Posted by & filed under Stockton Real Estate.

By Ryan Lundquist

inspecting a burned house

Today I want to share a few things to know about appraisals after a house has burned down. This isn’t a very easy subject – especially for property owners looking for information after a recent fire. If that’s you, my heart goes out to you and I am sorry about your loss. I hope some of this information helps give a little more context for your situation. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Here are a few things to know about appraisals on burned houses. Yes, this is me inspecting a charred home in the Natomas area of Sacramento a few weeks ago.

Repaired Value: Usually the client is going to want the appraiser to do an appraisal as if the fire did not happen, or in other words give a “repaired value” instead of an “as is” value. In fancy terms, the appraiser will use a hypothetical condition to appraise the property, which means the appraiser considers something as fact for the sake of analysis even though it is not true. In this case the house is considered to be in whatever condition it was before the fire even though it is obviously damaged.

Inspection: The appraiser will likely do a physical inspection of the property as long as it safe to do so. Of course a client may also allow an exterior-only appraisal (aka “drive-by”) if that suits their needs. The appraiser can do whatever inspection is required so long as the appraiser can get enough information to render a credible value.

Hiring an Appraiser: The insurance company or a contractor will likely hire the appraiser. The property owner can of course find an appraiser too. I recommend connecting the appraiser with the insurance company to be sure the appraiser and insurance company are on the same page about methodology, timeline and pricing.

Property Research: The appraiser will be trying to understand what the house was like before the fire, so the appraiser will gather details about the house from a variety of sources like a physical inspection, Tax Records, the home owner, neighbors if need be, Google Maps, aerial views and old MLS listings. All or some of these sources can begin to piece together facts about the home and help the appraiser do an appraisal despite the damage.

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