House Appraisal Way off: Filing Protest!

I’ve been staying in my current home in DFW area, TX since more than 5+ years and my house price has fluctuated between $230K to $250K in those years. Typically, prices in TX do not change drastically unlike in certain other parts of US like Florida, Las Vegas or Cal. So, I’m generally not too concerned about my house appraisal due to these reasons. But, in May, I got the new appraisal and it was a shocker: $273K, that is $28K more than its current appraised value! I could not believe my eyes.

I said, wait a sec! what the heck. I decided its time to fight back this absurd appraisal since prices in our community have not moved much. I wonder whether some of the high flying so called smart financial hacks who created the housing bubble in the first place, have been re-hired by counties to juice up their wallet, with the budget tightening happening along with Fed tapering the easy money spigot.

I’m filing protest here and my hearing is due on June 30th. I’m currently discussing what I all I can do to make a strong case against the sudden jump in home appraisal. I can certainly understand that counties want to make a hay on the general price appreciation in most of the areas. But, 11.42% raise in placid areas is ridiculously high, considering no house improvements have been made in last 5 years, being a frugal guy myself.

Appreciate any suggestions from the readers to improve my case. I’ll keep you posted on the new developments on this front and my fight back.

Update June 25, 2014: 10:24PM
Due to personal reasons, I filed for extension on protest hearing until next Monday: July 7th. Also, due to coming holidays and travelling over July 4th weekend, I knew that I would not be ready with all the papers.

Update June 26, 2014: 8:25 AM
I got an email from the Appraisal District mentioning that: “The hearing date for your protest has been re-scheduled and is available online”. small victory 😉

Over the June 30th week, I furiously started preparing for my case and collected following documents:

  1. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): This is the most important aspect of proof whereby you choose properties sold in your area recently OR properties that are very similar to yours. I used Zillow, RealtyTrac and Cad district’s website to get values Or if you’ve some RE friend, you can ask for CMA as well.
  2. Repair Estimates: I mostly did research online and googled to get the estimates for following major items a) Foundation Repairs b) Tiles Repaving c) Painting d) Oven e) MailBox 
  3. Photos: I took pictures of all the items that needed to be repaired as above.
  4. Market Value: Finally, based on CMA and Repairs cost, I arrived at the fair market price of my house: $245K.
  5. Copies: I made 2 copies of all documents and put in a binder so as not to miss any documents.

Update July 7, 2014: Scheduled Time: 9:30AM
I arrived at the Appraisal District about 8:35 AM and was asked to wait in lounge & register as panels were still hearing cases from 8:30 AM lot. Around 9:05 AM, we were called to stand in queue and asked to provide all the documents.All the documents were scanned and fed into the computer. I was ushered into a room where there were 5 total personnel from district. Already a hearing was on-going and in few minutes, my turn came.

I was asked to provide my own house estimate, document proof and explanation about my estimate. I mentioned all things as listed above. One lady who has computer and access to all the houses in district blurted out how they arrived at their appraised value. I provided a rebuttal and they countered back. They deliberated among them selves about various points and one mentioned a figure of $264 K and other two said $265 K and finally, they all seconded $265 K.

I was not happy with their final figure as my fair market estimate was close to $245 K however, at that point, I did not had option to say much to them after above deliberations had already taken place. I inquired with them about my further options like appeal, etc.

On the same day: July 7th, 2014 at 6:11 PM, I got an email mentioning: “The final appraised value of your property is available online”.

Full Disclosure: I own real-estate property that is my own home.

Did your house prices went up significantly and do you consider your new appraisal as appropriate?

2 thoughts on “House Appraisal Way off: Filing Protest!

  1. That’s gross. I would suggest to compare similar house properties sold in your area, take some pictures and perhaps hire an attorney.

    All the best.

    1. Thanks Cathy for your suggestions and stopping by.

      Yes, I’m doing all of that. I’m also checking on zillow, trulia and other sites where I can get all the facts and figures to bolster my case.

      Best wishes.

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