Do Estate Appraisals Account for Natural Disasters?

April 2, 2020 1:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Living along the San Andreas Fault means that we’re no strangers to earthquakes. Anyone who’s ever considered buying property in the area knows that earthquakes are a matter of “when,” not “if.” Plus, with wildfires increasing in frequency and severity, even the rural parts of the North Bay Area can be downright dangerous. Many of our clients want to know how that affects appraisals in natural disaster areas in Napa County, CA.

How do appraisals work after natural disasters?

Natural disasters commonly lower the value of land. Wildfires can permanently scar the land and affect its potential uses, while earthquakes can damage buildings that would otherwise be considered improvements on the acreage.

When an appraiser values a parcel of land after a natural disaster, they have to take new factors into account. First, are the buildings on the property partially or completely destroyed? Appraisers will consider what the original value of the property might have been, if it weren’t damaged, and then subtract the damage from there. As you might imagine, the current, post-disaster value can be significantly different than what it might have been before.

Another factor is what the surrounding community looks like after the disaster. That can not only make it hard to find comparable properties in the area, but the extent of the damage will affect how desirable your property is to buyers—naturally, the better an area has survived, the more valuable it will be as a location.

Disasters also affect supply and demand considerations—sometimes there will be a high demand for inhabitable land, if the rest of a high-value community has been destroyed, but in other cases, the demand will drop because no one is interested in buying.

Appraisers will also consider how long the valuation might last, which takes into account factors like whether the land will heal over time, and when other properties in the area might be improved, raising the value of the location in general. This also depends on whether potential buyers have faith that the value of the land will rise, making them more likely to pay more now.

In summary, natural disasters will affect the value of a property in some way, but how much depends on a number of different, interconnected factors. In turn, specific buyers may find them more or less suitable, depending on their goals. The best way to determine your property value is to hire a skilled appraiser for an exact number.

Appraisals after natural disasters in Napa County, CA

County Appraisals Inc. offers land appraisal services to the Napa County area, specializing in agricultural-related properties, including wineries and vineyards. Our comprehensive valuations include estate and property tax valuations, to help you negotiate the best price and make the process as easy and painless as possible. From vacant land to single-family homes on acreage, we’re able to appraise and value any type of residential or commercial property. Interested in learning how a natural disaster has affected your land value? Call us today to get started.

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