• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Appraising the bottom of a lake??!!

Not open for further replies.

Rick Neighbors

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
Had an individual see my magnetic "appraiser" sign on the back of my truck the other morning at the cafe. He asked me if I could do an appraisal for him. Here is what he wants appraised.

He owns apx 7 acres on a rural city owned lake. Was never a Corp of Engineers lake, someone dug the lake and sold it to this small rural community here in Texas. City improved on the lake, somewhat. There is apx 3 acres of "swamp" land between him and the lake. No access except from the lake or across his property. He wants to make an offer to the city to buy that area so he owns the shoreline, such that it is. His girlfriend lives across the lake and had a similar situation and bought 2 acres from the city.

Anyone ever appraise this type of property? Im leaning real heavy towards declining the appraisal. It's just that it intrigues me as to how to proceed.

Thanks for your comments,

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
Up here in Northern Michigan that would be an easy one. Simply comp it out. His frontage plus the acreage at the market front foot value plus acreage value for similar competing lakes. Up here we find that the individual lake will have an optimum FF (front foot) value for what ever size lot is normal on that lake be it 50', 66' or 100'. FF over that is usually discounted from 30 to 60% percent per FF depending on the total front footage.

It his girlfriend bought her land from the city, that would give you one comp to use. Where you get the rest depends on the market and if you have any similar lakes. You may just have the one and the value may have to be derived from that.

Same holds true for wet lands. If you can find any that sold anywhere use them. This is sort of like doing a "conservancy". You find similar unbuildable land and use it as your comp. In this case, you also have to factor in the water frontage in the case of you subject. The wetland becomes part of the vacant acreage calculation.

You do have an interesting assignment. Especially in Texas where I'd be willing to bet you don't have a lot of little competing lakes to assist you.

Good luck with it.

Verne Hebert

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
It looks like everybody else is getting those easy Vegas assignments with 4 % gross adjustments. If it wasn't for Richard you wouldn't have this plethora of response.

Richard's advice is good. In my area we have a greater concentration of water that any area west of the Mississippi. WE are at the headwaters of the Columbia River gourge. There are a few hundred different types of water influences, lakes, ponds, rivers, resevoirs, streams, sloughs, backwaters.

I dont agree with Richard on the generalization of footage value. Here there are no generalizations. Every waterway is different. I specialize in water influence and large tracts of land here, and occasional islands in the rivers or lakes, and wetlands.

Same old story, look for data. Consider utility and inventory. You would be amazed at the ways you can logically support value. If you buy the beer I can tell you some stories.

These days, unless I am getting paid for serious brain strain somebody can do it that needs the training.

Consider the "highest and best fee"

Verne Hebert
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks