Appraiser as an Expert Witness Abroad

Expert witnesses attend trials to provide specialist information to help the court make an informed decision. However, there are some difficulties that expert witnesses may face when presenting complex information to a court of law.

Understanding the functions of appraisers as an expert witness is vital. Below are some of the tasks that expert witnesses should carry out when they appear in court.

  • They should be impartial. This means that an expert witness does not act as an additional advocate or represent either party in a court case. The appraiser serves to provide the court with more information regarding a topic that they are knowledgeable about.
  • An expert in real estate valuation is one of the specializations. This field could be anything ranging from valuation, title search, evidence-based assumptions.
  • An expert witness may be asked to offer their opinion before the court if necessary.
  • They need to deliver potentially complex principles or scientific concepts to the judge in a way that is easy to understand.

Expert testimony is needed in international family law cases. Recently I was appointed to  act as expert witnesses in various court cases abroad. Such testimony is often secured in cases concerning marriage dissolution, real estate partition. However, it is also useful in a myriad of other cases.

Such testimony might concern:

  • The lawyer’s experience with and knowledge of real estate valuation;
  • The division of foreign marital assets;
  • The discovery of hidden marital assets; and
  • The enforcement of foreign divorce and custody judgments.
  • Inheritance taxes in foreign countries.

Gus Agosto has been appointed as an expert on real estate valuation in many jurisdictions throughout the United States, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and many more.

Gus Agosto has provided expert evidence in the form of testimony, deposition, expert witness reports and affidavits to many courts concerning valuation of real estate properties on family matter.

To have a firm grasp in handling clients as expert witness, one should have knowledge on the country’s family rules and procedures on expert witness. Including the content of the report and the timetable of the submission.

Following are the examples of the family rules in two countries, Australia and United Kingdom.

The Clients are screened mainly by lawyers; thus, credibility and experience in the profession are essential.

Agosto Named as Expert Witness in Australia

All rise!

Gus Agosto was recently appointed to act as an Expert Witness in a Family Court of Australia. The court and parties’ instruction is to conduct a valuation of properties in dispute as a part of marital settlement. They are adopting the standards set by the International Valuation Standards and the Philippine Valuation Standards and under Rule 15.5 of the Australia’s Family Law Rules of 2004.

An expert witness is a person who has recognized and reliable specialist knowledge, skills, or experience in the particular area under consideration in a court case. The court will call for expert evidence where there is a need to understand the nature of the material presented outside the court’s knowledge and experiences.

Before the appointment, the Supreme Court of State of New York and California Family Court appointed Consultant Gus as an Expert Witness to a court dispute. Also, in a similar case in a Family Court in Australia, he was then appointed as an Expert Witness.

An expert witness’s essential duty is to help the court with matters within the expert witness’s knowledge and capability and give an objective and unbiased opinion that is also independent and impartial on issues within the expert witness’s knowledge and capacity.

“I am happy to be of help to our clients in different part of the world. Being appointed by the court or by the parties involved is not an easy task. I was subjected to different screening on my qualifications, experience, and knowledge,” Consultant Gus exclaimed.

Gus is currently the President of AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy. He is also working as a consultant of the Asian Development Bank and a University of San Carlos faculty. He is a licensed real estate broker, appraiser, consultant, and environmental planner.

On Housing Backlog

Value of the Appraisal Profession

In the recent episode of Ikonsulta mo kay Doc EG, Appraiser Consultant Gus Agosto was interviewed on the state and importance of the appraisal profession. Appraiser Gus provided a deeper look on government expropriations due to build, build, build program, and the initiatives provided by the Supreme Court to hasten the resolution of expropriation cases. These includes the creation of special courts for public roads and the new ruling on the reconveyance of properties, which are not in its public use.

Dr. Eduardo G. Ong, was the first chairman of the Professional Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES) which is under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission. He is currently the Dean of Real Estate Management in Lyceum University in Las Pinas City.

The interview highlighted on the different methodology in appraisal and its importance to the real estate professionals, buyers, sellers, banks, courts and other players of the industry.

Consultant Appraiser Gus Agosto is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy, Inc., which is primarily based in Cebu. Some of its notable clients are the Cebu Provincial Government, Ayala Property Management Corporation, Paramount Property Ventures, University of Southern Philippines, Southwestern University, Queensland Property Development, Vivant Corporation, GSE Law Firm, Atup Uy Ahong Law Offices, PTT Corporation and many more. He was also hired as consultant by the Asian Development Bank for an Inclusive Housing Financing Project.

The discussion ended with the insightful presentation shared on the need to propagate the value of the profession and the continuing education for the appraisers in order to get the trust of the public.

“Public should trust the appraisers on the value aspect of their properties. Appraisers are trained and knowledgeable in this craft, and they continue honing their skills to serve the public better.” Consultant Gus Agosto ended.

Cebu-based Consulting firm reaches New Milestone

Cebu, Philippines – AA+ Appraisal & Consulting, the predecessor of AA RealtyPro Solutions,  a Cebu-based consulting firm, is pleased to announce that the firm completed serving its 300th client, which also marked the Php 25 Billion plus worth of properties appraised, in more than 70 cities and provinces. This accomplishment is indicative of  continued growth in leadership among real estate consulting firm in the country market.

Gus Agosto, President and CEO of the firm, stated “I am so proud of our team and their hard work over the years to reach this tremendous level of success. Our primary goal is to serve our clients by helping them both in providing necessary information in decision making. It is an honor and privilege to work with entrepreneurs to help them reach their real estate and financial goals.”

AA+ Appraisal and Consulting was founded to help property owners, developers, government agencies, financial institutions and the like in providing solutions to their real estate needs. The Company are committed to helping clients in providing one-stop shop in real estate development consulting, property acquisition and project financial review.

Some notable clients of the firm are Vivant Energy Corporation, Ayala Property Management Corp., Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation, General Milling Corporation, Queensland Development, Coldlink Asia, Contempo Development Corporation, Paramount Property Ventures, PTT Corporation, Travelbee Corporation, CFI Multipurpose Cooperatives, Cenapro Chemical Corp., Fairchild Multipurpose Cooperative, Enterprise Bank, University of the Philippines, University of Southern Philippine Foundation, UCCP, Provincial Government of Cebu and many more.

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Manila realtors discusses highest and best use

The Manila Board of Realtors (MBR) in its Annual Membership Meeting invited Appraiser Consultant Gus Agosto to discuss the highest and best use analysis. It was designed to provide members a brief view on the concept and purpose of highest and best use in the appraisal and development process. The meeting was held on October 7,2020 via zoom webinar.

Paying attention to the highest and best use will better the appraisal and consulting profession as a whole, and help practitioners in their transactions and for the appraisers to improve reports.

Appraiser Agosto, who is also a consultant of the Asian Development Bank, emphasizes the importance of the highest and best use analysis in providing different options and market value estimates for the same property. He provided an example from a listing of a real estate practitioner which marketed the property as a 4-storey apartment for Php 41 Million. However, the same property can be marketed as a potential 10-storey apartment and can be sold for Php 63.2 Million. Also, it can be marketed as a Serviced Apartment and can be sold to investors at Php 84 Million.

Highest and best use is extremely important in appraisal reporting because the market value estimate depends entirely on the nature of the present or anticipated use for it according to the concept of surplus productivity. It determine the selection of comparable sales and ultimately determine the market value estimate.

“Highest and best use is not only important but a must in the value consulting process”, the consultant concluded.

Drone can add value to Appraisal Practice

Property inspections plays a major part in the appraisal process. Inspecting roofs, aerial and panoramic views of the property and neighborhood is always a must have. Drones can help appraiser in making job easier.

Drones can provide a video and high resolution photographs which is one of the many benefits of using drones in appraisal. It can take pictures in various angle and up close which make the inspection and visibility of the properties very helpful in inspections.

In using aerial photographs, expenses are a major factor. Using aircrafts and helicopters are more costly than utilizing drone. By using drone you can save on aircraft rental cost, paying a pilot and fuel costs. All what you need in drone is a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Drones is better than satellite photography such as google maps and wikimapia. Since there is no height limitations an appraiser can get the specific details of the properties, in real time.

Drones are the future of aerial property photography. By using this technology in your appraisal practice, you can gain a competitive advantage. #

Drone-assisted appraisal in the Province of Samar.

AA Appraisal valued island properties in Samar

AA Appraisal & Consultancy successfully valued  three island properties in Northern Samar. The appraisal inspection was done using drone technology and able to get different views of the islands and its beautiful beaches.

The 3 island properties which  have a total area of 400 hectares, are ideal for  high-end and tourism related development . The beaches and its location are accessible from different point of origin such as Manila and Cebu.

An appraisal is important in developing an opinion of value on how much a property is worth and plays a crucial part in setting the sales price of the property. Property owners and buyers rely on the third party appraisal to help them in the transaction.

While the appraisal of a regular properties in urban can be easily established by sales comparison, valuing private island is more complex and trickier. AA Appraisal did researches and considers different islands in the country and in international. “Experience in using different methodology such as income approach and development method plays a big part in appraisal”, Appraiser Gus explained.  

“Establishing a realistic and reliable value of a property based on market data, previous appraisal reports and investment value of the property is crucial,” he continues.

He also emphasizes the importance of drone technology in appraising large properties like islands. “Drones will help appraisers in making inspections and documentation much easier”

Gus Agosto served as the Principal Appraiser of AA+ Appraisal & Consulting. He has been commissioned already to value beach properties, islands and other tourism related properties. He has served as consultant for Asian Development Bank, Cebu Provincial Government and big corporations such as Vivant Energy, Avida Condominium, Ayala FGU, Punta Engano Development Corporation, and others.