Writing & Reasoning Skills for Real Estate Appraisers

Instructor: Traci Cull
Being able to write a clear and understandable appraisal is key in the real estate industry. It is important to be aware that most people who read the appraisal will have little to no knowledge of the industry. This lesson will go over the grammar, word usage, tone, and how to write for your audience.

Writing a Clear Appraisal Report

Janice is a new real estate appraiser. She has just completed her education and testing and is very excited to begin. She has been hired to do a real estate appraisal of a home in an upscale neighborhood. Janice wants to be sure and follow the laws and make a good impression. She wants to incorporate all those new real estate terms she has just learned into her writing.

Writing an appraisal is basically getting an opinion of a property value across to an audience. Most people who read an appraisal will have no general knowledge of the real estate industry and might not understand certain terms. It is ideal if the appraisal can be written in plain English without a lot of industry terms or acronyms.

Janice should explain any complicated ideas or terms in a short and easily understandable manner. If she uses a real estate acronym, she'll be sure and write it out long-hand the first time so the reader will know what it means.

Style of writing

Janice knows when to write in the active vs passive voice. Active voice shows the subject is doing the action (''Delilah bought some candy''). It is very straightforward and easy to read. Active writing is not universally accepted in the professional world even though it is better for emphasizing key phrases and definitions.

The passive voice moves the target of the action to the subject (''Some candy was bought by Delilah''). The passive voice can be very wordy and difficult to understand, but it can be appropriate for appraisal writing in some cases. Janice wants to maintain focus on the action rather than who did the action, which isn't important in this context. For example, 'The house was outfitted with a backup generator after the hurricane.''

Passive voice can also an avoid accusatory tone by not mentioning anyone involved. For example: ''The apartment roof has not been maintained well.''

Word Usage

Word usage is another important concept that Janice needs to consider. Word usage can include using common and current words that people understand, not archaic phrases or terms.

She must also be careful not to use a lot of superlatives as they do not carry any meaning or further clarify anything. For example, ''This exceptional property is the absolute best'' doesn't really mean anything in this context. Facts speak much more effectively than trying to say something is the best. She must state clearly why this property is a great property.

Tone of Writing

Janice should be aware of her tone in her writing. Her real estate appraisal is a professional document and must contain a professional tone. Tone of writing is a direct reflection of the writer and their audience will pick up on it.

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