Highest and Best Use – Residential Appraisers Need To Understand It!
Excerpt: There are many valuation products out there. CMA’s, BPO’s and AVM’s to name a few. What you will likely not see in those kinds of valuations, is the specific zoning class for the property being valued. Why? Zoning in the Appraisal Process is very important.
With these types of valuations, a highest & best use (HBU) analysis is generally not made. However, if you hire an appraiser to value your home, we will perform this analysis. What is a highest & best use analysis? Why is it important in the development of an opinion of value? How is zoning involved?
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My comments: My Most Frequent Residential Appraisal Rant!! I started at an assessor’s office in 1975. The First, and Most Important, Question was “What is the highest and best use?” In 1986 I started doing residential lender work. The form was just a check box for HBU. If you checked No, it was a big problem for the lender. Many residential appraisers don’t check the zoning, general plan, etc. One good way is to just drive around and see what is happening. For example, lots of small homes being torn down and McMansions being built. Or, lots of houses on a busy street converted to office uses. Or, a small house on a big lot with apartments all around it. A common residential issue is a possible lot split.
Don’t forget the General (Or Specific) Plan. It tells you what the city wants today and in the future for land use, which is not discussed in this article.
I have appraised a lot of older commercial properties for lenders, which often had a HBU different than the current use. I discussed it in my appraisals.
When there is a big difference in value between two appraisals, it is often due to a difference in opinion of HBU. Don’t get into trouble. Be sure to think about HBU!! If you’re not sure, contact an experienced appraiser, particularly one who does a lot of non-lender work and/or commercial appraisals.
In the Feb. 2017 issue there is an excellent article written for residential appraisers by Denis Desaix, “Residential Highest and Best Use Analysis: more than Just a “Check box” available to paid subscribers. See below.
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