Expert Witness Sheds Light on Property Value in CBAA Court Hearing

Consultant Gus Agosto recently testified as an expert witness during a court hearing held by the CBAA (Central Board of Assessment Appeals) last May 4, 2023. The hearing pertained to a property subject to litigation and required an assessment of its value. Agosto played a crucial role in shedding light on the property’s worth, providing a comprehensive description, and highlighting its current condition.

The CBAA is a quasi-judicial agency under the Department of Finance (DOF). Its primary responsibility is to make decisions on real property tax assessment cases that have been appealed from the decisions of the LBAAs (Local Board of Assessment Appeals) of cities and provinces. This mandate is defined by Republic Act (RA) No. 7160, also known as the Local Government Code.

A lawyer expressed her admiration for Gus Agosto’s performance during the cross-examination, stating, “Thank you for dedicating your time and putting in the effort to prepare for the cross-examination. Your performance today was commendable.”

Augusto offers valuable litigation appraisal support for civil litigation and criminal cases in both local and international courts. With his vast expertise in appraisal and litigation as an expert witness, he has consistently achieved remarkable outcomes throughout his extensive professional career. He specializes in providing legal support in various cases, including marital settlement, expropriation, estate settlement, eviction, lease disputes, and other related matters. His experience and knowledge make him a trusted resource in the legal field.

USC Faculty Sheds Light on Interdependence of Philippine Real Estate and Stock Markets

Investing in real estate and stock markets are popular ways to grow wealth, but can combining them in a portfolio provide the benefits of diversification for investors in the Philippines? According to a recent study presented at the International Conference on Business and Economics by Assistant Professor Agosto from the University of San Carlos, the answer is no.

Agosto’s paper highlighted the positive relationship between the Philippine real estate and stock markets in both the long and short term. While this may seem like a positive development, Agosto’s research suggests that investors cannot gain the benefits of diversification by including both markets in their portfolios.

Agosto’s research also suggests that the causal relationship between the Philippine real estate and stock markets is unidirectional, with stock prices tending to outperform housing prices. This indicates the presence of a wealth effect, with stock market performance contributing positively to the rise in the real estate market. As a result, real estate is used considerably more as an investment vehicle in the Philippines, and house prices are rather high.

While real estate and stock markets are good investment options on their own, Agosto’s findings suggest that investors cannot gain the benefits of diversification by building a portfolio that includes both markets in the Philippines.

This has important implications for investors and policymakers in the country. While real estate and stock markets may seem like attractive options for investment allocation, investors must be aware that including both markets in their portfolios does not offer enough diversification benefits. Instead, they should consider other investment options to diversify their portfolio and manage risk effectively.

Agosto’s study is a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge on real estate in the Philippines, which has a dearth of research on the topic. His work sheds light on the interdependence of the real estate and stock markets in the country, providing important insights for investors and policymakers.

Investors should be aware that including both markets in their portfolio does not provide enough diversification benefits. Instead, alternative investment options should be considered to manage risk effectively.

AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy Conducts Feasibility Studies for Real Estate Development Projects in the Philippines

Feasibility studies are an essential aspect of real estate development, as they help to determine the viability and profitability of a potential project before investing significant time and money. Feasibility studies are conducted to evaluate the financial, technical, legal, environmental, and market factors of a project to determine if it is practical and profitable to proceed.

The study included a market analysis to determine the demand for the different components of the project, as well as a financial analysis to determine the costs and potential returns of the project.

Based on the results of the feasibility study, the developers were able to make informed decisions about the design and construction of the project, including the size, layout, and amenities of the various components. The study also helped the developers to identify potential risks and challenges associated with the project, and to take measures to minimize or mitigate them.

AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy, a real estate consulting firm, has conducted feasibility studies for various real estate development projects in the Philippines. Two notable projects are a hotel in Ermita, Manila, and an integrated marina resort in Lapulapu City.

The first project involved evaluating potential hotel development sites and making recommendations for facilities and brand affiliations. The proposed hotel will be a component of a mixed-use development plan and will cater to the needs of local travelers and businessmen. The market study showed that the most viable project with the highest return on investment is the renovation of the existing hotel, resulting in a projected income and a return on investment of 770%. The project will help promote tourism and create employment opportunities in the area.

The second project is envisioned to be a world-class standard, with a full-service hotel property, condominium, marina clubhouse, and berth slip. The study analyzed the site, physical improvements, and amenities, as well as the outlook for the national economy, capital markets, and resort hotel visitation. The report also projected income and expenses for both the proposed hotels, and the marina component, and provided a feasibility conclusion with respect to the projected return on investment. The project is projected to generate a profit margin with the key assumption that operations will be managed by key executives and the workforce. Two ways to generate higher profit are to link up with an international hotel and obtain TIEZA accreditation.

Both projects are expected to help fill the gap in the government’s thrust to promote tourism and create employment opportunities in the area.

Consultant Agosto named Real Estate Fellow

Consultant Agosto was among the individuals in real estate recently named Fellow in Real Estate Management by the Philippine chapter of the Paris-based International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI). The awardees were honored for their outstanding performance and contribution to the growth of the real estate industry.

“The honorees were conferred ‘Fellow in Real Estate Management, a distinction that will set them apart as models of the industry in their respective fields of specialization. And whose expert opinions will be much sought after and highly regarded even by their peers,” according to Dr. Eduardo G. Ong, a FIABCI-Ph vice-chairman.

The conferment of a real estate fellow was held during the Property & Real Estate Excellence Awards, last 9 December at Okada Hotel Manila.

“The achievements of fellows virtually highlight the historic milestones in the various academic and professional disciplines constituting the property and real estate industry,” FIABCI-Ph president Dr. Reghis M. Romero II said.

The Fellow in Real Estate Management Awards were carried out to recognize exemplar individuals for their performance, achievement, and the role they played in the real estate industry, continuing professional education, which contributed to the economic development of our country.

FIABCI Philippines is the Philippine Chapter of Federation Internationale des Admistrateurs de Bied & Conselis Immobiliers (FIABCI), otherwise known as the INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE FEDERATION, a worldwide federation of real estate professionals spread over the three principal regions: the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe-Africa-Near-East; with chapters in more than 60 countries, and with more than 125 professional organizations in its membership roster.

Appraiser as an Expert Witness Abroad

Expert witnesses attend trials to provide specialist information to help the court make an informed decision. However, there are some difficulties that expert witnesses may face when presenting complex information to a court of law.

Understanding the functions of appraisers as an expert witness is vital. Below are some of the tasks that expert witnesses should carry out when they appear in court.

  • They should be impartial. This means that an expert witness does not act as an additional advocate or represent either party in a court case. The appraiser serves to provide the court with more information regarding a topic that they are knowledgeable about.
  • An expert in real estate valuation is one of the specializations. This field could be anything ranging from valuation, title search, evidence-based assumptions.
  • An expert witness may be asked to offer their opinion before the court if necessary.
  • They need to deliver potentially complex principles or scientific concepts to the judge in a way that is easy to understand.

Expert testimony is needed in international family law cases. Recently I was appointed to  act as expert witnesses in various court cases abroad. Such testimony is often secured in cases concerning marriage dissolution, real estate partition. However, it is also useful in a myriad of other cases.

Such testimony might concern:

  • The lawyer’s experience with and knowledge of real estate valuation;
  • The division of foreign marital assets;
  • The discovery of hidden marital assets; and
  • The enforcement of foreign divorce and custody judgments.
  • Inheritance taxes in foreign countries.

Gus Agosto has been appointed as an expert on real estate valuation in many jurisdictions throughout the United States, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and many more.

Gus Agosto has provided expert evidence in the form of testimony, deposition, expert witness reports and affidavits to many courts concerning valuation of real estate properties on family matter.

To have a firm grasp in handling clients as expert witness, one should have knowledge on the country’s family rules and procedures on expert witness. Including the content of the report and the timetable of the submission.

Following are the examples of the family rules in two countries, Australia and United Kingdom.

The Clients are screened mainly by lawyers; thus, credibility and experience in the profession are essential.

Agosto Named as Expert Witness in Australia

All rise!

Gus Agosto was recently appointed to act as an Expert Witness in a Family Court of Australia. The court and parties’ instruction is to conduct a valuation of properties in dispute as a part of marital settlement. They are adopting the standards set by the International Valuation Standards and the Philippine Valuation Standards and under Rule 15.5 of the Australia’s Family Law Rules of 2004.

An expert witness is a person who has recognized and reliable specialist knowledge, skills, or experience in the particular area under consideration in a court case. The court will call for expert evidence where there is a need to understand the nature of the material presented outside the court’s knowledge and experiences.

Before the appointment, the Supreme Court of State of New York and California Family Court appointed Consultant Gus as an Expert Witness to a court dispute. Also, in a similar case in a Family Court in Australia, he was then appointed as an Expert Witness.

An expert witness’s essential duty is to help the court with matters within the expert witness’s knowledge and capability and give an objective and unbiased opinion that is also independent and impartial on issues within the expert witness’s knowledge and capacity.

“I am happy to be of help to our clients in different part of the world. Being appointed by the court or by the parties involved is not an easy task. I was subjected to different screening on my qualifications, experience, and knowledge,” Consultant Gus exclaimed.

Gus is currently the President of AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy. He is also working as a consultant of the Asian Development Bank and a University of San Carlos faculty. He is a licensed real estate broker, appraiser, consultant, and environmental planner.

On Housing Backlog

Value of the Appraisal Profession

In the recent episode of Ikonsulta mo kay Doc EG, Appraiser Consultant Gus Agosto was interviewed on the state and importance of the appraisal profession. Appraiser Gus provided a deeper look on government expropriations due to build, build, build program, and the initiatives provided by the Supreme Court to hasten the resolution of expropriation cases. These includes the creation of special courts for public roads and the new ruling on the reconveyance of properties, which are not in its public use.

Dr. Eduardo G. Ong, was the first chairman of the Professional Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES) which is under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission. He is currently the Dean of Real Estate Management in Lyceum University in Las Pinas City.

The interview highlighted on the different methodology in appraisal and its importance to the real estate professionals, buyers, sellers, banks, courts and other players of the industry.

Consultant Appraiser Gus Agosto is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AA+ Appraisal & Consultancy, Inc., which is primarily based in Cebu. Some of its notable clients are the Cebu Provincial Government, Ayala Property Management Corporation, Paramount Property Ventures, University of Southern Philippines, Southwestern University, Queensland Property Development, Vivant Corporation, GSE Law Firm, Atup Uy Ahong Law Offices, PTT Corporation and many more. He was also hired as consultant by the Asian Development Bank for an Inclusive Housing Financing Project.

The discussion ended with the insightful presentation shared on the need to propagate the value of the profession and the continuing education for the appraisers in order to get the trust of the public.

“Public should trust the appraisers on the value aspect of their properties. Appraisers are trained and knowledgeable in this craft, and they continue honing their skills to serve the public better.” Consultant Gus Agosto ended.

Cebu-based Consulting firm reaches New Milestone

Cebu, Philippines – AA+ Appraisal & Consulting, the predecessor of AA RealtyPro Solutions,  a Cebu-based consulting firm, is pleased to announce that the firm completed serving its 300th client, which also marked the Php 25 Billion plus worth of properties appraised, in more than 70 cities and provinces. This accomplishment is indicative of  continued growth in leadership among real estate consulting firm in the country market.

Gus Agosto, President and CEO of the firm, stated “I am so proud of our team and their hard work over the years to reach this tremendous level of success. Our primary goal is to serve our clients by helping them both in providing necessary information in decision making. It is an honor and privilege to work with entrepreneurs to help them reach their real estate and financial goals.”

AA+ Appraisal and Consulting was founded to help property owners, developers, government agencies, financial institutions and the like in providing solutions to their real estate needs. The Company are committed to helping clients in providing one-stop shop in real estate development consulting, property acquisition and project financial review.

Some notable clients of the firm are Vivant Energy Corporation, Ayala Property Management Corp., Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation, General Milling Corporation, Queensland Development, Coldlink Asia, Contempo Development Corporation, Paramount Property Ventures, PTT Corporation, Travelbee Corporation, CFI Multipurpose Cooperatives, Cenapro Chemical Corp., Fairchild Multipurpose Cooperative, Enterprise Bank, University of the Philippines, University of Southern Philippine Foundation, UCCP, Provincial Government of Cebu and many more.

See more…

Manila realtors discusses highest and best use

The Manila Board of Realtors (MBR) in its Annual Membership Meeting invited Appraiser Consultant Gus Agosto to discuss the highest and best use analysis. It was designed to provide members a brief view on the concept and purpose of highest and best use in the appraisal and development process. The meeting was held on October 7,2020 via zoom webinar.

Paying attention to the highest and best use will better the appraisal and consulting profession as a whole, and help practitioners in their transactions and for the appraisers to improve reports.

Appraiser Agosto, who is also a consultant of the Asian Development Bank, emphasizes the importance of the highest and best use analysis in providing different options and market value estimates for the same property. He provided an example from a listing of a real estate practitioner which marketed the property as a 4-storey apartment for Php 41 Million. However, the same property can be marketed as a potential 10-storey apartment and can be sold for Php 63.2 Million. Also, it can be marketed as a Serviced Apartment and can be sold to investors at Php 84 Million.

Highest and best use is extremely important in appraisal reporting because the market value estimate depends entirely on the nature of the present or anticipated use for it according to the concept of surplus productivity. It determine the selection of comparable sales and ultimately determine the market value estimate.

“Highest and best use is not only important but a must in the value consulting process”, the consultant concluded.