Friday, January 20, 2023

German Property Portfolio Valuation


Four story commercial property in downtown Hannover 

The actual valuation assignment was to appraise a one-half ownership interest in four rental properties in the cities of Hannover and Kiel in Germany. These were multifamily, mixed use and one retail property. 

These interests were inherited by a U.S. citizen, but the other half owner is German. 

To value a partial interest, one has to discount for an owner’s lack of liquidity, lack of control, lack of marketability and lack of mortgage financing. 

Finding comparable sales is extremely difficult, especially in a country of such strict privacy laws as Germany, and because only about one out of about every 500 property sales in western capitalist societies are of fractional interests. 

The ultimate intended user of the appraisal was the Internal Revenue Service, so the appraisal report had to be an English language report done by an IRS “qualified appraiser” who prepares an appraisal report compliant with USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Much of my international work is this kind – inheritances, gifts and the increase in tax basis to spouses of decedents. 

I used a technique known as “factor-based fractional discounting”, a technique developed by the Appraisal Institute, in which individual value factors are quantified and discounted, such as asset risk, profitability, condition, liquidity, diversification, size of interest, lack of control, quality of management and growth potential. I also had to do this method in my last jobs in Korea and Mexico as well as one of the French properties I handled in 2017.

The trip to Germany took place during the New Year Holiday, and it rained every day I was there.  I bought a raincoat of the German fashion name "Camp David", no relationship to the U.S. President's weekend white house. Here I am displaying it.

I finished the trip in the charming city of Hamburg. Perhaps John F. Kennedy would have said "Ich bin ein Hamburger!"