Luxury Homes Wine Country by Kathy Luebcke
Kathy Luebcke
707-280-5753707-280-5753

A Skilled Napa Appraiser Works in Everyone’s Favor

8-27-appraisalA skilled Napa appraiser provides a service that should help make the buying and selling of a residence a smooth transaction.

‘Should’ is the operative word.

Going back to ancient times, homes have always been ‘real’ when it comes to establishing the amount of money that they are worth. The home’s role as the center of family and community groupings guarantees that it will change hands carefully. When something is so important, its ownership does not come about haphazardly—doubly so because of its typically hefty price tag, arrived at after deliberation and scrutiny from buyer and seller alike.

Every home that is sold in Napa today should be a shining example of the efficiency (and fairness) of our free market. As a mechanism for determining the value of a good, the system is without equal, since buyer and seller have to agree on a price.

That’s where having a skilled Napa appraiser comes in. An appraiser (not to be confused with a home inspector, who reports on the soundness of a property) performs an important function in the transition from a Napa house for sale into a house that’s sold. The appraiser’s report provides an outsider’s unbiased opinion of a home’s current market value. Having a professional who knows how to analyze the property as it stacks up against comparables in the area—then determining its value in the lively Napa market of August 2015—is intended to provide peace of mind to all parties in the transaction.

That it doesn’t always work that way is because in addition to the buyer and seller, another party may be involved—the mortgage lender. The National Association of Realtors® puts it this way: as “the increasingly common scenario [that]…even when both sides agree on a price, the deal could fall apart thanks to an under-appraisal.”

The situation where buyer and seller agree on a fair price—but the bank’s appraiser determines a value that falls short—usually means that a sufficient loan won’t be offered. Bankers are required to protect the bank, and if they aren’t reassured that the equity in the loan’s underlying collateral supports the mortgage amount, okaying it would expose the bank to a loss.

Bankers would rather not.

But Napa homeowners on the verge of a sale can head off the problem. The solution is to address deferred maintenance and significant repairs or, per the NAR, “any condition that affects safety, soundness or structural integrity.” It’s a cinch that the best comparable sale figures reflect homes where those issues were addressed.

There are also some less-obvious actions Napa homeowners can take. For instance, some experts advise removing sensitive or religious pictures before an appraiser’s visit. The reason isn’t because of any prejudice from the appraiser. Rather, since rules prevent an appraiser from violating a homeowner’s privacy, some photographs of rooms might not be allowable—resulting in a report that lacks sufficient photographic documentation!

An accomplished Napa Realtor will advise you on how to best prepare for an appraiser’s visit, as well as make sure the appraiser has all the details needed to prepare the kind of comprehensive report that lets bankers sleep at night. This is part of my service—and another good reason to give me a call!


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  1. Photo of 106 Plymouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21901378)
    28
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,827 sqft   lot 4,199 sqft
    Listing provided by Carol Dean, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21901378
  2. Photo of 152 Del Rio Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901501)
    27
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,056 sqft   lot 871 sqft
    Listing provided by Jamie Trujillo, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21901501
  3. Photo of 7321 Pleasants Valley Road, Vacaville, CA 95688 (MLS # 21901337)
    50
    2 beds,  3 full baths
    1,818 sqft   lot 140.00 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Jean Deleonardi, KW Vaca Valley
    MLS 21901337
  4. Photo of 567 Spinnaker Court, Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423 (MLS # 21901482)
    8
    6 beds,  3 full baths
    2,867 sqft   lot 8,880 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Janice Maschek, Shore Line Realty, Inc
    MLS 21901482
  5. Photo of 125 Currant Lane, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901167)
    50
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,597 sqft   lot 4,918 sqft
    Walk Score® 20
    Listing provided by Renee Neuman, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21901167
  6. Photo of 497 Regency Circle, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901497)
    35
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,209 sqft   lot 4,787 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Kathleen Ramos, Stumbaugh Realty Advisors
    MLS 21901497
  7. Photo of 332 Donahue Street, Sausalito, CA 94965 (MLS # 21901500)
    3
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,667 sqft   lot 701 sqft
    Walk Score® 36
    Listing provided by Pete Zavlaris, Alain Pinel, REALTORS®
    MLS 21901500
  8. 5 beds,  3 full baths
    1,280 sqft   lot 4.79 ac
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Andrew Nicoll, W Real Estate
    MLS 21901457
  9. Photo of 18765 Dove Court, Hidden Valley Lake, CA 95467 (MLS # 21901498)
    24
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,189 sqft   lot 12,197 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Yvette Sloan, NextHome Yvette Sloan
    MLS 21901498
  10. 4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,698 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Jimmy Perez, United Realty Group
    MLS 21901495
  11. Photo of 1040 Boggs Lane, Lakeport, CA 95453 (MLS # 21901425)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    lot 9,306 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Shawn Hermosillo, W Real Estate
    MLS 21901425
  12. Photo of 371 Nicoli Lane, Sonoma, CA 95476 (MLS # 21901412)
    17
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    990 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 57
    Listing provided by Erin Davis, Compass
    MLS 21901412
  13. Photo of 17155 Morgan Valley Road, Lower Lake, CA 95457 (MLS # 21901493)
    37
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,000 sqft   lot 40.00 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Yvette Sloan, NextHome Yvette Sloan
    MLS 21901493
  14. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,136 sqft   lot 7,532 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Chanell Tyhurst, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21900701
  15. Photo of 248 Orris Terrace, San Rafael, CA 94903 (MLS # 21901246)
    25
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,337 sqft   lot 6,499 sqft
    Walk Score® 54
    Listing provided by Liz McCarthy, Compass
    MLS 21901246
  16. Photo of 1360 Milton Place, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21900887)
    42
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,821 sqft   lot 5,249 sqft
    Walk Score® 60
    Listing provided by BUNHONG YI, CLIMB REAL ESTATE GROUP
    MLS 21900887
  17. Photo of 5973 Lone Pine Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21901387)
    22
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    809 sqft   lot 29,381 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by David Rendino, RE/MAX Marketplace
    MLS 21901387
  18. Photo of 30 Hillcrest Court, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (MLS # 21901394)
    29
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,956 sqft   lot 5,981 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Judy Smith, Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21901394
  19. Photo of 284 Scenic Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21900224)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,112 sqft   lot 2.00 ac
    Walk Score® 8
    Listing provided by Grant Alvernaz, Grant Alvernaz
    MLS 21900224
  20. Photo of 300 South Lincoln Street, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21901485)
    30
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,903 sqft   lot 7,405 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Marianne MacDonald, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21901485
  21. Photo of 1500 West Watmaugh Road, Sonoma, CA 95476 (MLS # 21900393)
    22
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,094 sqft   lot 42,689 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Mary Szykowny, CENTURY 21 Wine Country
    MLS 21900393
  22. Photo of 8189 Sonoma Mountain Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21901484)
    35
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    lot 15.48 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Holly Bennett, Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21901484
  23. Photo of 7609 Camino Colegio, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21901402)
    20
    1 bed,  1 full bath
    614 sqft   lot 675 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Andrew Saltzman, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21901402
  24. Photo of 8185 Sonoma Mountan Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21900795)
    23
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,952 sqft   lot 5.22 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Holly Bennett, Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21900795
  25. Photo of 465 Hillsdale Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95409 (MLS # 21822166)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,696 sqft   lot 10,890 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Paula Lewis, Century 21 Valley of the Moon
    MLS 21822166
  26. Photo of 2150 Yellow Rose Circle, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21827153)
    25
    Price Drop
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,342 sqft   lot 5,698 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Eric Pangilinan, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21827153
  27. Photo of 7318 Michelle Way, Browns Valley, CA 95918 (MLS # 21824125)
    41
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,906 sqft  
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Kelsie Morse, Providence Properties
    MLS 21824125
  28. Photo of 32 Braun Court, Sausalito, CA 94965 (MLS # 21901477)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,241 sqft   lot 1,786 sqft
    Walk Score® 38
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Ellis, Compass
    MLS 21901477
  29. Photo of Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21901481)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,832 sqft   lot 19,798 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Katherine Clark, Bertolone Realty
    MLS 21901481
  30. Photo of 184 Hogan Avenue, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21900192)
    16
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,060 sqft   lot 5,227 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Daryll Canlas, Coldwell Banker Res. Broker
    MLS 21900192
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