Friday, December 8, 2023 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

We want to hear your crazy appraisal stories!

This article was first published in the Appraisal Buzz Magazine. If you have shared a story with us in the past that was never published, please resend it. Your story could be one of the best this time around! Send your stories to

Have you ever walked away from a day thinking, “No one’s EVER going to believe this!” Well, we want to hear all about it! We are asking for submissions about your wildest appraisal stories! All the way from haunted encounters to animals that have been (unexpectedly) stumbled upon – Share with us and you could be featured in Appraisal Buzz Magazine.

Patrick Jones
I had spoken to the homeowner at the door and started pulling tape on a house when an angry woman pulled up in the driveway and asked me what I was doing. I told her, and she went inside. In a few minutes, police cars descended on the house from every direction. An officer told me to back away from the house. Apparently, the husband and wife were in the middle of an ugly divorce and one of them had called the cops while I was there. I sat in my car for a few minutes when the husband came out, apologized for the scene and asked if we could reschedule for another day. I said sure — then called the lender agent and had it immediately reassigned. There is no such thing as Customary & Reasonable violence.

Steve Forstner
Years ago, I was appraising a weekend cottage and seeing a well house in the back yard decided to open the door and take a photo. Well houses were still common in this area at the time and I always looked inside to view the pump. This particular well house was only about 4 feet tall so I couched and opened the door only to come face to face with a full-grown bobcat! I slammed the door shut again and retreated a few yards to wait the big cat out. Surely it would leave now that it knew I was there. Minutes passed without me seeing the cat go and as my heart slowed down again, I began to wonder how such a large animal managed to get into the tiny well house.

Keeping my distance, I worked my way all around the low structure looking for some hole that would allow the passage of an animal. But there were no holes and it occurred to me the animal must have gone through the door, but it was hooked from outside. The mystery was growing deeper by the minute and I really wanted a picture of that pump. So, I crept up to the door and listened but heard no sounds. I decided I could open the door a crack, shove the camera lens in and hope kitty didn’t like Nikons.

I unhooked the door and opened it a crack, prepared to slam it shut if necessary, and pointed my flashlight in through the narrow opening. The bobcat stared back at me with wide eyes and a toothy grin. I almost slammed the door again except I noticed ol’ Bob was sitting on a low varnished stump with a brass plate. It was a bobcat all right, but it had been dead a long time, stuffed and mounted and ready for display. Fifteen years later I’m still shaking my head and wondering why anyone would store a stuffed bobcat in their well house. Someone who didn’t want their pump stolen, I guess.

Gordon Hugh
A few years ago, while appraising a subdivision home with a 3-car garage in the Phoenix market area I was walking through the laundry room to access the garage. I noticed the lights were off and it was extremely  humid. A small hum was coming from one end of the garage. Once  I found the switch, I turned the lights on to find rows and rows and rows of wood shelving. The garage was full of these 2×4 plywood shelves, floor to ceiling. Stuffed into the shelves were hundreds of these low-profile clear storage containers, the kind you slide under you bed. Upon closer inspection, I noticed each container had snakes in them, 100’s of them. The HO was a breeder. I immediately looked down at the floor to make sure none were loose.

Richard Marshall
I received a call from a Probate Court assistant asking if I could do an appraisal for an estate of a deceased individual. I said yes, of course. Upon arriving at the home, I was greeted by the Probate Court assistant and a local real estate agent. They handed me a pair of rubber gloves and a face mask, the kind used to filter out chemicals and other air-borne items. I did my thing inside and out. The home was very cluttered, but we’ve all seen that. I asked the Probate person what she knew about the home. She stated that it had been vacant for about 3 years, and the person who died, IN THE HOME, had been dead for 2-3 weeks before anyone found out. There were no relatives, no estate plan, and no will found.

Of course, over the next couple of months after the homeowner’s death, gas, water and electric were turned off.  But EVERYTHING was as it was 3 years ago. All of the furniture and personal items of the deceased were there. The refrigerator was full of rotted food. The bed where the person died, was still intact, with all of the items which would come OUT of a body upon dying. Bodily fluids, excrement, blood, etc., But believe it or not, it really didn’t smell THAT bad.

Have any comments or would you like to submit an article of your own? Email

Mark Buhler

The Surfing Appraiser

Riding the waves of the appraisal profession can result in a range of outcomes and emotions over time. Appraisers, and surfers, have varying levels of

Read More »
Timothy Andersen, MAI, MSc., CDEI, MNAA

“Naked, Unarmed, and Alone?”

Question: “My state board recently charged me with authoring a misleading report. I got the client to write a letter to the state indicating my

Read More »