Ask Your Appraiser

January 14th, 2020 1:30 PM


5 Reason Why an Appraisal Came in Low


Having an appraisal come in low can be upsetting to both the buyer and seller. Considering the impact a low appraisal can have on the home buying and selling process, it's important to educate yourself on what factors typically lead to a low appraisal. 

1. The house is a disaster

Appraisers are human. In addition to taking objective measurements in your home such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms, they also have to look at subjective measurements as well. An appraiser will look at the interior and exterior condition of your property—if there are dirty dishes in the sink, clothes hanging around, or a permeating stench of cat urine, this will affect an appraiser's judgement. Ideally, your home should be pristine on the day the appraiser arrives from the doorstep.

2. Basements are calculated differently

Your home may have an incredibly finished basement, but the appraiser will still have to calculate the value of the basement differently than the square footage above ground. This is, in fact, one of the more common reasons why an appraisal comes in low. Valuing a basement can often be far more subjective, especially when there are extravagant features such as a home theater, custom bar, or a personal gym. While a nice finished basement can substantially upgrade the square footage and features of a home, the value of the basement space will still only be worth a fraction of what similar space upstairs would be. 

3. Improvements are not always as valuable as you'd expect. 

Home improvements and additions must be of similar value to other homes in the area to be valued as you would expect. No matter how nice, the appraiser will not value the improvements significantly higher than the same improvements in the other homes in the area. One of the biggest misconceptions among homeowners is that there is a 1:1 return on home improvements. That is almost never the case. More often than not it takes years to get full cost or more from making improvements. 

4. The market is moving too quickly

Oftentimes, a reason appraisals come in low is because of the real estate market getting too ahead of itself. If homes are selling rapidly and at increasing prices in your area, this will likely lead to bidding wars where the final price ends up tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price. These bidding wars can cause major dilemmas for an appraiser.

5. The buyer had no guidance on what to offer.

Every day there are thousands of properties that have price reductions, and it only means one thing: the home was not priced appropriately. The seller was overzealous, or perhaps the agent promised the moon in hopes to make a sale. In states where dual agency exists, a buyer will occasionally go directly to the listing agent. They don’t have a buyer’s agent in their corner guiding them, and they end up significantly overpaying for the property. When purchasing a home, it always makes sense to have a buyer’s agent representing your best interests. Don’t be conned by dual agency. 

 

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 January 14th, 2020 1:30 PMLeave a Comment

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January 9th, 2020 2:19 PM


5 Common Appraisal Myths


The home appraisal can be a nerve-wracking process for many sellers. While most appraisals don't ruin a sale (fortunately!), there are still some persistent myths that far too many sellers believe. Remember: the more you know, the less likely it is that you'll be surprised!

1. The appraiser can tell you what a buyer should pay

An appraisal is only one piece of the puzzle in the art of pricing homes for sale. The appraiser will give an educated opinion on the value of the home based on training and experience, and — if you appraiser is good at what they do — the price will usually be close to the market value, but not always. 

So it can be pretty frustrating to find out that the bank won't loan the buyer more money than what the home appraises for. If the home is appraised lower than the offer, either you or the buyer will have to come up with the difference if you want to sell at that price. Many times there is a compromise to be found. The seller comes down on their price a bit, and the buyer puts more money down to make up the difference.

2. An appraisal and home inspection are the same

Wrong — they are very different! As stated in our last blog post, a home inspection is intended to identify issues with the home that everyone should be aware of before money is exchanged, while an appraisal aims to determine the market value of the home. While an appraiser may flag problems that they notice during the appraisal, it is in everyone's best interest to hire an inspector in addition to the appraisal.

3. The more money you invest in a home, the more it will appraise for

This is perhaps one of the biggest myths in real estate. In fact, some improvements may actually bring down a home's value! Many sellers are upset when they discover that they do not get equal value for the improvements they've made to the home.

Overall, the market value of your home is based on what people are willing to pay for it. Take a remodeled garage, for instance. You may have turned it into an HGTV-worthy entertainment room, but the reality is that most people are satisfied with entertaining in their living rooms and would much rather have a garage to park their cars in. 

If you are thinking about selling in the next few years, avoid making any upgrades without talking to an experienced appraiser.

4. The assessed value, the appraised value, and the fair market value are the same

There are many confusing real estate terms that seem to be used interchangeably when they shouldn't be, but perhaps none more so than assessed, appraised, and fair market values. Here are their definitions to avoid future confusion:

  • Assessed value: The assessed value is simply what the local tax assessor believes your property is worth. While a majority of people think there is a correlation to the market value, there isn't! Assessed home values are essentially a yardstick for a city or town to collect a sufficient amount of taxes to cover operational expenses.
  • Appraised value: The appraised value is the opinion of a qualified appraiser. (That's us!) This value is often sought either during the purchase and sale of a property or during a refinance by an existing owner. Lenders use appraised value as a basis for giving borrowers a loan on a specific property.
  • Fair market value: The fair market value of a home is the most competitive price a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price a seller would be prepared to accept. Think of this value as the meeting of the minds of a buyer and seller. Ideally, an appraised value and market value should be similar.

5. A better home guarantees a better price

This is often the hardest pill for most homeowners to swallow. You may have the biggest, most beautiful home in your area, but that does not guarantee that the appraisal price will reflect how exceptional your home is. In fact, standing out too much can even do more harm than good.

Homes are priced based on their area. More specifically, homes are priced based on their neighborhood. The appraiser will consider the size and amenities of other homes in your neighborhood to determine the price of your home. If everyone else has 2,000 square feet of space and laminate countertops, but you have 4,000 square feet and granite countertops, yours will likely be priced somewhat higher, but not nearly enough to get your money back if you have over-improved.

As always, talk to an experienced appraiser before making any major changes to your home. When it comes time to sell, you'll be glad you did.

 

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 January 9th, 2020 2:19 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.  

 


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