What is your specialty?
Real estate valuation is the foundation of all of the real estate support services provided by Benchmark Agribusiness. Nearly 90% of the appraisals are of agricultural and rural properties.  Both of the appraisers for the firm were raised on farms and have agricultural degrees.  The appraisal of modern, specialized use hog facilities has become our "sub-specialty" within the agricultural industry.

Do you appraise houses?
Yes, only if it is in the country. Have you ever heard the expression "a jack of all trades but, a master of none?" We choose to be specialists. If you need a house appraised in one of North Central Iowa's cities or towns, we can refer you to Certified Residential Appraisers with a good database of house sales.

How much do appraisals cost?
Appraisals vary greatly in cost and complexity. Some properties are more complex than others. Farms with buildings are more complex than farms with only cropland. Farms with the potential to be converted to commercial or industrial lots are more complex than farms that have always been and will likely always be farmland. The appraisal of a typical rural building site will vary from $700 - $900. The appraisal of modern farm buildings and commercial buildings is more complex than houses.

How long does it take to get an appraisal?
Less complex appraisals can be completed more quickly. Last year, the average turnaround time for a farm with no buildings and with no development potential was less than four weeks.

What is your territory?
We've appraised modern hog facilities in nine states! However, over 80% of the properties we appraise are within an hour's drive from Mason City. The philosophy at Benchmark Agribusiness is that there is a lot more involved in knowing the real estate market than spending an afternoon at the local courthouse. The two appraisers at Benchmark have over 50 years of combined industry experience in North Central Iowa. We know the neighborhoods and the market makers within those neighborhoods.

Does your firm also sell real estate?
Yes.   Fred Greder is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Iowa.  Many clients specifically choose Benchmark Agribusiness to find out what their real estate is worth because they are considering selling the property. They want an objective opinion from someone who does not anticipate a possible future interest in the property.  

We’ve become adept at walking that fine line between the objectivity it takes to be an appraiser while still being available to also offer the services of a broker.

Being a broker has made me a better appraiser.   Now , when I sign an appraisal report, I ask myself,  “Okay Greder, do you think you could find somebody to pay that much?”

Or, “Okay Greder, have you gathered enough information about these farms to answer all of the questions of a potential buyer prospect?”  If not, I still don’t know enough about the farm to state an opinion of value.

I’ve gotten the sense from the farm community that I have more creditability as a valuation expert by being in the arena with the lions.

Do you testify in court?
Yes. The number of appraisal and consulting assignments that evolve into depositions and courtroom testimony has been increasing in recent years. Fred Greder, the principal appraiser for Benchmark Agribusiness , is also trained in the alternative dispute resolution technique of mediation.

If you have more questions that we can answer for you, don't hesitate to call us at 641-424-6983 or email fred@benchmarkagribusiness.com.