As an active real estate appraiser in Southern California, I read with interest Dan Thomas Nelson's article, "How Appraisers Value a Home" (Oct. 22).
Generally, the article was consistent with the appraisal profession. However, I take exception to two items. First, Mr. Nelson stated that the county assessor's living area for homes is "frequently wrong." In my 12 years' experience as an appraiser, I have found the assessor's living area is frequently accurate.
Usually, a substantial disparity is the result of a non-permitted (therefore illegal) room addition. (An illegal room addition can quite possibly contribute very little to the value of a home, especially if the addition does not meet the local building code.)
Secondly, the appraiser implied that a hillside lot is generally worth less than a level lot of similar size. In today's view-conscious society, a hillside lot with a view, especially of the ocean, can be more valuable than an entirely level lot. In addition, a hillside lot provides considerable privacy.