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Ten Steps in Navigating the MAI Appraisal Process for Commercial Real Estate at SFREAppraisal

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

  1. COMMITMENT TO ACCOUNTABILITY: At SFREAppraisal, we're committed to preparing ourselves to deliver services with competence and accountability. Our professional conduct is governed by the State of Florida (DBPR) and The Appraisal Institute, both adhering to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Should we ever be audited or investigated, we are obliged to demonstrate our unwavering dedication to maintaining the public trust. This principle shapes our clearly outlined MAI Appraisal Process.

  2. ENGAGEMENT AND CONTRACT ACCEPTANCE: Our MAI Appraisal Process officially begins when an appraisal engagement letter (contract) is signed, accepted, and if necessary, paid for. The acceptance usually falls on the following business day unless otherwise stipulated, and at this point, the delivery timeline kicks off. Each assignment is systematically arranged in an "appraisal pipeline". However, if a conflict of interest arises, if the appraiser identifies a gap in their expertise, or if the assignment's scope could result in a misleading appraisal, the assignment must be rejected under USPAP regulations. This may occur even post-acceptance, in which case any costs (minus applicable damages) are promptly refunded.

  3. INFORMATION GATHERING: The appraiser initiates the MAI Appraisal Process by gathering and organizing the relevant legal and market data, including detailed legal situs, property tax specifics, property listing and sale history, location maps, zoning details, demographics, and market studies. This information forms the backbone of the appraisal report.

  4. REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Having understood the property to be appraised, the appraiser will request any additional information as necessary. The level of detail required varies: complex properties demand extensive data, while simpler ones require less. It's imperative for this information to be provided accurately and promptly to avoid delays that can impact the appraisal pipeline and extend the contract turnaround time.

  5. DATA ANALYSIS: The appraiser critically assesses the information and drafts the preliminary analysis.

  6. INSPECTION SCHEDULING: An appraiser typically inspects two to three properties per field day, along with the comparables for these assignments. The MAI Appraisal Process aims to provide at least 48 hours’ notice, with more time allotted for complex properties like apartments. It's crucial to note that appraisal inspections are designed to gauge marketability rather than perform a detailed property assessment.

  7. DRAFT FINALIZATION: This stage brings all the analyzed information together, possibly necessitating further inquiries or re-inspections of sales or rent comparables.

  8. QUALITY CHECKS AND PROOFREADING: The draft report is proofread by Michael P Jacobs MAI, usually on the subsequent office day for a fresh perspective. We may also seek peer reviews to uphold our quality standards. Any issues identified are addressed swiftly to maintain delivery timelines.

  9. REPORT PUBLICATION: The finalized appraisal report is prepared as a PDF file and delivered digitally via email or Dropbox. This is usually the end of the MAI Appraisal Process.

  10. AFTER-SALES SUPPORT: Given that many of our clients have stringent appraisal review procedures, we prioritize all inquiries to avoid disrupting their workflow. Our reports are designed to anticipate questions, thereby minimizing inquiries as a convenience to our clients. The MAI Appraisal Process continues through the delivery-acceptance period. When you have questions, we answer them and if modifications are warranted we make them quickly.

On average, it takes about 30 hours of combined administrative and professional time during the MAI Appraisal Process to complete a report. The duration varies depending on the complexity of the assignment. For more insight into commercial appraisal reports, please read our comprehensive guide: "Nine Things You Should Know about Commercial Appraisals".


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