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Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is an appraisal?
Often for legal or loan approval purposes, folks unfamiliar with the property need to have an outside reference of its value in the marketplace:
  • The bank takes caution to look at the house in a "worst-case" scenario: "If the buyer couldn't keep up payments and the money had to be resold by the bank in 60 days, what would be its value to a complete stranger?" Even though buyer and seller may agree on the price, if a bank is going to provide a loan for that house, it needs to know this value, and it will risk providing 80% of the financing.
  • In Family Law, when a marriage ends in divorce, both sides need to know the value of the home, so they can settle and split up their valuable assets.
  • When Grandma passes away, her home of 50 years needs to be divided up or sold by her children. An independent appraiser will provide a document that the courts and probate officials will accept, so that all parties can accept an independent valuation.
2. How is an appraisal developed? [back to top]
  • The appraisal is the whole process of valuing the house.
    • First, research is developed, to find out the legal records, size of the lot, home owner dues, location, age, and features of the subject property.
    • Then more research is needed to find similar properties that have recently sold, or are currently on the market. These are then evaluated to provide a background awareness of the area.
    • The appraiser then schedules an inspection, to measure and record the size and features of the property. We typically take pictures of the front and back of the house and one of the street that is located on. Often we take photos of the interior features, including the living room fireplace, kitchen appliances, a typical bath, pool, spa, views, stables, etc. This usually takes from 30 to 90 minutes. Recent sales and current listings of similar properties from the neighborhood are then evaluated from the street, without an interior inspection, and pictures of them are taken from the street.
    • The appraiser takes these pictures, his sketch, and the other information, and develops a report from his office. This is the most important part, as all his experience and judgment is necessary to produce a clear, well organized document that the family, the lenders, or the courts will accept as the best estimate of current (or historical) market value.
    • The final document includes approximately 20 pages, and it also includes color photos of the subject and the similar properties. It is then delivered to the client, often personally, For out of town clients, the overnight shipping resources are used. The whole process usually takes about a week, although special rush orders can often b e done in a day or two.
  • 3. How much does this cost, and how are your paid? [back to top]
    • A typical entry level home can be appraised for as little as $250, with rates rising, based on complexity and liability exposure. Typically, local million dollar estates might run from $600 to $900, based on location and complexity. Litigation support and expert witness fees are available, please contact us directly.
    • Usually the appraiser is paid at the time of inspection. Unlike many other professions, the standard and typical time to meet the appraiser is when he is at the property, thus the common time for payment. If the client is not able to meet at the property, or the client is from out of town, usually a check or money order is shipped to the appraiser quickly. That way, he receives the payment and can release and ship the document sooner. Banks and corporate lenders have pre-approved credit lines that qualify for other arrangements.
    • In legal cases, the appraiser is paid a retainer to start work and to not accept any other offers (from the opposing party). He is then paid on a step by step basis, as the case develops.
    4. What do you appraise? [back to top]
    • We appraise residential properties. We do not do personal property, like paintings, furniture, jewelry, and autographs. We can help you with single family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, new construction, PUDs, and residentially zoned land.
    • We are specialists also, and have training, in historical and architectural properties. Often these properties are not being sold, but need current, or other date, value for estate planning purposes. These require additional research and interviews with other home owners and real estate professionals, and can become quite extensive. But these unique and hand-crafted homes deserve that extra care. We have appraised homes built by the Wrights, Harrison, Ain, Daniels, Gill, Moore, May, Kappe, and many others.
    5. What areas do you cover? [back to top]

    While we focus primarily on Los Angeles County, we also frequently assist folks in Orange County, Ventura County, and Santa Barbara County. Some communities we include are:

    • Agoura
    • Agoura Hills
    • Anaheim
    • Anaheim Hills
    • Azusa
    • Bel-Air
    • Beverly Hills
    • Brentwood
    • Burbank
    • Camarillo
    • Chatsworth
    • Culver City
    • El Segundo
    • Encino
    • Glendale
    • Hancock Park
    • Hermosa Beach
    • Hidden Hills
    • Hollywood
    • Huntington Beach
    • Inglewood
    • Irvine
    • Laguna Beach
    • Long Beach
    • Los Feliz
    • Manhattan Beach
    • Malibu
    • Montecito
    • Moorpark
    • Naples
    • Newbury Park
    • Newport Beach
    • North Ranch
    • Northridge
    • Oak Park
    • Oxnard
    • Pacific Palisades
    • Palm Desert
    • Palm Springs
    • Palos Verdes
    • Pasadena
    • Redondo Beach
    • Rolling Hills
    • Rolling Hills Estates
    • San Marino
    • Santa Barbara
    • Santa Ana
    • Santa Monica
    • Sherman Oaks
    • Silverlake
    • Simi Valley
    • South Pasadena
    • Studio city
    • Tarzana
    • Thousand Oaks
    • Torrance
    • Valley Village
    • Van Nuys
    • Venice
    • Ventura
    • West Hollywood
    • Westlake
    • Westlake Village
    • Woodland Hills
    • and many more
    My family includes four other appraisers, who cover the Rocky Mountain regions, including Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, and the surrounding areas. (Click here)
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