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Help with complex assignment, different then stated simple one.

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robert higgins

Thread Starter
Jul 15, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
Did an inspection yesterday for purchase for a private funded lender. Talked to the buyer before meeting at the subject, stated subject is single family selling as a short sale via auction listing company. Meet with buyer and listing agent, sale consists of 6 small lots deeded as a bundled of one lot (lot 1, 2, 3, 4 of XYZ), half acre in all, non-conforming lots to current zoning.

During inspection found 1 A-frame dwelling set back in heavy wooded area, 1 old foundation, 1 outbuilding with well, so far all good. As I am inspecting the lot, I notice wooden steps off the driveway to another house built on a high rock ledge, asked both the buyer and listing agent if that is part of the purchase as there are no defining lot lines. Both had no idea if it was and listing agent did not have keys to it, took out the assessor’s map and looked to be on the lot, based on the position of the house relating to the map.

I go to the town hall building dept, to find out the original A-Frame house may have been built with not permits and the have no record of house being on the land, let alone the second house. Checked the assessor card for the property next to the subject, listed as vacant land, no house on property.

I talked to the client yesterday about the set-up of the property and stated there maybe an increase in fee due to the configuration of the sale (multi lots) and what was stated the property to be (1 lot with dwelling). First, before I call and start the appraisal, I want to ask you for your opinion on the how to handle this assignment.

1) Wait till a new survey is done, as the last recorded one was from 1922, vacant land only, subject to building/zoning clearing dwelling as being legal.

2) Do it as a single family with listed acreage, make it subject to survey, HC that the second house is not part of the lot, and building/zoning clearing first dwelling as being legal.

3)Other, please state.

Second, I based my fee on the stated configuration 1 house 1 lot, would you charge an increased fee up front and refund any part if the second house is not part of the property, or charge the quoted fee, and if the property is found to be different later, charge a new fee for a new appraisal?


Marcia Langley

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser

If the 6 lots are already combined into one property, (ie: have one parcel number and one deed) and they are not legally separatable due to setbacks, etc, the HBU is leaning toward one undivided property.

If you find they are legally dividable then a thorough HBU determination must be made.

You need to do whatever it takes to determine the boundaries of the property and whatever improvements are on it. You need difinitive information to identify the subject property before you can even begin.

Your option #2 is not appropriate.


If you can't realistically identify the subject property and it's boundaries, the client must provide you with that information. If not available from any other source the HO may have to get the survey.

But first, make sure you have exhausted the county resources on your own.
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