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Valbridge Property Advisors Employee Spotlight



Name: John D. Penner, MAI
Title: Senior Managing Director, Director of Fractional Interest Valuation
Date: 03-23-21
Office: Orange County

Employee background:

It’s hard to believe that I just completed my 38th year in property appraisal. I have a B.S. in Business Administration from San Diego State University. I was studying stocks, bonds, and commodities, but I found that Wall Street was mostly interested in sales, however I preferred technical analysis. While working toward my real estate broker’s license, I read the industry standard, “The Appraisal of Real Estate” and found out I could get paid to do analysis. I went to work for Home Savings of America as an appraiser and never looked back. I began appraising homes, apartments, commercial, and industrial properties and later worked all around the United States on problem loan workouts. In 1991, I opened Penner & Associates, Inc., my own appraisal firm, which has now been in business for 30 years.

What is your title and what do you do at Valbridge?

I am Senior Managing Director of our Orange County office, as well as Valbridge’s National Director of Fractional Interest Valuation. I’m lucky enough to still do hands-on valuations regularly. I also manage a team of appraisers and analysts and review every appraisal that our office produces.

How did you become a part of Valbridge?

I’m a founding Board member of Valbridge, and was there for our first meeting when some of the nation’s best independent appraisal firms came together in Cambridge, MA to discuss joining forces for the benefit of all of us. I was actually on the original naming committee. A marketing consultant suggested the name start with Val for valuation. We combined that with Cambridge to create Valbridge, and it was a success from the start.

What are your specialty areas?

While I have extensive knowledge in diverse areas of property valuation, my specialties are: 

  • Appraisals for banking and institutional lenders
  • Fractional interest valuation for gifting and IRS purposes
  • Eminent domain, right-of-way, and easement valuation
  • Litigation support and expert witness testimony
  • Portfolio valuation, investment consultation and writing investment prospectus
  • Real estate market and feasibility analysis, including rent and demand studies

I also prepare the Penner Expense Guides, widely used and cited biennial publications, which contain data from surveys of actual expenses in the local Southern California market for industrial, office, medical office, and retail properties. We have heard from many appraisers how this easy-to-read information has been invaluable to them.

What are some of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on at Valbridge?

I’ve gotten to work on so many fascinating projects. Recently, I appraised Kobe Bryant’s estate, including his personal residence, and a second home under construction, overlooking the ocean.

One of my favorite jobs was a covert appraisal of the Original Pantry Café in Downtown Los Angeles, a local historical monument that claims to never have closed or refused a customer since 1924. Because I had to be discreet, I entered the coffee shop as an ordinary diner, then “accidentally” wandered into the kitchen and struck up conversations with the cooks and bussers. It was a lot of fun.

What do you like most about working at Valbridge?

I enjoy the collaboration and camaraderie with others in the industry. It is wonderful to be able to share knowledge and offer support between offices. I consider joining Valbridge the best business decision I’ve ever made.