Appraisal Experiences in SoCal

Jan 14, 2013 8 Comments by

One tip I have for appraisers is to not be afraid of working on different types of properties.  Over the years I’ve appraised some interesting properties:

  • A warehouse for space satellites.  You had to get a security clearance and wear bootie shoe covers.  This was basically appraised as a high quality industrial warehouse with high quality office improvements.
  • A massage parlor.  I didn’t know what it was until I got there.  My assistant at the time, a retired police officer, told me about “stings” he participated in at places like this.  This was considered to be an office building of Class C (lowest quality).
  • Homes devastated by earthquake or wild fire.  Southern California is notorious for these phenomena.  Northridge was hit by a large earthquake, and there were insurance claims to be settled with the help of appraisers.  Malibu has had a lot of huge fires.  I appraised several lots there with only a foundation and a fireplace.
  • A 2,500 acre parcel of land, overlooking a city, with a 2,000 foot high mountain used for radio and television broadcasting towers. Issues considered included endangered species, which limit potential construction.  One difficulty with this type of property is that the comparable sales are located significant distances from the subject property.
  • A 600+ room hotel with 339,000 square feet of building area.  This property was a challenge to inspect and analyze because of its size, features and variety of services.  Hotels are special in real estate analysis because of they include going-concern value as well as furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • A three unit “mixed-use” property with a medical doctor’s office (sexologist), his residence and an after-hours bar.  Usually, by their nature, mixed-use properties have incompatible uses.  In this case the property had likely illegally compatible uses.  This was in a tough neighborhood where such things are apparently overlooked.
  • A portion of a state mental hospital for criminals.   My experience wasn’t as scary as it sounds as I wasn’t appraising the prisoners’ quarters.
  • A high value residence in Beverly Hills.  Actually, I have appraised many fine homes in a variety of cities.  One memorable home was said to be a replica of the “Czarina’s Summer Palace.”  The highest quality Italian marble, selected by selected by a specialist sent to Italy was used.
  • A high quality recording studio.  The owner said that this was the best recording studio in Southern California.  I wasn’t so sure until I saw Prince’s purple guitar.  He had recorded there that morning and Beyoncé had also recently done some work there.
  • Celebrity residences are exciting to visit.  Actors, singers and professional sportsmen have interesting homes.  Sometimes the appraiser must sign a non-disclosure agreement.  Because of an NDA, I can’t do any further name-dropping.

About the author

Charles (Chuck) Segelhorst, chief appraiser, has 20 years of real estate appraisal experience. He is a certified general real estate appraiser, the highest level of California State appraisal licensing. Mr. Segelhorst received a master’s degree in business administration from American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), Glendale Arizona and a bachelor’s degree in economics, cum laude, from California State University, Long Beach. In addition, he has completed appraisal course-work through the Appraisal Institute. Specialized classes that he has completed include: Income Capitalization, High Value Residence Appraisal, Valuation of Detrimental Conditions, Appraisal Procedures, Appraisal Applications, Econometrics and Financial Statement Analysis. He has testified in Municipal and Superior Courts as an expert witness.

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