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[Vortex] The Hall Monitor: In Their Own Words

Guest Appraiser Columnist:
Todd Huttunen

Todd Huttunen began appraising more than 20 years ago with a few years off in between to pursue a career in cabinet making. He relegated that to hobby status and is currently an appraiser in an assessor’s office. His best friend dubbed him The Hall Monitor because of his rigidity and respect for rules. He offers readers tongue-in-groove insight on appraisal and housing issues. View his earlier work on Soapbox. [1]
Jonathan Miller



Not unlike the wording found in real estate contracts prepared by lawyers – “The party of the first part…” etc., — fully 95% of what you read in a real estate appraisal consists of boilerplate language which is the same in every report. This is standard procedure, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. One would assume, however, that since the boilerplate language is only actually typed out one time and then copied verbatim ad infinitum, that the grammar and spelling would be correct. Now I realize that I am more sensitive to these things than most people (I’ve agonized for years over whether or not to use a hyphen with the phrase “anal-retentive”). But with tools like Spell Check that make it truly difficult to butcher the English language, one can only look on with “shock and awe” at the following examples of boilerplate, taken from actual appraisals prepared by licensed appraisers. As I was typing these comments my keyboard was practically smoking from all the mistakes, but — I assure you — every keystroke is a faithful reproduction of what was written in the appraisals.

THE EXTEND OF THE APPRAISERS INVESTIGATION INCLUDED (1) REVIEW OF PUBLISHED RECORD DATA FRO THE SUBJECT PROPERTY, WHERE AVAILABLE; (2) INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR INSPECTION OF THE PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS AND INSPECTION OF THE SITE, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED IN THE IS REPORT (3) INSPECTION OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND ANALYSIS OF REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS; (4) RESEARCH OF SUBSCRIPTION SALES DATA, PUBLIC RECORDS AND OTHER PUBLISHED DATA SOURCES AND CURRENT LISTINGS; (5) ANALYSIS OF THE SELECTION COMPARABLE SALES AND LISTINGS INCLUDED VERIFICATION OF THE REPORTED DATA; (6) CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE HIGHEST AND BEST USE OF THE SUBJECT SITE; (7) CONSIDERATION AND APPLICATION OF THE APPLICABLE APPROACHES TO VALUE (ALL THREE APPROACHES TO VALUE WERE CONSIDERED AND USED EXCEPT WHERE NOT APPLICABLE OF OTHERWISE NOTED); (8) FINAL RECONCILIATION OF THE DATA TO ARRIVE AT THE ESTIMATED MARKET VALUE.

THERE APPEARS TO BE ADEQUATE FINANCING IN THE SUBJECT AREA AT COMPETITIVE RATHES AND TERMS. BASED ON ANALYSIS OF PREDOMINANT MARKET PATTERSN, EXPOSURE TIME FOR THE SUBJECT IS APPROXIMATELY 30 TO 180 DAYS WHEN PROPERLY MARKETED.

APPRAISER HAS REVIEWED THE CONTRACT, HOWEVER SINCE THE APPRAISER IS NOT AN LAWYER HE HAS NOT ANALYZE THE CONTRACTS.

WINDOWS WERE NOTED AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION.

THESE TOWNHOUSES ARE ON 4 LEVELS WHEN YOU INCLUDE THE TANDEM GARAGES. THEY ARE FOR THE MOST PART NARROW. CLIMBING THESE UNITS DOES APPEAR TO HAVE AN NEGATIVE IMPACT. THE INSTALLATION OF ELEVATORS APPEARS TO HAVE A BIG POSITIVE IMPACT. MOST LISTINGS WITHIN THIS COMPLEX HAVE COMMENTS THAT ELEVATORS CAN BE INSTALLED.

This next description of market conditions follows the appraiser’s checking boxes on the appraisal form indicating property values are declining, there is an over supply of homes on the market, and marketing time is over six months:

MLS RESEARCH INDICATES AN ACTIVE RESALE MARKET WITH A NORMAL SUPPLY OF AVAILABLE PROPERTIES. LOCAL MARKET CONDITIONS INDICATE MANY HOMES SELLING AT OR ABOVE THE LISTED ASKING PRICE. MARKETING TIMES ON AVERAGE ARE LESS THAN 90 DAYS FOR PROPERLY PRICED HOMES IN GOOD CONDITION.

COSMETIC REPAIRS ARE NOT REQUIRED; HOWEVER, THEY ARE TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE OVERALL CONDITION RATING AND VALUATION OF THE PROPERTY, WHICH THE APPRAISER VIEWED THAT THERE WAS NORMAL DEFERRED MAINTENANCE AND DID NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF A REQUIRED REPAIR.

My personal favorites are these last two, both of which were written by a self-proclaimed Notre Dame alumnus.

MARKET CONDITIONS ARE CURRENTLY APPEAR TO DECLINING AND FOR THE GENERAL MARKETING AREA SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS. THE GENERAL MARKET FOR LOANS APPEAR TO BE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN RATES AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION.

MARKET CONDITIONS ARE CURRENTLY APPEAR TO HAVE SOFTENED AND FOR THE GENERAL MARKETING AREA CONDO’S OF REAL ESTATE SELLING AT A STABLE RATE, THE GENERAL MARKET FOR LOANS APPEAR TO BE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN RATES AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION.

I wrote these selections in all caps because that’s how their authors wrote them. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the worst writing I found was from appraisals typed entirely in capital letters, but I don’t think so.

My wife Carol, an executive recruiter, suggested that, given these phrasings, the absolutely perfect candidate for a career in real estate appraisal would seem to be none other than Sarah Palin herself. If you saw William Shatner reading her “tweets” on the Tonight Show [2] the other night, I’m sure you’d agree.