What is my land worth

Find Out What Your Land is Really Worth

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Chances are you have visited your family doctor about some vague health issues, only to be referred to a specialist when the GP realized you needed expertise in a particular area of medicine. A similar situation can occur when you need a rural real estate appraisal, but start with someone whose expertise in land valuation ends at the city limits.

According to Bill Beam of Western Appraisal LLC in Abilene, when dealing with rural real estate, it pays to work from the outset with an appraiser who is familiar with your geographic area and specializes in appraising your type of property.

it’s not unusual “to do follow-up” for clients who did not start with a rural appraisal specialist

“We are seeing more and more special use clients, who have unusual and complicated situations,” says Beam, who is past president of the Texas chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). He reports also that it’s not unusual “to do follow-up” for clients who did not start with a rural appraisal specialist.

ASFMRA members focus on rural property and the agricultural industry. Their work generally involves real estate sales and purchases, estate planning, division of property in inheritance situations and income tax cases.

“Lenders use appraisals to decide how much to lend on real estate, but appraisals serve many other purposes, as well,” says Jimmy Chambers, chief executive officer of Central Texas Farm Credit, headquartered in Coleman.

“For example, real estate buyers will often get an independent appraiser to help them determine how much to offer for a property or to determine how much of the value of a property they can use for depreciation,” Chambers explains. “It is important for appraisers to be familiar with the type of property they are appraising and to understand the local market. With agribusinesses, it takes a very high level of expertise.”

Beam notes that ASFMRA members have appraisal expertise in rural ranchland, farmland, feedyards, dairies, vineyards, gins and other types of agribusiness operations. “We hold seminars that help us keep up to date on changes in these areas,” he explains. Some of these seminars are in addition to the 28 hours of continuing education that Texas appraisers are required to take every two years to maintain their state certification.

Another benefit that  ASFMRA members offer their clients is access to other rural valuation experts, according to Robby Vann, vice president of collateral risk management at the Farm Credit Bank of Texas. “We share knowledge and exper-tise. There’s a lot of networking within the organization. We can generally find someone who has expertise in  any particular area that a  customer needs,” says Vann,  who is 2014 vice president of the Texas chapter of the ASFMRA.

Recently, for instance, Beam worked with clients from the Midwest who were buying farmland in the Texas Panhandle, which was much different than the land they already owned. He also consulted with fellow rural appraisers when working on a complicated estate settlement that involved a large dairy herd, farm buildings and land, with the owners residing in another state.

“There’s no emotion involved when you hire a state-certified, accredited rural appraiser.”

That’s not all. Beam reports that state-certified, accredited rural appraisers are often involved in legal cases, such as right-of-way projects. “If the appraiser has a designation, such as the ARA (Accredited Rural Appraiser), it can provide credibility when the case goes to litigation,” he says.

“We have a very high standard of ethics, and we have a lot of integrity,” he says.

And, as Chambers notes, “There’s no emotion involved when you hire a state-certified, accredited rural appraiser.”

A Reliable Source for Rural Land Value Trends

If you spend much time at the feed store or the coffee shop, you’re bound to hear chatter about local land values. But whether that discussion is fact or simply speculation, there is a more reliable source for those who follow the rural real estate market — “Texas Rural Land Value Trends,” an annual publication of the Texas chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA).

Produced every April, the report is prepared by appraiser-members of the ASFMRA throughout Texas who provide data to develop the annual market study. It publishes the estimated ranges of value for particular land categories and qualities by geographic region. It also estimates ranges of land rents for  the various land types.

While the Texas chapter of the ASFMRA is the recognized source for current Texas land value estimates and projected future trends, the report’s credibility comes from the ASFMRA members themselves: Primarily state-certified, accredited appraisers, many of them handle rural real estate appraisals exclusively.

As the umbrella for Texas and other state chapters, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers provides a variety of services, including:

  • Education for pre-licensing and certified general education, continuing education and advanced designation education for rural property professionals
  • Networking opportunities and legislative representation for its members
  • An accreditation program for farm managers, appraisers and consultants. This gives members a strong competitive advantage in terms of knowledge, networking and recognition as ethical qualified professionals.

The ASFMRA offers four classifications of accreditation — Accredited Farm Manager (AFM); the Accredited Rural  Appraiser (ARA); the Real Property Review Appraiser (RPRA); and the Accredited Agricultural Consultant (AAC). Accredited members are highly educated, thoroughly seasoned and experienced farming and rural valuation experts who have taken years of training to earn a designation.

“Texas Rural Land Value Trends” is distributed free of charge. To order printed copies of the current book or to download the current and previous Texas Rural Land Value Trends books, go to www.txasfmra.com/rural-land-trends.

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