Michael C. Burger MAI, R/W-AC
Senior Managing Director
August 20, 2020
I was born and raised in Eureka, California, among historic Victorian architecture, the Giant Redwoods of Humboldt County, and the incredible Pacific Ocean. Growing up I hunted birds in the forests and dove for abalone off the foggy cliffs in Northern California. From hippies in the rivers to loggers on the mountains, I’ve seen it all! After high school, I spent two years at College of the Redwoods, then moved to study at the California Polytechnic State Institute in San Luis Obispo.
Following my second year at Cal Poly, I knew I wanted to become an appraiser and hold the MAI designation. So, I took a chance and moved to Bakersfield, California, where I have remained the entirety of my 30-year career. We have a staff of 12 to include three licensed/designated commercial appraisers, one residential appraiser, and are happily growing our future with four trainees/analysts that are working toward their licensure.
A long time ago, an appraisal instructor advised the class to make your own comps as a way to understand what buyers and sellers think. With that, I have been involved in some real estate investing which has helped in many areas to include understanding the comps we verify, the lenders we communicate with and as a space to be an observer of the market place.
I have been married to my amazing wife Vicki for 28 years; she is also heavily involved in our business operations and we are so proud to announce that recently our two sons have joined the Valbridge family.
What is your title and what do you do at Valbridge?
I am the Senior Managing Director of the Valbridge Property Advisors | Central California office. I’ve participated in the national Valbridge website redesign and led multiple discussions at our Valbridge national meetings.
How did you become a part of Valbridge?
It all started when I attended an AI offered seminar taught by Calvin Cummings in our Los Angeles office. Calvin mentioned that he joined a new National Valuation Practice, called Valbridge Property Advisors. I was unfamiliar with them at the time. After the seminar, I did some research and had a call with Calvin. His narrative of Valbridge was intriguing. I had been looking for something bigger and more dynamic for my appraisal business along with the excellent staff that had worked with me for years. I was searching for something that could give us more regional and national exposure. After a conversation with Rick Armalavage, CEO, I knew this was the right fit. Our Valbridge partnership began in 2013 and has been a very good move for us.
What are your specialty areas?
Bakersfield is the county seat to Kern County with a population of about 400,000 and a county population in excess of 900,000. It is the third largest county in California. Our economic base is petroleum, including over 56,000 active wells which rank Kern County in the top-five petroleum producing counties in the U.S. We are also the number one agricultural producing county in the nation with over 250 crops that produce more than $5 billion in revenue. With a large base in agriculture and industrial, we consider these to be our specialty areas. We also have expertise in nearly all property types, to include single/multi-family residential and eminent domain work.
What are some of the most interesting projects you've worked on at Valbridge?
With extensive agricultural plantings in Kern County it has allowed us to appraise not only phenomenal agricultural facilities but interesting and abnormal crop types as well. If you are into trending combinations of science and food, we’ve appraised a vineyard growing Cotton Candy flavored grapes, if you haven’t tried them you need to. Our county’s agricultural presence allowed the opportunity for a state-of-the-art greenhouse with 60 acres under roof, which we appraised in 2018. Race track appraisals aren’t uncommon in a county full of race fans and for us we were lucky enough to appraise two of them which included a very fast inspection with a professional driver! Lastly, if you ever make it to Bakersfield and want a night on the town in a one of a kind establishment, Buck Owens Crystal Palace is the place to go and we’ve appraised it too.
What do you like most about working at Valbridge?
The freedom to run my local office coupled with the opportunity to share learning and get advice from the best in the industry.
I am involved in our community in multiple ways to include the Mercy Hospital Foundation Board which I’ve been a part of for many years. With a passion for investing, I was led to participate in the making of a movie. Shooting is scheduled for September 2020, more to follow as it becomes a real thing. If you are looking for an interesting stay in a haunted house, I invite you to the Mansion at Samoa, California. Call me for details.