Facts are Facts, Right?
by Administrator on Jul 31, 2016
Appraisers find from their very first day in training that property information collected from a source that "is deemed reliable" like the county Assessor or from an owner about a property may not be factual. For example a gross building area may be indicated to be 2,100 square feet by the Assessor but when you get to the property you measure it to be 2,200 square feet. Or the Assessor's data may say there are 2 bathrooms when there are in fact 3. Facts are only factual when you confirm the data through a first hand inspection.
No appraiser is perfect so even the best will make a mistake now and again. While many appraisers in the business will act like they haven't ever made an important mistake most have and some may not even know haw many they have made. There are no perfect appraisers but we all strive to be as close to the 100% accuracy rating as we can when it comes to factual information. I have seen many seasoned appraiser take hours out of their day and go back to a property if they suspect that they have made a mistake.
If you have been involved in a court suit related to factual data, with an issue related to how many square feet are included in a commercial building, you begin to realize that factual data is often related to who measures a building and how they do it. Even those who are following a standard methodology often come up with a measurement that is plus or minus a 2%. It doesn't seem like much until you get to a 10,000 square foot building and you have one appraiser low at 9,800 square feet and one high at 10,200 and the property is valued at $ 350 per square foot.
Appraisers usually review the Assessor's data if its available and then make their own measurements. There will be some differences depending on rounding. If the appraiser measures an outside wall for a gross building area (GBA) and it is 19.6 feet some will will use the measurement while others will round it to 19.5 feet while and still others will round it to 20 feet.
If you are using rounding techniques you should be sure that everyone in your office is doing it the same way. Create a policy and check that everyone is following it. There is nothing worse than having one appraiser in the office doing it one way while others are doing it another. If your own office is inconsistent how can you possibly argue that your way is the correct way?
I have found that Assessor's often round up to full feet, so they round 19.6 feet to 20 feet. If you disclose in the appraisal that you have rounded to full feet I personally don't think that is a problem. I'm sure there are purists who will disagree, but having been involved in litigation on this particular subject I can tell you that claiming absolute accuracy is a fools game. I guarantee you that if I followed you around with an engineer, an architectual firm and a physical scientist they would all come up with different measurements.
Appraiser's similarly describe things like wall height, building height, gross lving area, net rentable area and other dimensions and areas based on their best attempts to measure those areas.
For more appraisal information contact Glenn J. Rigdon MA, MRICS, ASA is a Las Vegas / Henderson Nevada based appraiser who can be contacted via email or via his business website known as Appraiser Las Vegas (http://www.appraiserlasvegas.com), or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website or visit my public profile at LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/glenn-rigdon-ma-mrics-asa/1a/30b/879/
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