In the Trenches, Appraiser Stories

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You all have them, and we want to hear them! Chased by an animal, unconventional living conditions, or a haunted house. Share with us your appraiser story for the chance to be featured in the 2019 Appraisal Buzz Magazine.

If you have shared a story with us in the past that was never published, resend it. Your experience could be exactly what the readers need for a good laugh. Send your stories and comments to 

Richard Nico
I was appraising a property in rural North Carolina one day when I had this weird feeling I was being watched by someone.  Couldn’t shake that feeling, which made the hair on my back stand up. As I walked into the rear of the property near a barn, I heard a hee-haw, but mistaken it for go-away.  So, I turned and started to make my exit.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by donkey’s who were just curious to know what I was doing.

Brad Sand
At the beginning of my career I worked for the Assessor’s Office. I worked in many far reaches of the county, including urban, rural, high desert, and mountainous areas. Prior appraisers would put notes on the property inspection cards, to inform us of things to be aware of, or their reasons for not being able to inspect a property, etc..

As I prepared in the office, I read the notes of one particular property. It read “watch out for 3-legged dog.” I thought that was odd, but kind of curious. I wasn’t worried, since I thought, they could only run 3/4 as fast. I got out to the property, and saw a long narrow unpaved driveway, adjacent to a riverbed, with 10 feet drop on one side. I couldn’t see the mobile home I was supposed to inspect (to see if it was on a permanent foundation), so I drove about 100 feet down the narrow driveway until I saw two mobile homes.

I noticed a dog lounging in the shade as I got closer, until out from the side, another very mean and territorial dog, with 3 legs (I’ll call him “Triclops”), was aggressively running toward my car. I put my car in reverse and quickly but carefully, backed up down the narrow driveway, as Triclops kept chomping at my tires. …. I survived

Pete Dziawura
I was driving into a neighborhood to do an inspection when stopped by the police barricades. The officers informed me that the bomb squad was clearing a house for hand grenades. You guessed it. They were clearing the house I was to appraise for the bank REO department. It appears that the occupants were not happy that the bank asked them to vacate the property. My inspection was not rushed, but the slowest and most cautious I have ever performed.

Mike Lee
Approximately 12 years ago I was assigned an appraisal in Moultrie, Ga. This was a 2-story home built in 1908 with an unfinished basement. The owners were the type most appraiser’s like. They didn’t hover and let me complete my inspection with no interference. I opened a door and noticed stairs leading down to a basement, so I proceeded down the stairs. The basement was unfinished but there was a fireplace as well and a laundry area. I completed my inspection of the basement and went upstairs into the living room where the owners were sitting. The wife asked, “Did you see “John” (I don’t remember the actual name) down in the basement”. I said, “No ma’am, there is no one in the basement”. She said “Oh, he must not be down there right now”. I kind of looked at her and had a feeling what was coming. A smile came over her face and she explained that “John” was the original owner of the home and he still lives in the basement. I said, “so you mean your basement is haunted?”. She said yes. She explained that when John lived in the home he used to go down to the basement and sit by the fireplace. He would smoke a pipe and read. She asked, “Did you smell pipe smoke?”. I said no. She said that is how they know when he is in the basement because you can smell pipe smoke. I’m actually glad she told me after I came up from the basement. If she had told me before, I still would have gone down but would have asked for one of the owners to go with me.


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