Real Estate Valuations and Appraisals

Services – Continued

Realty Valuations continued:


There are a number of reasons to have an appraisal completed on your property. Most commonlythe reason is for a real estate mortgage transaction, but there are others. So please look belowand see how we can help you.

For Estate Purposes-

Each state and the IRS often require appraisals to develop the value of an estate of a decedent. However, today there are attorneys and accountants who specialize in estate planning. The growth of wealth of individuals in the United States has been staggering over the past 25 years. Complex IRS regulations often resist the best interest of the estate and heirs. The realty interests held by the decedent, often are critical to the best case scenario for the estate.

Today it is wise for people planning for the disposition of their assets fairly to the select beneficiaries, upon her / his demise to have a clear understanding of the value of the real estate. We, at Amerival, offer the valuation of the realty and of personalty, antiques and collectibles. An annual Re-consideration Program of Asset Valuation is also available. The appraisers at Amerival have been retained to provide retrospective valuations due to dates of death in addition to estates challenged by the state and / or IRS. We are prepared to discern value of over years ago and more.

In these matters also we have a business valuation appraiser and expert as well as two personalty appraisers and auctioneers. We are well prepared to assist our professional clients in virtually every aspect of a litigation that one encounters in these type matters. However, we certainly welcome the opportunity to work with other proven professionals and are prepared to put forth the same effort as if Amerival is providing all the experts.

For Replacement Cost for Homeowner’s Insurance –

Nearly every homeowner and building owner has an insurance policy which is to provide compensation for the destruction of their structure. When this type policy is obtained upon initiating a mortgage, the amount is minimally the purchase price of the building. Unfortunately, this includes the site or land under the building. Site or land is a non-wasting asset and will not burn or be destroyed, yet you are most likely paying an annual insurance premium that includes the value of the site / land. Today it is very common for the value of the site / land to be as much or more than the building. Thus, you are paying for an asset which you will never be compensated via that insurance policy.

We at Amerival, can provide a costing using the most recognized cost estimating service in the United States. This can be used by you to change the insurance policy amount to properly reflect the replacement cost of your structure or change insurance companies. If a mortgage is in place,approval from the lender likely will be necessary. We also offer a program of yearly updates which can be used to insure the annual percentage increase in insurance coverage is appropriate. Unfortunately, most annual increases are unrealistic. Let us help you save money.

For Condemnation-

On occasion, a government entity or other permissible entity may have proved reason to take a portion or all of your land. The process is called ‘condemnation’.  A property owner undergoing this process, has the right to be compensated for the market value of the property being taken. Usually, the entity, needing the land for public use, orders an appraisal and offers a purchase price as indicated by its appraisal. As the property owner you have the right to contest that amount, if you believe it is not representative of the Fair Market Value. You do have recourse. Obtain your own appraisal; and, if in conflict with the condemning authority’s value, a negotiation ensues. If the parties cannot agree on a price, then often a quasi-judicial hearing is set and each party has the opportunity to have their respective appraisers present their reports and provide expert testimony.

Should the condemnation board not accept your position and you and your expert believe you are more correct than the condemning authority’s appraiser, a full court proceeding will follow. The matter will be resolved in court after testimony by each appraiser testifying on behalf of their respective value opinions. Landowners should not attempt to enter these proceedings without the assistance of an appraiser who also is a professional expert witness. We, at Amerival can provide this service.

For Tax Appeals-

If a property owners believe their property is assessed higher than market value, they have the legal right to appeal that assessment. To do so and insure the right to equity in the proceeding, they must retain the assistance of an appraiser. The key is that appraiser must be able to testify at a hearing. All appraisers are not created equal. Be certain you have an experienced expert, not just an appraiser.

Many people avoid the appeal process in thinking the cost of an appraiser, their time and often the cost of an attorney, is far greater than the relief they may obtain. However, when they prevail at a tax appeal, the savings over the typically 5 – 8 years period will cover the costs and provide a substantial savings. For non-corporate ownership it is usually unnecessary to retain an attorney. Although an appraiser cannot practice law, the report and expert testimony is most often more than sufficient to prevail in the appeal. We, at Amerival, prefer to work with an attorney in order to insure strong representation at the hearing and provide our clients the best of opportunity to prevail.

For Matrimonial Dissolution Matters-

We all agree that divorce is not a positive result for a marriage; and, whenever possible, all efforts should be made to reconcile and develop a correction for the problems creating the emotional and mental strain placed on the family unit. Today, there is an alternative solution to picking the Knights in black robes to do battle on the field of divorce. There are those attorneys, accountants, mental health specialists and ancillary professionals, as the principal of Amerival, Albert M. Cerone, who are involved in the concept of the Practice of Collaborative Law.

The intent of the members of these Collaborative Law Chapters quickly gaining momentum throughout the United States, is to first assure that divorce is the right path for the couple to follow. This is done through a process that provides the assistance of trained psychologists and other mental health professionals. The attorneys and accountants typically involved in marital dissolution are also trained to seek a non-bellicose position in the case. By maintaining a cooperative attitude and posture, the process, must it be consummated, is on a more amiable basis considering the psychological impact on all the parties involved in the family. Most importantly is the mental and emotional health of the children undergoing this uncharted territory of not being the traditional family unit. Appraisers, as are ours, must embrace this new process and insure that they are not drawn to any one party to insure their objectivity to which they have a legal and ethical obligation.

For those marital dissolution matters in which there is hostility between the parties, the appraiser selected for the valuation must also be an expert witness who understands the legal process and can prevail in both the voir dire, direct and cross examination. Reports should be written in such a manner that provides the best opportunity to focus on the positive facts and factors that are best suited to the truth, and the clients position without jeopardizing the appraiser’s legal and ethical responsibilities.

Whenever possible, it is strongly urged of the parties to agree to retaining one appraiser. This removes the strain placed on the appraiser due to the litigious nature of the appraisal assignment. The appraiser now feels unbridled and without the concern for being construed as a ‘gun for hire’ is now able to proceed with her / his professional obligation of only providing a supportable and defensible valuation report. The appraisers at Amerival are prepared to do just that in every scenario.
Amerival also has a business valuator and personalty appraisers. These individuals also have court room experience and are highly regarded. Each of these professionals will work along with any other experts our clients may opt to use. We believe in the rights of all parties and recognize the exceptional reputations of other appraisers for realty, business and personalty. We welcome the opportunity to assist you and work with other proven experts.

Professional Liability Matters-

Several of the professionals at Amerival, A. Cerone, P. Vidi, and P. Bashaw, are experienced experts with substantial experience in professional liability cases. Please see our ‘Services’ section for greater detail of our capabilities. On occasion realty appraisers are sued. The reasons are varied but the rationale is often the same, the recipient and / or client is unhappy with the result of the appraisal. This is a simplified understanding but it suffices for the brief presentation here. An appraiser is brought to task for either errors and / or omissions in a report or for incompetence. The latter is more rare than the former. In general the reason for the legal action is a client or property owner believes the value opined is not correct.

The members of Amerival have represented professional liability carriers in defense of appraisers. Amerival certainly cannot guarantee an outcome, but can assure that an innocent victim in a litigation will have strong decisive defense and most likely will prevail. For those few who must bear guilt, we have been successful in mitigating the faults and results.

For Environmental Impacts-

Certain professionals with Amerival are capable of valuing properties impacted by environmental conditions. Our group cannot be considered expert in all environmental matters, but typically the most usual. Mr. Pete Vidi, is one of the few realty appraisers well versed in mold conditions and valuation of properties affected by this growth. Amerival can provide valuations for riparian claims, tidelands and wetlands as well as easements and encroachments.

For Fraud and Other Criminal Offenses-

On occasion Amerival has provided experts in matters of fraud and / or other criminal offenses. If realty, a business or personalty items are pertinent to the matter, we can provide the certified valuations for your case. For bail situations we are prepared to provide in most cases a realty appraisal within the day. The reports provided are such that yet has one not been accepted by a court of law.

General Commentary-

At any time that Amerival does not have the resources to directly provide the professional service our clients need, we make every effort, at no charge to the client, to locate an expert who can provide the necessary expertise and experience for the assignment to be undertaken. The intent of Amerival is to assure that our clients are in the best position to accomplish their goals. We assist other professionals in understanding the valuation process and its pertinence in a case in which we are mutually involved. Cooperation and frank exchange of knowledge is the key to the best interests of our clients and it is to this end that we constantly strive.