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Definition of Vacant

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V. Nightshade

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I appraised a condo in San Francisco. The owner met me. The only furniture in the place was a mattress in a bedroom. I asked if he was living there and may have commented on the lack of furniture. (What! no table?) He said he had been staying somewher while working on the floors, and that's why there wasn't anything in the apartment. I marked the appraisal report "occupied." The underwriter has asked me to comment on occupancy, since she noticed the lack of furniture and thought it looked vacant. (I didn't include the picture of the bedroom with the mattress.) If he said he was "staying" somewhere while working on the floors, does that make it vacant? If the says he's living there, does that make it occupied? Should I have related the owner's comment, or pressed him on more details. Does occupied mean you have a key and you come there to sleep? What if you come there to sleep every 5 days? I guess the bottom line is, where can I find a precise definition of "Vacant" and "Occupied" ?
 

JRS at OBX

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I have the same problem with vacation homes. They may be rented out during the week in the summer with the owners staying there a few weeks out of the year. When I inspect them, nobody is there. The house is furnished but there isn't any clothing in the closets, no sheets on the bed, no food in the fridge.

Lately I have have been putting a paragraph in the addendum explaining the occupancy status. I would prefer "unoccupied" to be an option other than tenant, vacant or owner.

To be technical, vacant would mean that the subject is empty. Unoccupied means that nobody is occupying the property.
 

RSW

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Tennessee
Was it occupied at the time of your inspection? I would say, "Vacant."
 

Blueprint

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where can I find a precise definition of "Vacant" and "Occupied" ?

Technically speaking, you did the right thing by saying that the subject was occupied because of the mattress.

Per dictionary.com for vacant:

10.Law. a.having no tenant and devoid of furniture, fixtures, etc. (distinguished from unoccupied): a vacant house.

Interestingly, there is no definition for vacant in The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, 4th Ed.

The reality is you just have to do the best you can with what info is available to you. Explain in the addendum why you selected either one.
 

Webbed Feet

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Technically speaking, you did the right thing by saying that the subject was occupied because of the mattress.
<......snip.....>

But then that makes a lot of bridge overpasses occupied as well as one of my neighbors front yards as they had tossed a mattress on the lawn a couple of days ago.

Webbed.
 

Blueprint

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But then that makes a lot of bridge overpasses occupied as well as one of my neighbors front yards as they had tossed a mattress on the lawn a couple of days ago.

Webbed.

Those are not considered dwellings.
 

Mztk1

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Florida
Technically speaking, you did the right thing by saying that the subject was occupied because of the mattress.

Per dictionary.com for vacant:

10.Law. a.having no tenant and devoid of furniture, fixtures, etc. (distinguished from unoccupied): a vacant house.

That's selective dictionary definitions and going with the "law" definition to boot. When you go to a hotel and they have vacancies are you anticipating a room without furniture?

By definition, at least by one of the definitions, Vacancy means, and is completely synonymous with, "Unoccupied".

VA·cant Audio Help /ˈveɪkənt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[vey-kuhnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective 1. having no contents; empty; void: a vacant niche.
2. having no occupant; unoccupied: no vacant seats on this train.
3. not in use: a vacant room.
4. devoid of thought or reflection: a vacant mind.
5. characterized by, showing, or proceeding from lack of thought or intelligence: a vacant answer; a vacant expression on a face.
6. not occupied by an incumbent, official, or the like, as a benefice or office.
7. free from work, business, activity, etc.: vacant hours.
8. characterized by or proceeding from absence of occupation: a vacant life.
9. devoid or destitute (often fol. by of): He was vacant of human sympathy.
10. Law. a. having no tenant and devoid of furniture, fixtures, etc. (distinguished from unoccupied): a vacant house.
b. idle or unutilized; open to any claimant, as land.
c. without an incumbent; having no heir or claimant; abandoned: a vacant estate.
 

RSW

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Tennessee
I just love this forum!
 

Webbed Feet

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Canada
This is NOT that hard!

<..... snip.....>He said he had been staying somewher while working on the floors, and that's why there wasn't anything in the apartment. I marked the appraisal report "occupied."

Was there food in the kitchen cupboards? .. Were there any clothes in the closets? .. Was there toilet paper in the bathroom?

Sorry, determining if a property is occupied or vacant just is NOT that hard to do. Nor is determining when a person is lying to you about it.

XI, 102.02: Unacceptable Appraisal Practices

Inclusion of inaccurate factual data about the subject neighborhood, site, improvements, or comparable sales.

Use of data that was provided by parties who have a financial interest in the sale or financing of the subject property without the appraiser's verification of the information from a disinterested source.

Devolopment of and/or reporting an appraisal in a manner that is inconsistent with the requirements of the USPAP that were in place as of the effective date of the appraisal.

So you tell me, think ya did anything you should not have? The opinion of who is occupying the improvements, or if they are vacant, is YOUR call. NOT the property owners by claiming a mattress = occupancy. Your duty was to report what you observed. Not fail to report what you didn't observe that should have been there. A better choice would have been to not check any boxes at all. Reference a "See Addendum" and explained what you observed and what you were told.

I bet you used the 03/2005 1073 form right? What does the Appraiser's Certification number ten say and what should have been done due to that certification when common sense is applied? I'll add the answer here for you. When an interested party is saying something suspect, you are unable to determine the truth, and you can't find a disinterested party for verification of the information... the correct answer and information to supply in the appraisal report is "I DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER. HERE IS WHY."

Webbed.

P.S. So much for speaking technically. .. ;)
 
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Riick

Elite Member
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Aug 14, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
But then that makes a lot of bridge overpasses occupied .......
What about the areas under those overpasses??
"The law in its infinite majesty, forbids the Rich as well as the Poor
to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread" -Anatole France.

 
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