Choosing the right appraiser for litigation
Choosing the right appraiser for litigation needs is a multi-step process. The most obvious one is to choose an appraiser who can accurately determine a property’s value for your client and your case, while creating supporting documentation in a clear and concise manner. As discussed in the HOW TO CHOOSE AN APPRAISER page, Michael Mathis has over 30 years of appraisal experience all in the Inland Empire, additional experience acting as a residential contractor on multiple projects, is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and has taught appraisers for 8 years. A usable appraisal is much more than just the reconciled opinion of value, and Mr. Mathis’ education and experience, along with a strong commitment to quality and accuracy assures you and your client of obtaining an excellent appraisal product.
Some examples of the reasons how you and your clients might benefit from his appraisal services are:
- Estate valuation for properties transferring via trust or inter vivos gift
- Tax valuations for gift/charitable deductions/conservation easements/gift/bargain sale transactions
- Establishing fair market value to assist buyouts by co-owners or contributions to joint ventures
- Transfers of property to entities for inter-family transfers (with special emphasis on lack of marketability, minority interest and other appropriate discounts where appropriate)
- Litigation in instances of eminent domain, partition or breach of contract
- Consulting expert to confidentially prepare for a transaction or litigation involving a property
- Defense of tax audits
- Appraiser standard of care
If your reason for engaging an appraiser could possibly lead to litigation it becomes very imperative to choose one who understands the importance of confidentiality and who can handle the rigors of deposition/court testimony. Few can do both elements of this equation well. Michael Mathis has been trained to speak publicly since high school, where he attained a National Forensic Degree of Distinction, the highest honorary level possible. He has continued to hone those skills through various forms of public speaking and while by teaching. The result is an appraiser who has confidently handled himself in both deposition and trial testimony as a designated expert in both Riverside and San Bernardino county courts. His skill at handling the challenges of testimony assures that your clients’ appraisal needs will be understood by those you wish to sway and improve your chances of obtaining a favorable settlement or trial verdict decision.
The adage, “the best defense is a good offense” is certainly true in court trials involving real estate valuation issues. Finding the errors failures in the opponent’s other side’s appraisal work is one of the best ways to obtain a victory for your client. Most appraisers just provide their clients with an opinion of value, but that simply is not enough. Michael Mathis can support you in preparing for depositions and trial, by reviewing the opponent’s appraisal, discovering its weaknesses and then helping you develop questions to reveal those weaknesses during questioning of their expert. The result will be more favorable verdicts and/or settlements for your clients.
How To Choose an Appraiser
Experience – Minimally 20 years
So much is truly learned outside of a class room in all areas of life and especially in the real estate appraisal profession. So, as long the appraiser’s experience is not merely a repetition of the first year’s learning – i.e. many appraisers have never advanced their skills beyond what they learned in their first year or two of appraising – more years learning the profession are indeed better.
Restricted Coverage Area – Look for an Inland Empire expert
It is unrealistic to even hope for an Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego or Ventura county appraiser to truly understand the market conditions and specific neighborhoods of Inland Empire cities and county areas. You should only work with someone who intentionally restricts themselves to one geographic area in order to become a true local expert.
Education – Minimally a four-year university degree
Since appraising is an intellectual endeavor, it is reasonable to expect that, all things being equal, the more educated the person, the better their ability to solve complex problems. While California is moving towards a requirement of a college education to become a licensed appraiser, the fact is that an 18-year-old with a high school diploma can apply for a license.
Many appraisers still only possess a high school degree. Your real estate properties are your most valuable financial asset and mistakes in estimating their value, even small ones, can have serious consequences for you. For these reasons you deserve to have them appraised by the finest trained mind, not just anyone.
It is why you should have an appraiser who combines an excellent mind with a strong formal education. But a good mind and some book learning is not enough. You also need an appraiser who has garnered exceptional knowledge and understanding through experience made possible only through performing over 10,000 reports and further sharpened by the interaction possible only in a classroom setting with hundreds of appraisers.
You deserve to have the best helping you understand the value of your property. Michael Mathis meets all these needs and will provide you with the best possible appraisal services.
Accurate Results – An appraiser who uses the most advanced available technologies and techniques
Choose an appraiser who standardly applies advanced mean paired sales (different and far more useful than simple paired sales – sorry appraiser talk) and various forms of regression analysis to arrive at objective adjustments that significantly enhance accuracy. Fancy terms for great mathematical techniques, techniques that take time to perform, but yield much more accurate results.
Why is this so important? Most appraisers still regularly use the easier methods of estimating values of unique amenities (e.g. pools) by comparing one property to another (paired sales) to isolate a value/adjustment. This dated method creates so much potential for incorrect adjustments and results in poorly done appraisals. And a poorly done appraisal will cost you money in lost savings or additional taxes.
So, while it was acceptable for the 1980s and early 1990s this is no longer the case. Now with the advent of excellent data sources and powerful computer modeling techniques there are much better ways to ensure you of an accurate property appraisal. Your properties should be valued using sophisticated techniques that are proven to enhance accuracy when used by an experienced, knowledgeable professional.
Michael Mathis has been using the most sophisticated analysis tools since the 1990s. He specializes in harnessing their power and by doing so correctly it means a better loan, lower tax liability or a better settlement in your court case, all adding up to more cash for you. When it comes to professional appraisal services, the quickest way to lose a lot of money is to try and save a little on your appraisal.