Expert Witness Terms and Conditions

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PROFESSIONAL FEES

Typical fees for a real estate appraisal report prepared for litigation will vary significantly depending on the complexity of the assignment. Most cases involve monetary damages. A significant component of the total damages is the potential loss in value attributed to an event or change in market conditions. This monetary loss is usually calculated as the difference between two or more different valuation scenarios.

The cost of the appraisal(s) needed for litigation support or defense will be determined prior to our engagement once we have all the necessary facts. We suggest you contact us so we can discuss your particular appraisal problem. Together, we can develop an efficient and effective plan of action.

Our fee quote will based on the anticipated effort required to complete the appraisal assignment. Should unexpected problems be encountered, or should you request additional work, the cost will be discussed with you prior to our proceeding.

A retainer must be paid to this office prior to us being named as an expert witness. We will run a “conflicts check” on the subject property and all individual named participants prior to our being named as an expert. This process will insure our effectiveness on your case.

The stated appraisal fee amount does not include testifying in depositions, arbitration hearings, commission hearings or courts of law as an expert witness. These and other additional services will be billed at a rate of $375.00 per hour. In the event that our appraiser is required to appear outside our office, the fee will be based on a four-hour minimum. Payment for the minimum fee is expected prior to our arrival on site of any required testimony.

Due to clogged court dockets, most real estate appraisals for litigation are prepared months, or even years, prior to our actual testimony as an expert witness. Our expert witness may need time to review the particulars of your case prior to our testifying in a deposition or courtroom. On a simple case, two-to-six hours of review time may be required for our expert to re-familiarize himself with the appraisal report(s). This process is very important to our effectiveness as an expert witness. This time is billed at $175.00 per hour and will be discussed with you at the proper time. Payment for this fee is expected prior to us engaging in the review process.

We are good at our job, but our time is not free. Built into this pricing structure is our knowledge, our experience, and our expertise as appraisers and as expert witnesses. There is an old saying that bears repeating;

“A bargain that doesn’t deliver,
Just became expensive.”

 

DELIVERY

A typical estimated completion date of the appraisal report is 15 – 20 business days after we have been provided access to the subject property, and are in possession of all necessary supporting documents. Sometimes, access to the subject property is not possible or feasible. We can inform you of your appraisal options if this is the case. We can furnish you with original “hard” copies of the appraisal report as well as “electronic” copies. We can only complete the appraisal report in a timely manner if we receive from you, any relevant information needed for the preparation of the report.

UNIFORM STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL APPRAISAL PRACTICE

Appraisers in this office are state certified or licensed appraisers. Some are members of the Appraisal Institute. Therefore, the reported analysis, opinions and conclusions will be developed, and the appraisal report will be prepared in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and in conformity with the requirements of the Code of Professional Ethics and Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice of the Appraisal Institute.

We will not accept an appraisal assignment in which we have a present or prospective interest in the property that is to be the subject of the report. Further, we will not accept an appraisal assignment in which we have a personal interest in the parties involved.

We will not accept an appraisal assignment in which our compensation is contingent upon the development, or reporting of a predetermined value or direction in value that favors the cause of the client. We will not accept an appraisal assignment in which our compensation is contingent upon the attainment of a stipulated result.

The above stated conditions are requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and applies to all real estate appraisers. One of the first questions generally asked by opposing council is; “Does your appraisal report comply with USPAP?” Whether we are your testifying expert or not, make certain your expert witness can answer “yes” to this critical question.

DEFINITION OF MARKET VALUE

The most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: (l) buyer and seller are typically motivated; (2) both parties are well informed or well advised, and each acting in what he considers his own best interest; (3) a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; (4) payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and (5) the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.

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Mike Brubaker