Unusual properties pose valuation challenges

How do you establish value when there are no comparable sales?

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It's relatively easy to establish the market value of a property located in a neighborhood where the houses are created in the mirror image of one another. Figuring out the valuation of an unusual property is another story. Appraisers determine market value by comparing the property in question with three similar properties in the neighborhood that have sold and closed within the last six months In recent years, there has been plenty of sales activity, so finding comparable sales in most neighborhoods hasn't been a problem. However, in certain low turnover markets finding comparables can be challenging. Even more taxing is finding comparables for a truly unique property. Recently, a one-of-a-kind listing came on the market in the desirable Crocker Highlands neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. What made this property unique was its impressive architecture and size. It was a 4,500-square-foot home in a neighborhood where a 3,500-square-foot house is considered big. The lot size was big and t...