Extraordinary Assumption or Ordinary Assumption: When doing a retrospective appraisal, it is normal procedure to use an extraordinary assumption that the property, on the date of appraisal inspection, is similar to what it was like on the date of appraisal, unless there is information to the contrary. It seems almost axiomatic that this would be an extraordinary assumption, defined in USPAP as: “an assumption, directly related to a specific assignment, which, if found to be false, could alter the appraiser’s opinions or conclusions.” (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, 2005 Edition, The Appraisal Foundation, Definitions, Lines 85-86, p. 3.) However, the question is when to draw the line between in “extraordinary” assumption and one that is quite ordinary. In the normal course of business, we make any number of assumptions, that could change our opinion if they were found to be erroneous. Some examples include the adequacy of utilities, legal use after cursory examination of zoning, and lack of adverse easement or encroachment based on visual inspection of the property and plat maps. I don’t believe most appraisers write EA’s to cover each of these conditions under normal circumstances; only when there is some doubt about one of these conditions would it be the usual procedure to write an EA. In the course of doing a retrospective appraisal, the assumption would seem to almost automatically seem to be “extraordinary.” The appraiser cannot go back in time to see the property on the date of appraisal and if that property was found to be in significantly different condition than it is on the date of inspection, it would almost certainly change the appraiser’s opinion of value. But, the question is where to draw the line... if the retrospective date is one year ago, many changes in condition could have happened and an EA would seem to be necessary. But, what if the property was unimproved land? Then, significant changes would seem to be less likely. And how significant is the amount of time that has passed? If the retrospective date is six months ago, three months ago, or even last month would you still write an EA? If the retrospective date was yesterday an EA would seem to be foolish... you can look at the property today and make a very ordinary assumption that it is like it was yesterday. What if it was last week or a couple of weeks ago? What do you say? Where would you draw the line on making an EA for a retrospective appraisal?