What We Do

"Appraisal" is the short definition of what we do at Eric Reenstierna Associates. The longer definition includes market studies, feasibility analyses, cost analyses, and studies of unusual valuation situations. It is the rare appraisal that does not make use of one of these, and it is the rare market study that does not at some point deliver a conclusion about rent or value. We appreciate the straightforward assignments our clients bring us - the storefront, the apartment, the mill building, or the restaurant. We also appreciate the tough questions - "Are we better off with or without this lease?" Or, "Do we make or lose money if we build these condominiums?"

As a sample, here are some of the assignments we have taken on lately:

- gas stations, from Worcester to Plymouth
- condominium conversions
- a rent study for downtown offices
- schools, from a 60-student charter to a suburban college
- three Class A office buildings of a half million square feet or more
- conservation easements on suburban land
- retail and apartment buildings of varying shapes and sizes
- a life estate
- parking lots
- a side yard between two houses, in an ownership dispute
- industrial lofts
- small mixed-use buildings (apartments over bars, restaurants, and stores)
- a particle accelerator
- Route 495 development land
- churches as churches or for adaptive residential re-use
- partial takings
- going concerns that are tied to real estate
- a spring for bottled water
- modern industrials, assisted by our in-house Baseline Map and Model
- a hazardous waste handling site
- wetland

And that leaves out the generic property types - the luxury house, the house lot, and the office condominium.

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice require that an appraiser not undertake an assignment without the competence and expertise that are necessary for its proper completion. On occasion, an assignment comes our way for which we know others are better qualified, and we send those along. To properly handle the array of assignments in the list above means that an appraiser needs deep background in a market: "Who are the possible buyers for this property?" and "How will those buyers think about it?"

It means knowing how courts and financial institutions want a valuation concept framed. It means having a conceptual framework for various situations, one that comes from courses of instruction, experience in previous assignments, and idea-sharing with others. It means having a big bag of tools: market data sources like Banker & Tradesman and CoStar Comps, discounted cash flow programs, in-house Excel models, Google, and, to pick people's brains, a telephone. For unusual property types, it can mean extensive self-education about that property's function and the state of its industry today - questions like, "Are they building any more of these?" At all times, before the assignment begins, it is important that the appraiser make the client aware of the appraiser's background in valuations of that property type and of the methods of analysis that are to be applied.

Appraisal, like medicine, is detective work. It is problem solving. We enjoy the chance to be problem solvers. We enjoy that our clients land questions on our desks. We give back answers - and, along with the answers, we like to give back a healthy plateful of market data. Part of appraisal is open inquiry and the search for new solutions. We enjoy that our clients sometimes make use of the market data and return to us with novel solutions of their own.




The Reenstierna Associates Report is published as a service to the clients of Eric Reenstierna Associates and other real estate professionals. The views expressed are those of the articles' authors and do not necessarily reflect those of other members of the organization. Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Eric Reenstierna Associates
24 Thorndike Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02141
(617) 577-0096

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