Appraisal Articles 2018 Free Appraisal Articles for Appraisers and the Public
Since I have already been helping appraisers all over the country who call or email me with questions about writing narrative reports I have decided to offer my assistance to those in particular need on a fee basis. If its your first narrative or you have been writing reports for years, I am willing to spend my time helping you with your assignment. I'm not saying that I can help everyone with anything but I have a relatively broad base of appraisal knowledge that I will share. I think my articles on this site speak for themselves, I have appraised many property types including; land, office, industrial, retail, shopping centers, golf courses, cell tower sites, wedding chappels, outdoor advertising signs / billboards, all kinds of property for eminent domain / condemnation both full and partial takings, gravel / mineral property, golf courses and even tank farms.
This is the first installment of a 10 part series that discusses narrative report writing. The installments will vary in size, and I may add to or edit portions of it over time. These short articles are focused on report writing not "the valuation process." Most appraisers understand; data collection, highest and best use analysis, the three approaches to value and reconciliation. What many have difficulty with is getting it all down in a narrative report.
There are portions of most narrative appraisal reports that don't change often, or that could be considered standard in almost every report, and those sections of a real estate appraisal are at times called its "boilerplate." Since narrative reports are not entirely standardized from one appraiser to another, the sections and layout of each reports can differ.
While there may be some appraisers who dictate their information, and have a hired report writer insert property data and information for them into a template, I have never followed that lead. Report writing programs are also a way to go, they can “remember” what information needs to be changed in your reports for you, changing plurality, change property information and change other variables in a template for you. Most of these programs use a search and replace (mail merge) function on a range of user identified template variables.
This is a short article which is part of a short series on narrative report writing and as part of this segment I'm not going to attempt to instruct anyone on how to use a spreadsheet. I can't imagine how I would write narrative appraisal reports without using a spreadsheet program to assist me but maybe there is another way. I will say that being able to use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel is important to mosts commercial appraisers who are going to write their own narrative appraisal reports. I started using Excel when it first came out. Before Excel I used Lotus 1-2-3 and before that I used VisiCalc on the original Apple. Its amazing how far spreadsheet programs have come since their introduction but you still have to take the time to sit down and learn how to use them.
Some appraisers, who have good data from a government source can simply cut chart graphics and tables out of their government publications and paste them directly into their appraisal reports. If the reports are not copyrighted, many government publications are not, its one method of getting the basic economic information that you need without having to collect it from multiple sources and then create you own tables and graphs. If you have a single good data source then it's just a matter of discussing changes and trends for your reader. If there is a copyright notice on the data that you would like to use, contact the author and ask for permission to copy the information into your reports. Its likely that your reports are read by only a few individuals and if you advise the author of this very limited distribution you may get his permission to use it.
This article, segment 6 in a series on narrative appraisal report writing, is dedicated to narrative report writing content including comments and definitions that are often used in the author's reports.
There is no standard format for presenting the physical information that describes a subject property or a comparable property in a commercial narrative appraisal report. There are many appraisers who have strong preferences, and there are important facts that must be presented in a report regardless of who writes it, but a narrative report does not provide check boxes like a form appraisal and thankfully there is some latitude regarding how physical information is presented.
Maps are an important part of narrative appraisal reports because they help report readers visualize things like; the market area, the site, the building (from above), relative size, site access points / curb cuts, shape, orientation, easements, water features, soils, adjoining and proximate influences (or lack thereof).
An appraisal in my opinion consists of all of the pages that I included in it when I deemed it complete. My narrative appraisal reports generally include about 80 pages to 150 pages with the transmittal and the Addenda. It is my expectation an appraisal report that I complete will remain intact as it passes from one reader to another even though it was likely written for and directed to only one client. On many occasions however I have found that attorney's, investor's and government agencies have at times taken excerpts from my reports because they decided in their wisdom that they only needed portions of it for their own purposes.