James D. Donnelly, SRA
President, Certified Residential Appraiser DC, MD , VA

James D. DonnellyJames D. Donnelly brings over thirty five years of local real estate appraisal experience to the clients of J. Lee Donnelly & Son. His expertise includes the valuation of upper bracket, complex and unique residential assignments – properties where an expert in residential valuations is necessary. Because many, if not all assignments have litigation potential, a detailed appraisal report is of utmost importance.

Mr. Donnelly has earned the prestigious SRA designation from the Appraisal Institute (AI) and is a member in good standing. He has served on numerous committees for both the Appraisal Institute and the former Washington DC Association of Realtors. Additionally, he is a certified residential appraiser in Washington DC, the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mr. Donnelly has been involved in some of the most difficult and complex appraisal residential assignments in the metro DC area. He was the expert appraiser who testified in the United States Tax Court on behalf of the petitioner– a precedent setting case in the valuation of historic preservation easements.

Sarah Watkins, SRA
Certified Residential Appraiser DC, MD, VA

Sarah WatkinsSarah Watkins, also known as Sally, has been a long-term resident of our area. She grew up in the 1950s in Kensington, and has lived in Montgomery Village, Westmoreland Hills, and Chevy Chase Village in Montgomery County. Ms. Watkins now lives in the iconic, mid-century modern neighborhood of Hollin Hills in Alexandria, VA. As a result, she has a broad knowledge of the MD/VA/DC area.

Ms. Watkins began appraising in 1989 after a career as a paralegal. She joined J. Lee Donnelly & Son, Inc. in 1992.

Ms. Watkins is a professional appraiser with the SRA designation, which was earned from the Appraisal Institute in 2011. Ms. Watkins brings additional expertise to J. Lee Donnelly. She recently completed courses in appraising green residential buildings. She earned a certificate in landscape design from George Washington University. She has real-life experience as a manager for a mixed-use commercial building in Old Town. And, Ms. Watkins has a keen interest in architecture and design, bringing added dimension to her appraisal knowledge.

Ms. Watkins has extensive knowledge of the historic neighborhoods and residences of DC. Her specialization is in select, upper bracket properties throughout the DC Metropolitan Area.

Asked about her career, Ms. Watkins replied, “I am careful, thoughtful, and some might say compulsive about my job. I love what I do. Every property is different and each client brings a new story or insight that makes me better qualified for the job I do.”

Nicholas S. Chaconas, Certified Appraiser
Certified General Appraiser DC, MD

Nicholas S. ChaconasNicholas S. Chaconas graduated in 1982 from the University of Maryland with a major in economics and has been appraising full time in the DC area since 1986. Mr. Chaconas is a multi-generation Washingtonian with family roots dating back over 100 years and has spent his entire life and career locally. His professional and real estate experience includes: business brokerage, commercial leasing,appraising, consulting as well as buying, selling, managing and renovating a small portfolio of single family and multi-family properties in the D.C. area. Mr. Chaconas also participated financially in a 17 unit condominium conversion located in a DC historic neighborhood.

Mr. Chaconas is a qualified expert witness and has conducted numerous appraisal assignments regarding: rental apartments (2 units to over 300 units), single and multi-tenant commercial properties, land (single lots and subdivision), mixed use properties, HUD rent comparability studies, single family market value (retrospective, current and prospective) appraisals and condominium conversions. The purposes of these assignments include but are not limited to: selling or buying decisions, partnership disputes/dissolution, appraisals for estate planning, estate IRS tax purposes, planned development feasibility analysis, assessment appeals, divorce, highest and best use determination and for lending purposes.

Mr. Chaconas currently lives in Olney, Maryland with his wife of over 25 years. His two children both graduated from Good Counsel High School and currently attend out of state colleges.

According to Mr. Chaconas, “I have been employed with J. Lee Donnelly & Son for over 20 years. The history, knowledge, experience, reputation and area industry contacts within this firm cannot be matched by any other firm in the area. In the unthinkable event that I were to leave this area and wish to remain working, I would make it a priority to seek a firm comparable to J. Lee Donnelly & Son.“

John C. Donnelly, MAI, Counsel
Certified General Appraiser DC, MD, VA

John C. DonnellyJohn C. Donnelly, MAI, of Counsel to J. Lee Donnelly & Son, has served the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. community for more than 40 years specializing in commercial real estate appraisals, counseling, and investments. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Georgetown University in 1973 where he has also taught Commercial Real Estate Valuation & Appraisal Practice. He is qualified as an Expert in Real Estate in U.S. Tax Court, U.S. District Court, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as well as the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia, and Bankruptcy Courts in Maryland and Virginia. Mr. Donnelly is further recognized as an expert in Real Property Tax Appeal Matters appearing frequently at Assessment and Appeal Boards in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.