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Preparation is Key to Real Estate Valuation Testimony: The Appraisal Journal

August 27, 2012 08:00 AM

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2012) – Preparation is key to successfully providing real estate valuation testimony in a courtroom, according to an article published this week in The Appraisal Journal.

The Appraisal Journal is the quarterly technical and academic publication of the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers. The materials presented in the publication represent the opinions and views of the authors and not necessarily those of the Appraisal Institute.

“Litigation Lessons: A Practical Guide to Expert Testimony,” by David C. Lennhoff, MAI, SRA, and James P. Downey, J.D., provides perspectives and advice on good practices for appraisers serving as expert witnesses in litigation.

The authors offer knowledge based on their experiences in the courtroom. They state, “There is no more important element to successful expert testimony than preparation,” which includes two facets: self-preparation by the appraisal expert; and joint preparation with the attorney.

In preparing for a trial, the authors recommend that experts adopt the three-legged stool of clarity: think clearly; write clearly; speak clearly. “Litigation valuation demands extra skills: not only the ability to prepare competent and supported valuations, but also the talent to clearly convey that valuation to a judge or jury,” they note.

The authors caution that litigation valuation and expert testimony is not for everyone. It can, however, be rewarding work. “Here are assignments in which the client is really interested in thorough research and well-supported conclusions. And here is an opportunity to be of real service to the courts.”

Read Litigation Lessons: A Practical Guide to Expert Testimony in the Summer 2012 issue of The Appraisal Journal.

A litigation companion piece in The Appraisal Journal’s Summer 2012 issue, “Litigation Appraisal Assignments,” by Stephen J. Matonis, MAI, and Jeffrey A. Johnson, MAI, offers advice on factors appraisers need to consider before accepting a litigation assignment, including conflict of interest issues, scope of work and the litigation timeline.

Also in The Appraisal Journal’s Summer 2012 issue:

“New Option in Hotel Appraisals: Quantifying the Revenue Enhancement Value of Hotel Brands,” by A. Scruggs Love, MAI, SRA; Bruce H. Hunter; and Douglas W. Sutton, reviews data for hotels that change or drop a brand name, and measures the revenue and intangible value that can be directly tied to hotel brand names.

“Transit Corridor Valuation: Issues and Methods,” by Wayne L. Hunsperger, MAI, SRA, Amy McGuire, J.D., and Ron Throupe, Ph.D., discusses the history of railway corridors and the different approaches used to value transit and communications corridor property today.


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The Appraisal Institute is a global membership association of professional real estate appraisers, with nearly 23,000 members in nearly 60 countries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Members of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA and SRA designations. Learn more at




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