Richard Bourgault

Graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Richard began his Cost Segregation career working for Ernst & Morris Consulting, one of the very first firms to specialize in Cost Segregation.

Cost segregation studies can be done much faster when you don’t need to repeatedly ask your clients for tidbits of information, and tools like ReGrid help you avoid just that. When I need to look up some information on a client’s parcel for a cost segregation study, ReGrid just about always has what I need to know. 

In this blog post, I’ll teach you how to use ReGrid to fill in the gaps for free. 

ReGrid for parcel outlines

One of the nicest things about ReGrid is that it provides an exact outline of 99.9% of all properties in the US that you can rely on. The company has collected and standardized data from government records and other authoritative sources and then combined it all into one easy-to-use database with over 156 million land parcel records. It provides you with up-to-date information on each parcel for free, but you can pay more for premium data. 

One question that often brings me to ReGrid is, “Where does my client’s parcel begin and end?”. This is often hard to tell based on just the address alone, especially when a property comprises multiple structures.

For free, ReGrid gives you an exact and reliable outline of where your client’s parcel begins and ends. Using this outline, you can draw lines using the ruler and polygon tools in Google Earth to get area and perimeter information for separate property components. 

Here, you can see our example property in Santa Monica, CA, with the exact parcel outline provided in ReGrid. I recommend using the map view rather than the satellite view for this, as the satellite view sometimes gives imperfect edges. However, you can easily adjust for that in Google Earth when you draw your lines.

Uncovering helpful property info (for free)

Another benefit to ReGrid is that it gives you abundant information on the property, even in the free version. Some of this information that’s useful for cost segregation studies includes the last sale price and date, parcel value, improvement value, and land value. 

You can see this info for our Santa Monica property. With the data given, you can find out how much you can depreciate based on the ‘improvement value’. For this property, the improvement value/total value is actually pretty low, about 2%, so it’s not a great candidate. However,  this is valuable information to know and is easy to fetch from ReGrid.

You can also see the ReGrid calculations for square feet and parcel sizes and a legal description of the parcel. This may even save you a trip to Google Earth Pro, or at least provide you something to compare your own measurement against for accuracy.

Additional info that can be useful

ReGrid goes on and on with data that may or may not be useful for cost segregation studies, but it’s worth a look. Anything that can save you time will also save you on labor costs. It can also answer potential questions that you’d need to ask your client about directly. They probably won’t enjoy thumbing through their records, so it’s nice to have this info directly from ReGrid.

Below, you can see some potentially useful information about the property in Santa Monica. This includes square footage for different areas within the property, when each building was built or changed, and various building codes that may or may not be applicable or useful. This is just a sampling of all the info that ReGrid provides. 

ReGrid Pro: Worth it for cost segregation?

While much of the information you need for cost segregation studies is available for free, signing up for ReGrid Pro could save you some time and eliminate the need for using multiple free tools. 

For $10/month or $100/year, ReGrid Pro enables a full suite of mapping tools and map layers that would eliminate the need to use Google Earth Pro. Some of the most useful layers are parcel dimensions and building footprints, so you wouldn’t need to gather that data from other tools. While it’s not necessary, it is cheap, so perhaps it’s worth the small fee to save your time.

However, this blog post series is focused on free tools. There are a couple more free tools that we’ll dive into next. One is another property lookup tool that can fill in the final gaps and save you more time. The other makes it easier for you to gather information from your clients.

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