Highest and Best
By Carol D. Marsh
I realize I’m not paying attention when the appraiser says, highest and best use. I tear my eyes from the report with its cover photo of the red brick building and ask what it means.
He says it’s appraiser lingo referring to the use of a property that will best maximize its value and most increase its return on investment. I frown, thinking, return? I’m trying to start a nonprofit, a service organization.
He taps the appraisal report sitting on the table between us, his eyes kind, his manner unyielding. “You know,” he says, “I’ve calculated the highest value for this property, regardless of its actual current or future use.”
Currently it’s vacant, and has been for ten years. And in the future it will be where Washington, D.C.’s homeless women with AIDS come for support and a home. I think, bewildered, how does increasing investment return fit in with that? With, what did he say—highest value?
About the Author
Carol D. Marsh’s essay, “Pictures in Leaves,” won the 2016 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Prize. The book from which “Highest and Best” is excerpted, Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir will be published in January 2017. Excerpts have appeared in Soundings Review (Honorable Mention, 2014 First Publications Contest), bioStories, and Jenny magazine. Visit her website: caroldmarsh.com.