In the 1960's a local appraiser named Sam Sylvester from Houlton Maine had many duties but one of them was appraising properties.The ones where the local bank manager himself did not just trot out to the Maine real estate and make sure the collateral was sufficient for the loan being considered. Back then character loans on the buyer mattered most, not a FICO score alone. Instead of debt ratios, mortgage insurance and secondary market resale of that financing instrument, who the buyer's parents were, how long he had been on the job, his savings experience and what the local murmur about the fellow on community radar is what tipped the scales of a loan approval or rejection. But back to Sam the man.
Sam Slyvester I have been told would visit the property, tour it with the seller and the buyer, make the owner walk the lines for all to see. Like anyone in business, we all have certain pet peeves along with the standard areas of concern in all we do in the real estate dog and pony show. Sam's bone of contention was boundary disputes that could be avoided if more than a map was shown or the topic handled in a few sentences of conversation. Where your lines were, how much land you owned and how close anyone else's fence, buildings, driveway was the red flag that he carried, waved vigorously on every property tour.
He made the owner, buyer walk the real estate property lines, completely around from point to point right up front. Every time. No matter what. Rain, snow, cracks in the earth and dinosaurs roaming thru could not make him give up this procedure. Period.So after the "inspection" he went back to his office, had a folder with some hen scratchings, hieroglyphics on it for this appraisal mission. And like a good Maine seafood or corn chowder that tastes better after a few days to come together taste wise, he would "chew on it" as he said. Ponder the place in his head as he did other real estate duties. Started and finished up other "appraisals", other property cases like a country judge deciding what's fair, which end is up. And after a few days, he would hunt and peck on a manual typewriter the following.
"Have personally inspected the home located on the west side of Green Street, Houlton Maine owned by Slippery Kellerman and being sold to Chummy McGee. It is this real estate appraiser's opinion that the value as of the above date is $5200 (FIVE THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS).
Sam I Am Sylvester.
Short, sweet, neat, complete. Like a twitter blog entry except a few more characters than 140. No pages and pages or need to kill three trees to produce the paper for limitations of the appraisal, the creditials of the assessor or flood map notations. No comparable competing listing images, details. No SOLD property sales stats from recent days in the local market. No square footage, condition adjustments. Nothing mentioned about the neighborhood, quality of construction, the existence of a fireplace or extra half bath on this detailed appraisal. Just a short narrative without mention of market approach, reconstruction costs less depreciation, etc. Nothing about water in the cellar, or the roof needs reshingling in the next two years. Zip, that is it. This is all you need, get, study. This paperwork rang the bell, did the trick. Park the paperwork in the folder, close the file cabinet. Case closed. On to the next Maine property appraisal. But his gut feeling, sizing up the property from 200 angles but without the trail of his work in writting, imagery or maps. All done between his ears, on his feet drawing from observations in the local Houlton Maine real estate market.