Select the Out-Of-Town Appraiser: New Social Science Research on Real Estate Skilled Witness

This paper adds to the literature on the variety of the actual property appraisal professional witness. The current appraisal professional witness assortment literature implies that when the out-of-town expert witness overshadows the information and experience of the local skilled, the out-of-city professional is the obvious choice but most attorneys base their appraiser selection on factors that are irrelevant to winning the case these kinds of as usefulness, proximity to their business office, proximity to the subject house, a client’s advice or the expert’s value. The outcomes of this two-element social science study review indicate that in conditions where there will be contentious valuation troubles or, where the appraisal skilled witness will be referred to as on to criticize the function of the opposing appraiser, it may be in the greatest interest of the consumer and result of the circumstance to select an appraisal expert who is positioned outside of the appraisal companies spot of the opposing appraiser.

Preface to the Paper

Following virtually twenty five years as a genuine property valuation professional witness, this writer has observed that, in the greater part of true estate litigation cases, legal professionals usually pick their appraisal expert from inside of the common vicinity of the topic house. Even so, this exercise is contrary to the literature on the specialist witness choice process that does not address the location or geographic proximity of the skilled to the topic house as a appropriate problem (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 motives why numerous attorneys pick a “nearby” appraiser and specifics persuasive new study suggesting that, at the very least for critical or higher value instances, legal professionals ought to seem to the ideal appraisal skilled witness from over and above the common geographic region of the matter home and the opposing valuation expert.

Widespread Rational for Choosing the “Regional” Appraiser

A review of the appraisal skilled witness variety literature implies a limited variety of cases from the secondary literature (e.g., non-peer-reviewed or magazine high quality) the place the choosing of a “regional” appraiser is advised. The factors for choosing the regional appraisal professional witness incorporate:

• Value financial savings
• Usefulness and ease of conference/conversation
• Shopper feels cozy with and/or has formerly hired their local specialist
• Expertise of microeconomic problems, and previous traits in the spot as a basis for opinions about potential industry problems and
• In which a jury will be affected by where the skilled resides, grew up or went to school.

A typically said downside of an out-of-town professional is the included expenditure of journey. However, “the value can be really worth it… when the faraway witness fully overshadows opposing counsel’s neighborhood specialist” (p. 567).

One more downside, when the out-of-city specialist is also a more well known specialist with greater qualifications, are increased costs. The lawyer must take into account this useful thing to consider in the context of what expenses the consumer can reasonably bear, how extended the motion is likely to run and the predicted use of the witness.,

In instances exactly where the regional appraiser/specialist is a client’s recommendation, the attorney should assess whether or not the client’s advice is dependent on a need to toss a good friend some organization and/or needs to employ the service of the professional (irrespective of qualifications) most probably to favor the passions of the consumer because of individual or economic ties. Haig’s (2011) suggestions to counsel on going along with the client-chosen skilled is:

“Bear in mind, it is the attorney to whom the shopper will very likely give credit rating or blame for the consequence of the litigation. As repeatedly mentioned, the specialist frequently plays a significant-if not the important-part in the litigation approach. Accordingly, there are no substitutes for an lawyer executing his personal owing diligence relating to a proposed expert and for an legal professional engaging in very clear communications with the shopper regarding the pros and cons of any proposed professional” (p. 563).

Though not explicitly said in the literature on the expense financial savings of a nearby skilled, the out-of-town appraisal expert could need additional time and connected fees to comply with the Competency Rule of the Uniform Specifications of Skilled Appraisal Practice (USPAP) (2014-2015), especially:

(a) compliance with laws and restrictions that use to the appraiser this kind of as the State’s appraisal licensing regulation and

(b) “in which geographic competency is essential, an appraiser who is not familiar with the relevant industry attributes should acquire an comprehending essential to produce credible assignment benefits for the specific property variety and marketplace involved” (p. U-11).

Referring in this area exclusively to USPAP’s geographic competency, the Federal Rule of Proof 702 demands that “scientific, complex or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact,” and in that circumstance, (b) “a witness qualified as an professional by expertise, talent, encounter, or education, could testify thereto in the form of an opinion or or else… ” Rule 702 was amended in 2000 with the addition of a “dependability” aspect. Underneath Makler Rheingau-Taunus as amended, a experienced witness might only supply specialist testimony “if (1) the testimony is primarily based upon sufficient facts or knowledge, (two) the testimony is the product of reputable principles and methods, and (three) the witness has used the concepts and strategies reliably to the specifics of the situation.” For that reason, for the appraiser specialist, the situation of geographic competence as it relates to Rule 702 has three components: no matter whether the appraiser competently deemed the pertinent industry qualities, whether or not the professional testimony is “based mostly on adequate facts or data,” and no matter whether the specialist has “applied the principles and techniques [she utilised] reliably to the facts of the case.”

Whether the appraisal expert satisfied the elements of geographic competence will be determined as a precondition for admissibility. Nonetheless, in most cases the concerns will go with the bodyweight of the proof as an alternative of admissibility.

Obtaining geographic competency will not be an problem for the far more knowledgeable/notable out-of-city expert who will be achieved in knowing the marketplace characteristics appropriate to the valuation troubles.


The most complete literature on appraisal specialist witness choice does not suggest the selection of an skilled witness to be geographically proximate to the matter home. Nonetheless, the standard lawyer favors the “local” appraisal skilled with the rationale getting one particular or more of value minimization, legal professional convenience, consumer desire and earlier knowledge of the subject’s neighborhood or industry.

There will be times when price necessitates the employing of a regional appraisal expert. Moreover, there will be cases in which an appraisal specialist is essential but, because valuation is not the disputed situation, any additional value for a non-regional or far better competent specialist is not justified.