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4 killed in front yard

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Anonymous

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Pull up to do a URAR on a rural home, notice flowers and a cross at the big oak tree in front yard--this doesn't look good. Now I remember the address, 4 teens killed when car crashes into tree and their friends place symbols at place of death.

Owner comments that he lets them do it, as it's a touchy subject hardly addressed in passing if at all.

How is this addressed? It's not like a tainted property where you had a murder, suicide or some other henious human event, where traces of the event are cleaned up, painted over and time serves as the universal eraser. It's there, these tributes, in the front yard and hard to miss.
 

Ray Ohler

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
does it really have any impact or "stigma"? Boy, tough one. Frank, you didn't mention whether it was a sale or refi or whatever. Not that that really matters as far as value goes BUT, if it is a sale, maybe the buyer was aware of the "event" and decided to purchase the property anyway, if the sale price is "in line" with market, then no charge. I would disclose the occurrence in the report and unless I had AT LEAST three similar examples which I could extract a "diminution" figure from, just say that there was no market evidence to support any loss in value. I don't know what else you could do.
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Whoa.
That house is just about the equivalent of having a home facing a cemetery, at least until the mourners stop remembering.
Based on the roadside memorials in my area (unfortunately there are many in this mountain area) I can tell you that every anniversary, birthday and holiday will bring new objects and visitors, and it can go on for many years, particularly when the victims are teens.
A very, very tough call.
 

Ray Ohler

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
really isn't a "sticking point". It's either impacted or isn't. I wouldn't try and use sales across from a cemetary though. Tough one. You can TRY and get some market data but you probably aren't going to be too successful and it'll take some doing. You're the appraiser. It's your call. Good luck with it no matter what you come up with.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
Unless you have hard data to support a negative adjustment, I would not make one. I would also state in an addendum that the memorial is there and that there is insufficient data available to justify any adjustments based solely on the memorial. Any negative influence from the memorial can be cured by simply removing evidence of the memorial. It may cause ill will briefly within the neighborhood, but most home owners will understand and agree that a proper period of mourning is appropriate, but it cannot continue forever. I would wager that six months after removal of the memorial items, the site would not be remembered by the community at large.

Essentially, I do not believe there is a long term negative effect on the property.
 

Charlotte Dixon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
Frank...if it's a refi, I wouldn't even mention it. It's not a grave and there is no legal document giving permission to place the memorial there. The owner can either put up a no transpassing sign there (although I doubt if anyone would do that) or can request that the memorial be removed (doubt that too). The point is it doesn't have to be there forever. As far as an adjustment for view....it's not a cemetery and the view can be cured or changed. If this was a sale, I would make mention of all these things above. Now that you've brought up the subject......why does the state allow these memorials to spring up everywhere? How do they mow around them without disturbing them? How about snow removal? How about how bad they look when the sun fades the plastic flowers. I don't believe in cluttering the books with law after law, and I'm sorry if I seem cold, but really, isn't that what cemeteries are for? Sorry I ran away with this. :?
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Likely you may be wondering if you should show (hence, disclose) presence of the flowers, wreaths and crosses in your front view photo, yes ? Take front photo with all in front, and then step just beyond or get the right angle as to eliminate seeing those things in a second photo. Now, you have both in the file and in the days ahead decide which one goes into the formal report upon completion. Obviously these items are temporary, as they are not solid fixtures permanently attached to that person's yard. While they carry much local recognition of a sad event there they will not be there for decades. The homeowner has the dilemna or decision to make with the families and the community. Unless you have direct market data to show an influence on value one might not feel there is a detrimental stigma which harms that property in any way. Does that tree and curve-in-the-road have any history of prior occurences ?
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Frank,

I don't know about you, but if I had the choice of two similar houses, one with the Oak Tree Memorial, and one without, I would buy the one without unless there was a significent incentive. If this place goes to foreclosure, I bet it will be more difficult to market to knowledgeable buyers. And I think you believe so also, or this wouldn't be an issue. Then you will be asked why there was no adjustment for this & you better have an answer. This sort of issue comes up on the forum frequently, and the standard answer is "without hard market data, there should be no adjustment". The root of this issue is, of course, that unscrupulous appraisers often make arbitrary adjustments for non-existent "diiferences" in properties in order to make a deal fly. However, it is my contention that there are sometimes characteristics of properties that we know do have a negative impact on marketability, and the lack of hard market data should be no excuse to ignore them. I know of such memorials in my area that have been maintained for decades. And this is understandable, particularly in cases similar to yours. But to be face to face with the constant reminder of death on Christmas Eve, your wedding anniversary, your child's first birthday, or just a pretty Saturday afternoon mowing the yard is a macabre existence that surely does not appeal to the market. So there must be some negative market reaction to this feature, even if it is only increased marketing time. So where does your adjustment come from? It does come from the market, after all. In this case, your standing as a professional, your knowledge of the market, and your understanding of human behavior are the basis for your adjustment. You must not hide behind the absence of paired sales. You must now exercise your professional judgement of how this affects the property and report it. This is your raison d'etre. An appraiser is not just a form filler, adding and subtracting cold statistics. An AVM can do that faster and more cost-effectively than we can. I believe that this is the heart of our profession; the need for human reaction to elusive characteristics not easily reconciled by crunching numbers fed to us by paired sales or regression analysis. It is professional opinion, not hard science. The same ingredients do not always produce the same result. Hence the need for our services.

I now await all assaults.
 
A

Anonymous

Thread Starter
Guest
Yes, thanks for ALL the thoughtful replies to date. I think an adjustment is necessary and full disclosure to include a photo will be included on the report. HOWEVER, my value on the negative adjustment is still up in the air, and *sigh*, that's probably where it MAY come from.

It is a bit macabre to see these things all over the place--trees, guardrails, cliffs, etc. It started I think when the publice was to put yellow ribbons on trees to await some hostages somewhere to come home--was it Iran? TO think if this had been going on since automobiles started hitting each other or immovable objects, there would be such a profusion of these things that one couldn't go 500 feet without seeing some type of memorial. Oh, and don't forget Princess Di too. so it goes.
 
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