Appraisal Methodologies

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) is committed to ensuring that Indian landowners will receive fair market value for their fractional lands.

With the massive scope of the properties involved (more than 93,500 tracts on approximately 150 reservations), the Buy-Back Program plans to use mass appraisal techniques in which values are assessed simultaneously for many properties within a particular geographic area. This efficient and cost-effective process for valuations will be used to appraise homogenous, non-complex, vacant lands that have comparable land sales available. At the same time, recognizing that data limitations, non-homogeneous property types, and unique characteristics of specific properties may limit the use of mass appraisals, the Buy-Back Program will also employ project appraisals and property-specific appraisals as appropriate.

This strategy has been reviewed by The Appraisal Foundation (TAF), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been authorized by Congress to issue national appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications, and has previously provided the Department with guidance regarding valuation methods and techniques.

In addition to its determination that the Department's Valuation Plan, developed by the Office of Appraisal Services in the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, represents a methodologically sound approach to meeting the requirements of the Buy-Back Program, TAF also provided a set of recommendations to further strengthen the program. The Department responded to those recommendations, which have been adopted and incorporated into the Valuation Plan.

In 2015, The Appraisal Foundation reviewed the implementation of the Program's appraisal method, which concluded that appraisals are being conducted appropriately and effectively.

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