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Date of Death Valuations in Los Angeles, Orange & Ventura Counties

By- Darius G. Carter
A1 Los Angeles Home Appraisal

Here’s an example of a “date of death valuation.” People get property willed to them and many of them don’t do anything to the property. Sometimes they don’t go to the hall of county records for 10, 15 or 20 years. When they finally need to sell the property, I have to do an historical valuation.

Sometimes it can be easy. Usually it’s not too hard if the data is there. That’s the trick. Is the data “there”? If the records go back beyond the point at which property records were entered into the county computer system, then I really have to go digging. In that case, there’s an extra charge for the time, since it does take a lot longer.

Every property can be appraised in some way or another.

If the house changed hands, say, 20 years ago as a result of a death, I need to establish the value of that property at that time. This can be established by looking at old records, and in some cases, even newspaper clippings. What was the environment at that time? What sorts of things were going on at the time of the homeowner’s death and the transfer of the home?

What bearing, you might ask, would the valuation of a house 20 years ago have on an appraisal done today? Because, in our hypothetical case, you took possession of it 20 years ago, and that’s what your tax payments have been based on, not its value today.

The clock started when that property transferred ownership due to death. I have to establish a valuation for it as of a particular historical date.

If the death occurred recently, my appraisal is done very similar to any other appraisal. As with any court or tax service, I need to know who or what institution is receiving this appraisal report. That is one of the first questions I ask when meeting the current homeowner.

It’s a good idea to provide information on any neighbors who may have lived in the neighborhood at the time of death. This is useful for getting a sense of the area’s historical market shifts.


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