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Dream Big!

Taxing “Seconds” Deters Sales

The September issue’s article on second homes [“Who’s Up for Seconds?,” page 42] is very informative. However, one thing that isn’t mentioned is the negative effect of rapidly rising prices on the property tax situation.
With the increasing tax disparity of primary residences vs. second homes, due to the Save Our Homes provision of the Florida Constitution, the tax burden on second homes is becoming prohibitive for many potential buyers. The tax on a second-home property, whose just value is $400,000 will be more than $8,000 in most counties. Coupled with the coastal insurance situation, this tax could become a major deterrent to sales of second homes for Florida residents as well as out-of-state residents. This is also becoming a major problem for Florida residents wishing to move from one location to another.

Harry E “Rod” Rodman
Lt. Col., USAF-Retired
Realty Pros

Valuing a Database

I’m considering developing an exit strategy [See the September cover story, “Leaving the Business?,” page 32], and I would like to make a determination of the worth of my database to a prospective buyer.

Do you know of a worksheet or criteria of qualities/features necessary for evaluating a database to determine its worth? In addition, can you recommend a company that provides a program for documentation of a database to support its worth once all the criteria has been met?

Richard N. Armstrong
RE/MAX Gulfstream Realty
Holmes Beach

Editor’s Note:
We’re doing research on this topic. We suggest you contact a business broker or certified public accountant who specializes in real estate.
Appraisals Are Confidential

The September letter “Appraisers Aren’t the Enemy,” by Robert D. Mims IV (September MailBox, page 4), was incorrect. Appraisals are completed under USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). Based on confidentiality of the Ethics rule the appraiser should not discuss the report with anyone (buyer, seller, real estate agents, etc.) who isn’t the client or noted as an intended user of the report. Obtaining a copy of the report doesn’t make someone a client or intended user.

The appraiser is actually in violation of USPAP to discuss the report. Any reconsiderations of value, additional comparables must be presented through the client, who is typically the lender. Furthermore, real estate appraisals fall under the Graham-Leach-Bailey Act, which concerns the security and confidentiality of “nonpublic personal information.” Under this law the appraiser has an obligation to protect this information and keep it confidential. If an appraiser refuses to discuss an appraisal report he or she isn’t being difficult; He or she is complying with the law.

Glen LaFlamme
Residential Appraisal Partners

Editor’s Note:
Thanks for keeping us on our toes. An important statement was inadvertently left out of Mims’ letter. Mims wrote: “The appraiser is bound by confidentiality not to discuss the report with anyone outside the client, so permission must first be obtained from the client to get the copy.” We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Submit letters to “Editor” via e-mail to, mail to P.O. Box 725025, Orlando FL 32872-5025, or fax to 407.438.1411.

Letters are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter does not constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the Florida Association of Realtors®.