Brandlin Appraisals: What does a San Diego appraiser look for when checking zoning?

San Diego appraisers are appraising homes to determine the fair market value and in doing so they also need to find out the highest and best use for the property. When determining the highest and best use for the property the appraiser will look for information that could establish what the sites best use is.

The first thing the appraiser will research is the legal use of the subject site. Is the site zoned for a single family residential (RS), rural residential (RR), residential townhouse (RT), or residential mulit-unit (RM). Once the purpose is determined the appraiser must then determine how many units are permitted per acre. For example a single family residence RS could have a 1-1 which requires a minimum of 40,000 square-foot lots or a 1-2 which requires a minimum of 20,000 square-foot lots or in the case of RM a 1-1 permits a maximum density of 1 dwelling unit per 3,000 square feet of lot area. The differences in lot sizes and number of units can vary depending on the legal use of the lot.

In San Diego county there are many different types of properties and each lot has a very specific zoning, it is part of the appraiser’s job to find out what the zoning is for the specific lot. This can get complicated in San Diego because often times a property can be zoned RS, however if it has been grandfathered it is allowed to have an additional unit. It part of the appraiser requirements to determine what is zoned and to disclose this information in the report.

Overall once the property’s zoning is determined the appraiser then is able determine if the existing residence current use is zoned and/or permitted.  If the property does not match the zoning description the extra square footage is often given little or no value in the report due to it not being permitted for the lot. In limited cases a cost to cure is required which is the dollar amount it would cost to remove the un-permitted square footage.

Zoning is an important part of the appraisal to help determine the highest and best use of the property and verify if there are any unpermitted additions to the property. I hope this has been helpful.  Please contact us with any additional questions or concerns you may have.


Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule your appraisal appointment at 760-741-7699, or use our contact page on our website.


Brandlin Appraisals Inc. specialize in helping people who need appraisals for estate purposes, divorce, date of death, bankruptcy, FSBO’s and more throughout San Diego county. For more information please contact us at (760)741-7699, or visit our website at, or email us at

Mike Brandlin
San Diego, CA // Real Estate Appraiser
(760) 741-7699

San Diego Real Estate Appraisal Services For:
Divorce Appraisals / Marriage Dissolution
Bankruptcy Appraisals
Bail Bonds Appraisals
Estate / Date of Death / Retrospective Appraisals
Financial Planning & Trusts
PMI Removal Appraisals
Pre-Foreclosure & Short Sales
Tax Assessment Appeals
Pre-Listing, Pre-Purchase, FSBO’s
Probate Appraisals

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