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What Is a Complex Home Appraisal?: An Interview with Michael Crose of Coast Appraisal, Inc.

By Michael Crose

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a full-service real estate appraisal company that specializes in residential, multi-residential and commercial properties located in Southern California. We cover the areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We are also one of the few appraisal companies that have the experience and expertise to appraise properties located on Catalina Island.

Can you describe some features that would make a property or home "complex"?

A complex appraisal does not necessarily pertain to a complex physical characteristic but more specifically, it pertains to an attribute of a property that makes the scope of work required when appraising the property out of the ordinary. Complex physical features might include oversized land areas, subterranean living areas, extensive solar fixtures or perhaps other unique amenities like livable tree houses or unique swimming pools or water features. The actual location itself might be a complexity such as a mountaintop location or next to a park, beach, golf course or canal with corresponding views.

What are some of the most unique amenities you've seen in Southern California that make a home appraisal complex?

I've appraised a property that was known as Graceland West because it was the former residence of Elvis Presley. Does that make it more valuable? The short answer is "it depends" (several factors are at play here but mostly it has to do with the future highest and best use). I've also appraised a truly unique 10,000 sq/ft. mountaintop property that had a orchestral recording studio and live theater complete with 19th century seating and decor imported from a former London opera house.

What does an appraiser need to do differently for a complex appraisal?

Research, research and more research. You must do enough investigative research on the amenity that makes the assignment complex until you can comment with a level of expertise. The feature or characteristic that makes the appraisal complex may add significant value to a property, however sometimes it adds no value whatsoever.

What's one of the biggest challenges with a complex appraisal?

One of the biggest challenges when undertaking a complex assignment is finding the right data or source, which is oftentimes another person who has expertise in that area. Another big challenge is actually explaining your research to a client who has a different opinion than your own. For example, I had a client who was very disappointed to learn that his granite counter tops which were mined from a quarry in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan added no more value to his home than granite that was mined from the mountains of San Bernardino.

Do you have any tips for homeowners who need a property appraised that has one or more atypical characteristics?

I would advise a potential client to interview their appraiser until they have an acceptable comfort level with that appraiser's competency. Because an appraiser may not have certain expertise on a unique feature does not mean that the appraiser, if he or she is professional and competent, cannot develop an acceptable level of expertise through properly applied research.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

They can call Michael or Allyson directly at 714-969-8565 in the office, or by cell phone at 714-293-0862.

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