Section 5: Assigning Appraisals

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In making assignments to contract appraisers, it is ROW PD’s responsibility to determine that the appraiser is qualified, as per USPAP requirement, to appraise the particular type of property or properties to be appraised. In determining the number of appraisers to be used on a project and the number of parcels to be assigned to each appraiser, the following should be given careful consideration:

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  • the complexities of the appraisal challenges,
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  • the time which may be allowed for obtaining appraisals in keeping with the ROW PD’s acquisition schedule, and
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  • the work volume of the appraisers to be used.

Evenly distributing the number and types of properties on a project among the multiple appraisers is preferred. For additional information when making assignments to contract appraisers, refer to Chapter 2, Section 1, Introduction and Chapter 3, Section 2, Legal Instructions - Personalty and Realty.

When a parcel is located in more than one project, the parcel is appraised as one single parcel and the values entered on a single report in order to avoid duplication.

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Scope of Work Development

The development of the scope of work for the appraisal assignment must involve participation by the acquiring agency (49 CFR 24.103 (a) (1)). In the assignment and negotiation of a work authorization with the appraiser, the staff reviewer will discuss with the appraiser the expected and reasonable scope of work for the property to be appraised. The agreed upon scope of work shall be included in the work authorization under number 9, Additional Requirements, and shall become the minimum requirements for the appraisal assignment. The appraiser may add additional tasks in the scope of work to be disclosed in the appraisal report during the performance of the appraisal process. If any of the items within the scope of work in the work authorization become unnecessary or unattainable, the appraiser should notify ROW PD of its exclusion.

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Instructions and Materials Furnished to the Appraiser

The appraiser should be instructed not to express opinions of value to the property owner, but should make all inquiries necessary to ensure no items of value are overlooked.

When items of questionable classification are involved, such as machinery, equipment, appliances, etc., it is necessary to have positive assurance that any such questionable items included in the appraisal have been determined to be realty, not personalty. Therefore, the appraiser should be instructed regarding the proper classification of any item considered questionable and should be furnished with a copy of the ROW-A-9 Property Classification Agreement. The appraisal report should be prepared so that the appraisal reviewer, negotiator, and Assistant Attorney General (if applicable), can easily determine those items included as realty.

Information found on the ROW-A-PAC Pre-Appraisal Contact with Property Owners form should be provided to the appraiser by ROW PD, such as:

The extent of the information furnished to the appraiser will vary according to the complexity of the appraisal challenge and any facts of the situation concerning the property involved. It is the general practice to furnish appraisers with:

For partial acquisitions, the appraiser must receive full instructions on the proposed design, in both plan and profile, if and to the extent available, the rights of access remaining to abutting properties. The appraiser should also be informed of and instructed in TxDOT’s policies regarding:

The appraiser should be given the complete picture concerning the future intent, responsibilities, and limitations to be imposed by the design, construction, and maintenance of the highway facility. The appraiser will need detailed information regarding where the right of way line severs the improvements, the area being acquired, and the area of each remainder. When maps cannot accurately furnish this information, it is recommended practice for the district to stake the property to show clearly the location of the right of way line.


Five-Year Sales History

TxDOT requires five years’ sales history on all appraisals of subject properties on every type of project. The five-year sales history should show the parties to the transaction, date of purchase, recording data, and consideration, which should be verified if possible. In order to fulfill the requirements, the needed information will be obtained under one of the procedures outlined below:

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  • When the title insurance is to be purchased, ROW PD will obtain the five-year sales history from the title company.
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  • When title insurance is not being purchased, ROW PD will obtain the five-year sales history either from the county records or by contract with a local abstracter.

The five-year sales history will be furnished to the appraisers at the time they are ready to make the appraisal. This information will be incorporated into the appraisal reports. The purchase price should be verified. When there have been no sales, this should be stated on the data sheet.

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