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Floor Plans With No Exterior Dimensions

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Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
I had a lady from a local bank call and ask me to to a second appraisal on a 1.2 million dollar home. She said they always get two appraisals for these type properties. I asked her how she got my name. She said the first appraiser recommended me. The first appraiser happened to be an appraiser I trained about ten years ago. I knew it would be a difficult assignment, but I decided to accept the assignment. She had the other appraiser drop off the plans and list of detailed improvement costs. I opened the plans (blue line) tonight and there are no exterior dimensions anywhere. There are some interior dimensions (rounded for the main rooms) but no exterior wall dimensions. One page does have a legend for the total SF at 7,112. Folks, this is a new one for me. I have never seen plans without exterior dimensions. I have always re-drawn the plans on Apex to verify square footage. I believe I taught him to do so, but he has decided a lot of things I do are not required, so he doesn't do them any more. My first question is how can any appraiser do an appraisal without verifying the SF? Am I too anal? I always check my figures against the plans and check them on final inspection, too. My second question is why would a bank accept primitive plans on a million dollar home? Third, is this common for appraisals to be done without verifying the square footage? Let me here your opinions.
 

Ghost Rider

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Professional Status
Banking/Mortgage Industry
State
Connecticut
ok, I'll answer first, and I might get flamed on it. With new construction of upper end homes such as the one you are describing, I see things similar to what you are describing a lot in my area. I don't like it either, but, since these types of homes are typically architecturally designed, and should be put together on a good CAD system, if I have a legend which gives me square footage, I will typically trust it, and disclose in the report where my square footage comes from. I do get worried on occasion, and will sometimes scale the plans to figure out square footage when it's possible - on some of the very contemporized designs, it's impossible to scale them out, and even harder when the architect doesn't give a scale on the plans.....For me, I'd trust the plans, and disclose it in the report.
 

Rich Hahn

Senior Member
Joined
May 2, 2003
Professional Status
General Public
State
Colorado
Tim
Time for a low tech investment.
If I remeber correctly its called a ruler.
We use them on a weekly basis when we recieve partial plans or plans such as yours.

Good Luck
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I don't like it either, but, since these types of homes are typically architecturally designed, and should be put together on a good CAD system, if I have a legend which gives me square footage, I will typically trust it, and disclose in the report where my square footage comes from.

I have done the same as MH. I disclose, disclaim, and do it subject to verifing the SF as soon as it is reasonably possible after framing.
 

John Hassler

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Plans are almost always drawn 1/4" =1'. You should be able to verify the scale from some of the interior dimensions. I keep an architect's scale in my desk drawer for just such an emergency.

John Hassler
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I use a disclaimer in my reports done from plans and specs. "the square footage used in the appraisal is from the plans and specs provided and are assumed to be correct but not guaranteed". Have had appraisers tell me I should go out and measure the property when it is completed...I disagree. I am doing the appraisal from the plans period. The appraisal is contingent upon the subject being completed per those plans. The VA sends out an inspector for the final inspection, not the appraiser.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Tim,

Why would you want to mess with scaling??? You have the legend. You have the name of the architect. So just condition the report based on a "X" story home containing 7,112 sf as per plans and specifications drawn by Mr. zzz, registered architect.

Ben
 

Patrick Egger

Sophomore Member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Tim ... there's an old saying in this and other businesses "trust no one" ... get an architects scale and check things out, use the disclaimers mentioned in the posts, but verify what you can ...

A lot depends on who drew the plans and in my experience I've seen differences in what the "architect" calls building area and that which is actually livable SF.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Good points, guys. It just seems funny to me that after 1,000's of appraisals, I have never come across plans without exterior dimensions. There are not enough interior dimensions to correctly determine the proper scale because I have no way of knowing if the interior dimensions stretch to the outer walls. They are labeled like a sales office hand out. I could scale it if there was a legend that told the scale, plus we are talking a 7,000+ SF home with angles, curved walls and several half circle walls on angle walls. Scaling would be subject to numerous estimated walls and would be a high risk of error. I have scaled plans before when there were missing dimensions on a simple plan, but never had to scale all of them.

And yes, because I have always re-drawn the plans on Apex, I have found numerous errors on stated square footage before. Some architects will consider areas living area that are not necessarily living area. This one has a veranda, screened patio and a curved upstairs with a large open area. The plan also has new room I have never had to label before. The room is labeled a prayer room.

I am quite set in my ways. I like to know I verified the square footage myself. I would prefer a set of plans that show actual dimensions, somewhere I bet they have them.
 

Pat Butler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Besides an architech's scale, there are also a few electronic rolling wheels (planometer?) on the market that can be set to a common scale or a custom one. I use it when I can at least determine one dimension to determine the others. You could also look for something in the plan that might have a known dimension and at least see if you derive the same GLA as the architech. Sometimes they'll draw vinyl flooring in 1' squares for example....36" wide exterior door??
 
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