Special-purpose properties

Have you ever heard the term “special-purpose property?” The Appraisal Institute defines such a property as “a limited-market property with a unique physical design, special construction materials, or a layout that restricts its utility to the use for which it was built…”

Typical examples of special-purpose properties are schools, churches/houses of worship, museums, theaters, etc.

In my appraisal career, I have had occasion to appraise a number of schools and churches for the owners of the properties. For example, when a municipality here in central New Jersey was dealing with a reduced public school enrollment, the local school board wanted to explore the possibility of selling one or more school buildings to private entities that would either continue the institutional use (i.e, as a private school, and/or day care), or convert the buildings to some other, profitable use. Also, recently I have appraised several churches, due to older congregations with declining membership wanting to sell their asset to other congregations that are seeing increases in membership, requiring larger spaces for their services.

As you might imagine, this type of appraisal is atypical of real estate appraisal practices. Having a Certified appraiser who is familiar with this type of assignment is critical in the valuation of such special-purpose properties. If you are interested in finding out the market value of such a property, as either a buyer or seller, please feel free to contact me through this site. I will be glad to discuss the process.

1 thought on “Special-purpose properties”

  1. Another type of special-purpose property I have recently appraised was a funeral home. This type of property represents a particular challenge, for a number of reasons. The trend in the funeral business has been for consolidation of ownership and services. (For example, in a town where there have been multiple funeral parlors for many years, several of the business owners may have retired, and have not been replaced by other owner-operators.) This leaves less and less operators to service a larger area, with fewer locations, resulting in few sales (and even fewer leases) of such facilities.

    Appraising such a property requires extensive research, in order to identify value trends relating to this property use. Years of experience in identifying the appraisal problem, and then solving the problem by way of thorough research and analysis, is the key to such an assignment; one that I am happy to take on, in order to provide the client with the level of service they require – and, and have come to expect.

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