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. All three of the appraisers for the firm were raised on farms and have agricultural degrees. Two associates own and operate North Central Iowa farmland. 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.

Do you appraise commercial buildings?
Yes, but not every commercial building. We have developed a database of comparable sales, and a database of replacement costs for commercial buildings that we call the "big boxes." Machinery dealerships, warehouses, repair shops and local industrial buildings fit in the category of "big boxes". Again, we can refer you to very well qualified Certified General Real Property appraisers for specialized use buildings like motels, restaurants, laundromats and strip malls.

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 $600 - $800. 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 three appraisers at Benchmark have over 80 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, but no. Fred Greder is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Iowa, but it was decided several years ago not to be active real estate brokers for two main reasons. First, 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. Second, Benchmark Agribusiness has developed a valued relationship with a network of real estate brokers. They are an excellent source of market information - the lifeblood of our business. Real estate brokers are not as anxious to share hard-earned information with competitors. Although we don't actively market real estate, we do help with the marketing of real estate. Should you auction your property or list it with an agent? Is one time of year better to sell than other times? Ask us.

The broker's license has come in handy a few times when it was possible to match up a client who wanted to sell with another client who wanted to buy and all the parties involved wanted to side step the hoopla of an auction.

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 benchmarkag@mchsi.com.