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Vacant Land appraisal scope of work

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Matt Jacobson

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
In eight years I have never received an order for a vacant land appraisal (residential). I am currently working on one now. I am quite competent in performing one in my market area in terms of the development of value, but I have several questions for those seasoned "vacant land" appraisal pros in regards to the reporting of such. Specifically, in regards to the scope of work, it would seem to me that we (appraisers) cannot guarantee that any particular parcel of land can be built upon (residential improvements) due to a large number of variables such as soil density, unknown contamination, unknown environmental issues, unknown easements and so forth. If I accurately identify, consider, analyze and report the Subject's zoning, use, density and potential permitted improvements, am I correct in assuming that my "peers" do not perform a scope of work that includes the determination of any of the "unknown variables" listed above. Of course I realize this is in the absense of the Client specifically requesting it or having an expectation of such.

If at all possible could someone post or email me a sample of their addendum comments associated with the concerns that I listed above. If anyone has any other relevant comments and/or considerations related to accurately reporting a vacant land appraisal on the standard Land Appraisal report (not GPAR) could you please share them, it would be much appreciated. Are there any specific issues related to USPAP compliance and the "standard" Vacant Land Appraisal form that are commonly overlooked?
 
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Louis Pompeo

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Mariana Islands
Extraordinary Assumptions

The fact that the appraiser is not an expert in soils, environmental shortcomings, etc., is why the Appraisal Gods created Extraordinary Assumptions.

You say: "I am currently working on one now. I am quite competent in performing one in my market area in terms of the development of value"...

But then you ask questions that indicate that you may not be experienced and/or competent to perform this assignment, such as:

"If at all possible could someone post or email me a sample of their addendum comments associated with the concerns that I listed above. If anyone has any other relevant comments and/or considerations related to accurately reporting a vacant land appraisal on the standard Land Appraisal report (not GPAR) could you please share them, it would be much appreciated. Are there any specific issues related to USPAP compliance and the "standard" Vacant Land Appraisal form that are commonly overlooked?"

Perhaps you are better referring this assignment to one who does these types of assignments regularly, or taking on a collaborator with experience?
 
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jeanwillick

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
We use this:

There is a Land Division Act in Michigan and appraiser makes no representation as to the remaining splits available with this property, if any. This would have to be verified & approved by local zoning and equalization departments. This appraisal is based on the extraordinary assumption that this property conforms to the Land Division Act of 1996 and that it is a buildable Site.

Also:

The Appraiser's conclusion of value is based upon the assumption that there are no hidden or unapparent conditions of the property that might prevent buildability. The Appraiser recommends that due diligence be conducted through the local building department or the municipality to investigate buildability and whether the property is suitable for its intended use. The Appraiser makes no such representations, guarantees or warranties.

This is an appraisal report to assist the Client as stated above. This report is NOT an environmental or land inspection. This report should not be relied upon to disclose any adverse conditions present in the subject property. The appraisal report does not guarantee that the property is free of contaminants, wetlands or adverse conditions. The appraiser has not investigated whether the Site is buildable. If an inspection to determine the safety or condition or adequacy of the site for any intended use is desired or required, or testing for any toxic substances, the owner or other interested party should contact a qualified scientist, engineer or geologist who possess the knowledge, expertise and experience necessary to determine if there are any adverse conditions in the site. Any Dwellings or structures, if present on site, built prior to 1978 may contain lead based paint.
 

Mztk1

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
You are in my market. These: soil density, unknown contamination, unknown environmental issues, are covered in your limiting conditions. These: unknown easements and so forth, can be found on a survey.

City and county, if your lot is in Hillsborough, has a ton of information on setbacks, septic, requirements, etc., on line. Some vacant lots are very sensitive to the size of a house that can be constructed (think South Tampa), other lots are more important for their size and location.

If you are in a well and septic area, the lot has to be at least one acre to allow for septic, so be careful with that. If it is not you can call the county and see if they have a pre-approval on septic for the site.

If you cannot get a survey you can look the property at the county appraiser's site and 9 out of 10 will have a tax map link at the very top of the page where easements, etc., can be seen.

A very important factor in Hillsborough County, Pasco or Polk, is Future Land Use designation. Each county has a site on the internet to find the future land use and determine what can be built on the site.

By and large vacant lots are easy in the Tampa Bay area. You do run into a tricky one every so often, but mostly they are simple.
 
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