Category Archives: My Articles

Review: Residential Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use

Review of Mark Ratterman’s book

I wrote the following for the December, 2022 Appraisal Today newsletter. This month Ann O’Rourke has published my article “Appraising in a Changing Market” which I will publish here next month. That said, if you’re a residential appraiser, you should sign up for the Appraisal Today newsletter. Each newsletter has advice that I can use in my business or my appraisal work. Go here for more information.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher, the Appraisal Institute, free of charge to Appraisal Today to review. Ann provided it to me so I can share my thoughts about it.

Cost is $75/$60 for Appraisal Institute members for either the soft cover book or the PDF. 252 pages

I don’t understand why the PDF is the same price as the book. Apparently, the cost approach does not apply.

This is the book to get you thinking about residential market analysis.

As noted in the Acknowledgements, this book is based on Stephen Fanning’s Market Analysis for Real Estate, the general appraiser’s market analysis book. Residential Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use follows the same outline as the other book but focuses on residential properties. Both books use the same 6 step process for market analysis and 8 step process for highest and best use analysis. Most of this book is spent discussing and reviewing the 6-step market analysis process with highest and use analysis left for the last chapter.

The book discusses the difference between fundamental market analysis and inferred market analysis and provides advice on how to know what to include for your assignment. Much of the book is timely with many examples from the Covid era plus specific discussions of rapid interest rate increases and the impact of concessions on market value.

The explanation of the market analysis process is the framework for the author to share many suggestions for best practices. For example, Mr. Ratterman makes a strong case for almost always completing at least a very basic, high-level land valuation to support the highest and best use conclusion even if a cost approach is not necessary. A specific example included in the book of a mistake that residential appraisers make, not seeing that an attached duplex could be split into two one-unit properties, was a mistake I made twelve months ago. My client was kind enough to let me rewrite the appraisal instead of suing me. Examples and advice like this are what sold me on the book.

Mr. Ratterman’s writing is easy to read. As Ann’s previous reviews of his books note, his writing is the opposite of the academic, stilted style I see in other appraisal books. He repeats important concepts and provides useful examples.

I have a couple of minor quibbles. First, I found numerous typos, unexpected in a $75 book purchase. None were significant but all were distracting. The other issue I had was with the example in the Statistical Analysis chapter. I applaud Mr. Ratterman for including a detailed example of using linear regression to value a vacant lot. His example walks through the steps to do the analysis and includes a very useful discussion of how to choose the best predictor/unit of comparison (in this case, price per acre). However, his discussion is undermined because he doesn’t mention time. It was strange to read a book where market changes are discussed at length but not included in the most detailed example.

Who is it for?

The primary audience of this book is the seasoned residential appraiser with some experience appraising complex 1-4 unit properties. The book is ideal for residential appraisers working on upgrading to certified residential. It’s also ideal for folks like me working on their SRA designation. Less experienced residential appraisers may avoid future issues by reading this book.

Conclusion: I’m keeping it. Ann saved me from having to buy it. Thanks Ann.

Click here if you want more information on purchasing this book from the Appraisal Institute. (I am not getting paid for any sales)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Overview of Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use Theory
  • Chapter 2: Market Research in Real Estate Appraisal
  • Chapter 3: Levels of Market Analysis
  • Chapter 4: Urban Patterns, Development, and Externalities
  • Chapter 5: Location
  • Chapter 6: Productivity Analysis: The Subject Property
  • Chapter 7: Market Area Delineation
  • Chapter 8: Demand Analysis
  • Chapter 9: Competitive Supply Analysis
  • Chapter 10: Evaluating Market Cycles
  • Chapter 11: Marketability Concepts
  • Chapter 12: Data Sources
  • Chapter 13: Statistical Analysis Tools
  • Chapter 14: Highest and Best Use

About the Author

Mark R. Ratterman, MAI, SRA, has been a real estate appraiser and broker in Indianapolis since 1979. He initially worked as a residential broker only but soon moved on to focus on real estate appraisals. He has written ten books about real estate and appraisal with a focus on both residential and nonresidential topics.

Additionally, Mr. Ratterman has written courses and seminars for the Appraisal Institute and has been a teacher of appraisal courses and seminars for over 35 years. He has lectured in 45 states and four foreign countries and has written over 20 seminars for both online and classroom presentation. He has been published many times in The Appraisal Journal.

Mr. Ratterman lives in the Indianapolis area with his wife of 36 years, Jeanine. They have four grandchildren who all live in their area. His contact information is listed on the Appraisal Institute website (https://www.appraisalinstitute.org/) and can be located by clicking on “Find an Appraiser.”

Why You Should Join An Appraisal Organization Especially Now

I’ve posted the full version of my article Why You Should Join An Appraisal Organization with links to the organizations mentioned in the article. Now is an important time for the residential appraisal industry to join together because of threats to our place in the US real estate market. We need to spread the word of the role of appraisers, especially to federal regulators who want to diminish our standing.

If you haven’t heard, federal financial oversight groups such as the FDIC, Federal Reserve, and others have proposed changing the de minimus for residential lending in the US from $250,000 to $400,000. This is exactly the wrong time to reduce oversight in residential real estate given widespread signs nationally of markets slowing and potentially nearing a peak. Did we learn nothing in the last market crash?

Ryan Lundquist has an excellent summary on his blog (link). I strongly encourage you to sign the petition started by Ryan and Jonathan Miller at change.org (link) and to comment in the federal register about why this is a bad idea.