Appraising Commercial Property in the Real World
People are now calling the recent economic turmoil that began in 2008 ‘The Great Recession.’ If you’re like me, you’ve spent a great deal of time and effort the last several years simply making ends meet. The commercial appraisal business has faced its own challenges. In particular, there are too many appraisers chasing too few dollars – resulting in lower fees. Now I love a challenge. I will meet every challenge with a determination that is unmatched. But enough is enough.
In our passion to thrive, or at least survive, it’s easy to forget that our competition is, above all, human. They deserve our kindness and respect. One characteristic of the commercial appraisal business is the constant need for recent and relevant data. As part of the appraisal process, sales of similar properties are identified, compared with the property being appraised, and adjusted for differences. This process, referred to as ‘The Sales Comparison Approach’, results in an indication of the value for the property. This aspect of the commercial appraisal business poses a challenge when appraising unique property types.
For example, I am working on an appraisal of an indoor shooting range. Finding similar sales is like finding a needle in a haystack. In the words of a Southerner, ‘They’re scarce as hen’s teeth’. However, my quest to find sales has been met with kindness from several fellow appraisers and I’ve been able to identify a number of similar properties that have sold. Rest assured that their kindness will be returned – by me. But their kind treatment to me is not, and should not be, my motive.
Perhaps the most probing question ever asked is this: “Who is my neighbor?”
Here’s a dramatic scene from my favorite film “To End All Wars” in which one prisoner exchanges his life for another. It’s based on a true story. I highly recommend it. I think we’ll find that our true enemy is not our competitor. He or she is our fellow human being, worthy of dignity and respect, and help.