5 Scary Movies That Describe An Appraiser’s Job

Horror Flicks That Describe An Appraiser’s Job

With Halloween occurring this week I thought I would look at how some of the scariest horror flicks remind me of an appraiser’s job. Do you have any movies or work experiences that send chills down your spine? Please leave a comment below I’d like to hear from you.
Do These Horror Flicks Describe Your Appraiser Job

Sometimes Being An Appraiser Is Scary

1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre- While not as bloody as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the massacre of DIY home improvements is still a very real thing. Some of us just don’t have home improvement skills and we need to realize it unless we’re okay with devaluing our homes.

One of the things that appraisers look for when visiting a property is the quality of construction and workmanship. If you have done a poor job in your DIY project on your house it could negatively affect its value.

Another situation that could come back to bite you is if you don’t obtain the proper permits for construction projects. Lenders want to make sure that their collateral can be insured and if your new finished basement was not permitted and approved by the city inspector the bank may not loan you money on it and that can be a nightmare.

2) Pet Cemetery- Does a home located next to a cemetery sell for less? Maybe. Maybe not.

One thing you can count on in appraising is that you can’t base your appraisal adjustments or conclusions on assumptions or hearsay. You need to compare homes to see differences or better yet use sales in the same neighborhood.

Most people might say “oh yeah, people don’t want to live next to a cemetery so the home will sell less than a similar home down the road that’s not near the cemetery. That statement would not be based on the market but rather assumption.

The best way to get the true market value of this home would be to use homes in the same neighborhood with the cemetery influence. The next best way if there are no current sales would be to study what the trend was in the past when there were sales.

By comparing sales from the neighborhood when they last occurred to other non-cemetery sales in the same time frame you’ll get a better understanding of buyer’s perception in order to make a more accurate estimate of the market value of the home.

3) Silence of the Lambs- Clarice Starling would rather the lambs had stayed silent but in appraising you don’t want to do this. Homeowners and real estate agents should not keep quite about improvements made to the home.

Part of an appraiser’s job is to work with the most accurate and complete information available and this includes the condition of the home. If you have made significant updates or renovations to the appraiser you should tell them while they are working on the appraisal rather than after.

If you keep silent about this information and the appraiser comes up short you will need to file a reconsideration of value which takes time and effort and may not guarantee any change in the appraisal value.

4) Get Out- Appraisers value all types of properties. The majority of homes are occupied by the owners but there are also those assignments that we do on foreclosed houses that are owned by banks.

I had an assignment years ago for a house that the bank could not sell due to its poor condition. The bank requested I go through the home and give them a current value.

Most of the time these homes have lockboxes with the house key so you don’t have to meet the agent there to let you in. I arrived at the house and was getting the key to unlock the door to go inside when I heard a voice from the other side of the door.

As you might imagine this startled me because I did not expect anyone to be there. So I knock on the door and the person asks who it is. I told them I was the appraiser and was sent by the bank to appraise the property.

The voice on the other side of the door told me that I didn’t need to be there. I’m a pretty fast learner so I decided to “get out” because no appraisal fee was worth my life and I left pronto.

Of course, I informed the bank about the situation and they contacted the police. It turns out the person was a squatter who had taken up residence in the home.

5) Crawlspace- This is a little known horror flick that reminded me of a situation I was in recently. I had an assignment over the summer to provide an After Repair Value (ARV) for a property an investor was purchasing.

These types of assignments typically involve the purchase of a home that is not typically in very good condition and most of the time they are vacant. I usually meet the investor there and they tell me what type of improvements they will be making to the property.

The appointment went well and I finished the assignment with no problems. Fast forward three months.

The investor called and was asking some questions about what date we had looked at the house. While looking up the information I hear someone in the background asking if they can speak to me.

It turns out that a police officer wanted to ask me some questions because a dead body had been discovered underneath the house! They wanted to know who was at the house when I was there and if we had looked underneath the home.

Suffice it to say that I was a little freaked out. You never know what will happen during an appointment or who or what you will find. They don’t know much about how or what happened to the person until further investigation.


An appraiser’s job can be pretty scary at times. Do you have a similar types story? If so leave a comment below and have a safe and Happy Halloween.

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  1. Great one Tom. I agree with Ryan I was thinking of Pet Smells, etc. Love that crawl space story! Wow glad that body was not there when you did the appraisal!

    • Thanks, Mary. It is my understanding that the body was there during the inspection. This was an investor deal and they do no require crawlspace inspections so I did not look there. Sometimes I poke my head in any way if it is convenient but not this time thankfully.

  2. Angie Miller says

    This is great!

  3. Dana OHara Smith says

    Love it!

  4. Haha. Also in regards to Pet Cemetary I can’t help but mention the smell of pets… 🙂 Creative post Tom. Nice job.


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