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When a business is being valued, consider the real estate

October 31, 2012

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If a client owns an office building or manufacturing facility, or any other type of real estate for that matter, it will affect the business’s value. So, the issue at hand is how? Finding out will generally require the input of both a business valuator and a real estate appraiser.

Assumptions and inputs

Business valuators and real estate appraisers use similar methods, but there are important distinctions between the two. Although both use some combination of the income, market and asset-based approaches to valuation, the assumptions and inputs on which they rely may be different.

A business valuator using the income approach, for example, might calculate the present value of the business’s expected future earnings or cash flows, while a real estate appraiser might determine a property’s fair market rental value. A business valuator using the market approach might refer to “guideline” public companies that are comparable with the subject business, while a real estate appraiser might look at sales of comparable buildings or land.

Link between values

Whether you need a business valuator, a real estate appraiser or both depends on the extent to which the business’s value is linked to the value of its underlying real estate. If a company’s revenues are derived from owning or leasing real estate, for example, a real estate appraiser is likely to be the primary valuation professional. Even so, a business valuator may be needed to determine how the form of ownership affects value.

In other cases, real estate is incidental to business value. Say a business owns real estate simply as an investment, or it owns its facilities but derives its revenues primarily from non-real-estate-related activities, such as producing goods or providing services. Here, a business valuator takes the lead role, and a real estate appraiser may or may not be necessary, depending on the business’s real estate holdings relative to its overall value.

Nevertheless, non-real-estate businesses may derive significant value from the location or characteristics of their real estate. Examples include retail stores, auto dealerships and restaurants. For these businesses, a business valuator and real estate appraiser work together to determine the best approach for incorporating real estate value into enterprise value.

Splitting value

If a business has significant real estate holdings, splitting its value into its business and real estate components can lead to a more meaningful value conclusion. This is particularly true when the real estate produces little or no income but has appreciated greatly in value. A failure to split the business and real estate components could result in an incorrect value. Valuing the business as a whole may not reflect the real estate’s contribution to value.

To value real estate separately, the appraiser determines a fair market rental value for the property. The business valuator removes the real estate (and the related income and expense items) from the books and estimates a hypothetical rental expense to the business, which reduces the earnings or cash flows on which the valuation is based. The resulting business value is combined with the stand-alone value of the real estate to arrive at a total enterprise value.

When using the guideline public company method, whether real estate should be valued separately may depend on the comparability of the guideline companies. If the subject company owns its facility but guideline companies lease theirs, it may be appropriate to treat the real estate separately.

The best solution

With business valuations, it’s necessary to consider the value of any real estate owned by the business. To ensure a solid valuation, work with a business valuator and a qualified real estate appraiser.

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a Clark Schaefer Hackett professional. Clark Schaefer Hackett will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.

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