There Go My Brackets

When Residential Appraisers Fail to Bracket

When appraisers fail to bracket…

Forget college hoops and all of the upsets. This is about the upsets that occur when residential appraisers fail to bracket.

Say that your subject property has a contract for $102,900. Ideally your three sales should surround the contract price like a cozy, warm blanket. Comp #1 might end up, after adjustments, at $100,000. Comp #2 might reach $102,500 and Comp #3 might conclude at $104,000.


All you need is a pretty bow and you can deliver a lovely report to your client.

But…it really doesn’t work that way on most days. Does it? Especially when rates climb or credit tightens. All of the squirrelly deals get sent over. Incomplete start-it-yourself rehabs, one-bedroom cottages, oversized lots, and preposterous cornfield castles.

Still, clients want… no … demand that you bracket the value with the comps. Suddenly your $102,900 contract swims in the middle of a crazy range from $58,800 to $163,750.

Is it a USPAP violation to fail to bracket or end up with a tight bracket?

USPAP is silent on bracketing. For that matter, so is Illinois law. Here’s what Fannie Mae says;

When there are no truly comparable sales for a particular property because of the uniqueness of the property or other conditions, the appraiser must select sales that represent the best indicators of value for the subject property and make adjustments to reflect the actions of typical purchasers in that market.

Not a word about bracketing.

While comforting for an underwriter to see the collateral fall snugly into place, bracketing is still a guideline. This hasn’t stopped AMCs and lenders from complaining to the Board about missed brackets or huge ranges. There just isn’t a law against having a sloppy bracket, nor should there be.

Something else from Fannie Mae;

It should be noted that the indicated value in the Sales Comparison Approach must be within the range of the adjusted sales price of the comparables that are reported in the appraisal report form.

Here, Fannie is referring to appraisers who conclude a value outside of the adjusted range of the comparables.

Back to our $102,900 contract. If your sales adjust out to $58,800 all the way to $163,750 and you conclude a value at $165,000; there’s a problem.

Stay within your range to avoid problems.

By Brian Weaver, Coordinator Editor of IllinoisAppraiser, Appraisal Management Company Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)
Source Illinois Appraiser Newsletters – Volume 9, Issue 1 – June 2016

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Image credit flickr - bark


Provided as a service to licensed and registered Illinois appraisal professionals as well as Illinois course providers and users of appraisals. Illinois Appraiser Newsletters promote a greater understanding of USPAP, the Act, and the Administrative Rules of the State of Illinois. promote a greater understanding of USPAP, the Act, and the Administrative Rules of the State of Illinois.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar chris says:

    If there are appraisers STILL out there that render an opinion of value outside of the adjusted range of the comparables, they need to retire or be put out of business. That is appraising 101.

  2. Avatar Diana N. says:

    It’s fine to bracket the sales price but how about bracketing the subject GLA as well? For a truly unbiased value, you shouldn’t even know the sales price, just location, style and size.

  3. Ross Grannan on Facebook Ross Grannan on Facebook says:

    Bracketing is a special moment in a rural market

  4. Avatar koma says:

    Check this one out, received a revision request because I did not bracket the adjustments for time on market made in an increasing market….WTF  Man feel like I’m training these people and ain’t getting a nickle for it.

  5. Baggins. - In the meantime Baggins. - In the meantime says:

    Good ones guys.  Koma, I’ve been always adding a 90 day segment to my research methods lately, when dealing with rising markets. If possible, I seek primary selections for key bracketing from that set, the fill another few from the 1 year set for total bracketing. This really helps eliminate the need for time adjustments. I look whole market, segment market, micro segment market, and run 1 year and 90 day overview sets at least for all of those. Honest time adjust goes on scale and may not be the same per month time adjusted amount, from one month to the next. As that’s not worth the time to explain to robotic minded reviewers, I cut segments of data instead and get better simpler method exploring that.

    I think most have lost track of the point of bracketing in the first place.  It is there to proof the analysis. Sometimes you have to proof one feature at a time, one comp at a time. It’s all about ‘the test of reasonableness’.  When is this industry going to have a rule against outsourced typing services, automatically applied adjustments, and the 2 hour appraisal report? It’s not surprising people have lost sense of what is reasonable and what is not. If I hear an appraiser mention ‘the bottom line’ in relation to their developmental methods and time saving shortcuts one more time, I might very well spontaneously combust. Most of these quick as lightning appraisers should have been in different lines of work. Logic first. Time second.


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There Go My Brackets

by IDFPR Board time to read: 2 min