I resigned from my appointment to the appraisal board in North Dakota. We had a devastating flood in the Red River Valley in the spring of 1997, my office was wiped out with over five feet of water inundating all my files, records, and computers. Our family residence had water up 2" on the floor joists and the front basement wall of our house moved in about 6" and we had to remove and replace it.
With the bad came the good, I rescued a metal desk out of a dumpster and moved my office into our recently cleaned out basement. So began the most rewarding and devastating appraisal period I've ever experienced. My company, myself and two others appraised approximately three to five homes per day, most of them were in such bad condition they were torn down by the city after our appraisals were complete. We appraised in both Grand Forks (ND) and in East Grand Forks (MN). It was ironic but the East Grand Forks buyout program targeted my company as the most conservative and the Grand Forks buyout program called us the most liberal company. We just provided our opinion!
Things were moving along with the cleanup and restoration of the city, my business was growing by leaps and bounds, I enjoyed a very good relationship with lenders and other clients. I was known for tackling the tough ones and providing a professional well supported opinion of value. One of my appraisers was a little hard to trust so I set him up with lenders in Crookston (30 miles east of Grand Forks) and had hime establish the company name over there. As he was still an apprentice at the time I spent countless nights and weekends in Crookston overseeing his work product. We had a good professional relationship.
In 1999 the state appraisal board hired Alan Hummel to provide some education. He gave a series of seminars sounding kind of like Sheriff Andy Taylor, oh shucks this is USPAP and by golly it may not be quite right doing things that way! At the same time Alan was hired as the primary reviewer for the state of ND. I completed an appraisal on a property near a new middle school, the appraisal was completed for a client who was suing the city, trying to increase their payment for a taking. My clients attorney requested I appraise the property considering its highest and best use and to provide a summary appraisal report. I completed the report but the night before trial the attorney informed me they would like the appraisal re-written to comply with the 'yellow book' or eminent domain appraisal. There was not enough time to properly complete it so I made a mistake and put together a very rough addendum to the report. The court hearing took place and the largest difference in my opinion and the opinion of the city's appraiser was what the highest and best use was. My opinion was a transitional use as residential but the eventual use would be commercial of some type. My opinion was based on there being no zoning at the time of appraisal of the subject property and the area surrounding the subject being zoned multi family or commercial. The other appraiser considered it residential even though there was a sort of car shop next door, a new middle school across the street and a proposed hospital to the west. The other appraiser in conjunction with the city assessor sent in a complaint to the appraisal board concerning my calling the property commercial as it's highest and best use eventually. Mr. Hummel had the opportunity to review the report.
I'll continue the story in a few days......