the time to be very strange. I went back to my car, I went back to the office to prepare the report and for the first time, it was the only time in my career that I called the lender and I said I cannot complete this appraisal. And they said why and I said I can’t tell you why, I don’t know, I just don’t have a good feeling about this. I just don’t want to be involved with this anymore.

And that was it until five years later I watched the news and sure enough they said the Mississippi women’s case was solved and they had found something on the property in Port Coquitlam. I called my office and asked them to do a search of the property address and immediately they pulled it up, it was that property. So it sent chills right down my spine at that point in time.

Adam: No kidding.

Lee Walker: And the rest is history.

Adam: Wow.

Lee Walker: Yeah I tell my appraisers now to just be very, very careful of where they’re going, just be very cognizant of the surroundings and if at any moment you don’t feel comfortable, leave the situation.

Adam: Yeah, trust your gut I guess.

Lee Walker: Trust you gut. And it’s interesting, I’m on an appraiser group that’s North America-wide and routinely American appraisers are carrying side-arms to their appraisal appointments which is more of a commentary on the different cultures of the United States and Canada but I can’t imagine carrying a pistol heading to an appraisal appointment regardless of whether it was an acreage in Port Coquitlam.

Adam: Beyond the pay grade maybe.

Lee Walker: Beyond the pay grade, exactly. Exactly.

Adam: So for people listening that would like to improve the value of their home, what are some small things that they can do?

Lee Walker: Some small things that people can do, in fact I get asked this question quite a bit. What it really boils down to is cleanliness and paint. Those are the two easiest things you can do to improve the value of your home for when the appraiser is going to come back. First impressions are everything so I would start with the front yard, making sure that the lawn is mowed. It may seem like a small thing but when we’re talking about getting the most out of the value of your property of your lender or for the buyer, the small things do count.

So cleaning up the front yard, making sure the front door is painted and not scratched. Sometimes people overlook that because they’re walking through the door all the time and they don’t notice that their front door is beat up. And then basically just tidiness and cleanliness of the house as well as if you can put fresh paint, I call it bang for your buck, that’s the longest. It doesn’t cost you too much to paint the home and it certainly will get you the biggest return in terms of your return on investment.

Adam: Right. Nothing cheaper than a can of paint.

Lee Walker: Absolutely.

Adam: So in that same vein what about some larger improvements? So if somebody was going to take on a reno, where might they start?

Lee Walker: This depends particularly on what the home needs. So sometimes people will ask they learned that kitchens were the best things to return value to a property. However and it’s some [inaudible 32:34] on kitchen renovations but if the home is only a year old that home didn’t necessarily need a kitchen renovation so to speak. So you’re probably throwing good money away by changing the kitchen that early in the home’s life.

So you really need to look at what the home needs. So I would suggest that making sure that your roof is done. It’s one of the larger ticket items on the property. However when someone looks at a home and they see that the roof is near the end of its cycle of life, they start to wonder what other things in the home haven’t been done.

Adam: Right.

Lee Walker: I mean what are some of the maintenance items that haven’t taken place? So for a home that is, let’s say it’s dated, aged, let’s say something between say 20 and 30 years of age, the things that will start to creep up, the things you might want to do would be kitchens, would be bathrooms, would be flooring and fixtures.

So a home that is about 20 years old is probably today going to have an old kitchen, it could have raised old panels or it could have heritage style paneling. A lot of people are looking for more updated kitchens than that today. So if you could do even a low quality low cost kitchen upgrade that would certainly have a good return on investment. And then following that with bathrooms and fixtures for sure.

Flooring if you have worn carpets I would suggest that that get replaced. Sometimes it’s better to put a cheap carpet into a property to sell it than to leave a worn carpet in there. So it may cost you three, four or five thousand dollars to replace some worn carpets however the return when you sell the property will be greater than that three, four or five thousand dollars.

Adam: Right. Right. Right. What about blemishes in flooring – so for hardwood flooring if there are blemishes or scratches, is that something that you would recommend changing out?

Lee Walker: Depends if they can be. So if you’re looking at a blemish on the floor that can be hidden in some way or if you can arrange the furniture in such a way that it doesn’t stand out then I would do that. However if it’s something that’s very noticeable and a buyer is going to be deterred by it then you would want to fix it. However, if the cost to fix it is let’s say for instance it’s $25,000 to fix a blemish, you may not want to go that far for something like that.

Adam: So disclose to the buyer but trick the appraiser.

Lee Walker: Exactly. Yeah, we get that a lot. We get that a lot.

Adam: Great. Well, thanks a lot for your time Lee. This has been an excellent interview, thanks for taking the time.

Lee Walker: Thank you. Very enjoyable. I like the podcast.

Adam: Okay. Thanks. Have a great day.

Lee Walker: You as well. Take care.

Matt: So there you have it folks, Adam’s discussion with Lee Walker’s super interesting conversation.

Adam: Very interesting guy.

Matt: At least for me, yeah.

Adam: Yeah. You were hearing from the door and then you got to hear the raw audio of it.

Matt: Yeah, you know what? I was listening to your questions and I couldn’t hear Lee’s answers but man, compelling stuff. Those last two stories were…

Adam: It wouldn’t have been as compelling just listening to one side of that conversation.

Matt: Your cautions were amazing.

Adam: Weren’t they little canned? So anyways, Lee is a very interesting guy and we were very excited that we got to have him or got to have him.

Matt: Yeah, I mean the story about the Titanic condo and Coal Harbor was…

Adam: Hilarious.

Matt: Hilarious yeah, kind of Howard Hugh’s ask.

Adam: Yeah, Howard Hugh’s ask for sure but I’ve kind of got to respect a guy who just has deep pockets and his willing to renovate a place exactly how we wants it.

Matt: Yeah, a market be damned. I want these 120 years old ship windows.

Adam: Yeah and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says for a re-sale. But that’s yeah, definitely interesting and then of course contrasted dramatically with the story of the Pickton farm which Matt, you were obviously outside when I was listening to that story but I assure you my jaw was on the desk and yeah, anyways, it’s a tragic story and very eerie and I think it goes to show that Lee’s had a very…

Matt: Varied career I terms of what – I mean if anyone is looking for a career change or a career path, I mean it sounds like appraising is one that’s going to throw you curveballs, you’ll see a lot.

Adam: Yeah. For sure. For sure. But anyways, we’re looking forward to next week. We’ve got our interview with Dustin Woodhouse who we’re very excited about. He’s an incredibly successful, wildly successful mortgage broker

Matt: Yeah, a massive, massive mortgage broker.

Adam: One of the biggest in Western-Canada and potentially in Canada. And as well and we’re looking forward – we’re going to be talking to him about some of the risks associated with going subject-free.

Matt: Yeah, the potential pitfalls of subject-free offers.

Adam: …of no subject to financing.

Matt: And I believe he has a secret recipe for how to be successful in those types of transactions so it’s going to be – it’s a good one to wait for.

Adam: So stay tuned for next week when we get a secret recipe from Dustin Woodhouse and maybe a family recipe from Matt Scalena. Bring your cookie recipe.

Matt: My pecan pie is amazing.

Adam: Yeah, exactly. So thanks a lot Matt. How can they reach you?

Matt: You guys can reach me at 778-847-2854 or at

Adam: And my number is 778-866-4574 or

Matt: And we always have the nonpartisan line So don’t hesitate to get in touch. We love hearing from you guys and…

Adam: For sure. And rate us iTunes, we’ve got almost 50 ratings as it stands and we read all of them and we love that people actually are reaching out.

Matt: Yeah and actually listening. This is great.

Adam: So thanks again and look forward to next week. Take care guys.

Outro: This has been the Vancouver real estate podcast with Adam and Matt Scalena. Contact us anytime at 778-866-4574 or 778-847-2854 or online at
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