Ask Your Appraiser



Save Money During the Holidays to Buy Your Dream Home in the New Year


The spirit of the season can put a major dent in your savings and set you back any big investments—such as buying a house. Follow some of these holiday money-saving tips to keep your finances in the green through the new year:

Consider gift alternatives for everyone on your list

  • Host a gift exchange for big groups, such as extended family or coworkers.
  • Instead of buying individual gifts for whole families, consider group gifts. Items such as a zoo membership or movie tickets are always a hit.  
  • Cook or bake homemade treats, such as fudge, truffles, cookies, or jams. 
  • Make a donation to a worthy cause in a friend or family member's name.

Make the most of your gift budget

  • Agree on a spending limit on gifts for friends and family—and stick to it.
  • To prevent overspending, leave your credit cards at home and use cash for purchases.  
  • Unable to use cash for everything? Use a single low-interest credit card—you can easily keep track of what you need to pay off, and it won't rack up enormous interest in the meantime. 
  • If gifts are cheaper online than in the store (which is often the case if you're using coupon trackers, such as RetailMeNot or Honey), buy them online and have them shipped directly to the recipient.
  • For young children, quantity is often just as important as quality. Wrap small, inexpensive items separately and include hand-me-down toys as gifts to fill space under the tree.
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Stretch your holiday dollar

  • Save money by making potluck-style holiday meals and assigning each guest an item to bring.
  • Instead of holiday gift wrap, buy solid-colored gift wrap in traditional holiday colors such as red, green, or gold. These can be used all year for any occasion.   
  • To keep your electricity bill down, use a timer to turn outdoor lights on and off at designated hours. 
  • Traveling during the holidays? Flying on the actual holiday is often cheaper, with plenty of seats available. 

Appraisals By Michael is a leading full-service appraisal firm with extensive knowledge of the real estate valuation process. We specialize in numerous types of appraisal services, including property (commercial and residential), bankruptcy, divorce, immigration, relocation, and estate matters throughout metro Atlanta's $477 billion real estate market. With 20 years of experience in the real estate market, our appraisers work to provide excellent valuation and consulting services to homeowners, financial institutions, law firms, and accounting firms. Our state-of-the-art appraisal methods allow us to provide customized, detailed reports within 1 to 2 business days, helping to simplify your appraisal experience with accuracy and expertise.

For a full list of services, please visit our Services page. For a list of our coverage areas, please visit our Coverage Area page.

Interested in writing a guest article to appear on our blog? Contact us for details.


Posted by Anne-Marie Boring on December 5th, 2019 4:32 PMLeave a Comment

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Ask the Appraiser: What Are Other Ways to Lower My Property Taxes?


In most areas, property tax is based on how much your property is worth in your area. However, don't expect your appraiser to automatically lower your property taxes. Having your property taxes lowered takes more than a downturn in the local housing market. You'll need to file an appeal to reduce the assessed value of your home.

What Are Some Little-Known Options for Lowering My Property Taxes?

  • If you have recently (within the last six months) purchased your house for less than the county's appraised value, this may help you lower your property taxes.
  • Are you missing any deductions? Are you disabled, a senior citizen, a veteran, or qualify as a low-income homeowner? Did you remember to take the homestead exemptions? Does your home qualify as a historic or energy-preserving home? Is your property agricultural? Ensure you include any deductions to lower your taxes.
  • Which units are taxing you? Your property tax notice will list each taxing unit. If you do not recognize a taxing unit, inquire about it with your assessor's office. Each unit has its own rate, and it's possible you are being taxed by an incorrect unit.
  • Pay close attention to rollbacks. If a taxing unit adopts a rate that exceeds the rollback rate, you may petition for an election to reduce the rate. Your local tax appraiser board will have information on how you can organize this.

Appraisals by Michael offers a number of appraisal services, but appraisals for property tax appeals is one of our specialties. We are here to provide you with the assurance that you are only paying your fair share of property taxes. While we are unable to guarantee the outcome of your appeal, an appraisal completed by one of our state-certified appraisers is your best chance of success. State-certified appraisers are largely considered to be the experts in real property valuation. We are familiar, experienced, and trained in the ins and outs of your neighborhood.

 


Posted by Anne-Marie Boring on July 8th, 2019 3:52 PMLeave a Comment

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Ask the Appraiser: How Can I Fight My Georgia Property Taxes?

5 Ways to Fight Against Your Increased Property Tax

Did you know that fewer than 1 in 50 homeowners will appeal their increased property tax assessment, even though up to 60% of properties are overvalued by tax assessors? Most assessors are not even certified to accurately appraise real estate, yet they are the ones who are placing an assessment on your home. Having your home appraised by a certified real estate appraiser can save you thousands of dollars — and lock in those savings for up to three years.

If you've received an increase in your property tax assessment, the following steps may help bring down your bill.

1. Learn your system

Taxing authorities use different methods when calculating home values. Some look at recent sales of similar homes. In more rural areas where sales are few, they might estimate the cost to rebuild. Others may use a combination of these methods. Contact your local assessor's office and ask how they valuate properties in your area. In many areas, your tax liability is based on a percentage of your property's estimated value. You'll want to know what that percentage is so you can figure out if the value the assessor is assigning to your home is fair.

2. Get your assessor's evidence

Your assessor likely didn't pull their estimate out of a hat, even if it seems that way to you. Contact the assessor's office and ask for the evidence used to value your home. Get your home's property card, which lists basic details like lot size, square footage, and number of bathrooms.

3. Ensure the description is correct

When municipalities or counties re-assess property values, they typically hire an outside contractor who looks at hundreds, or even thousands of homes in an incredibly tight time period. Typically, the assessor is not a state-certified appraiser and often has to take shortcuts. Three vent stacks on the roof? That must mean three full baths — never mind that the upstairs laundry room could be the culprit. 

4. Build your case

Find an appraiser in your area to find out what your home is actually worth. An appraisal from a state-certified real estate appraiser (such as Appraisals By Michael) can stand as independent, third-party evidence of your home's true market value. 

You must file within 45-60 days from the time you received your tax assessment. You'll need to arm yourself with a recent appraisal detailing the exact layout of your home, comparable sales, and assessments that prove your home has been valued too high. 

5. File the report 

Appeals are very time consuming, so it is best to file as soon as you can within the appropriate window. Often, if you let them know that you already have an appraisal from a state-certified appraiser before filing the report, someone will meet with you to look over the report and make the corrections there at the desk.

We're Here to Help

Appraisals by Michael offers a number of appraisal services, but appraisals for property tax appeals is one of our specialties. We are here to provide you with the assurance that you are only paying your fair share of property taxes. While we are unable to guarantee the outcome of your appeal, an appraisal completed by one of our state-certified appraisers is your best chance of success. State-certified appraisers are largely considered to be the experts in real property valuation. We are familiar, experienced, and trained in the ins and outs of your neighborhood.

 




Ask the Appraiser: Will New Windows Help Sell My Home Faster?

Yes! 

New windows will help sell your home faster through marketability. The improved energy efficiency, aesthetics, and functionality of new or updated windows will appeal to many buyers. In fact, a 2017 survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that energy efficient windows were seen as desirable by 89% of home buyers. A more marketable home helps with the home's value by allowing it to spend less time on the market.

This is where the expertise of Appraisals By Michael plays a huge role—no computer can tell you how much your home’s value increases because of your new windows or other home improvements. The answer depends on your neighborhood, the market, and numerous other factors. In order to get the most accurate appraisal, contact Appraisals By Michael to hire a local and professional appraiser who understands the specifics of your neighborhood and market.  

 


March 9th, 2017 10:51 AM

Which kitchen renovations can increase my home’s value?


One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Appraisals by Michael is how much value would upgrading the kitchen and bathroom add to a home. If you are selling your home, you may want to consider renovations such as this. Some may think that renovating a home that you are about to sell is a waste of time, energy and money. Think again, making updates to your kitchen can increase marketability and add thousands to your home’s value.  

Now, we understand that a complete kitchen remodeling may not be in the budget. But it may not be necessary. Take the example from the video below, changing your appliances may be the upgrade your kitchen needs to be elevated to the next level. Cabinets may be secondary:

 

 



Performing small, low cost renovations to your kitchen such as backsplash, paint and hardware changes are starting points. However, a kitchen is only as good as the appliances in it. Studies have shown that updated appliances can increase your home’s value by thousands. Upgrading your appliance doesn’t mean you have to fork out $10k on a new commercial-grade range or a sub-zero french door refrigerator. Upgrading your kitchen for the purpose of selling your home is to give the prospective home buyers the quality, functionality, and aesthetics they are looking for without breaking the bank.

Keep in mind that when home buyers see upgraded appliances, they see one less thing they have to do upon buying. Home owners want less work and more bang for their buck.

Appraisals By Michael can assist you with all your appraisal needs such as Pre-listing, Divorce, Tax Assessments, etc. Get in touch with us today to answer any question and for a free quote. 


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|Dekalb County|Dunwoody|Fulton County|Gwinnett County|Marietta|Sandy Springs

 


Posted by Anne-Marie Boring on March 9th, 2017 10:51 AMLeave a Comment

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