It is unclear as to why the tape measure is a heavy favorite for real estate appraisers when it comes to measuring properties. While it indisputably effectively does the job and can be gratifying to witness the tape measure go across and confirm the value, it is a huge time warp on an inspection for appraisers.
The whole process of measuring a property can take some time. With a tape measure, the appraiser has to anchor the tape measure and go back to the initial location to get a reading. This has to be repeated over and over again until all measurements are complete. The concern for me especially when I was a newer appraiser is that not only did this take up a lot of time but it had a clumsy look to it all. An appraiser would walk back and forth trying to string up a tape measure only to see it drop from its anchor point or perhaps the appraiser had to walk back to get a second look at the measurement – the whole thing felt unprofessional.
The jump to a laser measure was a natural one. While it felt uncomfortable at first, I found myself comparing the measurement of my laser with my tape measurement and found that the laser was doing the trick. After about 5 or so inspections, the laser measure was my standard go-to appraisal measuring tool. There are certainly many laser measures out there. I started with a Bosch and it did the trick for a while. Soon however you will realize there is limitations to a lower end measuring tool. AppraiserGear has a good run down on the best laser measure I ended up with the Disto recommended and it’s been running strong ever since. While I spent a few hundred dollars, over the course of the past few years, I’ve saved weeks of productivity in accumulated time savings. The unit has paid for itself and has increased my professionalism.