Why valuation standards are important

I attended a seminar on Philippine Valuation Standards (PVS) recently and spoke to the technical committee members that produce it. The seminar was attended by Assessors of different local government units, nationwide. While the speakers were both members of the Technical Committee on drafting the Philippine Valuation Standards 2017.

I outlined the most important points in the discussion, relate to my experiences in valuation and share it with you.

Enhance the reputation of the profession and be at par around the world. Currently, there are multiple valuation methods used by different government agencies, local government units, private individuals, and banks. Thus it results in as many conflicting values for the same piece of property.

An established set of consistent standards would help in appraising assets and liabilities for financial reporting, especially for companies that control assets in various countries and work across national borders. For valuations for other purposes, the reputation of the profession would be enhanced if the clients could expect consistency in valuation reporting internationally.

Simplify the appraisal process. I work an appraisal for a client in U.S. and Australian federal territories, which typically require different standards. But if an appraiser-member of RICS is performing the appraisal in U.K., it should also comply with RICS standards, which differ in subtle ways.

PVS is the accepted set of standards for valuation in the Philippine setting. Contrary to some notions, it is not only applicable to the government agencies but rather it includes and should also be applied to bank institutions and private individuals.

A single set of standards and guidance notes would enable appraisers to produce a credible valuation with a similar report structure regardless of membership or the location of the asset to be valued.

An era of unified professional standards. There are many associations in the country which offer seminars and training for appraisers. All of this would be simplified through learning and adopting valuation standards. Regardless of which association you align with, the pathway for new appraisers to be a competent appraiser need to be consistent.

 With the Philippine Valuation Standards, the international valuation standards in the broader context, we now have a uniform term of engagements, report disclosures, recognized bases of value, terminology used in reporting and guidance notes.

We have valuation standards that are accepted regardless of location or the professional organization of the appraiser. What we need to do now is to encourage consistency and professionalism, further strengthening the public’s trust in valuations. The first step to this could be asking the members of multiple organizations who are active in the various leadership councils to ensure that their members are actively using the relevant sets of standards in their practice and continually looking for ways to streamline the process in a manner that works for all.

Our generation should be happy to be in the era in which we have now a uniform sets of standards. But there is still work to be done. We should endeavor to unite appraisers in different organizations and location to study, adopt and implement the valuation standards.

In this way, we can raise the level of consistency and professionalism, further strengthening the public’s trust in valuations.

 

Gus Agosto is the Vice-President for Visayas of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Board (PAREB). He is the Managing Owner of AA RealtyPro Solutions, an appraisal and consulting business organization. He also serves as faculty of University of San Carlos, Cebu City and took up Master of Arts in Economics (Candidate) in the same university. 

Due Diligence In Real Estate Transactions

811-Due-Diligence-When-Buying-Real-EstateReal estate transactions involve a significant amount of money and rights of individual. The due diligence process minimizes the risks and provides safeguards against determinable issues that may affect the real estate transaction.

Making the right decisions in real estate transactions can be a challenge without complete and accurate information. A traditional legal principle is “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware.” This is from the traditional rulings that courts would make that the buyer was stuck with whatever he or she purchased and would have limited recourse. Due to this likely result, buyers had to be extra cautious when making buying decisions.

Due diligence provides for a thorough investigation into a transaction. It helps the buyer learn more about the property, the documents, environment and operational fundamentals of the deal. This process helps avoid surprises after the transaction when remedies may be limited.

The actual scope of the due diligence process depends on the buyer’s needs and the transaction itself. If the buyer is a developer, he or she may have very different needs than when the buyer is purchasing the property for lease or investment. There are individuals who have a pending court case and interested in knowing the property to determine the site and use as evidence in court.

The due diligence process begins by determining the expected use of the property and use this information as a framework. Due diligence seeks to address a number of issues and identify important information for buyers. This information includes determining the property’s owners, boundary lines, the rights that come with the sale, the expected future use of the property and highest and best use as development options. The process should identify any issues related to the property title, easements, encumbrances, liens or other hurdles to complete ownership. Additionally, the due diligence process can reveal if there are any restrictions that might affect the use of the property or its development, such as environmental issues, zoning restrictions or legal compliance matters such as abiding by Agrarian Reform Law, NIPAS Act, Agriculture and fisheries Act, road right of way act, government programs and more.

The due diligence process can also reveal information as it is uncovered. For example, the technical description plotting cannot be close may pop up after the document analysis is conducted. Additionally, it is important to determine the real estate market and demographic data to predict the future demands in the area.  Site inspection will determine the actual topography, terrain, shape, boundaries, neighbourhood and existence of any occupants or informal settlers in the property.

Last but not the least, is the environmental assessment, to uncover any daunting environmental hazards or issues of the property such as gas leak, wet lands, or use of the property as manufacturing in the past.

The due diligence process is very important. Adequate time must be reserved for this process to be conducted thoroughly and carefully. Party in a transaction should be encouraged to provide specified documents and information to ease the transaction. Be aware of all interests, liabilities, expenses and possible uses for the property.

This information will allow parties in transactions to make an informed decision.

EnP. Gus Agosto conferred Fellow status

Urban Planner  Gus Agosto, a faculty of the University of San Carlos, was conferred  with Fellow Status by Social Watch Philippines and People’s Public Finance Institute at the University of the Philippines, Lahug, Cebu City,

Social Watch Philippines is the network of hundred non-government organizations that initiated direct citizens’ participation in national and local budget processes through the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), while People’s Public Finance Institute is a center that educates the general public, civil society organizations and individuals on national and local public finance processes working under the framework of citizens’ participation.

Fellowship is an honor bestowed upon individuals that contribute in further strengthening citizen’s engagement in public finance. The new Fellows are drawn from academe, practitioners and graduate students across Central Visayas.

“I feel quite honored that Social Watch bestowed Fellow Status upon me,” Planner Gus said. “By doing so, they have acknowledged my teaching work in public finance and its contribution in important ways to students, professionals and the broad public. It is both gratifying and humbling at the same time.”

As a faculty, he is teaching public finance at the University of San Carlos, Cebu. “I’m very interested with the topic, being an urban planner and economist; I’ve been involved in various ways in public finance.“ Planner Gus also has a professional interest in the role that a Fellow can play in supporting and improving public involvement in government finance.

Prior to the conferment, a two-day discussion on the development of public finance and citizen’s engagement was held in collaboration with Social Watch Philippines, United Nations Development Program and University of the Philippines-Cebu.

 

 

 

Using drone in appraisal

S-048395x2000Thinking outside the box is essential in the valuation profession. It only makes sense that drones would come to be in the hands of appraisers.

In recent appraisal assignments, appraisers’ uses drone in site inspections. Drones provide unique perspectives on properties, giving appraisers more information to use for a credible appraisal report.

“It allows us to get up higher, get a better view of the roof and rotate 360 degrees above the property to provide a view of the surrounding properties,” Appraiser Gus said. “We could not provide that footage without using a drone.”

There are many advantages in using  drone for appraisal. One is the ability to access hard-to-reach places. Areas considered previously unobservable such as roofings, gutters, easements and more, can now be seen using the correct equipment. Not only can these items be observed, but areas of interest can be identified for additional inspection.

Drones can be specifically useful in commercial properties,  large tracts of land where easements and prior improvements can be shown via photographs or video. This allows appraisers to observe and document a property in real-time on the date of inspection and will undoubtedly change the way many properties are viewed going forward.

These developments show that valuation profession is not afraid to innovate with new technology.  It elevated the practice of profession to a new and higher level.

” Drones provide appraisers more information to use for a credible appraisal report.”

 

Key points in the appraisal report

Appraisal reportIn every appraisal assignment, the appraiser should see to it that the client understand not only the final value, but the appraisal report in its entirety.

Appraisal report is the product of the whole appraisal process. It is an important document for decision maker in deciding whether or not to accept any real estate transaction.It outlines the strength and weaknesses of a property. Thus, the conclusion in the report can make or break any real estate negotiations.

Beside market value, what are the other factors that a property owner, real estate practitioner or investor should look to in an appraisal report?

Here are some of the major factors to consider as you read over the appraisal report.

Proper identification of the property.The most important in appraisal is the proper identification of the property. Definitely, wrong property is wrong appraisal. The appraiser should indicate the correct characteristics of the property like shape, size, depth, age, topography and boundaries. Documents such as the property title and tax declaration should match with the public records in the city assessor, engineering, city planning and Bureau of Lands.

Market trends. If the market has been going up, but the report says the market is going down, that could not support the final value. The report should show if what is unfolding in the market, otherwise that could lead to erroneous adjustments in the report.

Neighborhood Boundaries. The neighborhood boundaries listed in the appraisal report should show the correct similar neighborhood on which the subject property and the comparable (comps) sales are located. It can make a big difference if the wrong comps are used from inferior or superior neighborhoods.

Selection of comparables. The comparable used are the good substitution of properties a buyer might consider purchasing instead of the subject property. It should almost identical with the property appraised. Otherwise, it is a wrong comps and questionable.

Adjustments.Some reports make an adjustment by just getting the  average of the total price of comps in the market. It does not reflect the real estate market and are not reasonable.

Measurements. In measuring the improvements, appraisal report should present  a relatively similar to official records or to what a buyer know of the property. It is important to double-check, in case of error.

Improvements. The report won’t show an adjustment for every single update, but the final value should consider improvements. Keep in mind of course that not all improvements contribute to value. For example, a swimming pool in the backyard probably won’t be a huge plus in a beach area.

Qualification of the appraiser. Appraisal report mirrors the experience and qualification of the appraiser. Property owner, investors and real estate practitioners should look for appraisers that are not only licensed but possess a certain level of experience. The report should indicate the client list and types of property appraised by the appraiser. This will show if the appraiser is qualified to do the assignment.

Now that you know the important elements of an appraisal report, its time to obtain a copy from your appraiser or bank loan officer.

Remember that your property is one of your most important lifetime investments. The money spent on a quality appraisal is well spent.

Benefits of appraisal services

Appraisal-of-HomeSome property owner downplays the importance of appraisal. In determining the price of certain properties for example, some still uses the zonal value as a benchmark in knowing the worth of the property. Other sees the appraisal as a process of comparing the listing price of properties in an area. There are price-sensitive client that bargains in lowering appraiser’s fee, while there are also reliant on the opinion of certain real estate practitioners in pricing their properties to evade in paying the appraisal fee.

There are financial implications on relying to non-expert in real estate valuation. If the practitioner missed some current comparable evidence, is weak in the technical analysis, or errs in the interpretation of data, it might result in aggregate loss in the real estate transaction or losing the whole transaction itself.

In our experience, with the help of an appraisal, a property owner was able to make a sound bank loan. An investor uses the advice of an appraiser to quantify risk and project yield; a landowner has successfully inked a joint venture deal using the appraisal; an asset manager gets advice that makes him or her wise decision maker; and a lawyer is able to rely on appraisers’ expertise in litigation and court testimony.

Appraisal is not a simple process or just a mandated evil for which a client grudgingly pays as little as possible. Appraisal is a service that, if competent and timely, brings a benefit to a client that far outweighs the fee.

Appraisal report is a living document forming the very foundation for decision making. Where else is a client going to get such a detailed investigation of his or her property and its market?  It is not just a document that the banker throws into a file and the client never sees.

In today’s changing real estate market, solving the issues is the most invaluable contribution of the appraiser.

How private appraisals differ from bank appraisal?

IBPS-Participating-BanksA lot of people are asking us if we can undertake valuations that may then be used to banks for mortgage purposes. Some also uses the bank appraisal fee as an argument to demand for a much lower appraisal fee from the private appraisers.

On the first question, our response is that some lenders do not accept a valuation from a third party appraiser, they have their own in-house appraisers. But getting the services of a private appraiser is beneficial for the landowner; it can be use in negotiation with the bank for a higher loanable amount.

Why bank appraisal has lower fee than the private? It is pretty simple, the banks will profit not in the appraisal but rather in the home loan transaction.

How then private appraisals differ from those provided by banks? Banks are interested in quick turnaround, thus the valuer assigned has to conduct valuation based on bank standards. Bank also has policies that served as guidelines to their in-house appraisers that concur to the company policies on home loans.

There are few appraisal companies that are successful in getting appraisal jobs from banks. They are mostly accredited by the Central Bank. Fees are low and turnaround time from receiving instructions to having to send the appraisal report is short. Situation that newly passed appraisers cannot cope up.

However, if a client gets the services of a private appraiser, they can instruct the valuer directly for their own purposes.  Not to side with the client, but in providing unbiased report. The most important client can expect as a minimum is a quality and independent report.