Appraising Rural Properties
We appraise real estate in urban, suburban and in rural areas. Some of the most interesting and sometimes challenging work we do is appraising rural properties. Here are a few items to note when appraising the value of rural properties.
Make Sure to Have a Full Tank of Gas - Some of the rural locations we appraise are very sparsely populated and you can go for many, many miles before you come across a gas station. Nothing would be worse than to run out of gas and have to wait a very long time for your friend or auto service to bring you gas for your vehicle. We appraise in North Texas where the land can seem to stretch to eternity in some places.
Bring Your Paper Maps (and maybe even a compass) - Many of the places that we appraise do not show up accurately in many of the GPS mapping systems. We cannot tell you how many times the GPS has led has to a pond, fence or tree saying "you have arrived at your destination" when in reality you are still miles from the property. The other problem you may run into a lack of cell signal. If you are using a GPS system via your smart phone, many rural locations will have little to no cell phone signal rendering your mapping system useless.
Rural Appraising is Not for the Faint of Heart - Respecting the wildlife is essential. Rural properties are not as inhabited as the suburban and urban locations thus your chances of encountering nature are much greater. In North Texas, we have encountered: snakes, spiders, scorpions, wasps, coyotes, hogs, wild turkey, deer, armadillos, possums, skunks and even a bobcat. We have never been harmed by any of these but we are always aware that they may be present and we will leave them alone if we should happen to have an encounter.
An Appraiser Should Know the Market - You will want to have an appraiser that is geographically competent and knows the area. Comparable sales and data will be very limited in the rural areas. Rural locations are less dense and typically have very low turnover rates. Sometimes comparable sales may be located very long distances from the subject as there may not be a similar sale in the subject's small market area. The appraiser must find a comparable in a comparable small market area. An appraiser that knows the area and the market, will know which smaller markets are similar and which are not.
Land Values may be Greater Than the House or Any Improvements- In many of the rural properties we appraise, a house may be located on large acreage. This is typical for many rural homes in North Texas and the land may be worth more than 30% of the overall value of the properties depending on the acreage and location. Not all land is equal and there are many things to consider such as topography, location, size,shape, soil or view. Read Let's Talk Some Dirt-10 Things to Consider About Vacant Land. for more information about things to consider for land values.
Know the Value of the Improvements- Many rural properties will not have just a home but additional improvements such as barns, workshops, fencing, corrals, arenas, etc. Appraisers will need to know the value of different improvements in each area. Often, it will be difficult to find comparable sales with the exact improvements thus it is important for an appraiser to know how to value the additional improvements. The appraiser will need to determine if a property is a working farm or if the improvements are more for recreational use. Is a 10 stall barn with a tack room, water, and electricity the same value as a workshop with 3 bays and office? What about the value of pipe fencing or game fencing?
Oh the Sights You See - One of the things that I love about appraising rural properties are the beautiful views that we get to see when we get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and suburban areas. We have seen beautiful hilltop views, lake views, views of the Red River (border of Texas and Oklahoma) and just beautiful views of farm and ranch land.
These are just a few things to consider when apprais