Art or Science?

Is real estate appraisal an art or a science? It may not be as philosophical as the old question "does a tree make a sound when it falls in the forest?" but many appraisers are familiar with the art or science question.

I have routinely contended it is both, but not separately. Some may dismiss our opinions as just that and write off what we do as arbitrary and subject to mood. For others, nothing but pure statistics will suffice. The reality is that art and science must be blended and homogenized by experience. The more we know and understand about a particular market, the more we can utilize data and tangible factors to reconcile a supportable conclusion.

The Reality of Price Per Square Foot.

Thanks go out to Appraisal Scoop for posting our latest article. Would love our realtor friends to read and give us feedback.

Typical Buyer VS Informed Buyer

I recently appraised a manufactured home for a possible short sale. While performing my inspection, the home owner told me his story that has become all too common since the financial crisis and economic downturn. Lost jobs and mounting debt linked with a declining real estate market had brought forth another sadening statistic of an underwater mortgage.

The home owner was visibly frustrated with the manufactured housing lending process or lack thereof. He stated "it would have been nice if someone told us it was so difficult to get a mortgage on one". As I wrapped up and started my journey back to office, I began thinking about a larger question. If this home owner was a "typical" buyer in the market, did he meet the definition of a reasonably informed buyer?

This would likely garner several perspectives from appraisers but it seems the simple answer would be that it depends. It is possible that the majority of some buyers may not actually understand the nuances o…

Those Pesky Web Portals

So just about every AMC has a web portal for appraisers to accept, track and upload assignments. Okay, I get it! For their convenience we accomodate their requests to use their proprietary systems. I'm sure it offers them many efficiencies but the trouble is that it offers us only more work and more headaches.

I love technolgy as much as any other geek but sometimes it gets to a point where it serves little benefit. Uploading a report had developed to a 3 click process but thanks to progress, we now have to create a separate UAD compliant XML file, a separate PDF of the invoice, save each locally, launch the browser, click the portal link, login, find file, upload separated files, wait..........and finally exit.

I recently had a file to upload which also required a user fee be paid prior to upload. After an error message, I contacted the client only to be told I needed to call their third party vendor of the portal software. After losing 45 minutes of my life, I called the clien…

AlaMode Releases DaVinci for Android

WinTotal announces mobile ap for Android users. If anyone has an opinion or review, please post a comment.

Read Article Here

Happy New Year

AM Appraisals, Inc. hopes that all had a Joyous Christmas and wishes everyone a Happy New Year in 2011.

Scope of Work "Creep" and Stagnate Fees . . . Not a Good Mix!

Our latest article on the topic of Scope Creep was just published on

Read the article here