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Old 03-17-2005, 01:38 PM
allison lucas allison lucas is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pacifica, CA

Posts: 97

Hi all:

I just purchased and received "The appraisal writing handbook" from AI. Though it is full of helpful information on appraisal writing grammar, it's not what I am looking for.

I would like to have a reference on appraisal writing verbiage; any recommendations?

Many thanks!

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Old 03-17-2005, 03:19 PM
Paul Ness MAI's Avatar
Paul Ness MAI Paul Ness MAI is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
State: Pennsylvania
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 796

What exactly do you mean by "appraisal writing verbiage"? I'm not sure there is a book out there for that other than the Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, also put out by AI. You learn the proper verbiage to use as you learn appraisal theory, take appraisal classes and gain experience.
Old 03-17-2005, 03:57 PM
Bill_FL's Avatar
Bill_FL Bill_FL is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Cliqueville
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 4,871

Paul is correct, however, the Harrison guide is not a bad reference for some basic comments to cover various situations.
Warning: this post not spell checked because I know what I meant to type.
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Old 03-17-2005, 09:09 PM
allison lucas allison lucas is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pacifica, CA

Posts: 97

Thanks for your response. I've figured that the experience will give me the knowledge I need to write strong reports; the year and a half I've spent writing reports so far has helped create an invaluable bank of appraisal phrases, clauses and the like. I was hoping that there might be a book to reference for the times when I get stuck and can't find the words to explain myself.

I know the experience will take me there. Many thanks,

Old 03-17-2005, 11:03 PM
Ross (CO) Ross (CO) is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs
State: Colorado
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 4,154

allison,.......We all work in our separate offices and appraise in our separate market areas, and we all tell our own version of a story each time we report on a property. Your reports are "you", and my reports are "me" and there are probably more common lines of shared information and insight in each or our reports that ought to get our points across quite well.

There could be no more potent thing for you to master for each of your reporting tasks than to create text which demonstrates coherent thought, properly-structured sentences (subject, verb, objects, tense, modifiers, etc.), good spelling, no slang, no repetition of same words in the same sentence.....and doing one's best to pack a full punch in those fields about Neighborhood, Market Conditions, Description of the Improvements (which should BE a larger field !), and the Comments on Sales Comparison......right down to the last keystrokes before carrying over to an addendum......yet NOT carrying to an addendum page for a mere few words or short sentences. It's amazing how much more one can say when they leave out useless filler words like "the", "an" and "a", and a few others.

I like to use synonyms often, especially when it would be awkward to read a sentence with a same word repeated in it. You can emphasize a point quite well by saying the same message with appropriate synonyms, and a choice of total wording that DISallows the reader to interpret your meaning in any other way than what you want them to experience. A shorter length of synonym saves valuable space and can prevent simple addenda carry-overs that lose the soon as they turn the page. If you do take them to an addendum page be sure to insert a reference of instruction, or similarity, that ping-pongs them back to that previous page or to something else you specifically want them to your sketch page, the location map or certain included photos. If they fall asleep at an addendum blew it.

Verbiage ? ....all in one special book ? Maybe. This Forum probably offers you plenty of examples of "verbiage" every now and then when folks offer text passages from templated parts of their standard forms, addenda and reporting commentary. Start printing out good things you see now and then, and re-word that person's "meaning" in a manner that would sound like Allison had written it !'ve got YOUR verbiage.

P.S.----Don't write your report's text fields in all-caps, or you'll destroy the very best of intentions to impress that reader, IMHO.
Old 03-17-2005, 11:30 PM
Kate's Avatar
Kate Kate is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: The LIVE FREE OR DIE State!!!
State: New Hampshire
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 4,519

If you are looking for vocabulary the, "The Language of Real Estate Appraisal" by Fisher, Martin & Mosbaugh is great.

As for how to write a report. There are some great classes out there on report writing.

I always write very different than I would in an E-mail or even on the forum. But I took a class yesterday called, "20 common appraisal mistakes". In that class the instructor told us to write in our own words. He said that most appraisers write in, "appraisereese". He said that many times we get caught up in trying to write put reports in "legal language" and mislead the reader when we could have spelled it out more clearly in our own words.

I thought about what he said. I try to write my reports in a very professional third person way, "appraisees" way. Not at all how I would explain something if I were to try and spell out a property to you guys.

Many times on this forum I have seen people ask how to write XXX, then they will spell out what the problem is in detail. Many times I see responses that they should spell it out just like they just did. I am going to start writing reports this way I think. Why confuse the reader?

Language is a different thing. We should all be up to date on the definitions in real estate.
Old 03-18-2005, 02:36 PM
Autazell's Avatar
Autazell Autazell is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
State: California
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 46

Hey Allison, I'm not licensed yet but I have been an office manager for an appraisal firm in the bay area for a few years. I am currently waiting for the state to process my application to take the trainee exam....

so you can take my advise for what it's worth. :P

But I have been soaking up as much info as possible, and sometimes I just need an idea/sample to get me started with the verbiage. (I'm not appraising yet, but if I tagalong on an inspection with one of our appraisers I like to write it up for practice.)

One thing that has helped me expand my understanding/experience is: I occasionally save copies of other appraiser's reports (when I feel they are well written) that we do field reviews or desk review on, just to compare verbiage or to read what they include in their interpretation of relevant info to include in the report. It's nice sometimes to compare writing styles of other local appraisers, not just your mentors or appraisers trained by your mentor.
Old 03-19-2005, 10:47 AM
Mike Garrett, RAA's Avatar
Mike Garrett, RAA Mike Garrett, RAA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
State: Colorado
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 21,056

I would second Henry Harrison's Illustrated Guide to the URAR, Condo, Small Income forms. Hundreds of commonly used comments for nearly every situation. You might want to wait until the there is a guide for the new Fannie URAR or you could see if you could find some old ones on EBay. While the form will be different ... the comments will still apply.

Every appraiser should develop a library of books. The Language of Real Estate Appraisal is very good one to start with. If you join the Appraisal Institute (AI) or National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers (NAIFA) and attend their meeting you might find someone who is retiring or leaving the business and they might have a whole library of books you could purchase at a reasonable price.

I wish you well.
A Former AQB Certified USPAP Instructor
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