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 131 Isle Royale Circle, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818518)
    20
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,314 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Thomasine Peters, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21818518
  2. Photo of Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818743)
    48
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,073 sqft   lot 6,033 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Hope Hernandez, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21818743
  3. Photo of 1040 Campoy Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21818577)
    10
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,188 sqft   lot 566 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Mary Anne Veldkamp, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818577
  4. Photo of 2331 Morningside Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (MLS # 21818783)
    34
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,439 sqft   lot 4,012 sqft
    Walk Score® 28
    Listing provided by Gary L Sumner, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818783
  5. Photo of 1870 Leaning Oak Drive, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818774)
    28
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,975 sqft   lot 3,106 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Kathleen Ramos, Stumbaugh Realty Advisors
    MLS 21818774
  6. Photo of 3263 Inwood Place, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818771)
    2
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,409 sqft   lot 2,322 sqft
    Walk Score® 11
    Listing provided by Sofia Waiz, Greater Solano Real Estate Services
    MLS 21818771
  7. Photo of 717 Crestview Drive, Pinole, CA 94564 (MLS # 21818759)
    14
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,161 sqft   lot 8,398 sqft
    Walk Score® 56
    Listing provided by Artavia Taylor, Taylor Real Estate Brokerage
    MLS 21818759
  8. Photo of 1391 Couples Circle, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21818563)
    42
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    3,477 sqft   lot 7,166 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Candice Sullivan, Country Estates, Inc
    MLS 21818563
  9. Photo of 399 Riviera Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939 (MLS # 21818547)
    33
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,750 sqft   lot 7,501 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Angela Curley, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818547
  10. Photo of 1105 Bello Drive, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21818698)
    40
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,489 sqft   lot 8,490 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Juli Paschal, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21818698
  11. Photo of 799 Dizzy Gillespie Way, Windsor, CA 95492 (MLS # 21816962)
    30
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,400 sqft   lot 3,920 sqft
    Walk Score® 67
    Listing provided by Craig Curreri, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21816962
  12. Photo of 359 Seaport Drive, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21818792)
    37
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,238 sqft   lot 1,594 sqft
    Walk Score® 20
    Listing provided by Candice Camden, Camden Realty & Property Management
    MLS 21818792
  13. Photo of 165 Vineyard Circle, Yountville, CA 94599 (MLS # 21818810)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,154 sqft   lot 1,442 sqft
    Walk Score® 43
    Listing provided by Cyndi Gates, Gates Estates Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21818810
  14. Photo of 1079 Tahoe Court, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21817132)
    48
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,596 sqft   lot 3.26 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Olcott, Keller Williams Napa Valley
    MLS 21817132
  15. Photo of 132 Riordan Lane, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21814133)
    4
    Price Drop
    Open House
    5 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    2,821 sqft   lot 6,970 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Elli Ketcherside, Ryder Homes Realty, Inc
    MLS 21814133
  16. Photo of 13970 Green Valley Road, Forestville, CA 95436 (MLS # 21818797)
    4
    1 bed,  1 full bath
    lot 7.87 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Trish McCall, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21818797
  17. Photo of 153 Riviera Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21818790)
    46
    Open House
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    3,433 sqft   lot 14,161 sqft
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Benjamin Faber, Redfin
    MLS 21818790
  18. Photo of 1 Frisbie Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21817327)
    15
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    964 sqft   lot 492 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Tim Hiemstra, Napa River Realty
    MLS 21817327
  19. Photo of 260 Ginger Street, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818804)
    26
    Open House
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,514 sqft   lot 5,092 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Jill Alderson, Century 21 MM
    MLS 21818804
  20. Photo of 82 Longview Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818751)
    31
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,546 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Bonnie Almarez, Windermere Hulsey & Associates
    MLS 21818751
  21. Photo of 4 Lorraine Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 (MLS # 21801826)
    14
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,220 sqft  
    Walk Score® 51
    Listing provided by Lynn McNamara, RE/MAX Full Spectrum
    MLS 21801826
  22. Photo of 1200 East Railroad Avenue, Cotati, CA 94931 (MLS # 21818788)
    34
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,620 sqft   lot 19.79 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Lauren Camarda, Engel & Voelkers Sonoma County
    MLS 21818788
  23. Photo of 30 Castellina Circle, American Canyon, CA 94503 (MLS # 21818791)
    39
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,652 sqft   lot 5,223 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by David Tate, Century 21 Exclusive
    MLS 21818791
  24. Photo of 201 Floribel Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (MLS # 21815197)
    24
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    1,936 sqft   lot 10,920 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Aron Cawood, Dolan Realty Company
    MLS 21815197
  25. Photo of 509 South Foothill Boulevard, Cloverdale, CA 95425 (MLS # 21818415)
    38
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,544 sqft   lot 6,286 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Annaliese Hiatt Quisisem, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21818415
  26. Photo of 2929 Branch Street, Sacramento, CA 95815 (MLS # 21817021)
    14
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,538 sqft   lot 19,798 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by David Coombs, Realty One Group Complete
    MLS 21817021
  27. Photo of 4974 Filament Street, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21818779)
    22
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,685 sqft  
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Kenneth Schrier, RE/MAX Marketplace
    MLS 21818779
  28. Photo of 32290 South Highway 1 Highway, Gualala, CA 95445 (MLS # 21818770)
    11
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,210 sqft   lot 1.58 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Sean Gaynor-Rousseau, Sea Ranch - Gualala Real Estate Co
    MLS 21818770
  29. Photo of 6740 Merchant Street, Petaluma, CA 94952 (MLS # 21818777)
    35
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,400 sqft   lot 3.84 ac
    Walk Score® 11
    Listing provided by Kelly Sullivan, Century 21 NorthBay Alliance
    MLS 21818777
  30. Photo of 15115 Konocti View, Clearlake, CA 95422 (MLS # 21818776)
    23
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,248 sqft   lot 8,100 sqft
    Walk Score® 46
    Listing provided by Colleen Chatoff, Chatoff Properties
    MLS 21818776
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