Real Estate Value – Knowing What You Have

Do you own a home or commercial property that has a rather large lot compared to that of your neighbors? Does the site have an abundance of road frontage? You may be sitting on a goldmine and not even realize it. Most savvy real estate investors will dig deep into your bundle of rights and determine the highest and best use of a property before making a purchasing decision. Your property value is directly linked to those uses which are legally allowed by right, based on the zoning district in which your real estate is located.

How do you determine the real value of your real estate? Contact a real estate appraiser and get an appraisal. You will want to make sure that you hire someone that can provide solid references, and if requested, a work sample to get an idea of what you can expect for your money. Most of the modern single family homes located in planned subdivisions are fairly easy to evaluate, from a highest and best use standpoint. In most cases the site is already developed to its maximally productive end.

However, an older home located on an acre lot in a neighborhood that only requires 5,000 square feet of land to build a new home, may be sitting on several developable house lots. The value difference between a single family house on a single family house lot and a single family home situated on a site which provides excess land for additional development, can be substantial.

While an appraisal may tell you what the underlying zoning regulations for your neighborhood are, without a certified subdivision plan prepared by a Civil Engineer, or Certified Land Surveyor, it may be difficult for an appraiser to determine the full build-out potential of your site. The best chances you have in maximizing the value of your real estate, from an appraisal perspective, is to understand the zoning regulations which govern your real estate, and then hire a qualified individual to inform you of your development rights. Make certain that these development rights are considered by the appraiser hired to value your property, or the broker hired to list your property for sale, otherwise you may get less than full value for your property.