Expert Witness and Commercial Property Valuation

Webinar Recap
Frank LaDonna

Frank LaDonna

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Expert Witness and Commercial Property Valuation: Webinar Recap

Jeff Weiner, Co-Founder & CEO of Realquantum, had the opportunity to sit down with Brock Heyde, Managing Director РKansas City for Keller, Craig & Associates. During this 30-minute webinar, Jeff and Brock discussed why appraisers should consider becoming an expert witness and adding that to their playbook of services. 

This webinar provided valuable insights into the world of expert witness services in commercial property valuation. Read more below to learn about the importance of meticulous preparation, managing client expectations, and seeking mentorship and training opportunities. 


Brock’s Journey into Expert Witness Services:

Brock attributed his introduction to this profession to an early mentor who had substantial experience in litigation and testimony. Working under his mentor enabled Brock to work on sophisticated litigation and tax appeals issues. This tough assignment encouraged him to venture outside of his comfort zone and develop his appraisal skills. He eventually had the chance to testify in a tax appeal case in Iowa, which was his first time as an expert witness.


Important Factors to Consider:

Brock underlined the significance of taking certain elements into account before engaging in expert witness services. He realized that this path could be stressful and high-stakes. It demanded that appraisers be prepared for cross-examination and have a thick skin. Furthermore, appraisers had to verify that their analysis was clear, well-supported, and adhered to professional norms. Brock emphasized the importance of market data in supporting modifications and recommended that appraisers corroborate sales and leases with primary sources. He also emphasized the importance of having a thick skin while dealing with opposing counsel during cross-examination.


Bidding and Charging Time:

The conversation then turned to the financial elements of expert witness services. Brock stated that appraisers should think about the extra work and scrutiny that comes with creating valuation reports for litigation. He suggested that the engagement letter include a flat charge for the appraisal and a separate fee for testimony preparation, research, driving time, and actual courtroom time. Brock also stressed the significance of requesting a retainer in advance to ensure payment for the preparatory time.


Navigating Concerns of Bias and Impartiality:

Appraisers have to manage their client’s expectations from the start, explicitly stating their function as unbiased professionals. Opposing counsel may attempt to accuse appraisers of prejudice, and appraisers must be prepared to respond professionally and without taking it personally.


Mentorship and Training:

Brock advised appraisers to look for mentorship possibilities within their companies or professional networks. Learning from knowledgeable specialists was really beneficial for obtaining knowledge of the topic. He also advised joining local chapters of appraisal groups, networking, and connecting with possible mentors through LinkedIn. Being a consulting expert could also act as a stepping stone to becoming an expert witness.

For appraisers interested in expanding into expert witness services, training possibilities such as those provided by the Appraisal Institute and other organizations were recommended. These classes may help students have a better grasp of the roles and responsibilities of expert witnesses.



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