June 29, 2016 – Some people have bucket lists. I guess I was born to have a list of pet peeves:)
For 25+ years, I have tried to get our industry to identify the correct interest when appraising an existing apartment complex or any property with arm’s-length leases. It has always been Leased Fee Interest, not Fee Simple Estate. I can say that finally the majority of appraisers have come to recognize this. The ‘urban myth’ that we were taught (i.e. if leases are less than 12 months long and/or contract rents are at market, then the interest being appraised is Fee Simple Estate) is almost eradicated.
For 30+ years, I have identified the kitchen and laundry appliances (and any additional common area items that might be in a club house or such) in apartment complexes as FF&E. Til this day, many appraisers still think refrigerators, stoves/ranges, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are real estate! As a lady on TV many years ago said – Stop The Insanity!
Another item I have been shouting about for almost 25 years is the appraisal of drug stores, big box retailers, and other buildings leased to national tenants. Capitalizing these leases does NOT yield Market Value of real estate only. I may have been the only Chief Appraiser that required that the Market Value of Real Estate not exceed the Cost Approach indication with the additional value reflected by the Income and Sales Comparison Approaches having to be identified as an Intangible Asset. I admit that even allowing the Cost Approach indication to represent real estate value is being way too generous. These companies usually pay way above market for the land and the cost to build the improvements is absurd – I have seen costs for these basically shell buildings be more than medical office!
FIRREA and FDICIA require that 1) Market Value be of real estate only, and 2) LTV be calculated on Market Value of real estate only. We all know a shell retail building is not worth $300 or $400/sf as most drug stores have appraised at for 20+ years. Excluding the inflated land purchase price and using the real value of the land, these properties are lucky to be worth $100/sf in most markets. Yet, I am sure the vast majority of financial institutions have used the incorrectly stated Market Value provided by appraisers to calculate LTV and base their loan on. This is similar to those institutions that used, or may still use, Going Concern Value to calculate LTV.
Can we say violation of numerous federal regulations….but I digress.
All of this leads me to two recent articles that I believe finally end this absurd debate. I highly recommend you find the following articles:
David Charles Lennhoff, CRE, MAI, ‘Valuation of Big-Box Retail for Assessment Purposes: Right Answer to the Wrong Question,’ Real Estate Issues (Volume 39, Number 3, 2014): 21-32.
Stephen D. Roach, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, ‘Is Excess Rent Intangible?’ The Appraisal Journal (Spring 2016): 121-131.
In my opinion, both authors prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the excess rent present in almost all drug store, and similar leases, is not indicative of the market value of real estate. They use both theory and real data to prove their points. Mr. Roach sums up the logic better than I have ever seen (from page 125 of his article):
- “By definition, the real estate (a property) can produce market rent, but no more.
- By definition, excess rent exceeds market rent.
- By definition, excess rent is created by the contract, not the real estate.
- By definition, a contract is an intangible asset; it’s not real estate.
- Therefore, excess rent is intangible.
Each step in the argument is based on long-accepted definitions and concepts of the terminology.”
I challenge all of the Chief Appraisers in the country to step up and require appraisals of these properties to appropriately indicate the Market Value of REAL ESTATE ONLY with the huge additional amount above this figure being termed Intangible Value (or something similar). It is time both appraisers and lending institutions provide the correct value and LTV.
Plus, this will make the lives of us reviewers easier – it has been frustrating to lower the values 50%-75%+ all of these years! Of course, we could simply order these appraisals from the two authors above and have slam dunk reviews forever:)