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Featured in Appraisal Today

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Townsend Appraisals and Peter and Nancy Townsend were featured this month (September 2010) in Appraisal Today, the premier real estate appraisal periodical. The focus was on how the Townsends have adapted their business to the changing marketplace and evolving needs of the appraisal profession.

The article describes how the Townsends use division of labor, their commitment to being a green appraisal company, and some specific issues related to appraising as a family business. For instance, the article discusses the value of record keeping, the importance of vacation, and the need to save for retirement. There are a number of candid photos of the couple [see the full article and scroll to the bottom for photos], including some of the San Francisco area. The five page feature is a welcome recognition of this California appraisal company. Townsend appraisals covers Contra Costa County and Alameda County in California.

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A Green Appraisal Company

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Green Appraiser Contra Costa County, CA and Alameda County, CATownsend Appraisals is a green company.  Peter, with his engineering background, has a passion for saving energy.  We strive to incorporate an environmentally friendly attitude into all of our business activities: we drive a Prius to our appraisal appointments, we recycle all of our paper, we have a compost bin, we use flourescent lightbulbs,  and we have replaced plants in our garden with native Californian, drought-friendly varieties.  Peter has even charted our energy and water use since 2002 & we are proud to say that the trend is down.

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Appraisal Consulting in Northern California

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Appraisal Consulting in Contra Costa County, CA and Alameda County, CAAppraisal consulting is useful in a variety of situations. Before putting their home on the market, some clients wish to have an idea of what is a fair market value for their home. There are also clients who wish to know what they can do to maximize the value of their homes before selling them. We can tell you what makes a difference in property value so you can get the most “bang for your buck” when you are considering different improvements for your home. We can also estimate diminution in value for your property, if this should occur.  For example, if your neighbor’s tree grows and blocks your view, we can estimate the loss in value to your property.
Another situation in which clients seek appraisal consulting is in order to have an accurate record of their property’s square footage, as county records frequently do not accurately reflect the correct size and room count of a dwelling.

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Better Service Through Limited Areas!

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Contra Costa County FHA Appraiser - Alameda County California State Certified AppraiserHow we’re different: At Townsend Appraisals, we limit our market area to Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.  This enhances the quality of our appraisals and the level of trust that our clients experience.  We have 36+ years of combined appraisal experience.  Combined with commitment to be active in the appraisal community through speaking at Appraisal Institute conferences and other volunteer activities, we stay aware of the latest market trends, and have a network of skilled and competent professionals.

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The Story of Townsend Appraisals

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TOWNSEND APPRAISALS: Contra Costa County, CA and Alameda County, CAThe Story of Townsend Appraisals starts in 1986.  Nancy began appraising when interest rates started to drop after they had been at historical highs for a number of years.  She was mentored for five years by Donna Neff, an experienced appraiser in Orinda.  In 1991, she started her own business.  To optimize her competence and skills as an appraiser, she obtained her SRA designation from the Appraisal Institute in 1993. She is a certified expert witness in Contra Costa and Alameda County Superior Courts, as well as in Alameda Bankruptcy Court.  Her husband Peter joined her in 2001, having previously worked for over twenty years as a manager in metallurgical engineering.  His analytical mind has been a great contribution to Townsend Appraisals.

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What is a real estate appraiser?

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A common misconception is that real estate appraisers and real estate agents do the same thing.  Actually, our training and our function is very different.  Appraisers estimate the value of property.  Agents sell property.  Appraisers have much stricter licensing requirements.  Appraisers must have a minimum of 2000 hours of supervision by a mentor (2500 for a certified level which we have), at least 30 months of acceptable experience, successfully complete a number of increasingly sophisticated courses, and pass a rigorous licensing exam.  The continuing education requirements for appraisers are much more rigorous as well, than they are for agents.

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Appraisal Fees Vary By Appraisal Type

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The most common thing we are asked on the phone is “How much does an appraisal cost?”  The answer is that it depends on the property being appraised, of course, and the purpose of the appraisal. If you want an estimate of value without us inspecting the property at all, we could charge as little as $150.  If we don’t have to inspect the interior of the property and the purpose is not for divorce or litigation purposes, the fee can be as low as $275.  Appraisals that require an inspection of the interior of the property run from $400 – $550, with higher fees for more complex properties.  Appraisals which may be used for litigation are more, sometimes with an hourly charge.  Fees for expert witness testimony are $250 per hour.

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Alameda County

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Contra Costa County

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