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Long Distance Appraisals

by Administrator on Dec 19, 2015 Property Appraisal 1289 Views

As an appraiser in Nevada you can get an appraisal assignment offer that would require a 10-hour round trip drive.  If you consider the fact that you will also have to find and photograph a number of comparable sales and the subject, a full day could easily be required.  If you have to additionally deal with property that is located in an elevated area, like land on Mt. Charleston or sites in the Lake Tahoe area, the travel time and inspection times could easily double, and you may need a 4-wheel drive to get to the property.

It's one thing to appraise a property that is located 30 minutes away from your office in the city but it is entirely something else to appraise a property that is located 3 hours away.  When you get an assignment that you are licensed to complete that is five hours or more away by car it's time to consider flying and staying where the assignment is until the property, the comparable sales and the data need to complete the assignment is accumulated.

In the past I have been licensed in 6 different states and many appraisers hold licenses in multiple states, it effectively extends their area of practice and it multiplies the potential number of appraisal assignments that they are offered.  You can become an expert in more than one location and in more than one state.

Long distance appraisal assignments often sound like a good deal when they are offered since they are usually assignments that there is little competition for and a premium has been added to the fee for that reason.  Or you are asked to bid and you bid high thinking your fee is fair compensation.  I have found however that a fee always sounds good until you get out on the road or until you figure out that comparable sales are 15 miles apart, then you think about what you charged in a different light.

Many of the long distant appraisal assignments that I have completed were on vacant land, but I have also completed appraisal reports on commercial properties like medical centers, airport hangars, office buildings, industrial buildings, motels and golf courses.  The more difficult an assignment is, with regard to its specialized improvements, the more risk is involved doing the report.

Properties with speculative incomes, or incomes supposedly developed by the previous owner but not available for appraiser review, are rarely verifiable even if you sit and watch the property operate on a day to day basis.  How one party operates a motel, for example, is entirely different from how it will be operated by another owner.

Collecting and verifying date in a location that you are not familiar with is another problem with long-distance appraisals.  You may know where a property is in your local community and how to easily get to comparable sales but when you get a long way from home and you are in an area that is not as familiar, and the collection and verification of data is difficult, your appraisal report is negatively affected by the difference.  Becoming competent in a new area can be a time consuming process, and it will take a long time to get to know it well enough for a good attorney to make you look bad on the stand.          

When you get to a "one of a kind" or special-use property your appraisal may have few or no reliable market sales for comparison. That situation compromises your market sales approach analysis.  When there is no income information and few market leases and income approach can also become difficult.  You may have to rely on a cost approach with land analysis as a worst case situation.

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  (, or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website or visit my public profile at LinkedIn at

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