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 667 Stoneman Court, Benicia, CA 94510 (MLS # 21813491)
    41
    5 beds,  4 full, 1 half baths
    4,380 sqft   lot 10,433 sqft
    Listing provided by Marcus Hartinger, Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific
    MLS 21813491
  2. Photo of 7956 Oman Road, Redwood Valley, CA 95470 (MLS # 21813495)
    35
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    3,200 sqft   lot 1.02 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by David Ryan, Windermere Platinum Real Estate Services
    MLS 21813495
  3. Photo of 101 Gold Hill Way, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21811375)
    12
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,144 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Tezra Rogers, Pacific Bay Estates
    MLS 21811375
  4. Photo of Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21813490)
    11
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,128 sqft   lot 6,969 sqft
    Walk Score® 43
    Listing provided by Joshua Anello, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21813490
  5. Photo of 1693 Belvedere Way, Wheatland, CA 95961 (MLS # 21813492)
    9
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,045 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Angelica Smith, Amplify
    MLS 21813492
  6. Photo of 631 Grandberg Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21813465)
    32
    1 bed,  1 full bath
    570 sqft   lot 11,700 sqft
    Walk Score® 59
    Listing provided by Arlee Geary, Century 21 Alliance
    MLS 21813465
  7. Photo of 1315 Sanderling Island, Point Richmond, CA 94801 (MLS # 21801252)
    24
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,855 sqft   lot 5,519 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Susan Koide, Bradley Real Estate-San Rafael
    MLS 21801252
  8. Photo of 845 Griffith Drive, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21812984)
    49
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,678 sqft   lot 8,211 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Sheilah Tucker, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21812984
  9. Photo of 600 Lawndale Road, Kenwood, CA 95452 (MLS # 21813393)
    46
    5 beds,  5 full, 1 half baths
    7,500 sqft   lot 5.00 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Randall Waller, W Real Estate
    MLS 21813393
  10. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,103 sqft   lot 6,469 sqft
    Walk Score® 51
    Listing provided by Rebekka Johnston, W Real Estate
    MLS 21812239
  11. Photo of 1812 Larkin Way, Sacramento, CA 95818 (MLS # 21813484)
    16
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    936 sqft   lot 3,920 sqft
    Walk Score® 74
    Listing provided by Mark Mazotti, Purplebricks Realty, Inc.
    MLS 21813484
  12. Photo of 582 Summerset Drive, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21812966)
    9
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,065 sqft   lot 6,499 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Naomi Walker, Richards Real Estate
    MLS 21812966
  13. Photo of 1040 Rimrock Drive, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21813455)
    36
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,232 sqft   lot 9,605 sqft
    Walk Score® 6
    Listing provided by Sangeeta Kishnani, BHHS Drysdale Properties
    MLS 21813455
  14. Photo of 4190 Sun Drive, Lakeport, CA 95453 (MLS # 21813482)
    43
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,678 sqft   lot 3.42 ac
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Davis, Coldwell Banker T&C Properties
    MLS 21813482
  15. Photo of 2693 Bradford Way, West Sacramento, CA 95691 (MLS # 21813483)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,147 sqft   lot 3,311 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Mark Mazotti, Purplebricks Realty, Inc.
    MLS 21813483
  16. Photo of 1711 Autumn Meadow Drive, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21813481)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,462 sqft   lot 4,604 sqft
    Walk Score® 9
    Listing provided by Jimmy Castro, RE/MAX Gold Elite
    MLS 21813481
  17. Photo of 908 Diamante Drive, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21813479)
    19
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,439 sqft   lot 4,273 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Andria Haisley, Shafer Real Estate
    MLS 21813479
  18. Photo of 8380 Peninsula Drive, Kelseyville, CA 95451 (MLS # 21813457)
    36
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,737 sqft   lot 41,382 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Davis, Coldwell Banker T&C Properties
    MLS 21813457
  19. Photo of 29 Forest Drive, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21805210)
    44
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    4,282 sqft   lot 6.00 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Olcott, Keller Williams Napa Valley
    MLS 21805210
  20. Photo of 1013 Shire Court, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21813222)
    49
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    2,603 sqft   lot 28,157 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Loy Jackson, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21813222
  21. Photo of 6441 Meadow Creek Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95409 (MLS # 21812355)
    26
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,686 sqft   lot 8,712 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Nancy Devoto, McBride Realty
    MLS 21812355
  22. Photo of 28463 El Camino, Winters, CA 95694 (MLS # 21813179)
    37
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,018 sqft   lot 7.46 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by William Keller, Coldwell Banker B of V-Napa
    MLS 21813179
  23. Photo of 3211 Broken Twig Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21813006)
    35
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,984 sqft   lot 9,583 sqft
    Walk Score® 8
    Listing provided by Allison Pharis, Vanguard Properties
    MLS 21813006
  24. Photo of 1 Willow Lane, Sausalito, CA 94965 (MLS # 21811478)
    22
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,622 sqft   lot 1,054 sqft
    Walk Score® 75
    Listing provided by Susan Churchill, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21811478
  25. Photo of 503 Pixie Trail, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (MLS # 21813470)
    25
    Open House
    3 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    2,225 sqft   lot 10,390 sqft
    Walk Score® 21
    Listing provided by Rick Stern, Zephyr Real Estate
    MLS 21813470
  26. 4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,437 sqft   lot 7,510 sqft
    Walk Score® 27
    Listing provided by Raina Duran, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21813474
  27. 4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,036 sqft   lot 6,660 sqft
    Walk Score® 27
    Listing provided by Raina Duran, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21813478
  28. Photo of 1300 Niestrath Road, Cazadero, CA 95421 (MLS # 21813406)
    30
    1 bed,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,152 sqft   lot 40.00 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Helena Gustavsson Giesea, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Sonoma County Properties
    MLS 21813406
  29. Photo of 1670 E Street, Napa, CA 94559 (MLS # 21813477)
    15
    Open House
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,950 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 67
    Listing provided by David Hidalgo, Century 21 M & M Assoc
    MLS 21813477
  30. Photo of 1431 Minnesota Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21812532)
    37
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,216 sqft   lot 5,227 sqft
    Walk Score® 73
    Listing provided by Rose Marie Rice-Deadrich, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21812532
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