No two properties are alike

marketvaI have a client who asked me if I am using the same appraisal report format in my practice.  I quickly replied no. Why? Real estate properties have different appraised values depending on how you intend to use the appraisal. For instance, valuation for insurance may be very different than the value in the market, estate tax, property resale, or insurance. Other assigned uses include investment, liquidation, price confirmation, equitable distribution, loan collateral, retrospective value and many more.

Qualified and educated appraisers understand the many different types of values, assigned uses, and market condition in an specific area. He or she works with client to choose the proper type of value so that they can use the appraisal correctly and effectively.

Whenever there’s a question about the value of your property, there’s also a risk involved. It may be the risk of selling too low, or of paying too much: the risk of being under or over insured; the risk of not getting your fair share in a division of property; the risk of incurring tax penalties or being audited when calculating estate taxes.

A professional appraiser helps you manage these and other such risks by providing a written opinion of value upon which you can base your financial decisions. Rather than being just an “educated guess”, the professional appraiser’s value conclusions are based upon prescribed methods of valuation, research and report writing.

Bankers, investors, insurers, brokers, trustees, lawyers, judges, government agencies – ALL are dependent upon the knowledge and expertise of the appraisers, and so are you. Too often and too late, people find out that the appraisals they have are inaccurate or misleading, resulting not only in greater risk to themselves, but also a waste of millions out of their pocket.

No two properties are alike, no two appraisals are alike.

Appraisal services with a government institution

Appraiser Gus Agosto has just rendered appraisal services to the University of the Philippines, Cebu Campus. “It is an honor to be awarded a contract and appraised properties of a prestigious institution like U.P.”, Appraiser Gus Agosto shared.

“Government institutions and agencies are good market for real estate appraisers. Appraisers can explore and participate in government bidding and contracts.” he further said.  Last year, he was also part of an appraisal team that provided appraisal services to the Cebu Appraisal Technical Committee on Zonal Valuation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

To succeed, Appraisers should have working knowledge of the Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act. Every branch or agency of the government through the head of a procurement entity forms a bids and awards committee (BAC) to conduct competitive and transparent purchases by means of public bidding. There are also alternative ways government can make purchases like limited source bidding, direct contracting, negotiated procurement and shopping,

“In winning a government contract, offering the lowest price is not the key. It is knowledge, appraisal experience and excellence in appraisal that matters,” Appraiser Gus ended.

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New Cebu South Board Officers Take Oath of Office

In a ceremony that was both solemn and celebratory,the new officers of Cebu South Real Estate Board (CESOREB) took their oath of office vowing to hold inviolate the high ethics of the profession. The New Officers were sworn in by Reynaldo Lim, President of Philippine Association of Real Estate Brokers (PAREB).

The National Directorate of PAREB, officers of other Visayas Local Boards and fellow real estate brokers congratulated the new officers. “The event is a significant one, it signals the birth of new officers that are willing to serve their members and practitioners in general.” Gus Agosto, the New President of Cebu South Board, said.

In his remark, National President Rey Lim, shared the programs of PAREB and the new opportunities for the members. Local board presidents of Iloilo, Mactan, Bohol and Cebu took turns in sharing their board plans and programs.

The Oath-taking Ceremony was held on March 6,2015 at St. Mark Hotel, Cebu City.

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Appraisal 101: How an appraisal is done

It has been a normal scene for prospective client and practitioners to ask an appraiser for the value of a certain property. Some people also thought that after site inspection, an appraiser can render a value opinion already. So, there is a need to answer questions on how an appraisal is done? And why it is important to follow the process?

Appraisal may seem as a simple and fast process. An appraiser shows up at a property for a short time with a camera and tape measure and that’s it. However, the property inspections are only a part of a big process. A typical appraisal report requires 12 to 13 combined hours by appraiser and staff to complete.

Ordering an Appraisal
The process usually begins when a client call or visit the appraiser to order an appraisal. In the telephone or in-person conversation, the appraiser will asks data of the property such as title, building plan, tax declaration, as well as preliminary information of the client, and agree on the scope of work and professional fee. The most important is scheduling of the site inspection.

Identifying the Property
In preparation for the site inspection, the appraiser will study the documents provided by the client focusing on the location, shape and size of the lot, design of the house and decide on what valuation approach that he will use. Additional research will be done in different government offices for the identification of the property.

The Site Visit
Then the appraiser conducts a careful physical inspection of the property and the neighborhood. Take photographs and verify area measurements. Don’t worry about the kids, toys or household disorder. The appraiser is looking at the structure, condition and features of your home.

The appraiser will also roam the neighborhood to observe, estimate the distance between known landmarks in the area. Also, to look for any factors and characteristics that may affect the value of the property, and searching for comparable properties or “comps”. In the language of appraisal, ‘comps’ are sales and listings available in the market.

Pulling It All Together
Next, the appraiser performs in depth analysis of all of the available data. Returning to office is crucial part of the appraisal process. The appraiser will gather all the information about the properties and the financial aspects. Make phone calls to agents, government offices and other parties involved in the transactions to confirm observations or to gather more information. Examine the title and tax declaration for any encumbrance, annotation and non-compliance with the law. Often, property information from several sources is in conflict and it is the appraiser’s task to determine the true state of affairs by means of research, experience and good judgment.

Guided by the principles of appraisal, he will analyze the neighborhood, market, zoning, the predominant use of the area and determine the highest and best use of the property, as vacant and as improved.

In using market data approach, the appraiser will select at least three comps, but generally four or five are necessary to support the basis for the final appraised value. The appraiser makes adjustments to reflect differences in comp properties. Upgrades like painting, chandelier, air conditioners, recent redecorating, or home improvements may add value to a property.

There are other approaches or methods in valuing properties. Every approach is made to substantiate the appraiser’s opinion of market value.

Finalization of a Report
The last part is the preparation and printing of a detailed report, outlining the value of the property appraised and the approaches to value with several addenda including copies of title and neighborhood maps as well as photographs of the property.

The completed appraisal is packaged and transmitted to the client—the property owner, lawyer or company representative who ordered the appraisal.

Thus, appraisal is not a mere “opinion of value”, it follow process and guidelines set by authorities and international standards. Following thoughtful and thorough procedures will provide a complete and credible appraisal.

Bagging an appraisal contract

A big corporation contacted me for an appraisal work. They asked for my credentials and if I’m a bank accredited appraiser. Previously, they hired a research group to do the valuation, but not satisfied with the result.

I commended their effort to look for a licensed and experienced appraiser, and gave them my credentials. I explained to them the difference between an experienced bank appraiser and non-bank appraiser.

It pays to be able to discern between the two.

What are the difference?

Non-bank appraisal is a market niche, often best suited for appraisers who think outside the box. These assignments include appraisal reports performed for situations such as pre-listing, financial reporting, divorce settlement, other litigation related cases, and government agencies appraisal needs. Intended users need to find the most qualified and experienced appraisers. Well-vetted experts are most applicable when testimony is a possibility or when looking at unique properties.

Take lawyers, for example; They need someone who can report not only well enough to be reliable but also defensible in court and a communicator. It takes a good professional to write a report, but an even better one to be effective to withstand in court trials and argumentation with fellow commissioners and lawyers. An appraiser should know how to convince the commissioners in court of his valuation, and come up with a recommendation, thereby hastening the trial process.He must also be able to communicate complex valuation theory to assessors, lawyers and judge who may have no deeper understanding of valuation processes, approaches and adjustments. In other words, the appraiser must become an effective teacher in addition to being a good report writer.

Meanwhile, many appraisers who work primarily with banks are confine within company scope of work. Banks often require appraisers to utilize comparable sales within a “price range” of an area, and not to exceed company guidelines when adjusting comparable sales and in using valuation approaches.

Clients and user of appraisal work should tread very carefully when selecting appraisers. Choosing an appraiser with limited experience could result in less than optimal results.

After the discussion with their top management, they decided to get my service. Another big corporation in my client list.

Challenges In Appraising Warehouse Properties

Appraisal of a warehouse can appear straightforward compared to other appraisal assignments. A warehouse appraisal involves comparing a building that is primarily an open shell to similar buildings. Some appraisers tend to assume that one “box” is pretty much the same as another. However, a number of warehouse characteristics can present challenges during the valuation process.

Some appraisers end in using Cost Approach method as a generic method in appraising buildings. But there are several critical differences appraisers need to keep in mind. First, knowing the remaining economic life of a structure is a big factor in determining what method should be used. Appraising old structures using the cost approach method may generate an incorrect result. Income approach is the reasonable method in this situation. Second, the importance of solving the question of the highest and best use of the property- as vacant and as improved, gains ground when the subject property is old and located in a neighborhood where other best use is possible and more feasible.

In appraising these warehouses using Income Approach, it is essential to carefully consider the following factors in selecting comparables:

• Excess land
• Truss height
• Percent of office space
• Loading facilities
• Truck maneuvering distance
• Floor thickness/loading capacity
• Power service
• Land-to-building ratio
• Size relative to typical building size

The most important, location-related factors can differentiate warehouses located within the same community. The value of a warehouse facility is tied to the ability to move goods efficiently in and out of the warehouse. Any inefficiency reduces profitability.

In a challenging profession, an appraiser should think “out of the box” in looking methods that will result in a reliable and unbiased opinion of value.

What they say on Appraiser Gus?

Let our clients and peers speak.

Gus Agosto has been perceptive enough to have realized the potential conflicts of interests with regards to meeting the sellers and has been able to navigate and maneuvered satisfactorily around it, and still come out with a justifiable figure that satisfies both parties.

Of course I would recommend him to others as he has performed what was expected of him and more.”

Richard Azares
Managing Broker
DiamondCrest Real Estate Services

“Gus Agosto is highly competent and much more knowing him in the high level of ethical standard and practice. He is knowledgeable and trustworthy in his assigned work.

We were doing the appraisal business together and yes Gus Agosto is commendable.”

Tom Academia
President
Magaca Appraisal & Konsult

“As a fellow appraiser, I can say that Gus is professional and considerate to his colleagues suggestions and opinions.
He is much updated with information and current events that could have an impact on the real estate industry especially the appraisal service.

Yes, I recommend him, because one does not only get an appraiser that can present you the technical aspect of the property but also a broker that knows the marketing conditions of a given location.”

Germaine Ouano
Managing Partner
Intech Property Appraisal, Inc.

“Gus is a new breed of appraiser that can be relied on the opinion of valuation. He is very active practicing appraiser/ someday a lecturer on the update of the Real Estate Profession and economic trend in the Philippines and ASEAN.”

Oscar Labrador
Founder
Cebu Appraisers

Photos from the Field: The Church in Palo

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In the course of my appraisal work, I visited places like Palo Church.

Palo Church is a historical landmark in Palo which was built in 1596 by Fr. Alonso de Humanes, a Jesuit who came to the place when the sitio had only two houses, who spread the gospel of Christ, baptized natives, taught the children to read and write, pray the rosary, sing church hymns or play the flute.

Experience in Appraisal Matters

In real estate appraisal practice, there are challenges that an appraiser should strive to overcome and characteristics needed to acquire.

Valuing properties requires good judgment. An appraiser can use different methods in valuation, outlined in the international valuation standards. There are different approaches like market data, cost or income approach in valuation. He can also use other approaches like subdivision development approach, residual approach and many more.

But in choosing an appropriate valuation methodology is another thing. The appraiser considers not only the purpose of the appraisal laid out by its client, but the most important, the property’s highest and best use. This judgment emanates from the appraiser’s experience.

Good judgment is also required in analyzing comparables or “comps”. The appraiser identifies the “terms” of the sale – was it an arm’s length transaction in which both parties were equally motivated? Was it a relocation transaction where an owner was attempting to shorten the time on the market to find a buyer? Regardless, no one can tell the appraiser on what comparables to use. It is based on the appraiser’s judgment.

In whatever situation, an experienced appraiser has an edge. He always strive to look for other appraisal methodology and will cull more data on comparables with the sole purpose of rendering an opinion that will truly represents the true market value of the property.

Thus in real estate appraisal practice, experience and good judgment truly matters.