Site Description

The property's site refers to the parcel of land. The site appraisal section reviews the following categories of information.

  • Lot dimension. The area size of the property is usually described in square feet, although acres may be substituted in rural or suburban locations. Many conforming lenders limit allowable site size to five acres.
  • Zoning classification. The local zoning classification of the property is indicated in this entry. Obviously, residential loan applications should have residential zoning. If the property does not meet zoning restrictions—such as number of units or height--the lender may require a letter from the building department indicating that the property can be rebuilt to current non-conforming specs if it is destroyed.
  • Conformity of present improvements to zoning. This entry is a yes-or-no question. Either the improvements, if any, do conform or don't conform. As in the preceding, properties that do not conform to zoning will require additional processing tasks.
  • Highest and best use for the property. Ideally, the appraiser will indicate that present use would be the best use for the property and appraisers usually do. However, there are always exceptions.
  • Utilities. The appraisal must indicate whether the main utilities—(1) electricity, (2) gas, (3) water, (4) sanitary sewer, and (5) storm sewer—are public or other. The "other" entry refers to private utilities obtained by the individual or a subdivision community.
  • Topography. This entry refers to the general slope of the property. The appraisal must indicate whether it is level or sloped, or a combination of both. This is normally not a major issue, unless there are prevalent landslide or flooding problems.
  • Size and shape. The appraiser must indicate whether the size and shape of the property are standard or irregular both in respect to general norms and as compared to the neighborhood.
  • Drainage. The appraisal must indicate whether the property's drainage is adequate or inadequate.
  • View. If the view of the property adds or detracts from its relative market value, then the appraisal must provide a description of the view amenity. Scenery and view are important valuation factors, especially for condominiums. A unit whose windows look out over a scenic vista will have much higher values than units whose windows look out into a parking garage or alley.
  • Landscaping. The appraisal should provide a general description of the property's landscaping.
  • Driveway. If the property has a driveway, the appraiser must describe it and evaluate its adequacy.
  • Flood zone designation. The appraisal will federal flood map to determine property's status.
  • Off-site improvements. The category of off-site improvements consists of (1) the street, (2) the curb and gutter, (3) the sidewalk, (4) any street lights, and (5) the alley. The appraisal must describe the existence of any such off-site improvements, as well as whether such improvements are public or private.
  • Comments. In this entry, the appraiser should describe any easements, encroachments, zoning problems or other adverse or positive characteristics of the property being appraised.

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