Less Isn’t Always More

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I’ve been asked how much should be filled out on site during a mobile appraisal. I know there’s a lot of ways out there to do this; there are almost as many methods out there as there are appraisers. My way certainly isn’t the only way to do things, but it’s the way that I’ve found works for me. And my answer, in short, is this: fill out everything that you can.

           When I walk through a property, I try to fill out as much as I can on site. The first thing this does is it helps me to make sure that my information is more accurate. I don’t have to end up guessing and trying to remember what I saw during my walk once I get back to my office. The information is already there. I also end up saving my office members time, since the photos and the final sketch are already in the form and don’t have to be attached or labeled. By the time I’m done, I like to have completed page 1, my photos, and my sketch.

           Does this mean that I spend more time at the property? Certainly, it does. But I don’t mind if my information is better, and I know that most clients will also not mind if you spend a little more time walking and inspecting the property. This also helps to eliminate the “second inspection” that happens when you return to the office and start turning your notes, photos, and sketch into an actual form. When doing a mobile inspection, fill out everything you can – you’ll be glad you did.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode:

5 Comments on “Less Isn’t Always More”

  1. Pingback: Less Isn’t Always More - Appraisal Buzz

  2. I sit in my car and fill in as much as possible while it’s still fresh in my mind after walking through a property. I also jot down notes using voice text or the recorder about the property: overall condition, repairs needed, improvements made, and public or private water/sewer. It does take a few minutes longer doing all of that, but it saves me more time that it takes in the end. Especially if I’m spending time looking through my pictures trying to remember something about the property a week later when I’m working on the report, and I forgot to fill in the information while in the field.

    Having an accurate sketch before leaving the property is also very helpful. Depending on the area I’m in (rural or distant from my office), I look up sales surrounding the property based on a 25% +/- range of the Auditor’s GLA for my subject. I usually add 100-200 sf to that range because the Auditor’s GLA is usually off, but every now and then, the data is way off, and the range of my sales needs to be adjusted. I might have 10-20 sales that were in that range, but half of them are now out of range. It’s very helpful to know that while in the field so, I can do a new search and get those additional sales that weren’t in my original search results.

  3. I also think spending more time at the property also gives the appearance of being thorough, so do as much as you can on site. I believe this makes homeowners more comfortable with us and makes them less likely to question the final conclusion. So often I get calls from people who are upset about another appraiser’s value conclusion and in most of those calls, they will tell me that the appraiser was only here for ___ time.

  4. I agree with Gary, good point. Also, the Total for Mobile App is great way to solve the issue of filling out forms and photos. Plus I can walk and dictate my notes for outside and inside room by room. Again, goes with what Gary said take your time and give the perception of you are doing your job, which you are.

  5. I personally conduct at least two in-depth phone or email interviews with the owners prior to going to the property. The email I send out asks every question in the appraisal, and asks for any and all supporting proof of such information (pictures, Permits, dates of improvements, copy of leases, solar panel documentation, etc., etc.). Meaning, the report can at times be 80% complete prior to the physical inspection (always subject to verification).

    With professional seeking the truth work up front, the inspection should be a verification process, versus a discovery process.

    Minus the sketch, the inspection could take just minutes with full understanding from the borrower.

    Seek the truth.

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