Luxury Homes Wine Country by Kathy Luebcke
Kathy Luebcke
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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 717 Fitch Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (MLS # 21824593)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,600 sqft   lot 15,686 sqft
    Walk Score® 72
    Listing provided by Alain-Martin Pierret, Healdsburg Sotheby's Int'l Realty
    MLS 21824593
  2. Photo of 19908 Mountain Meadow, Hidden Valley Lake, CA 95467 (MLS # 21824733)
    29
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    2,591 sqft   lot 23,448 sqft
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Jen Mullin, Century 21 North Bay Alliance
    MLS 21824733
  3. Photo of 3091 Pecan Circle, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21824578)
    41
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,261 sqft   lot 8,224 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Sherri Duggan, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21824578
  4. Photo of 1713 Ventura Way, Suisun City, CA 94585 (MLS # 21824187)
    25
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,434 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 7
    Listing provided by Brenda Comfort, California Investment Properties
    MLS 21824187
  5. Photo of 263 Forrest Avenue, Fairfax, CA 94930 (MLS # 21824063)
    10
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,022 sqft   lot 6,190 sqft
    Walk Score® 53
    Listing provided by Steve Sekhon, Compass
    MLS 21824063
  6. Photo of 46 Bedford Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21824725)
    26
    2 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,595 sqft   lot 2,448 sqft
    Walk Score® 25
    Listing provided by Stefan Schermerhorn, Holmes Burrell Real Estate
    MLS 21824725
  7. Photo of 119 Mica Drive, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21823063)
    24
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,671 sqft   lot 5,070 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Judith Urbanik, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21823063
  8. Photo of 1371 Sirah Court, Ukiah, CA 95482 (MLS # 21824712)
    13
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,656 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Pat Williams, AMC Realty
    MLS 21824712
  9. Photo of 4096 Peaceful Glen Road, Vacaville, CA 95688 (MLS # 21824567)
    47
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,959 sqft   lot 4.70 ac
    Walk Score® 7
    Listing provided by Julie Coffey, Century 21 MM
    MLS 21824567
  10. Photo of 2047 Dubloon Court, Bodega Bay, CA 94923 (MLS # 21822814)
    42
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,540 sqft   lot 10,350 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Steven Hecht, Artisan Sotheby's Int'l Realty
    MLS 21822814
  11. Photo of Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21816759)
    28
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,702 sqft   lot 9,583 sqft
    Walk Score® 66
    Listing provided by Richard Frank, Sterling California Properties
    MLS 21816759
  12. Photo of 901 Meadowlark Drive, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21824703)
    11
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,024 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Michael Hulsey, Windermere Hulsey & Associates
    MLS 21824703
  13. Photo of 1821 Mini Drive, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21821348)
    13
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,300 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 37
    Listing provided by Zee Magee, ARS Realty & Financial Service
    MLS 21821348
  14. Photo of 113 Villa Court, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21824694)
    13
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    968 sqft   lot 1,742 sqft
    Walk Score® 21
    Listing provided by Cecile McNaughton, Greater Solano Real Estate Services
    MLS 21824694
  15. Photo of 927 Broadway Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21824610)
    18
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,717 sqft   lot 8,712 sqft
    Walk Score® 54
    Listing provided by Justina Ortiz, Sequoia Real Estate
    MLS 21824610
  16. Photo of 46650 Fish Rock Road, Gualala, CA 95445 (MLS # 21819506)
    15
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    lot 1.04 ac
    Walk Score® 6
    Listing provided by Cassie Henderson, Kennedy & Associates
    MLS 21819506
  17. Photo of 6319 Newhaven Lane, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21824691)
    38
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    2,259 sqft   lot 3,014 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Stacey Sandoe, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21824691
  18. Photo of 5031 Feliz Creek Road, Hopland, CA 95449 (MLS # 21824576)
    46
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    2,498 sqft   lot 15.00 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Alain-Martin Pierret, Healdsburg Sotheby's Int'l Realty
    MLS 21824576
  19. Photo of 4610 Aria Place, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21824653)
    32
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    3,417 sqft   lot 20,255 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Eric Brooks, KW Vaca Valley
    MLS 21824653
  20. Photo of 73 Tamalpais Road, Fairfax, CA 94930 (MLS # 21824596)
    24
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,527 sqft   lot 3,899 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Dominique Nave-Conroy, Bradley Real Estate-Novato
    MLS 21824596
  21. Photo of 26 Hilligoss Court, Petaluma, CA 94952 (MLS # 21815749)
    40
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,903 sqft   lot 20,713 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Michael Williams, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21815749
  22. Photo of 7771 Healdsburg Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21824455)
    20
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,200 sqft   lot 871 sqft
    Walk Score® 71
    Listing provided by Rick Warner, Bradley Real Estate
    MLS 21824455
  23. Photo of 170 Wilson Way, Larkspur, CA 94939 (MLS # 21824439)
    25
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    2,685 sqft   lot 9,500 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Chris DeNike, Zephyr Real Estate
    MLS 21824439
  24. Photo of 2324 Jose Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21824671)
    8
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,676 sqft   lot 4,356 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Luis Ramos, Blue Sky Realty & Investments
    MLS 21824671
  25. Photo of 2100 Tindall Ranch Road, Talmage, CA 95481 (MLS # 21824673)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,400 sqft   lot 28.36 ac
    Listing provided by Anthony Ford, RE/MAX Full Spectrum
    MLS 21824673
  26. 4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,540 sqft   lot 6,970 sqft
    Walk Score® 32
    Listing provided by Logan Adams, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21824668
  27. Photo of 8981 Glen Alder Way, Sacramento, CA 95826 (MLS # 21824669)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,003 sqft   lot 7,000 sqft
    Walk Score® 32
    Listing provided by Richard Howells, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21824669
  28. Photo of 763 Penny Royal Lane, San Rafael, CA 94903 (MLS # 21823704)
    27
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,513 sqft   lot 6,499 sqft
    Walk Score® 47
    Listing provided by Jonathan Marks, Alain Pinel Realtors
    MLS 21823704
  29. Photo of 25302 Ten Mile Road, Point Arena, CA 95468 (MLS # 21805863)
    34
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    lot 71.45 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Cassie Henderson, Kennedy & Associates
    MLS 21805863
  30. Photo of 1559 Philip Drive, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (MLS # 21824618)
    42
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,740 sqft   lot 4,356 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by Michael Viani, Redfin
    MLS 21824618
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