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Required/Desired Info from a Client

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Nov 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
What items do you require/desire from a client when they submit an Appraisal assignment for an existing residential 1-4 family purchase or refinance with conventional financing?

I’d also like addtional items required for other conditions, such as other types of financing, new construction, etc.

If the client does not provide the required/desired info and the info is available from another source (such as the courthouse records), are you required to obtain this info from the other source? Or is it adequate to use what the client provides and document this in the Appraisal Report?

I’ve identified the following items so far:

client info
subject address
purpose of the appraisal
type of appraisal required
type of appraisal report required
current owner
contact info so able to schedule inspection
proposed sales information
copy of contract
financing conditions
date contract signed
property title information
warranty deed
all existing liens
easement information
special info required for this appraisal
flood map
county assessor map
MSA map
method to deliver the report (email, fax, mail, etc)
any other relevant comments

new construction
builder’s name/contact info

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
Basically, say on a refi, we require (or at least request) the following:

street address
legal description
survey or mortgage report if available
owner’s name
owners phone number
lenders name, address, email address, fax number
signature of authorized person placing the order
invoice or COD information

In addition on a sale we ask for the following:

copy of the purchase agreement
listing brokers name and phone number
buyer’s name

All other information is generally available from county or MLS.

The one thing that we have the most trouble getting is the legal description. There have been many cases where we do the report without a legal description, basing the site size on the owner’s information. I have one right now that has three long legal descriptions, one of which is a fractional interest. Significant acreage is involved and the house is on a lake so site values are critical. I refused to inspect the house until they got me a legal and upon seeing the legal, I now want a survey so I know what land is involved.

I have one client who always sends a copy of the tax roll with the order. That helps greatly.

I basicly tell clinets to send me what they have and let me decide if it is applicable or not. You can never have too much information.
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
Or is it adequate to use what the client provides and document this in the Appraisal Report?

Be very careful about using just what the client provides (sometimes they lie 8O ). YOU are responsible for doing the necessary due diligence to make your appraisal correct and not misleading.

Richard's post is very good! as usual!!!!

Steve Owen

Elite Member
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
I don't think there is a laundry list that fits every situation. However, there are some things you need to have according to USPAP and good practice. You need the details of any current sale or listing. If the property is subject to construction improvement, you need adequate plans and specifications to understand what will be built (I've had a builder tell me "it will be just like that one over there," and that is sometimes okay in a cookie cutter subdivision), a cost estimate, and expected completion date.

I don't think an address is necessary and have often appraised properties for which an address is not yet assigned. However, legal description is another matter. If you can't get a legal description, you need to adequately describe the property in a way that it couldn't be any other property. (I always annotate any such self-made legal with a disclaimer that I am not a surveyor, etc. etc.) As a practical matter, I usually tell the client and borrower that I must have a legal description, even though that is not technically true.

Richard's post is very good and will give you a good idea of the kind of stuff you should try to get. Like Richard, I usually ask for whatever they have and then sort through it and see what else I need. It is up to the appraiser to determine that you have enough data to adequately identify the property.

For standard SFR sales and re-fi's, I ask the client to provide the address (if available), the name of the borrower, any contact phone numbers they have, any survey or legal info they have, a copy of the contract (in the case of a sale), and name and address of the client (of course, I usually already know this).

These aren't things you actually need, but if the client has readily available the first page from a previous appraisal, it can speed things up. Likewise, if the property is not on MLS, but a real estate agent is involved, I ask if they have written up a listing and try to get a copy.
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