Wednesday, December 7, 2022 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

Accurate Measurements with Odd Angles

Raechel Stickney
Raechel Stickney, Owner of Real Market Appraisals

Imagine a 2,100 square foot, one and a half story house with an attached garage, porch, and deck. You probably imagined the typical bungalow. Now, imagine that house having 48 corners and only 4 of them are 90 degrees. I recently had an experience with just that house. Some architect, thinking they were Frank Lloyd Wright reincarnated, decided to build this house on a high bank cliff overlooking the Puget Sound. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty cool design, but I knew right away when I received the order for that appraisal that I was going to need some help.

We, as appraisers, have probably all used a tape measure in our day, whether it be a typical tape measure or an open reel tape measure. There may be a significant portion of us that have moved on from those tools and started to use a laser measuring device such as a Bosch or Disto. In our own ways, as we learn to use these tools, we probably all have our own techniques as well. I’m going back to the good old days of high school when I swore that I would never use any of the stuff they were teaching me, and here I am using Pythagoreans Theorem and other mathematical techniques to figure out the angles and the square footage. Have you ever had a dwelling so unique, like the one described above, that those methods didn’t work very well?

There are some laser measuring devices that have Pythagoras functions, however, what if the house is hanging off a cliff and you can’t quite get each end you are trying to measure? Or what if your measuring device doesn’t have those functions? There is a simple, easy, and not so expensive device that could become your best friend in these situations: the digital angle finder. I’m not talking about that plastic protractor and the metal compass from high school. A digital angle finder is used just by opening the device, putting the rulers against the angle and sides of the building that you are measuring, and the display shows you the angle and degrees. A $20 tool saved me so much time on just that one house that it paid for itself. I would probably still be there today trying to figure out the angles had I not had that tool.

I know these types of properties and homes are rare, but if you ever find yourself in my situation, you would be happy to have a digital angle finder in your appraisal tool belt.

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