Appraiser Gets Subpoena – What to Do

Excerpts: As an appraiser, you don’t have to be sued or be facing a lawsuit to find yourself on the receiving end of a subpoena—staring down a lawyer who is peppering you with questions.

Appraisers are often subpoenaed in legal disputes involving third parties, usually being tied to the dispute for no other reason than having appraised a property involved in the dispute. If the appraiser is not a party to the lawsuit, then typically they are being subpoenaed for documents and/or being called as an expert witness, sometimes without pay, to testify regarding a past appraisal.

First, subpoenas are court orders and you must not ignore the subpoena or you will find yourself in contempt of court. Tim Andersen, MAI, MSc, USPAP instructor and CEO of, says that if an appraiser doesn’t want to comply with a subpoena they can try to fight it, but that requires hiring a lawyer, which can be costly and has its own challenges. “One approach is to protest the subpoena to the judge indicating that your records are private, and requesting that your records be treated as confidential and not be made part of the public record. The judge, however, will do whatever s/he chooses to do,” reports Andersen.

To read more, click here

My comments: This is an excellent article on this topic. Read it to find out the issues. If you lost this link later, when you need help, Google “Dealing with a Subpoena Workingre”. This is specifically for appraisers. If you find other links online, they are not as useful.

I have never been served with a subpoena, but this is a regular topic among appraisers. I get calls occasionally from appraisers about this.

Appraisal Business Tips 

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non-lender appraisals, real estate market, regression and AVMs, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


5 Ultraluxe Log Cabins for Staying Cozy Through Spring—and Beyond

Excerpts: 276 Seven Dwarfs Rd, Las Vegas, NV (Photo above)

Price: $3,350,000

Cabin in the woods: This 7,000-square-foot cabin is more like a castle in the woods, with a fortified exterior, three fireplaces, five bedrooms, and six baths.

You might even be tempted to stay here all year round. The luxe home features custom ironwork, a chef’s kitchen with three ovens, heated balconies and decks, a massive primary suite, game lounge, gym, and office space. The property even comes with a private stream.

And perhaps best of all, it truly is move-in ready. All furniture and artwork, including the bronze statues, are included in the sale.

To read more click here 

My comment: Fun Vacation Rental for a Big Appraiser Party Trust


Verify: Insights from a Seasoned Appraiser

By: McKissock

Excerpts: Regression analysis can be an incredibly useful analytical tool, but one should not blindly trust the results. “Trust but verify” is a phrase made famous by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 after signing a nuclear weapons treaty with Russian President Gorbachev. In statistical analysis, a commonly used phrase is: “Correlation does not mean causation.” This statement definitely applies in the appraisal of real property.

Is it always dollar for dollar?

Sometimes it is. But more often than not, the effect is measured in terms of the “market’s reaction” and not the actual dollars expended. For example, replacing a roof might cost $10,000, but the market expects a functioning roof, and therefore might very well pay extra for it being new, but most likely will not pay the full cost of replacement. Extracting a market reaction for how much the market will pay can become challenging for even the most experienced appraiser.

To read more, click here

My comment: Good analysis of regression and AVMs.


Bail Bond Appraisals – all cash, very high fees, little competition

Many appraisers are asked to do appraisals for property (bail) bonds. When we were all swamped, most did not accept them because of the typically swift turnarounds. Turn times have decreased dramatically.

Appraising for bail bonds is an opportunity with relatively little competition and high fees, all cash.

This type of business requires research and personal (one-on-one) marketing, similar to the old mortgage broker market. Some appraisers use postcard marketing to bail bond agents. But, to get started, I strongly recommend bail bond agent interviews to find out about your local market. You get referrals to attorneys from bail bond agents.

Most appraisers, including myself, have only done a few. But, we never did any marketing. There is demand, and marketing can definitely help.

I spoke with several local appraisers who specialize in bail bonds. They gave me many of the tips in my article.

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If this article helped you get one more appraisal,

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‘I can’t afford to sell because I don’t want to lose that rate’: 3% mortgage rates will loom large over the U.S. housing market for years to come”

March 2, 2023

Excerpts: There’s a specter haunting the housing market: the ghost of last year’s mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit 7.10% on Thursday, the highest reading since November of last year. Higher mortgage rates triggered a drop in demand. Meanwhile homeowners who’ve locked in lower mortgage rates are choosing not to sell, tightening available inventory. That means that the market is losing buyers looking to move up and losing sellers looking to move up, so this lock-in effect is constraining both sides of the market.

Finance and economics professor at the University of South Alabama, Bob Wood, told Fortune that he locked in a fixed 15-year mortgage rate of around 3% when he purchased his home in Mobile, Alabama, in 2014.

“The way that the rates are up so much right now, it just doesn’t make sense [to sell],” Wood said.

To read more, click here

My comments: Excerpts from various articles that are located behind paywalls, so I can’t include links. Over 12 years ago, I refinanced my non-owner occupied duplex at 3.5% I will never give up this rate with a refi. $1,250 monthly mortgage payment. Or sell the property and purchase another one at a much higher interest rate. My duplex is an excellent source of income for retirement (If I ever retire), plus my $4,135 per month Social Security.


5 Vibrant Victorians Priced Below $400K

Excerpt: 20 Central Ave SE, Le Mars, IA

Price: $300,000

Best of both worlds: This three-bedroom, three-bath Victorian has all the charm of 1910, when it was originally built, and all the convenience and style of a designer home today.

One of its finer features is the recently remodeled kitchen. This one has a breakfast bar, granite countertops, stylish white cabinets, and stainless-steel appliances. There’s even a separate laundry room.

To read more, click here

My comments: See the wide range of Victorians in condition and location. Victorians are all over the country. There are many Victorians in my small city. They sell for a premium price if fixed up. There are fixers, but they are lots and lots of work. I would only own a Victorian if totally redone with the original details intact. Brick foundations, lousy plumbing and electrical, limited or no parking, etc. They were built before indoor plumbing.


HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, click here.Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Some appraisers are very busy, and others have little work. Varies widely around the country.

Sorry, this week’s MBA stats were not available by my deadline.

To read them, go to and scroll down to Mortgage Applications Decrease (or increase, etc.)


Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501
Phone 510-865-8041

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