Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

Portland Appraiser Angle Finder

A few weeks ago appraiser blogger Tom Horn wrote about a great tool that appraisers should carry to check electrical circuits.  That article got me thinking today when I pulled an important appraiser tool out of my car.  I don’t use it often, but when I do, I’m not sure what I would do without it.  Today I used my angle finder.

Once in a while I run across homes that are built on angles that are not 90 degrees or 45 degrees.  When that happens, it is important to measure the angle so that the shape is drawn correctly into the computer, so the sketch closes, and the resultant square footage estimate is accurate. 

Often angles can be measured by obtaining the rise and the run of the wall.  However, this can be difficult if the length of the angled wall is long and there is little perspective to square up the rise and run measurement.  The tool that I use is a digital angle finder from Amazon that fits easily into my pocket (when I think I might need it) and costs only about $20.  One nice feature of this gauge is the reverse angle button that allows me to switch to the angle of incidence (the angle that drawing programs use for an input).  There are other less expensive options available as well like an angle finder from Harbor Freight for under five dollars.

Appraiser Angle on Total Sketch

To insert the reading of the angle finder into an a la mode Total sketch, I simply draw a line and then select Tools, then Draw Angle to Left or Draw Angle to Right, and input the angle into the dialogue box.  Angles can also be selected by clicking Modify and dragging the line to the desired angle, or by using the following key strokes (for the above example): 15 (length of wall), R (direction of angle), 31 (angle), Enter.

Here is a link to an a la mode training video that covers the two ways to draw angles with Total Sketch.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.  If you need a home measured, try our measurement floor plan sketching service (some call it “Room Service”).

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event.  We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Appraiser and County Floor Plan Room Service Measurement

Lately I have been writing about appraiser home measurement and floor plan sketching services (some Portland, OR agents call it “Room Service”).  This week’s blog shares one example of a recently measured property that had had a significant discrepancy between the county records and actual measurements.

The above illustration shows my floor plan measurement on the left and the county records on the right, as well as a table comparing the two on the far right.  By looking at the floor plans closely, you will note some important differences.  First, the entire home is about four feet wider than the county records show.  This is most evident when comparing the wall between the finished area of the house and the garage.  Another significant difference is that the county shows the wrong location for one of the turrets on the second floor.  These variations, and other smaller discrepancies, result in the county having 275 fewer square feet on record for this property.

What could have caused the disagreement between appraiser measurements and the county?  I can only speculate in the case of this property.  It is quite possible that the county used plans submitted at the time of construction for the living area calculation, and that the owner or builder made modifications to the plans after obtaining permits.  Because of this experience, and many other similar ones, I have learned to always double check critical data regardless of the source.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event.  We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Room Service Floor Plan Appraiser Home Measurement Sketch

You are getting ready to list your home for sale and the real estate agent suggests that you have a floor plan measurement sketch done by an appraiser.  Some real estate appraisers and agents in Portland, Oregon call floor plans “Room Service.”  Floor plans are a great idea to assist in marketing your property attractively and accurately.  A diagram helps buyers visualize the layout of the house before they visit it. 

When an appraiser measures a home in Portland, most often the measurements turn out to be slightly larger than county records show.  However, in this example, the appraiser spends over an hour at your property and produces a beautiful drawing, but the measurements are smaller than those that are recorded by the county or other sources.  What should you do?

  1. Understand that it is better to advertise the correct square footage.  Listing the property with overstated measurements could increase liability, cause a frustratingly low appraisal, result in a failed sale, or lead to increased buyer negotiating leverage.

  2. Put it in perspective.  By how much is the square footage smaller?  Many buyers will not even recognize a loss of only 50 or 100 square feet.  Small variations in measurements from one appraiser to the next are common and are usually insignificant, often resulting from rounding.

  3. If you think that the appraiser has made an error, use the floor plan sketch to go around the house and individually check the measurements.  Remember that areas are typically measured from the outside.  In addition, stairs are included in all levels but finished areas less than five feet in ceiling height (common under the roof slope in attics) are not (when using ANSI).  I recommend checking to see if things make sense.  For example, if you know that the second floor occupies the same footprint as the main floor, check to see that those measurements are the same on both floors.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event.  We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Portland Appraiser Floorplan Measurement with Interior Walls

In February I wrote a blog post about the value of our Portland appraiser home measurement service and how it can increase the sales price of a home, reduce liability for the agent, and reduce problems at closing.  Since that post, response for the service has been overwhelming and we have been receiving feedback on the product.  Based on customer demand, we offer our clients home measurement service with or without floorplan depiction of interior walls as shown in the image above.

The basic home measurement service focuses on providing just the information that agents need when entering accurate data in the RMLS.  This includes the total living area for each level of the home and the room dimensions.  However, we find that including the floorplan layout of interior walls makes listing packets look even more attractive.  As a result, floorplan measurement with interior walls has become our most popular product.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event.  We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

One of the services that an appraiser provides is a home measurement sketch of the property.  This service can be quite valuable prior to listing a home for sale, particularly in the greater Portland, Oregon area, since county records are often incorrect and square footage is often the most important factor (aside from location) that determines value.  The benefit of having a home measured prior to listing is something that one of my clients knows firsthand.

A couple weeks ago, David Axness, Principal Broker at Axness & Kofman contacted me to measure a property that he was listing.  Portland Maps indicates that this property has a little over 2,000 square feet of living space based on Multnomah County Assessor records.  After careful checking, my measurement concluded that the property has 471 more square feet, which could result in a sales price that is as much as fifteen percent higher.  David said, “I wasn’t able to list it for more, but we went from having no showings at all to several and got an offer.”

This is an extreme example of how inaccurate county records can be around Portland.  Most of the time, if the county records are off, it is only by a smaller amount.  However, no seller would want to lose even one percent of the sales price just because the home was not professionally measured.  Even if the appraiser measures lower than county records, checking the size can be a good thing.

Imagine that a buyer contracts to purchase a house, and the lender’s appraiser finds that it is not as large as advertised.  This could result in a low appraisal, a troublesome failed sale, or a buyer that has new negotiating leverage.  If the lender’s appraiser doesn’t discover the discrepancy, the agent or seller could have liability, despite the disclosures that agents routinely place in listings.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event.  We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

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