Pick the Out-Of-Town Appraiser: New Social Science Study on Real Estate Expert Witness

This paper adds to the literature on the variety of the true house appraisal professional witness. The present appraisal expert witness choice literature suggests that when the out-of-town skilled witness overshadows the understanding and expertise of the local specialist, the out-of-town specialist is the very clear option however most lawyers foundation their appraiser selection on variables that are irrelevant to profitable the situation this sort of as comfort, proximity to their place of work, proximity to the subject matter property, a client’s suggestion or the expert’s value. The results of this two-element social science investigation study reveal that in scenarios where there will be contentious valuation problems or, where the appraisal expert witness will be referred to as upon to criticize the perform of the opposing appraiser, it might be in the best desire of the shopper and result of the circumstance to pick an appraisal professional who is situated outside the house of the appraisal solutions area of the opposing appraiser.

Preface to the Paper

Right after practically 25 many years as a actual home valuation skilled witness, this writer has noticed that, in the greater part of real estate litigation instances, lawyers generally decide on their appraisal professional from inside the basic vicinity of the subject house. Nonetheless, this exercise is contrary to the literature on the professional witness choice approach that does not tackle the location or geographic proximity of the specialist to the matter house as a relevant situation (e.g., Couture and Hayes, 2010 Fried, 2008 Tirella, 2006 Strutlin, 1996 Cabaniss, 1997 Bremser and Mathis, 1994 Harrell, 1993 Champagne et al., 1991 Jones, 1955).

This paper explores the causes why several legal professionals pick a “nearby” appraiser and particulars powerful new investigation suggesting that, at least for essential or substantial benefit circumstances, legal professionals need to search to the best appraisal expert witness from past the common geographic area of the subject matter residence and the opposing valuation specialist.

Frequent Rational for Choosing the “Local” Appraiser

A assessment of the appraisal expert witness assortment literature implies a restricted number of instances from the secondary literature (e.g., non-peer-reviewed or journal high quality) where the employing of a “nearby” appraiser is proposed. The motives for picking the local appraisal skilled witness contain:

• Cost financial savings
• Comfort and ease of conference/interaction
• Consumer feels comfortable with and/or has formerly hired their local expert
• Expertise of microeconomic situations, and earlier traits in the spot as a basis for opinions about potential market place conditions and
• Where a jury will be motivated by the place the specialist resides, grew up or went to school.

A typically mentioned drawback of an out-of-town professional is the extra price of travel. Even so, “the cost can be well worth it… when the faraway witness totally overshadows opposing counsel’s regional skilled” (p. 567).

Yet another disadvantage, when the out-of-city skilled is also a much more prominent expert with far better qualifications, are higher costs. The legal professional should contemplate this useful thing to consider in the context of what charges the client can moderately bear, how long the motion is likely to run and the envisioned use of the witness.,

In cases exactly where the neighborhood appraiser/professional is a client’s suggestion, the lawyer have to assess whether the client’s suggestions is primarily based on a desire to throw a friend some business and/or wants to employ the service of the specialist (irrespective of skills) most likely to favor the interests of the shopper simply because of personalized or financial ties. Haig’s (2011) guidance to counsel on likely together with the consumer-chosen skilled is:

“Don’t forget, it is the legal professional to whom the consumer will most likely give credit rating or blame for the end result of the litigation. As frequently famous, the professional often plays a important-if not the key-function in the litigation method. Accordingly, there are no substitutes for an legal professional doing his own thanks diligence regarding a proposed specialist and for an lawyer engaging in distinct communications with the shopper relating to the pros and disadvantages of any proposed professional” (p. 563).

Even though not explicitly stated in the literature on the value savings of a local expert, the out-of-town appraisal expert might require additional time and connected fees to comply with the Competency Rule of the Uniform Standards of Specialist Appraisal Practice (USPAP) (2014-2015), especially:

(a) compliance with rules and laws that use to the appraiser these kinds of as the State’s appraisal licensing law and

(b) “where geographic competency is necessary, an appraiser who is not common with the appropriate market place traits need to get an understanding required to make credible assignment benefits for the particular house kind and marketplace included” (p. U-eleven).

Referring in this segment exclusively to USPAP’s geographic competency, the Federal Rule of Proof 702 needs that “scientific, technological or other specialized expertise will help the trier of fact,” and in that predicament, (b) “a witness competent as an specialist by knowledge, skill, experience, or education and learning, could testify thereto in the kind of an impression or or else… ” Rule 702 was amended in 2000 with the addition of a “trustworthiness” factor. Below Rule 702 as amended, a qualified witness may only offer skilled testimony “if (1) the testimony is dependent on adequate information or information, (two) the testimony is the solution of reputable principles and techniques, and (3) the witness has applied the concepts and techniques reliably to the information of the case.” Consequently, for the appraiser skilled, the problem of geographic competence as it relates to Rule 702 has a few factors: no matter whether the appraiser competently considered the related market attributes, whether the expert testimony is “dependent upon ample information or info,” and regardless of whether the expert has “utilized the concepts and methods [she utilized] reliably to the information of the case.”

Whether or not the appraisal expert happy the components of geographic competence will be made a decision as a precondition for admissibility. Nevertheless, in most cases the issues will go with the weight of the proof as an alternative of admissibility.

Getting geographic competency will not be an problem for the much more knowledgeable/well known out-of-city expert who will be attained in knowing the market place attributes related to the valuation troubles.


The most comprehensive literature on appraisal specialist witness selection does not suggest the assortment of an expert witness to be geographically proximate to the topic home. Nonetheless, share deal with the rationale getting one particular or much more of cost minimization, lawyer convenience, consumer desire and earlier understanding of the subject’s community or industry.

There will be moments when value necessitates the selecting of a local appraisal professional. Additionally, there will be instances exactly where an appraisal skilled is necessary but, because valuation is not the disputed problem, any further expense for a non-regional or far better qualified expert is not justified.

Leave a Reply