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MicroSolve Commercial Edgar Clodfelter APAS, LLC Chris Miele NEMRC MicroSolve Commercial Workshop Aims to Give some Practical Understanding -Not a class on using MVS Commercial system. Commercial System is a Black Box from M&S - Installation and setup is important

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MicroSolve Commercial

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microsolve commercial

MicroSolve Commercial

Edgar Clodfelter


Chris Miele


microsolve commercial2
MicroSolve Commercial
  • Workshop Aims to Give some Practical Understanding

-Not a class on using MVS Commercial system.

        • Commercial System is a Black Box from M&S -Installation and setup is important

-Simple and easy to use

-Keep it simple

-Approach is similar to calculator method

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MicroSolve Commercial

System Overview

Marshall & Swift Commercial Estimator

  • Relational database consisting of a series of tables linked by the Parcel ID.
  • Allows a record to have as many components as needed.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Parcel Data come primarily from NEMRC System.
  • Zip Code Determines Local Multiplier Used by M&S
  • Neighborhood is used for Land Calculations
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Land Calculations in Commercial same as Residential
  • Site Improvements in Commercial same as Residential
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Section Data describes the Building/Buildings area(s).
  • There can be many uses or occupancies within a section.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Components describe the characteristics of the structure.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Additions allow for additional value for items not included in the Cost system.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Basement information allows for additional value on portions of the building below grade.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Final Values are stored in the Valuation section.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Multiple Pictures can be linked to each record.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Information about the property can be stored in the Notes section.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Records are moved into Commercial CAMA System by selecting Cama File C

R - Residential

C - Commercial

O – Condominium

N - No Cama File

  • Three separate databases
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Caution: Just because a property is classified or categorized as commercial does not mean it should be valued in the commercial system.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Need to decide if building is really a commercial style.
    • Houses converted to Offices
    • Garages
    • Low quality steel buildings
  • Are there considerations making a building suited to residential database?
    • Outbuildings - garages, sheds
    • Concerns about excessive value
    • Need for greater control of value
    • Multiple dwellings/buildings
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MicroSolve Commercial

Three Approaches to Value

1. Cost Approach

  • Indication of value that is the sum of estimated land value and estimated depreciated cost of the building and other improvements.
  • V = LV + IV (CN – D)

2. Market Approach

  • Valuation procedure based on prices paid in actual market transactions used to determine most probable sale price of property being appraised.
  • Income Approach
  • Converts anticipated benefits (dollars) to be derived from ownership into a value estimate.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Cost Approach and Value

  • Replacement Cost
    • Total cost of building construction required to:
        • Replace the subject building.
        • Substitute with like or equal utility.
        • Using current standards of materials and design
  • Reproduction Cost
    • Total cost of building construction to replace with actual replica of salient characteristics or components.
        • Newer buildings replacement approximates reproduction.
        • Use segregated cost method for older buildings
        • Actual replacement may not be available or desirable.
  • Principle of Substitution
    • Economic principle that the price of a commodity tends to be no higher than the price of a substitute having equal utility without undue delay.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Cost Approach and Value

  • Marshall and Swift Cost Approach is based on end costs of buildings to the buyer or owner.
      • Costs are averages of detailed estimates of actual costs breakdowns and total end costs of actual construction projects. – Completed from surveys of construction jobs.
  • Elements of cost include:
      • Direct Costs (labor, materials, equipment, fees and charges)
      • Indirect Costs (overhead, permits, financing, selling expenses)
      • Profit.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Cost Approach and Value

  • Cost Approach
    • Based on cost of production.
    • Applicable for new or proposed construction.
    • Applicable for unique or special purpose properties.
    • Represents the highest and best use of the site.
    • Cost is an avenue to market value.
    • The goal is not Cost, but Market
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MicroSolve Commercial

Marshall and Swift Concepts

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MicroSolve Commercial

Marshall and Swift Methods and Terms

  • Calculator Method – (Used with commercial estimator)
    • Based on concept of cost per increment of floor area.
    • Areas or buildings are defined by a section or multiple sections.
    • Sections are defined by the use of the building, or occupancy. Example – Restaurant, Health Club, Bank, Office, Service Station.
    • Within each occupancy are sqft refinements or components. Example –Exterior Wall, Heating/Cooling, Elevator, Mezzanine.
    • Buildings are classified by Occupancy, and grouped into Sections.
  • Segregated Method – (Not used with commercial estimator)
    • Computes total cost by successively adding the costs of all components of the building.
    • The method is specific and detailed.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Section Information
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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Building Data consists of:
  • Size and shape data, including the total floor area, number of stories and perimeter or shape.
  •  Age data, including effective age, base date and a special age adjustment value.
  •  Depreciation data. 
  • Occupancy data, including the building's occupancy (use), class of construction, story height and cost rank (quality).

The following factors are included:

Total Floor Area (sq. ft.) *

Stories per Section * 

Stories per Building  

Perimeter (linear feet)

Shape * -Use either Perimeter or Shape.

Base Date – Base date of cost tables

Building Adj. 

A dollar amount reflecting unusual conditions.

Fireproof A logical field: enter T or F.

Year Built

Effective Age (years) * Use either YB or Effective Age.

Depreciation %




* Required Field 

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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Single Section:Can be one building with one section.


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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Section Example
    • One Building - One Section
    • Small Satellite Bank Building
    • Simple Example
      • One Section
      • One Occupancy-Bank
      • Two Additions
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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Section Example - 2
    • One Building - Two Sections
    • Office Building and Apartment
    • Example Breakout
      • Two Sections
      • Three Occupancies- Offices, Apt.
      • Basement Finish
    • Alternative Breakout
      • Three Sections
      • Four Occupancies
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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Section Example - 3
    • Two Buildings – Two Sections on same Property
    • Manufacturing Building
    • Restaurant Building with Retail and apartment.
    • More Complex Example
      • Two Sections, Two Buildings
      • Section 1 - 2 Occupancies
      • Section 2 – 3 Occupancies
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Section Fields

MicroSolve Commercial

Total Floor Area (Required)

  • The total floor area of a section is the total area on all floors based on the building's exterior dimensions.
  • Example: The entry for 24,525 square feet is:

Total Floor Area (sq. ft.) 24525

No Commas

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Section Fields

MicroSolve Commercial
  • Number of Stories
  • Estimate with One Section: If estimate has only one section, enter its number of stories in “Number of Stories: Section” only.
  • Example: The entry for a building with 3 stories, entered as a single section, is:

Number of Stories: Section _3___ Building ____

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Vertically Sectioned Building: If you vertically section a building, enter the number of stories in each section under “Number of Stories: Section.”
  • Example: A building that is part 6 stories and part 3 stories can be vertically sectioned as follows:
  • The entries for this building are:

Section 1

Story/Section __6__ Building ____

Section 2:

Story/Section __3__ Building ____

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Horizontally Section Buildings: If you horizontally section a building, enter the number of stories in each section under “Number of Stories: Section,” and the total number of stories in the building under “Number of Stories: Building.”
  • Example: A building that has a one-story bank on the first floor (20' story height), and five stories of offices on the second through sixth stories (10' story height), is sectioned horizontally as follows:
  • The entries for the Building are:

Section 1:

Stories/Section __1__ Building __6__

Section 2:

Stories/ Section __5__Building __6__

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MicroSolve Commercial

Perimeter or Shape

  • Perimeter: The total linear feet of wall that encloses the floor area (based on exterior dimensions).
  • If the perimeter varies in a multistory building, enter the average perimeter.
  • Can enter perimeter or shape.
  • It is best to enter the perimeter.
  • Example: If a 10-story building has a perimeter of 660 feet on the first floor and 500 feet on the other 9 floors, the average perimeter is:

Shape: If you do not know the perimeter, you can enter one of the following shapes:

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Depreciation (determined by the system) is calculated based on age or effective age, rank, occupancy and class.
    • There is no field for Condition.
  • This calculation does not include either abnormal or excessive functional depreciation, or any external obsolescence.
    • System documentation regarding base date and effective age has changed.
      • Base date is now the base date of the cost tables in use.
  • Definitions
  • Depreciation is loss in value due to any cause. Depreciation is divided into three general categories, as discussed below.
  • 1. Physical depreciation is loss in value due to physical deterioration.
    • Curable – Short lived items (Flooring, Paint)
    • Incurable – Long lived items, require major construction to replace (Foundations, Heating systems)
  • 2. Functional obsolescence is loss in value due to lack of utility or desirability of part

or all of the property.

- Many older buildings suffer from

functional obsolescence.

- Lack of Elevators, Adequate Wiring

  • 3. External, locational or economic obsolescence is loss in value due to causes outside the property and independent of it.
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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Effective age of a property is its age as compared with other properties performing like functions.
  • It is the actual age less the age which has been taken off by updating the building through improvements or structural reconstruction, and removing functional inadequacies.
  • It is the age reflective of the true remaining life for the property, after consideration of the typical life expectancy of buildings of its class and its usage.
  • It is a matter of judgment, taking all factors, current and those anticipated, into consideration.

M&S Life Expectancy Tables

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Example
  • Retail/Office Building
    • Class C , Average Quality
    • Typical Life = 50 Years
    • Electrical System Replaced 10 Yrs. Ago
    • Heating system replaced 5 Yrs. Ago
    • Roof repaired 8 Yrs. Ago
    • Interior renovations 10 Yrs. Ago.
    • Estimated Remaining Life = 40 Yrs

Typical Building Life = 50 Years

Estimated Remaining = 40 Years

Effective Age = 10 Years

    • What other form of obsolescence is associated with this building?
    • Compare the two buildings Utility.
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MicroSolve Commercial


  • If Year Built or Effective Age is used Depreciation is called “Physical & Functional”
  • If Overall Depr. Is used Depreciation is called “Physical & Functional”
  • If “Phys Depr.” is used Depreciation is called “Physical”
  • If use “Physical” and “Functional” both are displayed.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Occupancy Information
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MicroSolve Commercial
    • Occupancy, or building use : identifies the use or uses of the building as it was originally designed.
    • For a building without an exact occupancy description choose the most similar type.
    • If the designed use and the actual use differ, the design generally determines the cost used in calculating the basic replacement cost. Therefore, use the occupancy of the designed use to determine costs.
      • Example – Curves (health clubs/exercise facility) are frequently
      • located in converted retail space.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Must enter at least one occupancy in each section of the building.
  • Must enter the percentage of the total floor area for each occupancy.
  • Total percentage for all occupancies in the section must be 100%.
  • Can enter as many occupancies in each section as you need.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Occupancy-related factors: (all required):

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MicroSolve Commercial

Occupancy Codes in MicroSolve and M&S

More than 150

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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Class of Construction
    • Divides buildings into basic cost groups by type of framing
    • (supporting columns and beams), walls, floor and roof structures
    • and fireproofing.
        • A - Fireproof Structural Steel Frame
        • B - Reinforced Concrete Frame
        • C – Masonry Bearing Walls
        • D - Wood or Steel Stud Framed Exterior Walls
        • S - Metal Frame Walls
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Fireproofed structural steel frame, which may be welded, bolted or riveted together.
  • The fireproofing may be masonry, poured concrete, plaster, sprayed fiber or any other method, which gives a high fire-resistance rating.
  • Floor and roof are normally reinforced concrete on steel decking or formed slabs resting on the frame or poured to become integral with it.
  • Exterior walls are curtain walls of masonry, concrete, steel studs and stucco, or one of the many types of panels of metal, glass, masonry or concrete.
  • Interior partitions frequently are of masonry or gypsum block, although many movable and lightweight steel partitions are used.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Reinforced concrete frame in which the columns and beams can be either formed or precast concrete.
  • Class B buildings are fire-resistant structures.
  • Floors and roofs are formed or precast concrete slabs.
  • Exterior walls are masonry or reinforced concrete curtain walls or any of the many types of wall panels of concrete, metal, glass or stone. In some class B buildings the walls may be partially load bearing.
  • Interior partitions are often masonry, reinforced concrete or gypsum block. Many lightweight and movable partitions are used where structural walls are not needed.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Masonry or reinforced concrete construction.
  • The walls may be load-bearing, i.e., supporting roof and upper floor loads, or nonbearing with concrete, steel or wood columns, bents or arches supporting the load.
  • Wood or steel joists or trusses support upper floors and roofs. Ground floors may be concrete slabs. Upper floors may be of concrete plank, steel deck or wood. Bearing walls are frequently strengthened by concrete bond beams and pilasters.
  • Class C buildings are not fire-resistant structures.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Class D buildings are characterized by combustible construction.
  • Exterior walls may be made up of closely spaced wood or steel studs as in the case of a typical frame house.
  • Exterior walls may be wood siding, shingles, stucco, brick or stone veneer or some other type of material.
  • Floors and roofs are supported on wood or steel joists or trusses.
  • The floor may be a concrete slab on the ground.
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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Incombustible construction and prefabricated structural members.
  • They are not fire-resistant buildings.
  • Exterior walls may be steel studs or an open-steel-skeleton frame with exterior coverings of prefabricated panels or sheet siding.
  • Upper floors and roof are supported on steel joists or beams.
  • Ground floors are typically concrete slabs.
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Story Height

MicroSolve Commercial


  • Story height is the vertical distance from the top of one floor to the top of the next floor.
  • In a one-story building, measure story height from the floor surface to the roof eave. (Do not include parapets (extensions of the wall above the roofline) in story height.)
  • Must enter a story height for each occupancy. (Different from manual)
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MicroSolve Commercial

Story Height Examples

When using a single section, if the story heights vary in a multistory building, you can do any of the following:

  • Example 1: One section – Two Occupancies – Different Heights
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MicroSolve Commercial

Story Height Examples - Averaging

  • Example 2: One section – One Occupancy – Different Heights
        • Three Story Building – 1st Floor 18 Foot
                  • - 2nd 3rd Floors 10 Foot Each
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MicroSolve Commercial

Story Height Examples

  • Example 3: One section – One Occupancy – Different Heights
    • For unfinished attics, include half of the increased height of the attic area when computing average story height.
        • Two Story Building – 10 Foot each Floor
        • - 8 Foot Attic Area
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MicroSolve Commercial



Rank refers to Quality .

The quality scales against which most buildings and their parts must be rated are:

Rank 1 - LOW COST

Rank 2 – AVERAGE

Rank 3 – GOOD


Split grades are allowed

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MicroSolve Commercial


  • Low (Rank 1) - These tend to be very plain buildings that conform to minimum building code requirements. Interiors are plain with little attention given to detail or finish. Typically, there are minimum mechanical and low-cost finishes throughout.
  • Average (Rank 2) - These buildings are the most commonly found and meet building code requirements. There is some ornamentation on the exterior with interiors having some trim items. Lighting and plumbing are adequate to service the occupants of the building.
  • Good (Rank 3) - These are generally well designed buildings. Exterior walls usually have a mix of ornamental finishes. Interior walls are nicely finished and there are good quality floor covers. Lighting and plumbing include better quality fixtures.
  • Excellent (Rank 4) - Usually, these buildings are specially designed, have high-cost materials and exhibit excellent workmanship. Both exteriors and interiors have custom and ornamental features. Lighting and plumbing include high-cost fixtures.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Examples Using MVS Commercial Manual

Examples Using MVS Commercial

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • Components
  • Building components include exterior walls, heating and cooling, elevators, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, mezzanines, balconies.
  • In Marshall & Swift tables, many types of buildings (or occupancies) are assumed to have such components, and their cost is already included in the square foot rate.
  • It is not necessary to enter components unless greater control, accuracy, or description is necessary.
  • However, it is a good idea to break down components:
    • Demonstrates a proper inspection was completed.
    • Gives greater control for complex buildings.
    • Underlying assumptions knowledge is limited.
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MicroSolve Commercial


ExteriorWall Type Percent Units Grade UOM Depreciation

Components – Wall Type

Type: Brick 1-Solid 3-Brick w/ Block Back Block: 8-Concrete 12- Textured 17 – Glass

Concrete: 18-Formed 20- Precast Stone: 23- Rubble Veneer Pre-Engineered: 43- Metal Sandwich Panel

Stud Walls: 56-Wood 57- Plywood 58-Hardboard 60- Metal 61-Vinyl 62-Shingles 65-Stucco

67-Brick Veneer 68- Block Veneer 72- Stresskin Panel

Single Wall 73-Rustic Log 74-Metal on Wood 75-Metal Steel

Grade (Rank): 1-Low 2- Average 3- Good 4- Excellent

Units of Measure: 1- Square Feet 2- Units Units: Square Feet or Number

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MicroSolve Commercial

Wall Definitions

Descriptions for exterior walls: (See back section of manual)

MASONRY WALLS – CAMA Pre-Code MN (M&S Codes 801-826)

These walls are constructed entirely of masonry units (or concrete) which are bonded together with mortar or some other type of cementing material.

CURTAINWALLS – CAMA Pre-Code CW (M&S Codes 840-855)

These are non-bearing exterior walls supported by the structural frame of the building. These walls carry no load other than their own weight. The primary function of these walls is to protect the interior of the building from the weather.

PRE‑ENGINEERED WALLS – CAMA Pre-Code PE (M&S Codes 860-872)

These walls are pre‑fabricated panels constructed with two sheets or “skins” (interior and exterior) bonded to a core material.

STUD WALLS – CAMA Pre-Code SW (M&S Codes 880-891)

These walls are of wood or steel stud bearing wall construction.

- When stresskin sandwich panel replaces the stud framing, use additive component Number 891.


Refers to a wall enclosure that is typically applied over an open skeleton prefabricated metal or wood pole framed building.

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MicroSolve Commercial

Heating/Cooling Type Percent Units Grade UOM Depreciation

Components - Heating/Cooling

Type: 1-Electric 2-Elec. Wall 3-Forced Air 4-Hot Water 5-Hot Water Rad. 6-Space Heat 7-Steam

8-Steam No Boiler 9-Ventilation 10-Wall Furnace 11-Package Unit 12-Warm Cool Air

13-Hot Chill Water 14-Heat Pump 15-Floor Furnace 16-Ind Thru Wall 17-Complete HVAC

18- EvapCool 19-Refrig Cool 20- No HVAC

  • The commercial manual has a good description of each type.
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Components - Other

MicroSolve Commercial

ComponentType Percent Units Grade UOM Depreciation

Type: 1-Elevator by Area 2-Passenger Elevator 3-Freight Elevator 5-Sprinklers 6-Dry Sprinklers 7- Wet Sprinklers

8-Mezzanine 9-Display Mezzanine 10-Office Mezzanine 11-Open Mezzanine 12- Storage Mezzanine

13-Malls Open 14-Malls Covered 15-Malls Enclosed 16-MallsElevator 17-Balcony 18-Fire Alarm


MicroSolve Commercial


Additions allow the inclusion of items to the report that are not available in the M&S CAMA program.

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MicroSolve Commercial

Report Headings indicates where to print the addition in the report, using one of the following codes:

  • Examples:
    • Porches or Decks
    • Tanks
    • Canopy
    • Storage Buildings
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Basement :

  • Basement information parallels that in the Section, Occupancy, and Components for the building as a whole.
  • Basements frequently have separate uses and occupancies.
  • Basement section allows for specifying specific uses.
MicroSolve Commercial


Basement Levels:______________________ Basement Perimeter: ______________________

Basement Shape: ______________________ 1-Appx Sq 2- Sl Irr 3- Irregular 4- Very Irregular

Basement Occupancy Class Type Area Depth Grade Depreciation

Occupancy: See Codes Class: A,B,C,D,S

Type: 1-Finished 2- Semi Finished 3-Unfinished 4-Display 5-Office 6-Parking 7-Residential

BasementComponent Type Units Grade UOM Depreciation

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -1 04-242-04

Retail/Apartments - 3 Story Brick Building

1 Section – 2 Occupancies – Unfinished Basement

10,557 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -2 04-242-05

Light Manufacturing - 1 Story Metal Building with Office

1 Section – 2 Occupancies -with Components and Additions

16,637 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -3 04-242-06

Motel - 1 Story Wood Structure

1 Section - 2 Occupancies

3,200 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -4 04-242-07

New Office Building - 2 Story Brick Building

1 Section – 1 Occupancy – Elevator and Sprinklers

52,824 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -5 04-242-08

Fitness Center - 1 Story Precast Panels

1 Section – 2 Occupancies – Finished Basement Area

25,154 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -6 04-242-09

Warehouse Building with Office - 1 Story

1 Section – 1 Occupancy – Runs Income System

18,512 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -7 04-242-10

Manufacturing Plant - 3 Buildings

3 Sections – 4 Occupancies

63,256 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -8 04-242-11

Lumber Yard - 2 Main Buildings with 7 Lumber Sheds

3 Sections - 11 Occupancies -

56,642 SQFT

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MicroSolve Commercial

Example -9 04-242-12

Marriott Hotel - 1 House

1 Sections – 1 Occupancy – 3 Additions

51-191 SQFT

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Record to Enter – 04-242-13 and 14

MicroSolve Commercial

16 ‘ Height – Equip. Shed

Office SQFT = 2,250 – 26%

Full Basement Partial FNA

Garage SQFT = 6,300 – 74%

Total SQFT = 8,550

Class S - Stud Metal Siding

EFF Age – 30

Porch Addition = 200 Sqft

Equip Bldg SQFT 2 = 3,200

Class D - Stud Wood Siding

EFF Age - 20

10 ‘ Height – Office

20 ‘ Height – Service Repair Garage

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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Errors

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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Errors

  • Commercial CAMA system produces Calculation Errors for missing data that is required for completion of cost calculation.
  • The key is to be organized in your layout of the record, especially if multiple sections, occupancies , and components are involved.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Error Sample -1

The Most Common One

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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Error Sample -2

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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Error Sample -3

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MicroSolve Commercial

Calculation Error Sample -4

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MicroSolve Commercial

Land Cost System Error – Missing NBHD Code

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MicroSolve Commercial

Income Approach

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Income Approach

MicroSolve Commercial
  • Income producing properties should be valued using the income approach to substantiate value.
  • Use the commercial cost approach to approximate the income approach value.
  • Income approach does not have to be elaborate. Must be able to “talk the talk.”
    • Example of industrial plant in Ludlow.
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MicroSolve Commercial

Conclusions and Summary

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MicroSolve Commercial
  • NEMRC/MicroSolve Commercial System has made improvements.
  • Still multiple versions in existence across the State.
  • It is simple to use, but can value complex properties.
  • There is no cookbook to appraising property.
  • Must understand the market and market conditions to value commercial property.
  • Cost is a means to MARKET VALUE.