Short Notice Appraisals

Ask Henry

Short Notice Appraisals
Hi Henry,
On Christmas Eve evening I received a call from someone needing an appraisal. They wanted to put their house up for collateral to get a relative out of jail, and they needed an appraisal for the properties worth. The caller wanted it that evening. I was unable to provide the service as I had a house full of company, however I got to thinking about the request.

At that time of night I assume they were not interested in a full URAR report. I use the ClickForm software and can locate a Short Appraisal form and Desk Top Appraisal form. A Restricted Appraisal did not seem adequate in this situation.

Do you know what type of appraisal would have been acceptable for a bail hearing or to post bond assuming there is no MLS listing on the property? I will probably never get another call like this, but was just wandering what I could have done for the caller.


Dear Jennifer,
I have done some appraisals on short notice, but none like this.  My lawyer friends, who do bail hearing work, tell me that it can be quite profitable. We tend to forget that the type of report that is needed — according the USPAP — should be determined as part of the "Scope of Work" communication that takes place between the appraiser and the client.  This should include not only the type of report but more importantly the type of appraisal. Keep in mind that there is nothing in the USPAP that requires you to inspect the property. That said, you must always make a credible appraisal so you are going to have to include a credible description of the property and its condition.

Unfortunately, there is no standard about the type of appraisal required for a bail hearing.  A good source for this information would be the bail bondsman. I don't think I would want to be in a situation where you had been paid for your appraisal, only to find that it was not what the court would accept.

My advice to you and other appraisers who might like to develop this type of work is to develop a relationship with the bail bondsmen in your area.  If you have a lawyer friend who does this kind of work, they might be a good person to introduce you to some bail bondsmen (or women).