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 8350 Lombard Way, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21726664)
    25
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    882 sqft   lot 6,599 sqft
    Listing provided by Annaliese Hiatt Quisisem, RE/MAX PROs
    MLS 21726664
  2. Photo of 3109 Rocklin Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (MLS # 21726747)
    12
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    978 sqft  
    Walk Score® 62
    Listing provided by Sarah Carlson, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/Wine Country Group
    MLS 21726747
  3. Photo of 5787 Levie Lane, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21726685)
    42
    3 beds,  4 full baths
    3,098 sqft   lot 2.25 ac
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Trish McCall Team, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21726685
  4. Photo of 812 Taylor Street, Winters, CA 95694 (MLS # 21726742)
    14
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,435 sqft   lot 6,181 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Sandy Vickrey, Realty World Camelot Winters
    MLS 21726742
  5. Photo of 512 Tamalpais Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (MLS # 21726736)
    21
    3 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    1,808 sqft   lot 3,406 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Christopher Toomajian, Redfin
    MLS 21726736
  6. 2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,432 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 10
    Listing provided by Cory Schell, The Kelly Company
    MLS 21726740
  7. Photo of 332 Coast Street, Willits, CA 95490 (MLS # 21726637)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    896 sqft   lot 7,841 sqft
    Walk Score® 83
    Listing provided by Roxanne Lemos-Neese, Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty
    MLS 21726637
  8. Photo of 8389 Liberty Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21726558)
    19
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,392 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 66
    Listing provided by Shayne Bowen, Samson Group
    MLS 21726558
  9. Photo of 1022 Linda Vista Way, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21716538)
    31
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,581 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 52
    Listing provided by Diane Shafer, Shafer Real Estate
    MLS 21716538
  10. Photo of 4697 Green Valley Road, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21726732)
    6
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,462 sqft   lot 1.08 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Kelly Dagul, Security Pacific Real Estate
    MLS 21726732
  11. Photo of 918 5th Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21726729)
    17
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,140 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 68
    Listing provided by Vickie Jackson, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21726729
  12. Photo of 3006 Hagen Road, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21718745)
    36
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,159 sqft   lot 11,099 sqft
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Jannette Hall, RE/MAX Gold Napa
    MLS 21718745
  13. Photo of 13431 Green Valley Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21726692)
    23
    5 beds,  2 full baths
    8,800 sqft   lot 38.50 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Kimberly Sethavanish, Century 21 Alliance
    MLS 21726692
  14. Photo of 2376 Chad Court, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21725809)
    48
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,164 sqft   lot 8,516 sqft
    Walk Score® 26
    Listing provided by Che Hill, Che Hill, Broker
    MLS 21725809
  15. Photo of 1690 E Street, Napa, CA 94559 (MLS # 21722768)
    26
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    880 sqft   lot 10,303 sqft
    Walk Score® 70
    Listing provided by Andrew Paulson, RE/MAX Gold Napa
    MLS 21722768
  16. Photo of 15 Avocet Court, Novato, CA 94949 (MLS # 21726704)
    14
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,683 sqft   lot 6,408 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Philip Wright, Wright Realty
    MLS 21726704
  17. Photo of 600 Rowland Boulevard, Novato, CA 94947 (MLS # 21726627)
    28
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,000 sqft   lot 7,575 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Kristie Martinelli, Bradley Real Estate-Novato
    MLS 21726627
  18. Photo of 1051 North Pine Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 (MLS # 21725568)
    22
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,229 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 62
    Listing provided by Karena Jolley, Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty
    MLS 21725568
  19. Photo of 4695 Old Adobe Road, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21726689)
    48
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,248 sqft   lot 299.36 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Karl Bundesen, CENTURY 21 Bundesen
    MLS 21726689
  20. Photo of 34 Hop Ranch Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (MLS # 21726481)
    29
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,068 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 45
    Listing provided by Mary Anne Veldkamp, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21726481
  21. Photo of 8875 Quarterhorse Lane, Lower Lake, CA 95457 (MLS # 21726715)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,248 sqft   lot 11,326 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Timothy Toye, Timothy Toye & Associates
    MLS 21726715
  22. Photo of 31 Drakes View Circle, Greenbrae, CA 94904 (MLS # 21726711)
    30
    2 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,727 sqft   lot 1,973 sqft
    Walk Score® 63
    Listing provided by Jennifer Pfeiffer, Zephyr Real Estate
    MLS 21726711
  23. Photo of 208 Mesa Verde Street, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21726710)
    40
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,442 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 57
    Listing provided by Cathleen Rojas, RE/MAX Gold-Vallejo
    MLS 21726710
  24. Photo of 1617 Nancy Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21726688)
    24
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,338 sqft   lot 8,076 sqft
    Walk Score® 49
    Listing provided by George Theodorides, Vanguard Properties
    MLS 21726688
  25. Photo of 132 Skyline Court, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21723196)
    35
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,562 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 43
    Listing provided by Hamed Nawabi, Intero Real Estate Services
    MLS 21723196
  26. Photo of 2042 Devonshire Drive, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21726695)
    23
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,321 sqft   lot 4,447 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by William Keller, Coldwell Banker B of V-Napa
    MLS 21726695
  27. Photo of 104 Hawkesbury Way, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21726658)
    16
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,945 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by Evelyn Harris, Home 4 All Realty, Inc.
    MLS 21726658
  28. Photo of 2099 Mount Olive Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21726690)
    45
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,752 sqft   lot 10,624 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Susan Franks, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21726690
  29. Photo of 3798 Manzanita Drive, Nice, CA 95464 (MLS # 21726701)
    22
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,500 sqft   lot 7,841 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by Diana Dahl, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21726701
  30. Photo of 208 Via La Cumbre, Greenbrae, CA 94904 (MLS # 21726700)
    25
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,770 sqft   lot 9,108 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by William Osborne, REALHome Services and Solutions, Inc
    MLS 21726700
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