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GLA: Incorrect Public Data

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ZZGAMAZZ

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Seems like this issue might pertain primarily to California, or maybe just my bad luck:

Job after job after job (4 last week alone) reveals a subject GLA that is nearly identical per NDC DATA, MLS, and the appraisal inspection.

However, a portion of the dwelling unit often doesn't seem right--roof pitch, heating, materials that differ from the remainder of the house--and further research with the city B&S reveals either the absence of permits, or permits for an enclosed patio, or sun room, etc., which is mistakenly identified as GLA by the entity upon which NDC relies--assessor or title or whatever?

(I use MLS as my primary source of data, except for GLA, because it typically mirrows public records.)

This anomoly is difficult to explain to the client--more difficult for them to understand than it is for me to explain--but I'm just wondering if others encounter this issue...
 

CANative

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2003
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
if you drive a car, I’ll tax the street;
if you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat;
if you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat;
if you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.


The assessor will tax anything and everything, legal or not.
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Bob Dyan?
Arlo Guthrie?
Greg Boyd?
 

Mike Kennedy

Elite Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
Taxman
by
The Beatles


Album: Revolver Released: 1966
 

Sid Pachter

Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Professional Status
Banking/Mortgage Industry
State
Florida
The situation shouldn't be difficult to explain. In some instances the assessor's office doesn not communicate with code enforcement/building permits division and vice versa. When an appraiser employed by the assesor inspects a property they are looking for alterations that constitute an improvement to the property which then can eventually be taxed. If during your inspection you encounter an addition, garage conversion to living area, etc., and you have questions concerning the workmanship and the inclusion of these modfications appears to be in public records don't automatically assume the alteration is legally permitted. Ask the homeowner to show you the permits and ask who did the work and make the call or visit the local building permit office to verifiy what you have seen. As a reviewer, in looking over numerours reports-the sketch page and photos sometimes indicate an alteration in the subject. Despite similarities of measured living area and what is noted in public records I have seen where no permit was issued for the alteration eventhough public records indicates the area is there. None of my clients will make a loan on a property with an non permitted addition. Some field appraisers may argue that verifying permits is not within the "scope of worK" assignment. I disagreee, as the appraiser is the "eyes and ears of the client" if something is not exactly "kosher" with the property, the issue needs to be investigated and disclosed to the client. When I was a field appraiser years ago, verifying permits was part of my SOP, you should make it part of yours.
 

Annelle

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arizona
Your primary source is your records.

Your job is to report what you find during your inspection, and support any conclusions or recommendations you make within your report, clearly written so that the reader can understand it. And, yes you should be verifying permitted or unpermitted work. It can have a direct effect on value. That also may mean investigating your comparables as well, if you have suspisions as well there. If you note discrepancies, they need to be addressed. If the lender has specific requrements get it in writing. Sometimes they want to see a market reaction of the unpermitted work...if there is one...either way it should be addressed. Sometimes they want a cost to cure.
 
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Flygirl 152

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Just today I appraised a duplex near Stanford University in Northern California. As soon as I got out of the car I realized by looking at the outside of the subject that a few areas appeared to be added on some time after the original structure was built.

I made sure to measure all the funky areas separately that appeared to be additions. When I got back to the office and drew everything out, minusing the bonus room and enclosed patio area, my sketch still varies by about 145 sq. ft. over what the country records say.

The owner said that he had went down to the city prior to purchasing the property and asked if the areas that appeared to be additions were permitted and what the GLA was. The city told him that they were uncertain and did not have any records or permits what so ever.

Even after taking out the areas that I think were added at some point, I still come out 145 sq. ft. over what the country records say I should have. My mentor had always told me that country records can be wrong, and I should be reporting what is there, not what the records say should be there. So that is exactly what I am doing. This is one tough assignment not only because of what I have already dealt with in regards to the size, but also because there are not many recent sales in the area of downtown Palo Alto with the near same GLA. Ugh, I hate the tough ones!
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Deb: Your comment leads to my next question that in my opinion is part of the due diligence. If your research is exhaustive but inconclusive, e.g., no definitive permit data from the jurisdictional authority, how does one typically decide "to validate" (for lack of a better phase) the area of unknown original? Do you include that area in the GLA with an EA that it's permitted, or exclude it with an EX that it's not permitted.

It seems to me that the latter alternative is safer, and to a large extent an appraiser needs to insulate himself or herself from liability, but our obligation to the lender extends to the seller as well as to the buyer, so an incorrect underevaluation is just as injurous as an overevaluation.

This now because an EA question and I've searched and searched the AF for an answer to no avail.

Any ideas?
 

Smokey Bear

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Am I the only idiot that verifies GLA with the homeowner before going out there? I also ask if there are any additions, any current rehab/construction, etc. I don't like surprises.
 
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