32 CFR 644.44 - Fee appraisals.

§ 644.44 Fee appraisals.

(a)Definitions and procedures.

(1) The complete and unrestricted ownership of all the rights to the full use and enjoyment of a parcel of real estate is called the “fee simple estate.” An appraisal of this interest is referred to as “Fee Value.”

(2) Most fee appraisals require the use of all three of the standard appraisal approaches.

(b)Applicability. Appraisals of the fair market value of the free and clear fee title to the subject property is necessary in the greatest majority of the Corps of Engineers' real estate responsibilities be it acquisition (full or partial), disposal, inleasing, outleasing, rentals, etc. In almost every case the monetary value of the required estate and interest is based on the fee value of the property; therefore, the Corps' greatest appraisal requirement is for fee appraisals.


(1) It is recommended that whenever possible all three of the standard appraisal approaches, Cost-Market-Income, be used in a fee appraisal. However, if due to the type of property, is is not practical, beneficial, or necessary to use a particular approach, the appraiser is required to indicate in his report that consideration was given to its use and discuss why it was not used.

(2) In the Cost Approach it is extremely important that the appraiser document all items of costs for development, construction, utilities, etc. It also is extremely important that he fully consider all forms of depreciation such as physical deterioration, functional obsolescence, economic obsolescence, etc., and justify his methods and factors used in developing his depreciation factors.

(3) The Market Approach or Comparative method of appraisal is the most direct approach to a market value estimate and is preferred above all others. It is basically an application of the principle of substitution wherein the sales of similar type properties are analyzed to develop a price at which an equally desirable and similar property can be obtained. It involves the collection and analyzing of current sales of comparable properties and comparing these sales to the subject property. Since no two properties are identical, the appraiser must make adjustments for differences between the two. Adjustments may be by a dollar amount (per unit, per acre, or lump sum) or on a percentage basis. Full support and justification must be given for each amount. Adjustments may be shown either by a tabular analysis or by a narrative discussion.

(4) The market value of an income-producing property is quite often governed by the net income it will produce. The fair market value may be estimated by developing the expected net income and processing it into a value estimate by use of an appropriate capitalization rate. The keynote of this approach lies in the sound development of a proper rate. The appraiser must have a basic knowledge of the principle and techniques involved and must be certain that he has adequate data to develop this rate and properly process the income into a fair market value.

(5) It is most important that the valuation estimates developed by all of the approaches used are correlated into one conclusive value. In those cases where there is a substantial spread among values, the appraiser is cautioned to recheck all his data and figures for accuracy. The cost figures and depreciation factors should be checked in the Cost Approach; the sales data should be further documented and analyzed in the Market Approach; and the Income Method may require a recheck of the soundness of the capitalization rate.

(d)Partial takings.

(1) A substantial number of acquisitions require only portions of an ownership necessitating a “partial taking.” In these cases the appraiser is required to estimate the value of the whole ownership before the taking; the value of the remainder - the difference being the value of the part taken. Many times the remainder is of less value after the taking, indicating a “severance damage.” The appraiser is usually required to allocate the total taking value between the value of the part acquired and the severance damage to the remainder by reason of the taking.

(2) In order to promote uniformity in the reporting format, the following example of the “before” and “after” method is presented for guidance:

A 220-acre parcel of land is to be acquired from a 420-acre farm:
Value “before” the taking ($300 p/ac) $126,000
Value of remainder “after” taking ($200 p/ac) 40,000
Total Value of part taken, including severance damage to remainder $86,000
Value of 220 acres taken ($300 p/ac) 66,000
Severance Damage to Remainder $20,000

(3) The appraisal of the property before the taking must be a complete narrative-type appraisal containing adequate market data to support the total value. The report then must also include a full appraisal on the remainder portion of the property consisting of a full description of the residue immediately after the taking and a complete set of market data and sales other than those used in the “before” evaluation. If the remainder parcel has diminished in value as a result of the taking, the appraiser must have adequate support and justification for the reduction in value.

(4) In the case of partial takings, consideration must also be given to offsetting benefits applicable to the remaining property. A combination of legal interpretation of the law and judicial decisions with regard to such benefits must be used in determining whether offsetting benefits are applicable. Reference is made to paragraph A-9 and A-10 in the “Uniform Appraisal Standards For Federal Land Acquisitions.”

(5) Paragraph A-13 of the “Uniform Appraisal Standards” is also referenced in connection with guidance regarding “navigation servitude.”

(e)Appraisal Certificate.

(1) No appraisal report will be considered acceptable without appropriate certification by the appraiser responsible for the contents of the report and the conclusion of values. The certification can be in the front or the back of the report, consistent with Division or District policy.

(2) An appropriate certification shall be substantially in accordance with the following: I certify that I have carefully examined the property described herein and that the estimates as developed in the report represent my unbiased opinion and judgment. I further certify that I have no interest, past, present or prospective, in the subject property which would affect my opinion and that the present fair market value of the (insert estate appraisal) is subject only to all the assumptions and limitations as specifically set forth. (Date and signature of appraiser.)

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