Real Estate Valuation (Taxatieleer) is taught by Program Manager Bert De Vos (i.a.). He begins his first class by making attendees distinctly uncomfortable. He shows them location photographs and asks them “is there a real estate market for this?”. “Many real estate professionals tend to say ‘yes’, but they dismiss the importance of culture.”
Thought will be given to all possible factors that can influence the valuation of accommodation. The contradictions and challenges of this thinking will be addressed during classes. “It’s especially interesting for people in Belgium because many of them have their own home.”
Belgium doesn’t always consider the question: is there a real estate market for this? However, it is important to think about valuation in a broader and more abstract way. Bert de Vos says: “Six years ago, one of these first classes on real estate valuation ended at three in the morning. After about six hours we moved to the bar opposite the school where the discussion continued. We sat there with our laptops and pictures because participants wanted to get through all of the cultural possibilities. Even people at the bar and the postman joined in.”
Bert questions many valuations: “I visit many unexpected places where real estate is being valued. Usually I don’t really understand how. Why is this house 300,000 euros and another 400,000 euros? What methods do they use? Justification is key for trust in the sector.”
Other than the ‘gut feeling’ approach, there are broadly three methods for valuing real estate: the comparative method, the price of cost method and the discounted cash flow method. Lots of research has been done on this and there is a wide range of literature available. “Antwerp Management School would like to offer a platform to provide at least the core knowledge of these methods. In so doing, AMS is making a social and intellectual contribution to the professionalization of the real estate sector.”
The structure of such valuation reports will be considered. How can all these hundreds of factors which participants discussed in their first year be integrated into a mathematical model? “You also have be aware that value and price are two different terms. There are templates available to determine prices, but every valuer uses a different method. As a centre of knowledge, we’d like to contribute to reliable and scientific standardisation. The availability of data is the key here. Data needs to be available to which to apply valuation methods. One problem is that such global data is hard to access in Belgium as everyone shields their information. This can lead to huge differences in valuation reports. Home-owners can both win and lose here. But owners aren’t limited to SME-buildings, offices, stores, schools, museums, churches and so on. In a market like this you can only operate by studying methods and exploring their scientific relevance.
“All value-determining factors have a certain degree of uncertainty” says de Vos. “Let’s take the example of a home with a swimming pool. You’d think that such a home would be worth more because of the swimming pool. If only 10 of the 100 candidates are interested in swimming pools, it becomes an uncertainty factor. Another example is solar panels which are now taxed. This makes solar panels an uncertainty factor as well.
In short, all value-determining factors have an inherent degree of uncertainty. The more data you have, the more certain you can be about the uncertainty factor. And thus how accurate your valuation is. “Another important factor for valuation is following question: ‘who needs the value and why?’ Is a valuation needed to sell your house? For your fire insurance? For inheritance rights? Also, buyers rather see different values to sellers.”
Real estate valuation is a series of brokers, financial managers, notaries, lawyers, financial planners, architects and other professionals who handle real estate valuations. “This program’s aim is to give participants an overview of the wide array of factors influencing valuation. Financial, social, technical and legal factors for example. Participants learn to embrace new ways of reasoning and learn that real estate valuation is no hard science. As such, you will leave with a broad view on the dynamics of the real estate market and valuation.”