Christine, Christopher and Jennifer welcome you:

Silver Lake, Amador County California

Kayaking on Beautiful Silver Lake in Amador County


With three-regional offices to serve your appraisal needs Christine Pyle Banks, senior appraiser and mother to Christopher Pyle and Jennifer Smith, is happy to offer her community a locally based business with an attention to detail and quality customer service.

“Working with my children in a business I built was not a planned path; however, I’m grateful to be able to work with my family and share this stage of our journey together. We each bring a different strength: I spent years in the foothills as a licensed real estate agent which allows me a different perspective to the marketplace. Christopher has spent years in school and has owned multiple businesses which allows him a specialized writing skill with an attention to detail and Jennifer has a drive and work ethic unrivaled, she’s our go to when time constraints are tight. Too, Jennifer and I have worked to a higher license level and are FHA approved. The office can pretty much do it all when it comes to residential appraisals. We’re excited to offer competency

and humanity to a business that all too often lacks both.”

Me in Tie

The AppraiserCHRIS office covers Amador County, El Dorado County,

Sacramento County, West Sacramento and Davis of Yolo County, and a significant portion of Placer County.

Christine Pyle Banks is a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser, FHA approved.

Christopher Pyle is a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser, Licensed Insurance Broker (auto, home, business & life).

Jennifer Smith is a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser, FHA approved.

Christine specializes in private appraisal work for divorce, estate settlement and establishment and pre-listing appraisal

services. Christine has a genuine appreciation of working one on one with her clients wherein her responsibility is to the individual or family members allowing her to disclose all she finds and has the requirement to offer counsel with regard to her findings. Working with the elderly is especially important as Christine feels this population is under-served and often taken advantage.

Christopher specialized in editing and writing reports, while he travels into the field as workload requires he’s the go to in the office for report writing and the detail work. Christopher appreciates the intricacies of


writing a technical and comprehensive report. Additionally he spends time insuring clients throughout the greater area as a licensed agent and broker of the Farmers Insurance brand.

Jennifer is the office utility appraiser, lender work or privates, she observes and reports on all and covers the largest area serving all the coverage map.

For virtually all your residential appraisal needs, we’re able to assist. Please reach out and contact us: 530-626-4403 b. 530-503-7806 c. 530-698-6025 f. or email


Christine, Christopher and Jennifer

Reach out to us here:

Dodd-Frank Hammers Small Banks

A new paper suggests that Dodd-Frank significantly affects small banks and their customers.

via Dodd-Frank Hammers Small Banks.

Top 10 Home Improvements in 2013

Top 10 Home Improvements in 2013

Do you often think. What are some quick fixes I can do to add value to my property. Is it better to update the kitchen or repaint the house? Here are some ideas that might get you started.

Tips to Help Facilitate the Appraisal Process

What You Need to Know Before Your Property Appraisal

To facilitate the appraisal process, it’s beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser:

Here is a list of items that are most helpful in determining value of your property. Upgrades, renovation, unique features that you know;

¨     A plot plan or survey of the house and the land (if readily available)

¨     Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years

¨     Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a share of the driveway

¨     List of personal property to be sold with the home

¨     Title policy that describes encroachments or easements

¨     Most recent real estate tax bill and or legal description of the property

¨     Home inspection reports, or other recent repots for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic system and wells.

¨     Brag sheets that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of the installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available)

¨     A copy of the current listing agreement and the broker’s data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is “pending”.

¨     Information on “Homeowners Associations” or condominium covenants

¨     A list of “Proposed” improvements if the property is to be appraised “As Complete”

Here are some other suggestions:

¨     Accessibility: Make sure that all the areas of the home are accessible, especially the attic and crawl space

¨     Housekeeping:  Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past clutter, but they’re human beings, too!  A good impression can translate into a higher home value

¨     Maintenance:  Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim

¨     FHA/VA Inspections items:  If your borrower is applying for an FHA/VA loan, be sure to ask your appraiser if there are specific things that should be done before they come.  Some items they may recommend might be:  Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide on all levels (especially near bedrooms); install handrails on the stairways; remove peeling paint and repaint the effected area; provide inspection access for the attic and crawl space.

Good News!!! Tax Break for Short Sales

Good News!

A letter from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB):

California families who have lost their home in a short sale are not subject to state income tax liability on debt forgiveness “phantom income” they never received in a short sale. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized that the debt written off in a short sale does not constitute recourse debt under California law.

Underwater home sellers also are assured that they are not subject to state income tax liability, rescuing tens of thousands of distressed home sellers from California tax liability for debt written off by lenders in short sales.

Impact of home ownership and your health

Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.


Health Benefits of Home Ownership

During this holiday season of giving thanks for what we have along with giving to those in need, it’s time for appraisers to step back from our daily battles and try to understand the human impact of these abstract numbers we review related to foreclosures and “underwater” homeowners (see “Recent Real Estate Reports” below).

The Census Bureau recently reported that the homeownership rate declined to 65.3% during the 3rd Quarter. Human Impact Partners, an organization which conducts health-based analyses with a goal to correcting policies which make communities less healthy, summarizes the many health benefits of owning versus renting on their website as follows:

“In the short term, the wealth accumulation associated with homeownership improves access to neighborhoods with more health promoting assets, such as grocery stores, places to exercise, good schools, and so on, as well as to higher quality housing.

Relative to renters, homeowners have better physical health outcomes, lower child unintentional injury rates, higher self-esteem and lower levels of distress, and more positive mental health, which is associated with lower blood pressure.

The benefits of homeownership accrue independent of socioeconomic status, such that poor homeowners have better health outcomes than poor renters.

Investment in homeownership has been the primary long-term strategy to build wealth in the United States, and wealth is one of the strongest determinants of health”.

Numerous studies are cited in support of these findings and the following link provides information as to the sources of this research: Human Impact Partners Evidence Base

On November 25th, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America released a related report entitled “A Profile of Housing and Health among Older Americans”. Professor Michael D. Eriksen of Texas Tech University summarized some of the report’s findings as follows:

“The study found older Americans  who own their homes are more financially secure and generally experience fewer impediments to good health than their peers who rent. Owning a home provides the single largest asset in most Americans’ retirement portfolios, while renters have far more difficulty modifying their living space to adapt to any of the myriad physical ailments that tend to affect older people.  Our report serves as a useful reference for all parties interested in the implications of housing on an aging society, a situation America now faces with large numbers of the Baby Boomer generation rapidly heading into retirement age.”

A link to the MBA press release of November 25th is found here: Report Profiles Housing Future For Older Americans

Top 3 Reasons Real Estate Deals Fall Apart for Buyers

Ever wonder why your real estate deal fell apart? As a former professional real estate agent, I saw this happen all to often, and it seems all parties are confused: sales agent, buyer, seller,buyers agent. In this piece by Monte  Mahr, a Zillow blog contributor, and posted at, he explores the top 3 reason deals fall apart for buyers.

Estate Planning part 1 of 4

birthday cakeThese past few years have been interesting to say the least: I randomly forget the point I’m making mid-sentence and when this happens, I think – Senior Moment! I was walking my dogs recently near the river, as I always do, and I miss-stepped slipping onto some rocks. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt save for a few scrapes. I have more ‘character-lines’ in my face and I droop in places I never drooped before. For the past year, a friend of mine has been caring for both her parents, both quite old, both suffering different ailments and both need separate types of care facilities. I lost both my parents, within six-months of each other, and was forced to learn on the fly how to handle their estate. The balance of emotions, sadness, pain, fear and having to face their end of life decisions was overwhelming.

These changes, this getting older stuff, it feels like it hits from out of the blue and it can be scary. Because of my own experiences: losing my parents and my personal senior moments, I’ve decided to focus my appraisal practice on those in similar situations as myself. I want to help you be prepared, help you plan your own estate in the hope you can avoid that feeling of being unprepared and overwhelmed.

There are three basic areas wherein a bit of time and focus spent now, will save hours of chaos and panic later:

  1. The first, understand the value of your estate, have your personal and real property appraised. Each has its own value and each requires a different type of appraiser. An appraiser will inventory and report on your possessions. In the event of a real estate appraiser she’ll determine the worth of your properties and or home in the current real estate market. A personal property appraiser can figure an estate value or a lot auction value of personal property that may be sold, if so desired.
  2. Secondly, it’s important to get your health directive in order. While thinking of extreme health needs may be disquieting, it’s important to sit down, plan this out in a go and have it set up to save the potential of future agony. If young enough, everyone should look into a long-term care health policy.
  3.  Finally, you need to plan and create your will. This is your chance to give as you wish, to assure people are cared for due to your hard work, in the way you see fit. This is your chance to secure/design your personal legacy.

With these three major areas addressed you will mitigate many of the pressing emotional and time sensitive issues that arise as we age. As I work through my own estate planning, I look forward to developing each of these areas in detail: providing you with resources, contacts and tools to set up your life estate. If you find yourself currently needing assistance, call me: I have people you can contact immediately for assistance in each of the above areas.

Thanks kindly, Christine.

PS – If you or anyone you know is in need of a real estate appraisal, feel free to contact me for a free consultation and quote. 530-626-4403

August housing scorecard released by HUD and Treasury | News by Edition | RESPA News

August housing scorecard released by HUD and Treasury | News by Edition | RESPA News.

August housing scorecard released by HUD and Treasury | News by Edition | RESPA News

August housing scorecard released by HUD and Treasury | News by Edition | RESPA News.

10 Ways to Improve your curb appeal

10 Ways to Improve your curb appeal.

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