Where, Exactly, is Your Subject Located?

Location Reporting - Where, 'Exactly', is Your Subject Located?Appraisers, I have another ‘observation’ to discuss, based on separate reports where I found the same type of subject location reporting by different appraisers working in different areas, nowhere close together.

This ‘observation’ concerns the reported physical location (on form page 1 Neighborhood comment section) of the appraised property verses its street address and ZIP Code. This is especially relevant to appraisers who work in Suburban and Rural areas.

Street addresses and ZIP Codes are assigned by the United States Postal Service, for THEIR convenience and operations. Those addresses and ZIPs may extend far from city limit lines which is the primary city name for the property address.

My concern arose when I ‘observed’ appraisers reporting the location of the subject “within” a particular city, when in fact, the subject’s location was miles away, outside the city limits.

Case #1 – the appraiser said the subject was ‘in’ the mailing (street) address city, and discussed the population density of that particular jurisdiction.  Problem was, the actual location of the subject was about 5 miles east, in an unincorporated area of the county, but very near the city limits of another city in that county.  The population info for the address city was irrelevant as it did not apply to the subject’s location.

Case #2 – the appraiser said the subject was ‘in’ the street address city, but in fact, the property was located about 6 miles northeast, in a rural area in an adjoining county.  The report correctly reported the subject’s county, but incorrectly stated the subject was ‘in’ the city in a different county.

Case #3 – in our area, we have a ZIP Code area assigned to a particular city, but the code boundary and city name associated with the street address extends about 10 miles north into another county. The physical location of a subject in that area is NOT ‘within’ the city, even though the street address city name is for that particular city.

The point here is to correctly report the subject’s physical location on this hunk of dirt called EARTH. If the subject has a particular city name attached to the street address, but is not actually within that city, disclose the physical location as being “X”  miles directionally outside that city, or from another closer city/town. And even though you have checked the ‘Location’ box as one of the three choices, use that ‘box name’ in your location description comments to emphasize the subject’s location.

This kind of inaccuracy found by a lower level or even a forensic reviewer (at the very beginning of a report) will cause the reviewer to examine the report in even greater detail with their magnifying glass or electron microscope. If you make an error describing the physical location of the subject, the assumption by the reviewer will be more report errors will be found.

Remember that reviewers consult many data sources, aerial photos, etc., to double-check your report info. If you are not accurate, you WILL be challenged and will be asked for additional explanations.

Dave Towne
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Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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9 Responses

  1. Rick Henry on Facebook Rick Henry on Facebook says:

    Not unusual in our area. For example, the property is in the City of Fort Worth but has a Haslet zip code. Order comes in with Haslet. In the report I discuss that the property is situated in Fort Worth and pays Fort Worth city taxes but is serviced by the Haslet Post Office. Some lenders can not seem to wrap their head around this.

    • Avatar Koma says:

      Not unusual in my areas too. Just note the fact in the report, but still get calls cause they don’t read the report. Have one area where the city recently annexed part of an adjoining town and the Post Master will not make the change.

  2. Avatar Charles Thomas says:

    In our area the subject may well be in a rural adjoining area, maybe even across the line in another county, but the mailing city and zip, where the nearest postal office is located, is out of a nearby city/county. The various descriptions for that particular, usually rural marketing area, of course is different than the zip code you are “looking up”. I have been more and more getting “reviewed” by “lower level or even forensic reviewers” who often are not geographically competent (often not competent at all), trained or much less LICENSED. Even to the point of being “reviewed” by a party not even within the U.S. That has to stop. You must be geographically competent to review another, particularly if you are carpeting an appraiser for something that would cause loss of business or license.
    Typically the Lender/Client requires the mailing address, not the physical address, to be able to mail out “notices”. If it is different, say a PO Box , then I annotate that bottom of page one.

  3. Baggins Baggins says:

    Sure that was the appraiser himself and not the typing or data service? Annoying details which are likely indicators of outsourcing essential duties.

  4. “Street addresses and ZIP Codes are assigned by the United States Postal Service”.
    Where I work the street addresses are assigned by the Town or City Engineering Dept. The use of zip coding has caused a lot of confusion. In Southeastern/Cape Cod MA many zip codes denote a village that is part of a Town or City. Some Towns/Cities have many different villages with some over lapping with zip codes. Another good idea brought to you by your friendly federal government.

  5. GREAT graphic AB!

    Prior to UAD formats I never knew an appraiser to have difficulty in explaining what and where a property is located. Only title companies had problems based on how THEY showed prelims (and not consistently either).

    Unincorporated County Areas all across America & Townships often have MAILING or POSTAL addresses that do not match local government agencies official situs addresses. Even after incorporation some areas retain the old postal zone for status purposes.

    Look up Beverly Hills 90210 on Thomas Guide page 592. Part City of B.H. and part City of L.A.. Guess which city residents want on their mail (and appraisal)?

    Just a reminder, USPAP does NOT REQUIRE a physical street address in a report. It DOES require an accurate legal description.

    It is only FNMA (& similar GSEs); title insurance companies and FNMA-designed UAD-driven software that have conniption fits over mailing/situs addresses.
    1. UAD requires it match USPS addresses/records.
    2. Title insurance officers or their reviewers want the report address to match the prelim…usually without regard to what is actually correct. Their approach to this is universally arrogant (& frequently ignorant). Only THEY can possible know correct addresses.
    3. UAD software hiccups if USPS address isn’t used. Who knows what the impact is on Chucky Upchuck V4.2.

    Whatever situs you show, just explain it folks, & worry more about getting legal description correct.

    PS – it might lend credibility to your H&BU conclusions if you also check the actual zoning maps instead of putting down CoreLogic “public records” zones that could be 70 years out of date.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Keyword; Postal annex locations. It’s going to take a lot of time for the post office to keep up with legal, all that address data was supposed to be for the post office, not for sale to data aggregators. All those people who thought they lived in condos, sorry, you live in apartments now… It’s a tragic story.

  6. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Just had one today. There is technically no city of La Jolla CA (median value over one million), regardless of what locals say, the post office says, and the fact that it has its own zip code (92037). The area is in the city of San Diego (median value $625) but of course the provided Preliminary Title Report says something different, San Diego (area of La Jolla). Two hours of my day and four requests later, the issue (for them) is no clearer.

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    Its all due to the post offices down sizing over the years.


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Where, Exactly, is Your Subject Located?

by Dave Towne time to read: 2 min