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An Overview of the Home Appraisal Process: An Interview with John Barnes of Paragon Appraisal Group

By John Barnes

Tell Us About Paragon Appraisal Group:

Paragon Appraisal Group was founded by John Galvez Barnes and Bernadette Barnes-Macapinlac in San Bruno back in 1993, not long after the licensing of real estate appraisers came into effect. Paragon is now based in the Piedmont Pines district of the Oakland Hills and services the Bay Area counties of Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Napa, and Santa Cruz. John is a certified real estate appraiser and is also a licensed real estate broker who has been in the real estate industry since 1990. They both come from a family of real estate brokers, agents, mortgage bankers, and appraisers. Paragon Appraisal Group has licensed and certified appraisers as well as a support staff to assist you in ordering your appraisals 7 days a week.

Paragon's mission is to deliver quality appraisals in a timely manner with geographical competence, USPAP compliance, and professional communication on every assignment. We strive to be the number one appraisal company to call for any 1-4 unit property within the entire Bay Area and beyond. We do not work from just 9 to 5 for the client; we simply work beginning to end, no matter what it takes. Paragon was established with the true meaning of the word in mind - as "a model of excellence" in all that we do.

Paragon Appraisal Group's Services:

Our company provides real estate appraisal services and consultations for all 1-4 unit residential and mixed-use properties within our service area. Inspection appointments can usually be made within 48 hours of the appraisal order, and the final appraisal will be delivered within 48 hours after the inspection. We perform appraisals for situations that call for valuations such as estate taxation (trusts), probate, property tax appeals, divorce, bankruptcy, pre-foreclosure, pre-listing, PMI removal, bail bonding, partnership dissolution, new construction, complex, high-end, private (hard-money) lending, even those needing our expert witness testimony in the court system. Appraisals for federally related transactions such as those performed for conventional lending, and assignments involving Appraisal Management Companies (aka AMCs) can be delivered in .XML, .ENV, or .PDF format, or it can be uploaded through any portal requested. The effective date of the appraisal can be retroactive, current, or prospective. The property can be in any condition. It doesn't even need to physically exist for us to appraise it!

Real Estate Appraisers:

An appraiser's job is to determine the value of a property as defined and as instructed when engaged. The purpose of the appraisal varies on one's need for the valuation as mentioned in the services we provide above. After contact is made for access to the property, the appraiser will arrive to measure the property while taking photographs and notes throughout the entire process. But, the job doesn't end there. The appraiser will then take that data and use it to gather comparables in the neighborhood. The final report will be detailed and thorough which will include the major form (which is the main body of the appraisal), a sketch of the property showing the dimensions and room layout, digital photographs of the subject property and the comps, location and plat maps, and miscellaneous addenda that elaborates on how the value was derived, along with any disclaimers and disclosures needed for that particular assignment.

Homeowners and Home Appraisals:

Homeowners should know that they are not the actual client when an appraiser is doing the appraisal for a federally related transaction involving financing. The lender is the client, not the owner. Even if the owner pays for the appraisal, it does not automatically make the owner the direct client of the appraisal assignment. This does not mean that the owner is not entitled to a copy of the appraisal. The owner is entitled to it, but the copy of the report will NOT come from the appraiser - it will be delivered by either the lender or the appraisal management company. We are obligated to keep the results of the appraisal report strictly confidential. We are upheld to keeping the records private, and we can not discuss the results of the report to anyone other than the appraisal management company or the lender (that is, if the assignment specifically allows for it upon engagement). Do know, however, that the owner of a property can be the direct client if the appraiser is engaged for non-lending assignments, but for lending assignments, the lender is the usually the client. When this is the case, communication can be made direct with the appraiser with no issues whatsoever.

Determining the Value of a Home:

Homeowners should be aware that the value of the home can not be automatically determined at the end of the inspection process. In fact, there are still many more steps to be taken in order to arrive at a value estimate. The value will be based primarily on the Sales Comparison Approach (also known as the Market Data Approach), which is essentially based on the comparables that have either recently closed escrow or are currently pending or active on the market. The appraiser will be visiting the comps' exteriors that he selects for comparison in the report, and will be rendering adjustments for the differences of each comp as it compares to the subject on a market grid. The value is not known until the end of each value approach when a final value is reconciled(sales comparison approach, cost approach, and income approach, if applicable). There is no need to ask the appraiser how much he thinks the property is worth before leaving the property, because in all honesty, he really doesn't know!

The final value of an appraisal can be expressed as either an exact value or a range of value. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not necessarily be the final sales price in a purchase transaction negotiated between a buyer and seller. Always keep in mind that price does not always equate to value. They can be the same, or they can be different. If you ever are in need to know exactly what that number is, contact Paragon to help you figure it out.

Paragon Contact Info:

Paragon can be reached 24/7 by phone, fax, email, or text. Our information is as follows:

Paragon Appraisal Group

6629 Exeter Drive

Oakland, CA 94611

  • tel: 415.626.3191
  • fax: 415.962.0627
  • cel: 415.609.3191
  • email: john@paragonappraisals.com; jbzinthehouse@aol.com; pagboss@aol.com
  • website: www.paragonappraisalgroup.com
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