Depending on the neighborhoods and subdivisions appraisers work out of, working on assignments can be a relatively simple process given the conformity of the properties and how many features and sizes they share. However, there are definitely other types of appraisal assignments which stand out from the norm and present new challenges to the appraiser to deal with.
There are nuances and difficulties specific to the property that the appraiser is not used to handling on a regular basis so it’s important to be able to recognize them in advance in order to know how to respond in the moment. Here is a list of some of the types of atypical assignments appraisers might run into:
Large, luxurious homes are more challenging to appraise because of their unusual size and floor plans, which results in fewer comparable sales than other properties. The larger and more complex the property is, the more challenging it is to find similar comps. John Tomblin of the Arizona School of Real State and Business says, “when comps are sparse, appraisers should weigh each of three approaches, cost, replacement cost and reproduction cost, as a means of estimating the proper value of a large custom luxury home.” It is up to the appraiser to determine which approach(es) is most applicable for determining the value of a luxury home.
There are often additional features to a luxury home that are not often found in single-family residential homes, typically custom buildouts like personal movie theaters, guesthouses, elevators, wine cellars and tennis courts, not to mention a square footage that can exceed 5,000 square feet. The appraiser will need to expand his or her search criteria beyond the subject’s immediate neighborhood to locate comparable with similar features to the subject. The appraiser will also need to adjust for market differences if the comparable is outside of the subject’s market. The size of the property, amount of improvements, extra features, market differences, and limited comparable add up to a more challenging assignment for the appraiser to complete.
According to Paul E. Moore, ARA, RPRA, president of Paul Moore Appraisal Services, LLC (Versailles, Kentucky), “special-use properties are the toughest to appraise as they are often have a limited use, they will have minimal to no historical information and a lack of comps for developing and reporting a value for these properties.” This lack of relevant information makes it difficult to ascertain a value for a property that has limited use and shares no similarities with other properties.
Because of the complexity involved in appraising special-use properties, it may be necessary for a certified general appraiser to give his or her value on the property. It is the highest certification in the field and this permits them to value all real estate without regard to transaction value or complexity. It may be necessary to develop the cost approach in order to find the value of a special-use property without comparable sales, as current market indications of depreciated cost would be the best reflections of market thinking and thus market value.
Single Dwelling in Remote Area:
For single-dwellings in a remote area, it can be difficult to find nearby comparable sales to help come to an approximate opinion on the home’s market value. Similar to luxury homes, it may be necessary to expand one’s search beyond your typical neighborhood in order to find similar single-dwellings that match the one being appraised. Appraisers may have to look for homes ten miles away from the subject property rather than within one mile like the typical suburban neighborhood.
The appraiser will have to dig deeper in order to find appropriate comparables and provide further explanation as to why certain comps were used in the final analysis. As long as the appraiser’s decisions are justified in the report, there is considerable leeway for them to choose comparables to single-dwellings in remote, rural areas.
Historic homes are also complex properties to appraise because many of them were built before modern building code standards were implemented, the difficulty of calculating numerous sources of depreciation and determining replacement cost factors, not to mention the many layers of subsequent remodels and modifications that have been made to a property over the years that need to be taken into account. Proper comparables may not even exist for the subject property, though being part of a historic district may help provide some layer of uniformity for homes that were often built with very unique features from the other.
Compared to normal houses today, the appraiser is required to look into more extensive research, documentation and outright analysis when putting together an appraisal report for a historic home. It may be necessary to employ the services of a historian in order to get a good idea of the time, place and context in which a historic home was built, whether it’s a Victorian home built for higher income earners or a Streamline Modern home built for those in the middle-income tier. This goes a long way in determining the ultimate value of a historic home.
TriMavin Appraisal Management employs the most experienced staff to take care of these challenges and they are bound by our industry’s best practices. Our company and our staff of 10,000 certified appraisers are connected to one another via a synergetic partnership called the Appraiser Alliance program, enhancing the quality of service for lenders in areas like compliance, coverage, assignment criteria, underwriting review and quality control. We also employ 48 hour pay as a further motivation for the appraiser to provide the best service as fast as possible for even the most complex assignments. This guarantee of pay ensures that the appraiser is able to focus on the task at hand and not have the thought of missing a paycheck distract them from their work. TriMavin stands out for its service to its clients for both simple and complex assignments.