Keys Homes
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Is it animal? Vegetable? Or, mineral?

By REGINA CORCORAN Citizen Columnist

In my next life I want to be born as a residential building component.

Each of these items revels in being a kaleidoscope of characters throughout its life. Either that, or they have the worst case of multiple personality disorder ever!

Consider, for example, the wood studs, joists, and rafters in your home. In their earlier lives, they began as seeds, and grew into trees. They could have lived for decades, or scores of years already.

Finally, the Issaquach Cedar & Lumber Co. harvests them and mills them into two-by-fours. What are they now? Home Depot's inventory.

This is a short life cycle. In their new life, builders use them in the construction of your home. Once they permanently affix them with nails, the studs become - real estate.

Here in the United States, it's nothing for a building to continue functioning for 50 or 100 years. You may remodel the home often and never touch the studs. The structure's use can even change. Though it starts as a home, it could become an office or store. Much as it may change, the studs remain the same.

Is the building in South Florida? Is it more than 50 years old? Someone wants to talk to you before you tear it down.

They have harvested very little true, pure Dade County pine since the 1950's. Still, if your home contains it, there are those who think it is valuable. Certain companies reclaim as much as they can.

The wood's next life could be very lofty. The salvagers use it in expensive furniture and trim elements. It could end up as a beautiful stair case.

From a crop to inventory to real estate to personal property. It could make a butterfly jealous.

But that's nothing! Hold on. The fun is just beginning.

What do you call your stove? I don't mean do you call it Dave or Herbert or Gidget. The question is, is it real?

It depends on who's talking. First, ask the appraiser. Florida Certified Residential Appraisers have to sit through 120 classroom hours of training. They have to prove they have completed 2,500 hours (at least 120 documented reports) of credible appraisal work. They don't describe appraising as "an art using scientific methods" for nothing.

In the standard appraisal report, the appraiser calls that stove real property. When the property changes hands, it stays with the house. Your home isn't fully functional as a house without cooking facilities, any more than if it lacked a toilet (there's always a bush, you know).

The insurance agent, however, sees things differently. To that agent, your stove is not real. Thank heavens. It's not imaginary, either. If you have a freestanding oven and range combination (not built-in), your insurance agent thinks that is personal property.

If your house is charred beyond recognition, your insurance will use the personal property coverage in your policy to replace it. If you don't have personal property coverage, claim post traumatic stress disorder and call it repeatedly your beloved (may it rest in peace) built-in stove.

What does the tax collector think? They have an urge to take bites off both sides of the cookie. If you bought a home, they will consider what you paid for it. They will likely assess you for its value including the stove.

If you buy a rental house, they send you a report to complete. The grid invites you to list all the personal property, so they can tax it separately. This table encourages you to include any stoves, dishwashers, and 14 other like items.

Try to control yourself. I know you want to pay all the taxes you owe. Still, pay the taxes on these items as real property . . . or personal property, but not both. Leave some contributions for the rest of us to make.

What do you think?

Regina E. Corcoran, SRA, is a Florida real estate broker, state-certified residential appraiser and residential contractor. She is president of AmeriRealty Corp. and vice president of AmeriMortgage Corp. She can be reached at Corcoran writes her column exclusively for The Citizen. It appears every other Sunday.

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