Ask Henry

Cluster Homes Vs S.F.R.

Hi Mr Harrison,

I'm working on a cluster home attached on one side to another property. The two residences share a common wall, and the properties are very similar. My problem is that there are no other similar comps in the neighborhood; the last similar property was sold 3 years ago. Can I use another type of property as a comparable?

Thank you,
Al at Florida House Appraisals

Dear Al,

Getting good comparable sales is a perpetual problem for appraisers. There are no rules about where you can seek comparable sales information. It is up to the discretion of the appraiser. If a client tries to restrict where you can get comparables from you should either talk them out of the restriction or refuse the assignment, because if you accept this restriction there is a good possibility you will be making an appraisal that violates the USPAP. There are exceptions to this rule which are complex and would require limiting conditions, assumptions and possibly a custom definition of value.

The USPAP requires that you make a "credible appraisal". If you do not think there are sufficient comparable sales available that make it possible for you to do this, I recommend that you turn down the assignment.