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GAO was asked to determine the entitlement of a Department of Agriculture employee to reimbursement of certain real estate expenses incident to his relocation. The employee purchased a residence that was being renovated and had the property appraised as a condition of his loan agreement. Circumstances made two additional appraisals necessary and the employee claimed reimbursement for the cost of the additional appraisals. GAO held that since the appraisals were required to determine whether the residence was habitable, the additional appraisals related to construction, rather than to the purchase, of an existing residence, the employee could not be reimbursed for the cost of the additional appraisals. GAO noted that, since the employee intended to occupy only the second and third floors of the residence, he could be reimbursed only two-thirds of the cost of the first appraisal. Accordingly, the claim was denied.


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