Why Tax Assessors Need Commercial Property Databases

Commercial property isn’t like residential. Learn more about why you need a commercial property database.
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Jeff Weiner

Jeff Weiner

CEO & Co-Founder | Transforming Commercial Real Estate Valuation | B2B SaaS Product Innovator | Creating Amazing Software from Zero to Scale | Longevity Enthusiast

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Commercial Property is not like Residential

Yes, that’s an obvious statement, but the tech solutions marketed to governments assume that there isn’t that much difference. Those systems support the collection of basic property characteristics. For example, they often do not store leases, surveys, income and expense data, depreciation, cap rates and more.  Therefore, they lack information critical to either an assessment or to successfully defend a tax appeal. That’s why tax assessors need a commercial property database.

How do assessors cope? Tax assessors and appraisers often build a variety of home-grown spreadsheets, macros or internal databases. Large districts may even employ data science teams costing big money.

Tax assessor organizations need complete commercial real estate valuation data that is current, accurate and easy to access. At the same time, teams need to constantly share appropriate data with many other stakeholders. First step is having all this data in a single platform that is purpose-built for commercial property. As a result, everything is accurate, accessible and secure 24×7.

Commercial Appraisers are Drowning in Spreadsheets

The commercial real estate industry has been drowning in a sea of spreadsheets for decades. Commercial appraisers in taxing districts are in the same boat (or overboard to keep the metaphor intact.) However, that’s beginning to change. The rate of technology innovation is accelerating. For example, Realquantum found in a recent survey that 82% of those in commercial valuation roles are dependent on spreadsheets. The responses ranged from small businesses to major financial institutions and government agencies. Unfortunately, this model results in errors and data trapped in documents. It does not create value for anyone.

The Database

The Realquantum founders set out to solve this problem. The database is the core of the technology. First, it stores asset information following both technology and real estate best practices. For example, the database conforms to best practices laid out by The Appraisal Institute PUCS (Property Use Classification System), OSCRE.org Industry Data Model and the MISMO Commercial Appraisal Working Group. Therefore, it is purpose-built for commercial property, eliminating the need for all those spreadsheets. All commercial property information is in the same place, in the same format. Furthermore, Realquantum updates instantly with secure global access to the entire team everywhere. A “single source of truth” that the taxing district manages. The product was built with scale in mind. Realquantum has the robust architecture, scalability and security demanded by jurisdictions big and small.

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Integrate with Other Valuation Tools

Realquantum APIMany appraisal teams look to 3rd party data sources for comparable information. That’s especially important for finding good comparables outside the district. Integration with a CAMA and other tools may also be needed, depending on the size of the taxing district.

Since realquantum is a native to the cloud, it’s architected for secure integration with complimentary products such as mapping, discounted cash flow tools, external data sources and even drone photography. Perhaps the most important integration is with other applications in your organization and your mass appraisal tool. The team built an API to facilitate integration. They also set up a skilled system integration team to guide assessors in a successful rollout.

How Assessors can use data to create value

Assessors use data to create valueTax assessors need a commercial property database to support a successful data strategy and create value for their citizens. They manage commercial real estate information in a purpose-build application like realquantum. Then, it’s not ‘trapped’ in spreadsheets or other documents and the data drives productivity. Why? Because it is a single source of truth, a central point that’s easier for all parties to maintain and access. Sharing data with a mass appraisal tool reduces costs and improves outcomes of assessment and appeal. It’s happening in more places. Major US cities and small counties are adopting Realquantum. They are to boosting efficiency, reducing errors and improving the defense of tax appeals.

Assessor Use Cases

assessor use casesHere are some ways realquantum could help a taxing district build quality CRE valuation data, boost efficiency and improve tax appeal outcomes. There are probably a ton of other use cases as well.

Create a commercial property database for assessors to help mass appraisal.

  1. Collect CRE data from across your jurisdiction directly and from a mass appraisal product.
  2. Store in the realquantum database. It’s purpose-built for commercial property and follows best practices such as the PUCS (Property Use Classification System).
  3. Collect and maintain comparables relevant to your properties.
  4. Maintain valuation conclusions through time.
  5. Integrate with other taxing district applications via API connection.
  6. Secure, real-time access for your entire team even when working remotely.

Prepare rigorous documentation for the appeals process.

  1. Internal appraisal: Perform internal valuations right in Realquantum using the calculation engine, report writer and mobile app. Import additional data from other sources.
  2. The database contains all analysis and reports in the same place, in the same format
  3. Import 3rd party appraisal data into realquantum quickly so it’s all together.
  4. Create reports at any level of detail from basic to exhaustive depending on the need.
  5. Eliminate spreadsheets and the formula errors that result. The realquantum calculation engine saves time because math errors don’t happen. Stop checking math and focus on building a strong case.

Hopefully, this will give you something to think about for your own taxing jurisdiction. If you want to learn more about realquantum, let’s set up time to talk. We can discuss how it might work in your team

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