Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

One Tool Every Home Appraiser Should Carry
July 17th, 2015 1:55 AM

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”).

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Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Fantastic tool, Gary. Without the right angle, it can be nearly impossible to get the square footage correct. It can easily be off by hundreds of square feet just because of missing the angle.

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on July 17th, 2015 7:22 AM
Thanks Gary. I used the cheaper one for years. It is an indispensable tool when you have an unusual shaped home with odd angles or many 30,60, and 45 degree angles. I did not know that they had a digital version. I'll need to go on Amazon later today and order one.

Posted by Tom Molinari on July 17th, 2015 7:31 AM
That is a great tool Gary. I actually have the one you link to at Harbor Freight but I like yours because it is digital. It can save the day when you drive up to a house that has multiple angles. Before getting mine I have worked for way too long on a sketch where I didn't have the angle right. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Tom Horn on July 17th, 2015 8:06 AM
Thank you Ryan, Tom M, and Tom H. for your comments. I'm glad to hear that so many appraisers around the country are using angle finders. My experience has been that when I talk about angle finders to appraisers around Portland, many did not know that there was a tool for this.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on July 17th, 2015 1:39 PM
Great information. Bought one today!

Posted by Rob Meadows on July 17th, 2015 4:07 PM
Great to hear Rob. I just heard today from another appraiser that you can even get apps for your cell phone that will find angles. I'm not sure how accurate they are, just off GPS, but I interested to give it a try.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on July 18th, 2015 12:47 AM
Great post, I will putting in my appraiser utility belt.

Posted by John Tsiaousis on July 20th, 2015 10:55 AM
Thank you John for following and I'm glad to hear it. Appraiser utility belt? Maybe I need one of those?

Posted by Gary Kristensen on July 22nd, 2015 2:19 AM
Great idea Gary. Every once in a while I'll inspect a home with multiple odd angles and I end up taking several measurements for each angle. I'll definite purchase that digital angle finder. Thanks!

Posted by Michael Regan on July 1st, 2018 8:10 PM


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