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Estate Appraisals - Appraising Multiple Properties

by Administrator on Dec 26, 2017 Writing Appraisal Articles 990 Views

Estate appraisal assignments are usually welcome by appraisers since they can keep one or more appraisers busy for weeks or even months without their having to wait for work. When you have 10 or 15 assignments to do you don’t have to stress about where your work is going to coming from. For small firms with demanding bank or hard money clients who expect their work to be given priority a large number of additional estate assignments just isn’t going to be possible to complete.

There are estates that need real property appraisals completed in multiple states, and many smaller firms don’t hold licenses in more than one or two states at a time. I have had appraisal licenses in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin, but I only have one currently active appraisal license in Nevada. So, while I can complete the Nevada portion of an estates needs I would have to find another appraiser to complete estate work needed in say California or Arizona.

Estate assignments at Time have some redundancy that can make them easier to complete. If, for example, an investor in retail, office or industrial building died after having accumulated a number of properties it is likely that they are they have the same use. If you complete an assignment on 5 retail buildings you may find that the retail market research may be the same for 3 of them. Appraisers can tell you if there will be a savings when they bid on the assignment.

When you need several properties appraised quickly you will likely find that smaller firms just can’t handle the volume under time pressure. It’s true that each appraiser works at a different pace, some can complete three appraisals while another is still working on one. If you get three bids for one or several appraisals from a few appraisers that indicate that about 1 month is reasonable and someone else says they can do it in 10 days you have to ask them how is that possible?

Some appraisers turn their estate work over to their trainees, so while you may get the report co-signed by the owner (who takes responsibility for it), the appraiser who you thought was going to work on the assignment won’t be working on it beyond a review. I’m in the appraisal business and I can arrest to the fact that reports completed by trainees / interns are generally of lower quality than those completed by the appraiser who has his name prominently on the business name and letterhead. It’s not always true that the appraisal process suffers, it depends on the strength of the staff, but lower quality reports result often enough that you need to ask an appraisal firm exactly who is going to sign the report.  If it’s not only the appraiser you thought you were paying to complete it, but instead it is him and another appraiser and / or an intern in his office, you got your answer.  The appraiser may claim that it is his work but in fact it’s in fact a collaborative effort.  If it’s not in part the work of trainees why would they get credit for assistance completing the report and why would they sign it?

It's hard for appraisers who are benefiting from trainees to admit the involvement of trainees in the appraisal process.  Many become upset if you just mention it to them.  They are outraged that you would suggest that their work suffers from trainee involvement, but it’s a matter of fact that if a trainee or trainees were involved in an appraisal that you have a much higher chance of finding errors in that report than if they were not.  Trainees are just more likely to make mistakes.  At times they make poor comparable sales selections, they have little or no experience making adjustments and they often don’t understand why a property they deemed comparable is not.  Factual errors are also more likely to occur.

Estate appraisals are often retrospective, or as of a past date, and some must consider fractional interests. It’s important that these facts are conveyed to an appraiser before he bids on an assignment. After many hours of research thinking several appraisals were to be as of the current date finding out that the reports need to be as of date ten months ago is extremely painful for an appraiser since it means hours and hours of work with no additional compensation for your time. For most small appraisal firms lost time is uncompensated time, it’s like you worked hard today but we decided that we are not going to pay you.

If you have estate properties in the assignment that are dissimilar from one another, like a freestanding retail building, an industrial building and a multiple tenant office building that are all in different market areas, appraisers must investigate each different geographical market area and each different property type within them in order to complete the assignments. Generally, it is more difficult appraising different properties than appraising three similar industrial buildings located in close proximity to one another. Appraisers understand just how much savings there are from redundancy.

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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