Choose the Out-Of-Town Appraiser: New Social Science Investigation on Real Estate Skilled Witness

This paper provides to the literature on the assortment of the genuine house appraisal skilled witness. The current appraisal specialist witness assortment literature signifies that when the out-of-town expert witness overshadows the information and knowledge of the neighborhood professional, the out-of-town skilled is the obvious option yet most attorneys base their appraiser selection on variables that are irrelevant to successful the case these kinds of as usefulness, proximity to their workplace, proximity to the subject matter home, a client’s suggestion or the expert’s price. The outcomes of this two-portion social science analysis examine indicate that in situations where there will be contentious valuation troubles or, where the appraisal skilled witness will be called on to criticize the function of the opposing appraiser, it might be in the very best fascination of the customer and final result of the case to decide on an appraisal specialist who is positioned outside the house of the appraisal providers region of the opposing appraiser.

Preface to the Paper

Following almost 25 many years as a real residence valuation skilled witness, this writer has noticed that, in the greater part of genuine estate litigation instances, legal professionals typically pick their appraisal professional from in the common vicinity of the matter residence. Nonetheless, this practice is opposite to the literature on the skilled witness selection process that does not address the location or geographic proximity of the specialist to the subject home as a related issue (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 reasons why numerous attorneys choose a “regional” appraiser and specifics persuasive new analysis suggesting that, at minimum for important or large worth situations, lawyers ought to look to the very best appraisal professional witness from over and above the standard geographic area of the matter residence and the opposing valuation expert.

The Antares for Employing the “Regional” Appraiser

A review of the appraisal professional witness selection literature signifies a constrained amount of instances from the secondary literature (e.g., non-peer-reviewed or journal high quality) in which the selecting of a “regional” appraiser is proposed. The reasons for picking the local appraisal specialist witness include:

• Expense financial savings
• Usefulness and simplicity of assembly/interaction
• Customer feels comfy with and/or has formerly employed their local specialist
• Information of microeconomic circumstances, and previous tendencies in the region as a basis for views about potential marketplace situations and
• The place a jury will be influenced by where the expert resides, grew up or went to college.

A commonly said drawback of an out-of-city expert is the additional expenditure of journey. However, “the expense can be worth it… when the faraway witness completely overshadows opposing counsel’s regional expert” (p. 567).

One more downside, when the out-of-city professional is also a far more notable skilled with better credentials, are greater charges. The legal professional have to contemplate this sensible consideration in the context of what expenses the client can fairly bear, how prolonged the action is likely to operate and the anticipated use of the witness.,

In instances in which the local appraiser/skilled is a client’s recommendation, the lawyer should assess no matter whether the client’s suggestions is dependent on a wish to toss a buddy some enterprise and/or wants to hire the specialist (irrespective of skills) most probably to favor the interests of the customer since of personalized or economic ties. Haig’s (2011) guidance to counsel on going along with the shopper-picked expert is:

“Don’t forget, it is the legal professional to whom the client will very likely give credit score or blame for the consequence of the litigation. As frequently noted, the specialist usually performs a important-if not the essential-position in the litigation approach. Accordingly, there are no substitutes for an lawyer carrying out his very own because of diligence concerning a proposed skilled and for an legal professional participating in obvious communications with the customer concerning the pros and negatives of any proposed professional” (p. 563).

Even though not explicitly stated in the literature on the expense savings of a nearby skilled, the out-of-town appraisal expert may need extra time and associated charges to comply with the Competency Rule of the Uniform Standards of Specialist Appraisal Follow (USPAP) (2014-2015), specifically:

(a) compliance with laws and laws that use to the appraiser these kinds of as the State’s appraisal licensing law and

(b) “where geographic competency is required, an appraiser who is not acquainted with the pertinent industry characteristics need to purchase an understanding essential to create credible assignment benefits for the distinct house variety and marketplace associated” (p. U-11).

Referring in this section solely to USPAP’s geographic competency, the Federal Rule of Proof 702 requires that “scientific, specialized or other specialised understanding will assist the trier of simple fact,” and in that situation, (b) “a witness experienced as an specialist by knowledge, skill, experience, or education and learning, might testify thereto in the form of an opinion or in any other case… ” Rule 702 was amended in 2000 with the addition of a “reliability” factor. Underneath Rule 702 as amended, a experienced witness might only offer professional testimony “if (1) the testimony is based mostly upon adequate information or information, (two) the testimony is the merchandise of dependable concepts and methods, and (three) the witness has used the principles and methods reliably to the information of the scenario.” Therefore, for the appraiser skilled, the situation of geographic competence as it relates to Rule 702 has three components: no matter whether the appraiser competently considered the relevant market characteristics, no matter whether the expert testimony is “based upon adequate information or information,” and whether the skilled has “used the ideas and strategies [she employed] reliably to the details of the circumstance.”

Whether the appraisal skilled content the components of geographic competence will be determined as a precondition for admissibility. Even so, in most instances the problems will go with the fat of the proof as an alternative of admissibility.

Getting geographic competency will not be an concern for the a lot more skilled/distinguished out-of-town expert who will be completed in comprehending the market qualities relevant to the valuation concerns.


The most extensive literature on appraisal expert witness choice does not recommend the variety of an expert witness to be geographically proximate to the subject home. Even so, the typical attorney favors the “neighborhood” appraisal specialist with the rationale currently being 1 or a lot more of expense minimization, legal professional usefulness, shopper choice and previous understanding of the subject’s neighborhood or marketplace.

There will be occasions when cost necessitates the hiring of a regional appraisal skilled. In addition, there will be situations the place an appraisal professional is required but, because valuation is not the disputed problem, any further expense for a non-nearby or greater experienced professional is not justified.