US court appointed expert witness

courtAppraiser Gus appointed and subpoenaed as an expert witness in  San Joaquin Superior County Court, Stockton, California. The court is  determining the value of  properties located in the Philippines which is under dispute and for disposition.

“I am humbled for the appointment and the opportunity to appear in a US Court as an appraiser witness.” Appraiser Gus replied upon knowing the order.

In its order, the court emphasized his role in the court proceeding citing the following:  “The appraiser provided an estimate of value for real estate properties in the Philippines. He has the the first hand knowledge of the properties, title information and estimated values which are crucial in resolving the property division aspect of the case.”

Prior to his appointment, Appraiser Agosto has served different trial courts in the cities of Lapulapu, Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay as court commissioner.  Beside working in the court, he has served clientele both in private and public. Some of them includes Miraizo Group of Hongkong, General Milling Corporation, SMC Lighterage Corporation, Southwestern University, Pilipinas Water Resources, Inc. and University of the Philippines. He was the former Managing Partner of Intech Property Appraisal, Inc. and Magaca Appraisal Konsult.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase our professional expertise in the USA, which is known as the hallmark of real estate industry.” Appraiser Gus told Appraiser News Online. “My job is to help the court in determining the value of the property under litigation.”

Appraiser Agosto is a National Director of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Board, Inc. He is also a faculty of real estate management and finance in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.

 

Subpoena

 screen shot caption of the subpoena

The importance of taking pictures during site inspections

picsIn every site inspection, an appraiser will surely draw cameras to take pictures of the property. As the saying goes, a picture is worth of a thousand words. This holds true in appraisal. Pictures play an important role in the whole process.

Some clients like banks require photos of the properties; but others will ask why there is a need in taking pictures. They are thinking of their privacy. Let’s discuss the importance of taking pictures in the appraisal.

First, it forms part of the appraisal process. In every appraisal report, you can notice pictures of the property in the annexes or addendum of the report. This helps the appraiser in telling the story of the house and will support the valuation and assumptions provided in the report. Photos can highlight condition, layout, and quality of a house, building or a tract of land. Since no one except the lender or the property owner will read the report, you are assured of the confidentiality and privacy of your properties.

Second, it serves as back-up to the appraisers’ memory. When an appraiser takes photos, the appraiser can remember what the house was like. For instance, there have been times when I labeled the floor as vinyl during my inspection, but the photos clearly showed the floor was ceramic tile. Or maybe in the sketch showed only four bedrooms, but there were actually five based on my photos. Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes appraisers.

Third, it’s documentation. The pictures will greatly help the appraiser if he will be called to testify in the court or any government proceedings.  Since most litigation requires an appraisal of value at the time of taking, photos can be a tremendous tool to assist the appraiser’s description of the property. Few weeks ago, a client asked me to value a property for litigation purposes, I took pictures of the property. Come court hearing, the judge asked the condition of the property, thus I shared in court the pictures I took during the site inspection.

Now you know why an appraiser takes pictures of the properties. Instead of worrying, help the appraiser take good shots by turning on lights and keeping away dogs.

Using Income Approach in Valuation

finanzmanagementThe income method is seldom used in appraisal. Most probably not used in banking institutions. But how are we sure that we are using the right method in valuing real estate properties? Properties that generate income such as apartment buildings, leasable buildings or even public owned enterprise properties subject for litigation should be appraised using the income approach. Lets dive deeper into this method.

This approach converts the income generated or projected income expected to be generated by a property into an estimate of value using one of two ways:  direct capitalization or discounted cash flows.   Both approaches use two important components:  (1) current or estimated cash flows and (2) a capitalization rate or discount rate.

Estimated cash flows should be realistic enough and comparable to the current and historical financial data of the property.  Additional considerations such as the economy or market trends can also impact estimates.  Future plans to expand or add additional assets to the property should also be considered if this will increase your cash flow generated from the property.

The capitalization rate or discount rate should be determined and derived from market data.  The capitalization rate is used to determine a sales price at a given point in time where factors of the market approach can be used.  The sales price could be a current sales price determined by capitalizing the current year’s net operating income.  Sales price could also be a future sales price determined by capitalizing the estimated net operating income of a future period.  The discount rate is the total rate of return a buyer would require to purchase an investment and is used to discount the estimated future cash flows to a present value because a peso received in the future is worth less than a peso today due to time value of money. The discount rate makes the present value of the property’s future cash flows equal.

An appraisal is extremely beneficial in providing information for valuing property.  Thus, Valuers should strive to level up their professional practice and use different methods to arrive at a justifiable and fair market value. That is, a market value that is fair to all concern.

Tips in Litigation Appraisal

downloadI attended a court hearing recently, and when the presiding judge read the facts of the case and the lawyer’s motion to nominate an Appraisal Commissioner, his (Judge) immediate response is “What is the qualification of Mr. Appraiser ?”

An appraiser play an integral role in every part of today’s civil litigation. Litigation appraisal involves taxation, estate planning, expropriation, litigation support, property settlement and others. That is why when selecting a real estate appraiser, a lawyer always perform comprehensive conflict-of-interest checks  on background and qualification before hiring or accepting appraisers.

This conflict of interest check is vital in cases where a lawyer is dealing with large business that offers myriad services and types of clients. While in checking the qualification of an appraiser, a lawyer does it in a profound way through the following attributes such us technical acumen, experience in appraisal, educator and communicator and readiness to appear and have demeanor in court.

Experience in Appraisal – An appraiser should have broad experience in appraisal of different types of properties such us office, retail, warehouse, industrial, apartments, hotels, memorial. Have knowledge in different type of appraisal like fee simple, leasehold or lease fee interest, insurable, retrospective, raw land development method and prospective appraisal.

Technical acumen – associated with professional experience, organizational experience for broader real estate and economic counselling skills capability to solve complex problems requires a greater depth of skills sets. Technical skills are key to an accurate and comprehensive expert report, thoughtful review and critique of the opposing expert report, depositions, and testimony.

Educator and communicator – an appraiser should be ready to explain and discuss  the report in the commissioners meeting or in an open court. A lawyer should pursue in selecting an appraiser’s prior publications and writings. The reasons for examining the expert’s writing are two-fold. First, this type of examination can help a lawyer to further determine the appraiser’s qualifications. Second, how an appraiser presented their arguments and the manner of reasoning and  arrived at their opinion. Is their analysis persuasive? Does the report and opinion make a sense to a lay person?  Have they presented their report in an easy to read and logical manner?

Appearance and demeanor – Lawyer have confidence that the expert will come across as professional and knowledgeable.  At trial or deposition, the appraiser knows the importance of establishing and maintaining credibility, presenting an appropriate appearance and demeanor, remaining composed, considering posed questions carefully, providing a simple and direct answer, giving opinions based on facts, following the standards of generally accepted appraisal practice, being impartial and not advocating for the client, and always telling the truth.

The above characteristics are interrelated. The expert’s qualifications should  matched to the demands of the case as it relates to areas such as property type, experience, or technical requirements. The expert’s ability to articulate his or her position will allow him to better convey his or her skills and qualifications to fellow commissioners, judge, lawyers and other officers of the court. Any aspiring appraiser to be part of this challenging job should muster the above attributes and be of help in our justice system.

See you in court.

Subdivision Development Method

12Land valuation is the most common appraisal assignment. An appraiser uses different method of valuation taking in consideration the purpose of the appraisal. But land differs in sizes, shapes and probable uses that an appraiser should look up to. Land which is large enough has different characteristics that warrants equal if not special attention. Besides, large tract of land requires more data and sets of comparable in using sales comparison method to arrive in a reliable and defensible market value.

An appraisal technique seldom used by appraisers in determining value of large tracts of land is the subdivision or development approach. This technique determines market value by subtracting the costs of developing a potential subdivision from its anticipated proceeds, and discounts the remainder to arrive at present value as of the date of the appraisal.

In using this technique, an appraiser should prepare a subdivision lay-out to determine the number, size and shape of lots. Through research estimate prices of lot; rental rate per square meters if improved with buildings; the development cost and developers profit and the income stream discounted to the present and arrive in its market value.

Often, land value estimates emanating from the subdivision or development approach are significantly lower than those correspondingly derived from the sales comparison approach with a lower lot sizes and different uses. In theory, if both the development method and sales comparison approach were applied correctly, the value estimates should be similar. Nonetheless, the process of reconciliation of different approaches, the appraiser should give weight to the method which is more reliable and justifiable than the other.

In the whole process of the development method of appraisal, the experience, skill and judgment of the appraiser will play with paramount of importance. There are number of methods and techniques available for the appraisers to explore and gain expertise in the practice of profession. Through our innovative effort as an appraiser, we can make an important contribution in popularizing and practicing the subdivision or development approach, in the service of our clientele and to the society.

Site Valuation

appraisallargeOne day, I was asked to observe in a meeting of real estate practitioners. They were finalizing the asking price of a property that has just listed. One of them opined that they can base it to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Zonal Value, while the other one, succumbed to the pricing that is based on the prevailing prices of properties in the area. I almost bolted from my seat to immediately correct the practitioners.

I have appraised hundreds of properties already, and comparing prices of properties in the area is erroneous. It won’t give justice to the property of the client. Site valuation is not just as simple as comparing with other sold or offered for sale properties in the area.  For one, no two vacant lots are the same typically; no two houses are the same. Every property is unique.  There are differences in size, location, width and depth of lot, and leveling or topography of the land.  The most important to consider is the lot size. Smaller lots tend to sell for a higher price per square meter than larger lots.  However, if the end use is commercial, bigger lots command a much higher price. Once the sales price per square meter is determined for each comparable or “comps”, the reconciliation process begins. Then there are other factors that should be consider such as easement, road right of way,  encroachment, presence of informal settlers or other occupants, the neighborhood, and also, the facilities and amenities in the vicinity.

In the larger scale, one has to consider also the real estate market, from the city or municipality up to the provincial level.  All of these should be taken into account.

Meanwhile, the method of obtaining a market value from the Assessor’s Office is not reliable. We all knew that a lot owner usually declared their property at low level to minimize taxation. The zonal value also cannot be use nor relied on.  Zonal values were based on streets or zones and not on individual property. Just remember that these two were all for taxation purpose only.

In conclusion, real estate practitioners should not shillyshally in topping the services of an appraiser. An experienced appraiser can guide practitioners in arriving at a reliable price of their listings. They have the knowledge and skills in discerning the value of a property. Your client deserve the best service from you.

Cavite Appraisal

 

I appraised properties in Cavite recently. My client, which is an expat living in the US, instructed me to deliver the report within three (3) days for court submission. He gave me only the exact address of the property, the rest will be produced through research.

Early in the morning I travel to Noveleta, Cavite for my first assignment, through the Manila-Cavite Expressway or Cavitex. I arrived in the municipal hall and paid a courtesy call with the Municipal Assessor, then proceed to the site for actual site inspection and research.

Then I went to Trece Martirez City to conduct due diligence for a property under dispute. I visited the site and afterwards went to the City Hall to conduct research and investigation.

I finished the assignment in three days and submitted it. My clients were happy after reading the appraisal report I sent to them.”Thank you for excellent job.”

A commendation that makes an appraiser happy.

Let us now tour Cavite.

Cavite is a province in the Philippines located on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the Calabarzon region on Luzon island. It is bounded on the north by Manila Bay and Metro Manila, on the east by Laguna, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by Batangas. It is composed of 7 Cities and 26 Municipalities. With a population of 3,090,691 in 2010, it is the most populated province in the country.

You can reach Cavite from Metro Manila through Aguinaldo Highway and Manila-Cavite Expressway or Cavitex .Situated just 21 kilometers south of the capital, it is one of the most industrialized and fastest growing province because of its close proximity to Metro Manila. Many companies, such as Intel, have established manufacturing plants in numerous industrial parks in the province. As of 2012, there are 382 actively operating companies in Cavite Export Processing Zone.

Major historic events happened in Cavite that shaped Philippines today, if you want to know more about Philippine History, you can visit Cavite and it will be like seeing the history itself not just reading them from Philippine History books.

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Tool for Brokers & Appraisers

 

In our practice of real estate appraisal and brokerage, it is basic to have knowledge on site location and lot plotting. I am sharing this presentation to real estate practitioners and the general public in general.

We should continue in educating ourselves to better serve the public and raise our professional practice to a new and higher level.

 

 

Mixed use development appraisal

11221862_1062426540442254_1175843060924474763_oReal estate valuation is the process of developing an opinion of value. It can be used in determining the value of property whether single use or mixed use development.

So far we have discussed more on the single use appraisal, now let me share and discuss the appraisal of mixed use development.

In valuing property, the first and foremost we should have to know is the intended use or the purpose of the appraisal. It will serve as a guide in appraising the mixed use property.

Mixed-use development is—in a broad sense—any single building, that blends a combination of residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial uses, where those functions are physically and functionally integrated. It may also a site or a building, complex of buildings, or district of a town or city that is developed for mixed-use by a private developer, government agency, or a combination.

In a nutshell, there are benefits in mixed use developments. For example, it reduces distances between housing and workplace, retail business and other. It is now common to have developments which align to the concept of live, work and play.

It is a great challenge to an appraiser in coming out of an opinion of value that reflects the actual use and the highest and best use of the mixed use property. An appraiser can use the different approaches in valuation such as sales comparison, cost and income approach. And since it is a mixed use, you have to use different comparable, and methods. An appraiser has to dig more data and information from the knowledgeable persons in the neighborhood, government officials and industry leaders where the property is located.

In analyzing data, we have to consider the zoning, allowable use, predominant use, conforming use, legal and illegal non-conforming use, the highest and best use, neighborhood analysis, market trends not only of the city but the region as well.

Nothing beats the importance of conducting actual inspection of the property and the neighborhood. It will give concrete data and visualization of the property. The trend of development in the locality and region, will broaden your perspective and analysis.

Valuing mixed use properties will force the appraiser to be more analytical and creative in solving problem –to determine the market value that is reliable and defensible.