Zoning Could Impact Housing Affordability

zoning for multi use housing and retail buildingsIn the evolving landscape of urban planning, zoning trends are showing a significant shift towards increasing housing density and fostering mixed-use, walkable developments. This movement is primarily driven by the urgent need to address the housing shortage and lack of affordability.

A key trend in this shift is the push to limit or eliminate single-family zoning. This strategy aims to increase density by allowing for the development of multi-family dwellings in areas previously designated exclusively for single-family homes. It’s a response to the growing recognition that single-family zoning can be a barrier to creating affordable and diverse housing options. By allowing higher-density housing, cities are tackling both the housing shortage and promoting more sustainable urban growth.

Another significant trend is the creation of mixed-use, walkable developments. These developments blend residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, fostering communities where living, working, and leisure activities are closely integrated. The benefits of such developments are manifold – they enhance the quality of life, reduce reliance on cars, and contribute to a more vibrant community atmosphere. This trend aligns with the broader shift towards sustainability in real estate emphasizing the industry’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

These zoning trends are not just about reshaping physical spaces; they represent a fundamental shift in how we think about and interact with our urban environments. They reflect a growing consensus that the future of urban development lies in creating more inclusive, sustainable, and livable communities. It’s a trend that speaks to the heart of what we do at Roy R. Fisher, where our expertise in commercial real estate appraisal helps clients navigate these changing landscapes.

Whether you’re a developer, investor, or property owner, understanding these zoning trends is crucial for making informed decisions in today’s dynamic real estate market.

For more insights into the commercial real estate industry, visit our blog or learn more about our comprehensive appraisal services. If you’re looking to explore how these zoning changes might impact your property or investment, feel free to contact us for expert guidance.

How We Help Clients Navigate Property Tax Appeals

Property Tax Appeal negotiationMost owners of larger properties tend to appeal their assessed values regularly. “It’s kind of a dance between the property owner, the county tax offices, their legal department, and local tax representatives, to lower their tax obligation,” explains Certified General Appraiser Mark Nelson, MAI.

Part of this process means Iowa real estate owners must be prepared to appeal their assessments, which have effective dates as of the first day of January in a given year. This takes into account the condition of the property and any additions to the building in the last year. Owners need to get their assessment appeal completed by April 1 for it to be considered by the Board of Review.

Settling without a trial is the ideal outcome. Working with a local commercial real estate appraisal firm makes this process easier. It also makes success more likely. Once the assessment is complete, local Boards of Review submit their report to the director, then the informal hearing process begins.

In the past couple months, we provided appraisals to several County Assessors in Iowa which helped them successfully settle property tax appeals. The property owners protesting were large retail store owners. Some of the retail owners have locations throughout the Midwest, with one having stores across the United States.

It’s not merely the large, multi-state and international corporations benefitting from this type of appeal. We also provided appraisals for several smaller, local property owners, assisting them in successful appeals. Due to their tighter cash flows, our services can be of greater benefit to these clients.

Roy R. Fisher is an appraisal firm that knows the area and has what the appraisal industry refers to as geographic competence. This was key in navigating the appeal process and paid off with successful appeals. An appraisal from a regional expert can make all the difference.

Whether you run a small business or a large multi-national corporation, you need local and regional experts on your side. Even if your appeal does have to go through a formal court case hearing, often happening in November or December, appraisers like those at Roy R. Fisher are called on to be expert witnesses in such cases.

In the field of corporate real estate, having appraisers who know the region in which your company owns property is vital. As Mark Nelson, MAI says, “This is a significant percentage of our business, and we’re recognized throughout the state for our expertise in this area.”

Reach out and contact us to see if a tax appeal is right for you!

What Qualifications do Appraisers need?

man appraising building

Many career paths require years of previous experience. The same is true with appraisers. There are different levels of qualifications and certificates when it comes to a commercial appraisal career. To begin, appraisers must be familiar with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). This set of standards covers topics such as ethics, confidentiality, competencies, and standards for practice in valuation and reporting.

Appraisal licenses and certificates are then split between residential and general (commercial). Iowa and Illinois licenses require about 28 hours of continuing education every two years; however, this can vary from state to state.

With commercial appraisers, they also need to be competent in specific types of properties. Competencies have two main factors: the type of space and the geographic location. For instance, it may be obvious a residential appraiser from Los Angeles would struggle to appraise a car wash in the Quad Cities. Yet there would still be major challenges if a local appraiser who is competent in hotels and motels tried to evaluate that same car wash. There are so many factors affecting a commercial appraisal, which is why it is important to look for firms who have experience with your type of property in your geographic area, or a similar area. The Quad Cities is a unique market since it straddles the border of two states. Roy R. Fisher can work both sides of the Mississippi River with relative ease; although, Iowa and Illinois generally have considerably different market dynamics. Appraisers need to be aware of the continual changes within their area of competency. They need to understand the major employers in the area, information about upcoming developments, even what new laws are in place on local, state, and national levels which may affect property values. Appraisers also need to understand market ratios, such as how much office to manufacturing space is appropriate for a geographic area.

Our appraisers are licensed in Iowa and Illinois with knowledge of how the different markets work together in the QC region. This is another crucial area we take into consideration when evaluating local commercial properties.

Overall, appraisers need to have expertise in the four following areas: familiarity with the USPAP, a state license, at least one competency, and prior experience. If you’re looking for an appraiser, be sure to ask about their past work history to find out if there is a match with their focus or competency and your specific property. Check out our services page or contact us to see if an appraisal is right for you.