Are Estate Appraisals the Same After a Disaster?

April 27, 2020 10:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Living in California near the San Andreas fault, we’re no strangers to natural disasters—from earthquakes to wildfires to floods, buying a property in this area comes with a certain set of risks. If your area—or one where you’re interested in buying—has recently experienced a natural disaster, you might be wondering how that affects property value, and how appraisers come to that valuation.

Natural disasters and estate appraisals in Napa County, CA require some careful consideration. First of all, you’ll naturally want to know whether the property is still usable and whether the appraiser thinks the market will bounce back in the near future. Second, it’s important to know the history of natural disasters in the area, and how much risk you’re assuming—that helps you determine whether it’s something you can mitigate, or whether you’d be better off looking in a different area.

Here are some considerations that an appraiser will factor in when examining a property after a disaster:

  • Whether the structures were damaged or destroyed: If you were one of the lucky ones whose buildings or home were spared in the disaster, the appraisal process will be a lot easier. However, if your home was damaged or completely destroyed, the appraiser will have to work backwards to recreate an estimate of its value. This can be done using historic property information, including previous estimates of the specific property or comparable ones nearby.
  • Whether other disasters are likely: If you’re living in a wildfire-prone area, like Napa County, it’s very likely that wildfires will occur in the area again. Less frequent are earthquakes, which are unpredictable but still an inevitability for most Californians. Your appraiser will take this into account (for example, consider that the past decade has seen serious wildfires in the North Bay area, including Napa and Sonoma—it’s safe to predict we will see more in the future, particularly in drought years).
  • How the surrounding area was affected: When the community on the whole is affected, property values will go down. However, if your property was an outlier, the surrounding property values and the extent of the damage on your acreage might not lower the value as much as you might expect.

In short, estate appraisals do look different after a natural disaster, given the additional factors your appraiser has to consider when valuing the property. However, many of the processes—property visits, researching legal encumbrances and determining tax liabilities—remain the same across the board.

Estate appraisals after a disaster in Napa County, CA

County Appraisals Inc. specializes in wine country properties, including wineries, vineyards and estates on large amounts of acreage. Our goal is to make your appraisal process as painless as possible, delivering an in-depth report that reveals the true value of your property. Since 2008, we have been Napa County’s premier source for agricultural-related property appraisals—call us today to learn more about our services and find out what we can do for you. We look forward to working with you soon!

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