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Out of Context - Appraisal Report Excerpts

by Administrator on Jan 30, 2014 Narrative Writing 1738 Views

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.

"Out of context" excerpts typically show up in court filings, bond offering brochures, presentations or marketing acquisition / disposition reports.  What is usually cut out of my reports, without permission being asked or given, are the transmittal page, portions of the income approach or portions of the sales approach.  Even when I ask clients in advance if there is any chance that excepts from my report will be used for any purpose, and the client tells me no, it still happens.

I think attorneys are often guilty parties, because they are simply trying to save money and keep their presentations concise, and some know that having to get an entire appraisal report into the record may be more difficult than simply trying to get an excerpt into the official court record.  I have seen many of them edit appraisal reports by excluding the letter of transmittal, by excluding the Addenda and by entirely excluding appraiser qualifications.

My appraisal reports often include color coded maps, color photographs, color soil maps and other details that cannot be seen in a black and white copy, so even a complete reproduction of my reports by some attorneys can be missing important information.  It's often more important to an attorney to save a few dollars than to print 100 page reports with 10 color pages each, so you have to be ready when you testify as an expert witness with a color copy.

Should an appraiser accept an assignment if he or she is told in advance that there is a plan by the client to take excerpts?  In my opinion the answer is no.  Your report conclusions on their own are indefensible, just like a one page report would be, and individual approaches may be informative but only the report in its entirety is the basis for the formation of my opinion.

There are appraisers who are taking steps to lock the report and disclose to readers exactly how many pages are supposed to be included in the report.  I lock my reports using Adobe Acrobat's content password protection.  While I have been told that this protection method can be defeated, it's a first step that is better than no protection. I have seen other appraisers indicate on the transmittal page that there are “X” number of pages in the report as a way for the reader to verify that additional pages have not been added or deleted.

For more appraisal information contact the author, Glenn Rigdon, MA, MRICS, ASA a Las Vegas / Henderson Nevada real property appraiser via email or via his business website Horizon Village Appraisal (, or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website.

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