A Day in the Life of Appraising Iowa-Nebraska-Florida

Every time we get a request to do a Residential Real Estate Appraisal for a bank or lender we are also required to provide the site value.  This means we must appraise the "land" or the building "site" as well as the house. It doesn't matter if it is Omaha, Council Bluffs, rural Southwest Iowa/Nebraska or waterfront in Florida.  Essentially we are doing two appraisals for the price of one. We appraise the land/site separately.  

What is land vs site? 

 1. The earth's surface, both land and water, and anything that is attached to it whether by the course of nature or human hands; all natural resources in their original state, e.g., mineral deposits, wildlife, timber, fish, water, coal deposits, soil.

 2. In law, the solid surface on the earth, as distinguished from water.

 3. One of the four agents of production in economic theory


Improved land or a lot in a finished state so that it is ready to be used for a specific purpose.

The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, Sixth Edition (Appraisal Institute, Chicago, 2015)

"Valuation of land as if vacant, and of land and improvements to or on the land, is an economic concept. Whether vacant or improved, land is also referred to as real estate. The earth's surface, the space beneath which extends to the centre of the earth, and the space above which extends to the sky. The ownership of land and the rights attached to the ownership are subject to the laws of a particular State.(IVS)"

The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, Fifth Edition in the International Valuation Standards (IVS) Glossary

?Land Characteristics for evaluation and impact on the value: ?Location, Immobility, Durability, Finite Supply. Land is physical, in a raw state. When someone decides to improve it to support building improvements - it becomes a site.  When we are appraising a property for proposed new construction, we look at both the Land value and the site value and the contributing factors. 

A Site in order to support a building, includes grading, landscaping, paving, and utility hookups as well as off-site improvements including streets, curbs, sidewalks, drains, and connecting utility lines. Sites are more valuable than land, land is basically raw, except for minor improvements, fence, or landscaping. 

Considering building?  Need to determine your "As Completed Value"? Call us, we are easy to talk to and are happy to consult with you on your project.  402-334-9224 Omaha, Council Bluffs 712-323-9004, Pinellas County FL 727-773-6829

Patricia Smith
Smith Valuation Services/Midwest Appraisal Associates

A Day in the Life of an Appraiser in Rural Pottawattamie County and Douglas County.  The majority of our appraisal valuation services today is in the city/suburbs of Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, Nebraska, we are often called to appraise small acreages in rural communities like Underwood, Treynor, Carson, Oakland Iowa, and Blair, Bellevue, Papillion rural areas in Sarpy County or Douglas County Nebraska.   
Whether it is a home on 5 acres, or an outbuilding and 10 acres we are challenged to value the land and location for adjustment purposes, in order to arrive at a credible opinion of value.  Some of the land valuation involves Surplus Land and Excess Land which we have already discussed here.  But the other issue which is not uncommon are land easements.  Often times, these easements were created when a small parcel of land was divided from a working working farm to allow a family member to build a house near by.  The easement serves as an access for a farmer to reach a grain bin with a truck load of corn harvested in the fall, or a tractor to cross on to adjoining land to plant crops in the spring. These easements are known as Appurtenant Easements.  An Appurtenant Easement is a right to use adjoining property that transfers with the land. The parcel of land that benefits from the easement is the dominant tenement. The servient tenement is the parcel of land that provides the easement.  The answer to this question is never a simple one.   It comes down to how much less will a buyer pay if there is an existing easement allowing someone to drive across their property.  Often it relies on how much of a "nuisance" the easement is, how close is the road to the home, how often is the road used, does it require a lot of maintenance.  Each easement is treated individually and we can only base the impact on data provided by colleagues,real estate agents, listing services and the owners themselves.  Patricia Smith