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Have I Been At This Too Long Yet ?

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Paul Shraga

Sophomore Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
First, some background...

It was a sunny yet windy Sunday on the central Atlantic coast ... the rain which had pummeled the region for a week straight had seemed to subside.

The wife says "Hey, we haven't been to Mt. Vernon since my parents came in, wanna go ?" Seeing as I had no comps to pull and we have a yearly pass set to expire in a coupla weeks I said, "OK." The drive was un-eventful, a 40 minute trip sans Beltway traffic and we had arrived, parked, got tix and entered the estate and plantation of the first president of the US. (Quite the farmer Ole George was)

...OK...so you know where this is going...

We are waiting on line to tour the Mansion and I'm thinkin..this place has got to be insured, right ? Where there is an insurance policy there must be some value determination, yes ? Then I wonder out loud "how the Hell could someone go about appraising this place ? I mean certainly do a Cost approach for Reproduction (not Replacement, yes?) and maybe an Income since it generates tourist income and such. But what had me stumped is Historical Significance .. how does one quantify this for a building which is easily in the Top 5 for Historical Significance for the country ?? (..and did I mention it sits on 500 acres on the Potomac River...)

My wife gave me one of those glass eye stares with an eye roll as we entered the House. The outside is very Architectually pleasing but the inside could probably use a termite inspection. (... I'll note that on my report ...)
:lol:

Cheers,

Paul
 

Tony in Ohio

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
Paul,


Nice story, I have found myself doing that several times.

I am going to take a vacation at the beach in North Carolina in a few weeks and I Know I am going to stop into the managers office for some sales comps.

My wife usually ignores it when I do that, but I think shes going to slap me the next time I point out a house I did when we are driving somewhere.
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Standing in a gas station in town and you hear someone talking to the clerk about selling their house and all of the fixing up that they are going to do so the appraisal is good and the deal doesn't fall through and you quickly ram you fist into your mouth so you don't say something because you have the order for the assignment sitting on the fax machine at the office.

You can't get away from it. Resign yourself to that.....but your comment on how you would go about valuing someplace like Mt Vernon is interesting. Let's see 500 acres on the river @ $80,000 per acre....would the FHA consider 500 acres excess? Most likely. Detached kitchen will certainly constitute some major functional obsolescance........

See what you have started?
 

Austin

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Virginia
Richard:
When I first went into business in the 1970’s I was a real estates auctioneer. I got a flyer in the mail from an auctioneer buddy about 40 miles east of me and the flyer was for a house constructed in 1804, and the builder was the same person that worked with Thomas Jefferson on his home Monticello.
I went to the sale and the home was a work of art, to me anyway. The design similarities and building techniques were definitely Jeffersonian. My father was with me and he was an old Realtor. We discussed how you could determine the price of such a home. Big crowd attending and I didn’t have a clue what to expect. The house brought $66,000 and the seller was mighty relieved to get that much. Something to do with HVAC I imagine.
Went to another sale near my home. Most original Southern Plantation I know of. Beautiful rolling land with a classical tree lined drive to the mansion, mansion was classical and it looked like something out of gone with the wind. Former owner died and left it to some college who subdivided it and auctioned it off. Don’t remember the prices but they were average. The mansion contributed something like $28,000 to the land when that tract was sold.
Did an appraisal recently on tracts of the most exclusive executive retreat home in region for a $30 million estate after it had been sold at auction. Subdivided and sold at auction. One tract of five acres had two horse barns made of fieldstone, huge buildings in A1 condition. Both works of art. Sold at auction for $27,500.
Why don’t these historical properties bring the prices you would expect them to bring? Simple answer: If George Washington or Thomas Jefferson were alive today, they couldn’t pay the HVAC bill or taxes on their property. Besides who wants to put money into something like that because when you die the Federal Government will take about 80% of your assets over 1.5 million. It is more democratic that way as Mr. Jefferson might say.
 

Austin

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Virginia
PS to above post:
Every year I visit the historic Virginia plantations on the James River near Williamsburg, Virginia. Most famous is Berkley Plantation. One of the most beautiful and pristine historic plantation in the nation. I use to see the owner, who lived on the upper level, sitting in his gazebo when we visited. He had his home opened to tourist 7 days a week all day long. The owner died three years ago. On that visit the tour guide urged us to write our congressman to save Berkley Plantation. Seems the Federal Government was forcing the sale of the estate to pay the inheritance taxes and was toying with the idea of purchasing it themselves at a forced sale price no less. Wonder who ended up with that assignment? Democracy at work again.
 

Austin

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Virginia
Another PS:
This thread stirred my memory: About 30 miles south of me are a nationally famous mansion and estate known as “Chinquapin Plantation (sp). Constructed in the early 19th century by some mega rich folks. Unbelievable home and artifacts from all over the globe. Owner died years ago and left the estate (to avoid estate taxes most likely) to a college in Greensboro, NC, who operated it as a tour attraction. Area people flocked there at Christmas to see the decorations and lights.
A few years ago they had some financial problems paying the operating expenses and hocked the personal property artifacts until things picked up. Couldn’t make the payments and the artifacts were sold at public auction recently. The foundation went to the state of North Carolina begging them to purchase and preserve the place because of its character and historic significance to the region. Problem is, the state of North Carolina is have trouble paying the light bill these days on the governors mansion and had to say no. Any body want a real deal on a 10,000 sf beauty? Seller will help with closing costs.

Does any one see a pattern in this market segment or a national economic trend driven by our tax code?
 

Phil Rice

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Appraiser to provide 3 additional comps of properties owned by George Washington, sold within 12 months. Exceed 1 mile radius if necessary. Appraise as if on 5 acre lot. Need ASAP, this loan is scheduled to close on Wed.
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Since my area is not computerized, I read the bulletin boards at grocery stores, restaurants, pick up FSBO ads, take pictures every time I see a house with a for sale sign, or a house I remember hearing sold, make mental notes of every house I walk into regarding design, materials, condition, etc, etc, etc. Last Thursday night went to granddaughters graduation 175 miles away at a high school constructed since I appraised in that area over 10 years ago. Sat in the bleaches looking at all the houses, remembering when I use to go bouncing over dirt roads to the models and trying to measure houses while they were being stuccoed. As I drive around Phoenix where I did appraisals for 9 years, I go I remember that house, there was a house down that street, etc, etc. Appraising just will never leave my mind.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
It is embarassing when you walk into a friend's home or invited into a neighbor's home and you catch yourself making mental notes about their home and looking around in places you aren't supposed to be looking. My wife has busted me several times in other peoples homes looking at the ceilings, utilty rooms, the garage,etc. She says I am embarrassing her and I look nosey. I try to explain it as a unconscience reaction to walking into a home, but she doesn't buy it. :eek:
 
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