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Legal Fee

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TexasT55

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
I was just contacted to do an appraisal for a legal dispute. I have been appraising for 5 years now and never been approached before.

Those of you who have expirence in this area how much extra do you charge if any? The judge ordered the plaintiff to find the appraiser and the defendant to pay the fee.

The subject is on 20+ acres and has two houses,barn,stables, kennels and a horse arena.:icon_question: :shrug:
 

PropertyEconomics

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
I was just contacted to do an appraisal for a legal dispute. I have been appraising for 5 years now and never been approached before.

Those of you who have expirence in this area how much extra do you charge if any? The judge ordered the plaintiff to find the appraiser and the defendant to pay the fee.

The subject is on 20+ acres and has two houses,barn,stables, kennels and a horse arena.:icon_question: :shrug:



What is the purpose of your appraisal? What is it you are measureing? These questions must be answered first before you can get much assistance ... we simply dont know the answer.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
If you are expecting to testify about your report, figure at least twice what you would normally charge. You are going to have to support EVERYTHING and be able to support your conclusions on the stand.

Further, get the order in writing, with an agreement for X for testimony and testimony prep, as it will most likely be a year or so before you go to court (unless it's bankruptcy court).

Finally, get half up front, the remainder at the time of the delivery of the appraisal. Attorneys are the world's worst about not paying.
 

Jill Kinnaird

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Ohio
You must determine if the property is within the scope of your licensing. Based on the brief description of the property I would strongly suggest you consider teaming with a certified general with experience in agricultural/equine income production properties.
 

TexasT55

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
PE,
I need to establish market value of the land and all Imps. This a deal is, someone failed to hold up thier end of a deal and a lot of money was lost so they taking the subject as part payment for the loss.
 

Dan/Fla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Main thing is if you plan on using a form for appraisal DO NOT USE the new forms because on page 4 states Intended Use: The intended use of this appraiser report is for the lender/client to evaluate the property that is the subject of this appraisal for a mortgage finance transaction. And could be thrown out in Court if they fight.. I use the older form.. For this reason the Lawyer if a difference has been able to have other report thrown out just on that 1 line..

I court you may have to prove yourself as an expert witness the 1st time you testify. Have your ducks in a row. Have the lawyer you work for brief you on questions. In Court have entire work file and I always take my Marshall & Swift Book, if problems with Homes ot building I also that Home repair and cost guide. Testified only 4 times but and only had to Use the Marshall & Swift Book once, but glad I had it when the other appraisal report was different and His cost approach was not supportable. Fee I usually Charge normal for Report an $125 hour for Court time with 2 hour minimum.
 

stefan olafson

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
North Dakota
Write a nice lengthy narrative and charge them $7,500 (or more) plus $125/hour for prep time and court time.

Don't complete this complex property appraisal on a form!
 

Webbed Feet

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Canada
I was just contacted to do an appraisal for a legal dispute. I have been appraising for 5 years now and never been approached before.

Those of you who have expirence in this area how much extra do you charge if any? The judge ordered the plaintiff to find the appraiser and the defendant to pay the fee.

The subject is on 20+ acres and has two houses,barn,stables, kennels and a horse arena.:icon_question: :shrug:

Texas,

I question going to court as an expert witness when you don't even know enough to post the SOW so forum members can react with fee suggestions based on the complexity of the SOW. A forum member has to ask you to get the information.

So exactly how many professional analyses of twenty acre properties with two houses, barn, stables, kennels, and a horse arena have you done in five years for any SOW at all?

Webbed.
 

PropertyEconomics

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
Texas ... dont let others set your fee. The question is how would you do this under a normal situation were someone to have just called you and asked you to appraise this property.
You want to be more detailed in your analysis and be able to explain every adjustment so your writing time will be more and you should charge accordingly. Get your fee, or atleast half of it, up front with the balance payable upon your delivery of the report.
I would prefer to do it in a narrative format but if you are uncomfortable with that use one of the available forms (not the 1004 as explained in other posts) and document everything you do and all adjustments you make. You will end up with quite a bit of addenda will be my guess but you have to be comfortable with it. Remember your report is going to be used by the COURT not necessarily the parties and the judge needs your help to establish value.
I, like the others, charge a flat per hour fee for court time. I have a seperate fee for court prep (often these things can take a year or more to get to court and you should be compensated for your time to reacquaint yourself with the assignment and your appraisal) and a higher fee for actual court appearance. I dont do minimum court time fees ... I only charge for my actual time, which honestly is nearly always much longer than most peoples minimums. You may be asked to sit in if another appraiser testifies and you will be examined and cross examined. Charge accordingly.
Some others here have said they would join with another appraiser in order to complete this. I think that is an honest judgement call you must make. If you are competent you can handle the assignment, if you feel uncomfortable you can get someone to review it for you or perhaps even sign it with you. The call is really yours.

Best of luck to you on this assignment.
 
Last edited:

stefan olafson

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
North Dakota
Declare yourself competent, get competent by schooling, get competent by working with someone who is.

Do the best job you can and be very, very detailed all the way through. If you make adjustments on a grid, have them all backed up with matched pairs to show to the opposing attorney, they are going to want to see why you adjusted a property feature and where the adjustment came from. Saying you pulled it out of thin air and your five years experience just won't do.

I suggested a narrative and a fee earlier. I'm not trying to suggest you are only worth that, decide what the job is going to take and set your fee appropriately.

Set up before hand that you will also charge for prep time before trial and for testifying. You need to get paid for what you do!
 
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