A Day in the Life of Appraising Iowa-Nebraska-Florida

February 20th, 2019 8:52 AM
For the last several days, I have logged in at 6:00 am, fully intending on writing a great blog about a lesson I learned on my most recent appraisal assignment.  However this morning, rather then spending two hours creating a blog, and sharing about the appraisal assignment, I am writing about how easy it is to get to distracted from your original intentions.  At 6:00 am, sitting down to write, but first "let me clear this one thing on my desk, I promised to scan and email a copy of an appraisal to someone".  Sounds simple.  I typically start out by scanning the document to my desktop computer, even though there is that feature on my fabulous all in one printer, email, scanner to simply scan and email the document directly.  How long could it possibly take to do that "thing" I have been putting off; adding my email address to the printer/scanner thus eliminating a step and adding one more automated feature which will enhance my productivity.  Two hours later, after much reading, googling, security settings and g suite email smtp protocols I can now email from my scanner!  Look for an appraisal blog later this week.  If you need help adding your email to your scanner I am now an expert, just reach out. 



Posted by Patricia Smith on February 20th, 2019 8:52 AMLeave a Comment

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A Day in the Life of an Appraiser in Rural Pottawattamie County and Douglas County.  The majority of our appraisal valuation services today is in the city/suburbs of Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, Nebraska, we are often called to appraise small acreages in rural communities like Underwood, Treynor, Carson, Oakland Iowa, and Blair, Bellevue, Papillion rural areas in Sarpy County or Douglas County Nebraska.   
Whether it is a home on 5 acres, or an outbuilding and 10 acres we are challenged to value the land and location for adjustment purposes, in order to arrive at a credible opinion of value.  Some of the land valuation involves Surplus Land and Excess Land which we have already discussed here.  But the other issue which is not uncommon are land easements.  Often times, these easements were created when a small parcel of land was divided from a working working farm to allow a family member to build a house near by.  The easement serves as an access for a farmer to reach a grain bin with a truck load of corn harvested in the fall, or a tractor to cross on to adjoining land to plant crops in the spring. These easements are known as Appurtenant Easements.  An Appurtenant Easement is a right to use adjoining property that transfers with the land. The parcel of land that benefits from the easement is the dominant tenement. The servient tenement is the parcel of land that provides the easement.  The answer to this question is never a simple one.   It comes down to how much less will a buyer pay if there is an existing easement allowing someone to drive across their property.  Often it relies on how much of a "nuisance" the easement is, how close is the road to the home, how often is the road used, does it require a lot of maintenance.  Each easement is treated individually and we can only base the impact on data provided by colleagues,real estate agents, listing services and the owners themselves.  Patricia Smith

Recently we performed an appraisal that had two plotted lots on one parcel ID with the same address.  The second lot had a part of the garage on it and was also land locked.  Per FHA Guidelines the lender asked us to clarify if the additional lot was excess or surplus. In this case the lot was surplus.  It would not be feasible to divide the two parcels.  Here is the rule directly from the FHA Handbook. 

FHA Handbook 4000.1 Page 497

"Excess Land refers to land that is not needed to serve or support the existing improvement. The highest and best use of the Excess Land may or may not be the same as the highest and best use of the improved parcel. Excess Land may have the potential to be sold separately.

 Surplus Land refers to land that is not currently needed to support the existing improvement but cannot be separated from the Property and sold off. Surplus Land does not have an independent highest and best use and may or may not contribute to the value of the improved parcels.

 The Appraiser must include the highest and best use analysis in the appraisal report to support the Appraiser’s conclusion of the existence of Excess Land. The Appraiser must include Surplus Land in the valuation.

If the subject of an appraisal contains two or more legally conforming platted lots under one legal description and ownership, and the second vacant lot is capable of being divided and/or developed as a separate parcel where such a division will not result in a non-conformity in zoning regulations for the remaining improved lot, the second vacant lot is Excess Land. The value of the second lot must be excluded from the final value conclusion of the appraisal and the Appraiser must provide a value of only the principal site and improvements under a hypothetical condition. 

FHA Handbook