Section 5: Assigning Appraisals

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In making assignments to fee appraisers, it is the District’s responsibility to determine that the appraiser is qualified to appraise the particular type of property or properties to be appraised. The District should take care to see that the appraisal assignment is in keeping with the type of License or Certification as issued by the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. 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:

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

Where each appraiser is assigned a number of parcels of various type properties and if assignments on a project are evenly distributed, the appraisers should be able to give better service. Fees as determined by the District should prove to be more equitable for the appraisers and more economical for the State. Also, refer to Market Data Files in this Chapter and in Legal Instructions – Personalty and Realty, Chapter 3, for additional information when making assignments to fee appraisers.

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 Order 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 on Scope of Work shall be included in the Work Order in the Problem Statement 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 Order become unnecessary or unattainable, the appraiser should notify the District 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 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 Report, should be provided to the appraiser by the District, such as:

  • age of improvements,
  • monthly rental or lease payments and terms,
  • easements,
  • improvement encroachments,
  • hidden wells, and
  • separate ownership of improvements.

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:

  • appraisal forms;
  • right of way maps;
  • property descriptions and plats;
  • sections of schematic layouts or construction plans as needed;
  • legal descriptions of the properties to be acquired;
  • owners’ and occupants’ names;
  • copy of lease(s);
  • legal instructions as to compensable and non-compensable items;
  • type of interest to be appraised;
  • preliminary Five-Year Sales History data (especially for Federal-aid parcels in conformance with 49CFR Part 24.103(a)(2);
  • copy of any available owner’s title commitment report or Attorney Certificate; and
  • copy of any available technical expert’s report (see Section 4, Technical or Engineering Services, of this chapter).

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

  • replacement of existing driveways;
  • placement of future private entrances;
  • special situations, such as permits for private and public utility installations across or within the right of way limits;
  • compatible private usage of land acquired for channel easements;
  • irrigation facility replacement; and
  • stock pass and other pass privileges.

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:

  • When the title insurance is to be purchased, the District will obtain the five-year sales history from the title company.
  • When title insurance is not being purchased, the District 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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