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Turn down order 'cause bad data?

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Pat Butler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
I'm working on a tough townhouse assignment and am almost starting to think it's better to refund this guy's money and needed some opinions. The townshouse complex consists of two to three story townhouses, some with basements. None of the MLS data reports GLA. These places are huge. I did get copies of the builder's original marketing materials from the Assessor's office. The assessor did not compute the GLA on these units either. The problem is that the builder offered about a dozen different floor plan options for the basements of these units as well as for the two or three additional above grade areas. There are literally hundreds of combinations of floor plans with these units which makes each unit very custom. Many of the floorplans are very similar to each other and it's been impossible to match up a particular floor plan with the data in the MLS. The GLA in these units ranges from about 1,800 to over 3,000. The interior stairs takes up a lot of space which also complicates the situation and each level of these units has a different amoutn of living area and there are some dormered interior walls too!.

I called the Realtors for the sales I'm considering using as comps and none of the Realtors had a good memory of their respective unit do to their complex floor plans. Any ideas on how to complete such an assignment? I'm really concerned about being off on the GLA of the comps and having irrelevant adjustments.
 

Bill_FL

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Is the developer still around? Why not call them and ask them about the comps.
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Pat, I'd say don't give up. Giving up will not lead to good referals in the future. Stick with it, the customer and client will remember you...... for a long time.

I've had similar fun situations with very bad or limited data. The sad part is those jobs were not profitable. :( But if I agree to it, I finish it. In the past, I have ended up calling (or knocking on doors) of the sales I needed to ask the HO if they mind me measuring and inspected their homes. You'd be surprized how many are open to the idea if you explain your job and situation. I'd offer to send the a sketch of their house (just a selling point to get the data I needed).

P.S. Give the home owners of the comparables your card too. They too will remember your work ethics.

BTW, next time you get an order for this neighborhood, you know how much to charge. And don't ever through that file away.
 

Carnivore

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Pat, I am going to maybe save your tail. I had the same problem recently with very expensive condos in Charlotte. So I pulled all the sales within the last year, matched up sale prices with my best guess to my subject, then I went to work.

I called each home owner and ask them if an appraisal had been done on there condo when they purchased it. Bingo, Got the names of four appraisers and whoopee they were all willing to help me out.

Try it, you might have as much luck as me.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
I agree with Mell and Andrew. Make the phone calls and knock on the doors. The good will you will gain will make it worth it even if this one is a $ loser.

Don't just guess.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Pat,

I agree with everyone else. Make the calls and knock on the doors. One county I worked in when starting was just like that. Had to knock on the doors of every sale or call and ask every single question about the sale and house.

Ryan
 

Mike Simpson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2002
I use to work for an SRA who had a reputation for appraising "difficult or challenging properties." I didn't make much money, but receive one heck of an education. Although I haven't worked for him in nearly 10 years, the mere mention of his name, and the fact I once worked for him still earns me respect to this day.

This appraiser had me call every listing agent & buyer of properties I intended to use as comparables. Additionally, I was required to knock on doors, or phone in an attempt to interview the buyer--with the goal being an inspection of their property. I was amazed at the response...nearly everytime I was granted the request.

The trick is in the initial phone call...often conducted after working hours. Explain yourself without faltering, educate them as to your quandry, and ask to be allowed to inspect the property. I've also measured homes in the field when the homeowner wasn't available...I swung a hammer for 15 years and can get a pretty good understanding of the floor plan from the exterior.

Good luck--keep us posted

-Mike
 

Steve Owen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Missouri
Pat, something that might help is to think of the size for comparison as GBA not GLA. GBA includes all finished space including common areas (but not garages) and is the more appropriate unit of comparison for these kinds of rental properties. It is often easier to come up with GBA because you don't necessarily have to go inside the unit to find it.

I basically agree with the other posters, but it is possible to reach a point when you have to say "I'm losing too much on this to continue - either we have to negotiate a higher fee or else I will refund your money." I haven't done this often, but there have been a couple of times.
 

Verne Hebert

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Montana
I am not in agreement with every body else. In completing this assignment you will reap some educational benefits. If you want to continue to work in this complex, they will be easier; but you will still have to get your fees.

In my marketplace, there is absolutely no loyalty--I do no "favors". Like Mike's mentor, I appraise very complex stuff---but I get my fee or I don't do it. If you do this work for market rates, you'll starve.

Bottom Line...........ASSESS THE HIGHEST AND BEST FEE! THEN ASSESS THE HIGHEST AND BEST USE.

GOOD LUCK!
 

Pat Butler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Finally finished this assignment. I tried calling the owners of the comps and was only able to reach one, the rest were non-published numbers. The owner was friendly but did not want to give me any details. I looked way back in the MLS to find prior listings and sales of the comps I was using- only made things worse-- some of the units that are reported to have nearly 3,000 GLA were reported to have about 2,000. This area is really messed up. Got a hold of one Realtor who was involved in a prior sale of one of the comps. She tried to be really helpful but was confused because these units have such complex floorplans. She thought her sale of a three-story townhouse also had a basement. I walked behind the unit and did not see a single window-well. Even drove through the whole complex at night to see if I could see even a single window well that was illuminated. You enter these units be walking up some concrete stairs and enter into the 2nd level of the unit. Once inside, you can go back down some interior stairs to level one which is at grade. The problem starts because some realtors were reporting those at grade levels as basements.

Finally looked at 3 of the units that were presently on the market and got a good feel for values in the area. I used one comp from the subject's complex and 2 from two other competing complexes that had similar values. Lost big time on this one....
 
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