If your business is like mine, you receive phone calls and emails from clients that have two questions;

1. When can you do a specific job?
2. How much will it cost?

Although these are certainly important elements of any business, our question back is often “what do you really need?”

I’m finding out in my old age that when you’re called to do an appraisal it is in fact about 90% of the time that the client needs an appraisal.  Most of our banking clients, legal clients, and governmental clients have a specific need for an appraisal – they know what they need and are interested primarily in the two questions above.

However, from time to time, and increasingly so, we ask the question “Why do you need this and what do you need this for?”  (How can we really help you?)

It occurred to me the other day that asking these questions often leads the client to a better understanding of the services we provide and the geographic areas we cover.  Understanding why a client is calling will help us direct them to the appropriate service.

Which do you need consulting or an appraisal?  In our world we refer to consulting as evaluation and appraisals as valuation.

It also occurred to me the other day that there are several things our clients need to know.  For example,

Did you know we cover geographically from mid-Virginia, the Carolinas, and northern Georgia?  We go to other areas of the country, but this is our primary market.
We often provide consulting services and target advice for areas such as:

  • Due diligence work for a prospective purchase or sale
  • Lease analysis
  • Rent studies
  • Partial interest valuation and evaluation (leases, easements, etc.)
  • Market and feasibility studies for various projects.

In addition, we have provided portfolio valuation for specific property types including subdivisions held by lenders, industrial properties, multifamily properties, self-storage facilities, and retail buildings.

We specialize in areas such as cell and communication towers, golf courses, lodging and hospitality facilities, marinas, and self-storage facilities.

Finally, we have considerable experience involving litigation and expert witness testimony.  These cases involve:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Lease disputes
  • Title disputes
  • Land use and zoning issues
  • Partnership dissolution and partnership valuation issues
  • Environmentally impaired property issues
  • Easement valuations
  • Eminent domain
  • Estate issues/IRS.

Are you (or your client) really in need of advice; do you need to position yourself in a contentious real estate valuation issue?  Perhaps sitting down with legal counsel and/or family members and discussing “alternatives” would best serve their needs, rather than an appraisal.  We find from time to time that once we complete an appraisal it helps with an understanding of the market value or the leased fee value, but it may not answer the questions clients still have, such as “should we mortgage it,” “should we sell it,” “should we lease it,” “should we joint venture?” etc., etc.

We constantly need to ask “what do you need and why do you need it?”  By doing so, understanding and listening we can better serve our clients, particularly those that need more guidance, and don’t just need to know “when can you do it and what will it cost?”