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Appraising house with "odor of death"

Bill75

Junior Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2015
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
I've been asked to appraise a house where the prior occupant apparently died in the home. While I don't fear taking on this house with possible stigma, I wonder how much I will need to charge to consider the unusual condition. I got a note from the AMC that the borrower wanted to make it a point to consider the "odor of death" in the appraisal. Prior to accepting the assignment, I can only assume the buyer must be expecting a discounted price for the deceased occupant issue. This appraisal situation is so extremely rare that I don't have any idea how much extra time will be involved if I decide to accept.
This isn't nothing, my trainee accidentally accepted an order where there was a double murder suicide...Well that was the last time I let him accept anything while I was out on inspection. Turned out that the "oil" stain in the garage was not from a car. You don't think much of it when you're there, but when you start researching the property and find out what happened in the garage, it can be unsettling. It affects different people in different ways, some people don't even care, others won't go near it. Just have to see what the market indicates, excessive DOM, contract $ vs list $... MV was 60K over the contract price on my order. It was rough, but now I know how to do one. I would say there probably isn't a stigma if some died of natural causes though, but always check your market for similar instances.
 

Basically Rectangular

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Virginia
Since listing agents won't disclose the death/murder/suicide in the listing, it is nearly impossible to gather data from the MLS. I'd be proud of selling a double murder house and I would put it in the MLS after the sale, if I were an agent (if that is allowed).
 

Lee in L.A.

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Sounds like a deal killer. :leeann:
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
If they died several days earlier, usually HAZMAT is called for the 'cleanup'...I know. My cousin died and wasn't found for over a week. Prone to go on golf trips, it wasn't unusual for him to leave for a week and not answer his phone. The hazmat bill was $4000 or so. But the chemicals used were awfully strong and we kept bowls of baking soda and coffee around to help absorb the odor. Removed all the furnishings, etc. Hired a deep cleaning lady who did a marvelous job. It was very livable by the time we got that done.

Just because someone dies in a house should hardly create a significant odor so long as they are removed quickly.
 

USPAP Compliant

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I've been asked to appraise a house where the prior occupant apparently died in the home. While I don't fear taking on this house with possible stigma, I wonder how much I will need to charge to consider the unusual condition. I got a note from the AMC that the borrower wanted to make it a point to consider the "odor of death" in the appraisal. Prior to accepting the assignment, I can only assume the buyer must be expecting a discounted price for the deceased occupant issue. This appraisal situation is so extremely rare that I don't have any idea how much extra time will be involved if I decide to accept.
I would say that I was incompetent for this type of appraisal, had a lack of experience and knowledge required. If so inclined, take the steps to become comment.
 

glenn walker

Elite Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
The Plan Stan ? is we do not take these kind of assignments from Lenders or AMC's because they are not going to give us enough disclosure, on how , why and when the death occurred ? And that can make all the difference in the world-when you develop your scope of work . The bottom line is until the appraiser physically inspects-the property and interviews a few adjacent neighbors, looks at a police report or receives a Signed and Notarized Affidavit from the seller, all the appraiser knows is someone laid in a pool of blood and body fluids for weeks or months. Even if its a natural death, whats the Cost to Cure required to Mitigate the Smell ? Finally if the house ends up being rated as a C-5 that AMC will be crying that you ( Killed Their Deal-No Pun Intended ) Uncle Billy says there is not enough money for the extra work and possible headaches you may encounter.
 

Doug in NC

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I would say that I was incompetent for this type of appraisal, had a lack of experience and knowledge required. If so inclined, take the steps to become comment.
I used to like having this client until an AMC got involved in the last 6 months. I didn't want to the disappoint the lender and I'm probably at least as competent as the next appraiser who will get the assignment, so I was reluctant to turn down the order (although I knew I would have to go back to them and request a higher than standard fee). Anyway, this turned into a moot issue because I didn't accept the assignment within the AMC 2 hour window frame. :clapping:

The fact of the matter is I already had close to a full week scheduled, so I would have had to ask for an extended completion time and higher fee. So I guess, at best, I would have gotten a little satisfaction from a challenging assignment and an above-average fee. In the end, this is probably an order I could easily do without.
 

Lee in L.A.

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Anyway, this turned into a moot issue because I didn't accept the assignment within the AMC 2 hour window frame.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice! :peace:

Probably a good one.
 
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