Ask Your Appraiser



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.  

 


 

When determining the square footage of a home many clients find that resources such as Zillow and public records could have pretty inaccurate information. Zillow for example can be fairly inaccurate because it collects information from unverified resources such as home owners, public records, and realtors. Almost anyone can change a home’s square footage on sites such as this without any proof of measurements.


One would think that measuring the square footage of a home would be pretty straight-forward. Just break out the trusty measuring tape right? Not quite. Some say, coming up with a square footage is kind of like the old joke about the accountant who aces the interview question of how much is 1+ 1 by answering "What would you like it to be?" And, unfortunately, the square footage that is calculated very much depends upon who is doing the measuring and for what purpose.


Real estate appraisers measure the shell of the home to get what they call Gross living area or GLA. 
Depending in the home type different procedures are used. For a condo they have no choice but to start with the internal measurements - from the inside of the walls - but they might add an additional 6 inches for the wall thickness. For a single family home they usually use the outside dimensions, so the thickness of the exterior walls would be included. No matter the home type, they only count the space that you can actually live in.


Here’s a quick list of the most commonly mistaken areas of the home included in the GLA:

  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Pool house
  • Patio(whether screened in or not)
  • Attic


The most honest and logical measurement is the one that appraisers use. Appraisers will usually have the most unbiased opinion in both property value and square footage. Thus, they would be your best resort. Appraisals By Michael is committed to providing a service of excellence. As  Georgia Real Estate Appraisers (AGREA) members are committed to adhering to strict industry standards and a professional code of ethics, you can be confident that an appraisal done with us is done with integrity and accuracy. Call us today for more information or to schedule your home's appraisal.  

To get in touch with an appraiser in your area or for more information click on one of the areas below closest to you:

Alpharetta|Brookhaven|Buckhead|Cobb
County
|Dekalb County|Dunwoody|Fulton County|Gwinnett County|Marietta|Sandy Springs


 


Posted by on January 25th, 2017 3:59 PMLeave a Comment

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In a contested divorce, other than the fight over who gets the children, deciding who gets the marital property can be a heated debate.  In most cases, neither party want to give up their rights to the home. Rightfully so, it’s the home they’ve sometimes lived in for years and are emotionally and financially invested. Usually the decision can boil down to selling it and splitting the profit or allowing one party to keep it. Whether you and your spouse have reached a divorce settlement or the judge has ordered you all to divide assets, knowing the true value of your home and having the right certified appraiser on your side is vital.

 

Is an appraisal necessary?

The only way to know the true value of your home, is to get an appraisal from a certified appraiser. Establishing value for your home is key to insure you are well equipped when filing a divorce. A common misconception people seem to have when deciding whether or not to get their home appraised is that if an appraisal has been done on their home at one point or another, it is still valid. Most state courts require a recent appraisal done by a certified real estate appraiser when determining the market value of the home. If you’ve gotten an appraisal in the last 3 months, there is a good chance the value of your home has changed. With a fluctuating housing market, a house appraised at $150k 4 months ago may be worth thousands more today. Not to mention if any renovations or upgrades have been done following the appraisal.

Our appraisers are trained to analyze your home inside and out. They begin with assessing your home, noting square footage and any upgrades done (most importantly to your kitchen and bathrooms). They then pull homes in your neighborhood that have sold in the last year. Paying close attention to those who have sold in the last 90 days. If your home has features that the others do not have, the appraiser adds to your home’s value. The reverse applies if your home does not have features that the others do, value is then deducted from your home.

Do I need a separate appraiser from my spouse?

In most divorce cases spouses usually want their own separate appraiser.  If things are cordial between the two spouses, they may agree with going with one appraiser and sharing the cost. In a situation of having two different appraisers and two different values, the court might settle on a mid-point in-between the two.

 

At Appraisals by Michael, we’ve worked with attorneys in Georgia on delicate matters such as divorce for over 15 years. We assemble well-supported appraisal reports for court hearings on an as-needed basis. Judges rely on our expertise when determining the value of the marital home. A certified appraiser should be ready and willing to appear in court or mediation on your behalf to verify and back up the value he/she concluded. Contact us for more information or to schedule your appraisal today!


To get in touch with an appraiser in your area or for more information click on one of the areas below closest to you:

Alpharetta|Brookhaven|Buckhead|Cobb
County
|Dekalb County|Dunwoody|Fulton County|Gwinnett County|Marietta|Sandy Springs




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