There are a lot of people that seem to think that home appraisers have it easy. Their belief is that an appraiser simply walks into a home, looks at the foundation, wiring, and plumbing, then writes up a number for the home’s value and calls it a day. Also, at worst, people might believe that the house may be a little bit dirty, but nothing too crazy.
However, there have been a lot of wild stories to come from home appraisers that didn’t know what they were walking into. Some have been scared straight out of the profession while others have seen some of the most wholesome or hilarious stuff around. Here are five of the most wild real-life home appraiser stories out there.
The Tragedy Appraiser
There’s one appraiser in particular that’s had to figure out the value on a lot of properties that are famous for being crime scenes. Randall Bell is his name, and he’s appraised properties that include the Heaven’s Gate mansion, the real estate where the Manson family murders happened, and even the homes of the late JonBenet Ramsey and Nicole Brown Simpson.
Bell has had his hand in some of the most tragic properties known to mankind, and he says that it’s his attention deficit disorder that got him into the profession, saying that he would only take on properties that had significant damage or trauma that other appraisers couldn’t handle. In fact, the first notable house that he took on was the crime scene for the O.J. Simpson case.
Out of all of the cases that Bell has handled, though, the strangest one might be serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s home in Milwaukee. Bell was doing an appraisal on the home where he lived and murdered several people, but nearby Marquette University was upset with him. In most cases, a murder home would be cheaper, but Dahmer’s became more valuable as the school was trying to buy up nearby property.
Bell said that homes drop up to 25 percent in value if a serious crime had taken place, but Dahmer’s home leaped in price due to national interest in his story. The owner of the apartment complex made the school pay the increased evaluation.
A Record Robbery
When an appraiser is going in to a home to assess the value, there’s a good chance that nobody is living in that house at the moment. Or at the very least, they aren’t expecting much company to be there. That wasn’t the case for one appraiser in Florida, though, as they were evaluating the property for a wealthy music producer.
The appraiser said everything was going fine in the gorgeous neighborhood until they got to the basement where the platinum and gold records were kept. It turns out, some teenagers caught wind of who lived there and were trying to steal the records. Thankfully, the producer shooed the kids away without anyone being hurt, but it was still a wild experience for the appraiser.
Long Island Medium
Many of the world’s richest people tend to live in the same neighborhoods and run in the same circles, but that doesn’t mean that they have the same beliefs when it comes to extra-terrestrials. On New York’s Long Island, an appraiser named Leigh was looking at a multi-million dollar home, but noticed something very odd. All of the walls were lined with aluminum foil.
She asked the homeowner about the aluminum foil, and got a very calm, but odd, response. The owner said that it was simply to keep out alien rays that could be used to control thoughts. The appraiser simply left it at that and continued working.
There are certain things that you expect to run into as an appraiser, with animals being one of the most common. For the most part, though, it’s simply dogs or cats that you’ll deal with. In Florida, you never know what you’re going to get, however.
That was the case for one appraiser that was evaluating a home and paying too much attention to the property itself without checking the surroundings. It turns out that appraiser was just one yard away from stepping on a 12 foot long alligator. It wasn’t until the gator started growling that the appraiser noticed and ran away, with the sales office neglecting to tell them that the gator had been there protecting her nest.