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  • Writer's pictureAlbert Chanese

Appraisals for Government Agencies

Why Uniform Standards For Federal Land Acquisitions Matter

Federal acquisitions can occur when the government justifies such action as serving the common good of the public. Assuming land and property for public buildings, infrastructure, national park space, security purposes and more are all examples of common federal acquisitions.

In order to assure that the land and property being acquired is valued in accordance with the Fifth Amendment – which states that no property shall “be taken for public use, without just compensation” – the Appraisal Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice have published the Uniform Appraisal Standards For Federal Land Acquisitions (UASFLA), commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book”. The newest version of the Yellowbook was released in 2017.

Let’s examine why it’s important for appraisers who perform valuations in federal acquisitions to uphold these Yellow Book standards.

An Appraisal Of A Different Color

Because in federal acquisitions determining “just compensation under federal law” is the reason for a valuation, appraisers encounter a different type and caliber of valuation challenge.

The Yellow Book appraisal process is a complex and multi-layered process that requires extensive knowledge of UASFLA guidelines, and experience valuating properties for various governmental agencies or private individuals.

While the Appraisal Institute provides on-going education for appraisers to become certified in UASFLA regulations, not every appraiser completes these courses. Those that do gain a comprehensive education which is critical to performing UASFLA appraisals, and sets them apart from other appraisers without this knowledge.

Guiding Principles To Achieve Excellence

Because valuation is not an exact science, the integrity and accuracy of any appraisal is not only dictated by the level of expertise and educational background of the valuation professional, but by their adherence to standards and guidelines set forth by their industry.

In federal acquisitions where cost-effective practices for public funds must be maintained, and the U.S. Constitution upholds equitable treatment for landowners, the importance of an appraiser’s ability to understand and follow relevant guiding principles is even more necessary.

By definition, the Yellow Book was created to achieve uniformity, fairness and efficiency in performing federal acquisition appraisals. Only those appraisers who’ve gone through proper Yellow Book training will be able achieve these high standards of valuation.

Staying Current With New Developments

Continuing education provided by the Appraisal Institute keeps the most qualified appraisers up-to-date on new case laws, federal requirements, methodologies and theories.

These appraisers know that the standards set forth by the Yellow Book matter because they provide both public agencies and private individuals a fair and equitable valuation in matters of federal acquisition.

At New Jersey Realty Advisory Group, LLC both Albert F. Chanese, MAI and Jennifer Barany, MAI, SRA have completed the most recent training and are both approved for Yellowbook Appraisal assignments for government agencies. Over the past 20 years, we have competed government appraisals for the General Services Administration (GSA), the Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. These are complex assignments that require special training and experience


Qualified appraisers that perform federal acquisitions may also offer Expert Testimony services in cases of Eminent Domain. Read more here.

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