My New Blog

Greetings All:
Like most of you, we are into the winter months, and shortly the holidays will be upon us.  I retired in July from NJDOT as a Staff Reviewer and Appraiser. I took a few months off to gather my thoughts and relax a little. I have been doing condemnation work since 2004 and have found it interesting and exciting. I have learned a lot and become a better appraiser because of the job. I have testified on my appraisals, along with reviewing others. The review process is one where you learn about appraising via a different set of eyes. Especially when you are fortunate enough to work with some of the top professionals in your field and learn from them; they are very professional and have been in the business for years.  
During the Thanksgiving weekend, a friend who is a contractor and invest in properties had me look at a property for him. It was for fun, and both were interested in having some fun. It had a small 2 bedroom and 2 bath unit on a rather large site. Upon viewing it on Zillow there were nearly a thousand views, and it was a pending sale at one point. After which they increased the sales price. With a quick look at a few sales, I found it interesting that it appears to be one of these overpriced listings.
 For starters, its location wasn't the most desirable even though it had a stream and was surrounded by woods. Some personal property was scattered on the property even though the listing stated it would be removed. The major issue was it had an easement to get to the property. Of course, without the easement, the property would be worth very little and would be considered landlocked. It appears there is no development potential either.
 My whole point here is that the owner most likely did not have an appraisal completed and it might have helped them with a few of these issues. Surely some realtors are not familiar with easements either or the highest and best use of the land.
 Please, by all means, if you have some challenging real estate problems, I would be more than happy to look into them.                                                                  
  Call or text me at 609-203-1194 or email:

Posted by Ray Underhill on November 29th, 2023 5:45 PMLeave a Comment

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Greetings too all:


Like most of you, we are into the Spring, and shortly summer will be upon us.   In July 2023, I will be retiring from NJDOT as a Staff Reviewer and Appraiser. I have been doing condemnation work since 2004 and have found it interesting and exciting. I have learned new techniques and approaches to valuation issues.  In addition, I have testified on my appraisals, along with reviewing others.  As a result, you are educated about appraising via a different set of eyes in the review process.  Especially when you are fortunate enough to work with some of the top professionals in your field and learn from them; they are very professional and have been in the business for years.   

I have managed to stay busy with some bank work and estate work.   I have enjoyed doing both.

Recently, I updated two land appraisals that I completed for a manufacturing company nearly a year ago.  These were narrative reports vs. the forms used by your typical residential appraiser.  They were pleased with my work.  I love doing research to back up my data. There is a lot that goes into a final valuation. 

A land assignment in the Pine Barrens is a more complicated process than in other locations. This is because the Pine Barrens has environmental issues that are the main factors that govern what can be done to the land.  The average person may not know there is a lot more to our environmentally sensitive area.  The Pine Lands Commission regulates most of the Pine Barrens, so developing the land has to be approved by the commission.   I have done appraisals in the Pine Barrens and know how to prepare a proper land appraisal.  Please call me if you have any questions on the specific topic.

   Recently, I completed a residential sale in my Village Five in Whiting. There was a lack of sales, and most were older. Nearly a year old.  The meeting of the minds took place, which was the agreed-upon price.   My gut told me it was a supply and demand issue.  In the end, it was. I had those older sales. Plus, a recent sale and active listing to conclude the value.   At times this is where experience and knowledge come into play.   Those prices are increasing due to the sale points, lack of inventory, and demographics.   As an appraiser, one must be in tune with many factors determining the final value.

Please, by all means, if you have some challenging real estate problems, I would be more than happy to look into them.                                                                  



  Call or text me at 609-203-1194 or email me   at


Posted by Ray Underhill on April 1st, 2023 11:57 AMLeave a Comment

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October 24th, 2022 5:32 PM

Here we are in October 2022 nearing the end of the year. The last two years have been wild as one would say in the real estate market. Most residential appraisers were busy. I normally don't take on bank lending work but decided to. Along with making some money of course it also keeps your skill set fresh on seeing sales and analyzing them. Also meeting homeowners can be a challenge or an enjoyable experience.

If you have been listening to the news they are predicting with these increasing rates we could be in for a slowdown which is starting now.  Oh yes, values might go down but your home is still a place you have to live and enjoy.

Let's hope for the best. Maybe they will be wrong in their predictions but history I think shows otherwise. The economic cycle repeats itself.  Stay safe and warm. Please call me if you have any real estate questions  609-203-1194

Did I just put a snow pic for  October?  

Posted by Ray Underhill on October 24th, 2022 5:32 PMLeave a Comment

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December 2nd, 2020 3:34 PM

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Its been a busy summer even with Covid.    The market as most know has been very healthy in some areas with prices rising and everyone being kept busy. I live in Crestwood Village 5 in Manchester Township. These communities are in demand.  One bright aspect of the economy.   I have done a variety of appraisals from Pineland Preservation land for an estate to mortgage work.   I am a certified general appraiser which enables me to do all real estate property types.    I am here to answer any questions or issues you may have with real estate.   I encourage you to review my website and if need be call me to solve your real estate issue whether its just a straight appraisal of a house or to a more complex land valuation.    Thank you and look forward to hearing from you.  

Posted in:Estates and tagged: estate appraisals
Posted by Ray Underhill on December 2nd, 2020 3:34 PMLeave a Comment

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April 7th, 2019 5:16 PM
As appraisers we assume too often the problem and scope of work.   For starters it is critical to define the problem for valuation and scope of the assignment.  The most common is residential value for estates, divorces, buyouts ect.   The purpose of the appraisal should  be the first question to determine if its retrospective or current value.  Of course, in a purchase its todays estimate of fair market value with current sales listings and pending sales.  Hopefully, the appraiser will select comparables that will not be challenged by  a reviewer attorney or a fellow appraiser.  Yes, more than three sales shows someone is digging deeper if the market is active. Even if it means going back in time vs. another location.  This is where doing the proper research along with an analysis is critical in selecting the comparables,  but also knowing the current economics of an area. The markets in New Jersey are so specific to a local area comparable selection is critical. My rule of thumb if I feel I am spending too much time in the car driving from subject to comparables I need to make sure I am not missing the market.

Posted in:General and tagged: real estate appraiser
Posted by Ray Underhill on April 7th, 2019 5:16 PMLeave a Comment

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July 6th, 2018 6:11 PM

Like most of the buying public we are always looking for the cheapest deal. I couldn't agree more. I want to pay a reasonable cost for a service.  I have gotten calls over the past years  from people who are just looking at cost and not really looking into who they are hiring to do an appraisal.   I have done reviews.  I have looked an numerous reports over my career.   Not everyone does a good analysis in their report and what does it reflect ?   A poor analysis. This leads to an inaccurate value.
  I don't know about you but if this is one of the largest assets you own. Wouldn't you want the most accurate analysis completed.  Time is where sometime who charges not properly for his or her time cheats themselves ,but more importantly the client.   I recently saw a report done by a broker-appraiser. It was done for a hearing and done poorly.  Instead of getting someone who might have charged more  and had  done a complete analysis. The property owner hired a broker-appraiser who after seeing this report doubt he knew how to analyze or understood selecting the best comparables.   I saw the fee and he cheated out both himself and the client of a good analysis.  Just beware in the real estate business the cheapest may not be always the best way to go..

Posted in:General and tagged: real estate appraiser-cost
Posted by Ray Underhill on July 6th, 2018 6:11 PMLeave a Comment

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Has Spring Sprung? 

Well I guess that depends on how one views spring and April. Snow, still those colds days but with the hope of warmer nights and days ahead.  Personally, I am a warm weather person.   What does this have to do with real estate?  Spring is the time most think of selling their house spruce it up ect.   A new beginning for this time of the year.     Sometimes there are leftovers we all experience in business. I just got off the phone with a past client who was upset she had to sell her parent's a mixed use property which was an unusual property that I did for estate purposes.   Like usual in business you can tell when someone needs that extra special attention.  I love to listen and help so she called me back several times over the past week to discuss her situation on selling the property.  Yes a year later.  So I just listened. I gave her my input when needed.  The property is under contract. Yes she end up taking less than she wanted but it was a tough sale for her and family members.   We know you can be come attached to a home or property for whatever reason. I see it and understand that.    As a professional there are just times you have to listen and help someone along the process.  Lets face it real estate is a tough business and most of us find out the hard way.  My advice is try to take out the emotional aspect and treat it like a business. As hard as that might be. It will be easier to sleep at night. By all means call me to discuss your real estate needs. I believe in customer service.

Posted in:customer service and tagged: customer service
Posted by Ray Underhill on April 12th, 2018 6:55 PMLeave a Comment

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March 21st, 2018 11:44 AM
I am currently working on an assignment down in South Jersey were vacant commercial land sales are rare.  Land unlike which most of us think is easy to appraise. Its is far from that and challenges your appraisal skills.  Unlike most residential appraisers who just check it off the box on a form. Highest and Best use of the land is critical.   That is where our skills and knowledge come in as an appraiser.   What type of improvement can be put on this site?  Retail shopping mall or a small roofing business.  This can be a real challenge finding those vacant land sales in hard pressed areas. There is little commercial business in some areas to begin with.  Then to find the perfect sale for your subject property is a challenge.  Similar size and zoning not alone in a similar location.    I had to reach throughout the county for sales and those sales were not very similar.  There is where the adjustment process comes in and experience.  Paired Sales?  Your lucky to find similar sales.    This is the type of appraising that has challenged my skills and continues to make me a better appraiser.   You pay for my experience and knowledge.  Do you want someone with experience and knowledge handing your valuation issue?  Please give me a call. I hope we can work together.  Thank you for visiting my site.

Posted in:Land and tagged: Land
Posted by Ray Underhill on March 21st, 2018 11:44 AMLeave a Comment

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   I am busy doing residential reviews lately. Interesting what i am seeing is that your typical residential appraiser is not reporting the true market. Whether its stable or an increasing market they are not doing enough analysis to conclude correctly. This is typical of residential appraisers due to time and the fee they are paid. I don't fault anyone here because I understand how they feel and what they must do to survive.  This is the reason I stay away from bank lending work and do private work with the exception of residential reviews.   When looking for an appraiser make sure you find one who can correctly perform a good analysis and give him or her the time to do it.  Stress you want a good analysis done on the market and sales. Some are good at this while others are not or don't take the time to do it. Wouldn't you like to know the market is increasing/decreasing where your is located?

Posted in:analysis and tagged: market analysis
Posted by Ray Underhill on February 9th, 2018 5:42 PMLeave a Comment

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January 7th, 2018 1:56 PM

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!


I hope your holidays were joyous and safe.  We are starting off the New Year in good spirits.  Generally, it appears we have a decent economy with the stock market reaching new highs.  Again, generally real estate is doing well with values at least appear to be increasing in most areas. Even in, Vacant Commercial land values have increased in the more desirable areas.   Again, Happy New Year to all. Please feel to reach out to me with your real estate needs.   I just started off the New Year with an estate appraisal in my local area. Oh yes it was a cold freezing day.  Maybe it will warm up soon.   Ray

Posted by Ray Underhill on January 7th, 2018 1:56 PMLeave a Comment

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