Bucks & Chester County Tax Appeal Deadlines Approaching

The deadline for filing a tax assessment appeal in Bucks and Chester Counties is quickly approaching.  August 1, 2011 is the final day that assessment appeals can be filed with the Assessors Office for Bucks and Chester County. 

So, if you are thinking about filing an appeal, now is the time to act.  You will need to fill out a appeal application and submit it to the assessor’s office along with the appropriate filing fee.  In Bucks and Chester Counties the filing fee for a residential property is $25.

In an assessment appeal the burden of proof is on the property owner.  If you are going to represent yourself, you will need all the documentation necessary to support your case.  You should bring pictures of your property, including any damage or detracting features.  You should have information on comparable sales in your neighborhood.  You can get this from the public records, from a real estate agent of from websites like Zillow.  However, I would not recommend Zillow since the values the site produces can be grossly inaccurate. 

Having a current appraisal of your home completed by a certified real estate appraiser specifically for the purpose of the tax appeal is probably your best alternative.  An appraisal completed for any other purpose such as a refinance could be rejected by the Board at the hearing.  The cost of the appraisal can easily be offset by the savings from a successful appeal.  Some appraisers will even attend the hearing with you (sometimes for a fee) so that they can answer any questions the Board of Assessment may have about the appraisal while hearing your case.  Remember, appraisers cannot advocate for you.  You will have to be your own advocate.  The appraiser can; however, answer questions about the appraisal done on your property.

If you elect to have someone represent you at your hearing (either a professional tax appeal firm or an attorney), they will take care of the application process, obtaining an appraisal and representing you at the appeal hearing.  In some cases, this can really work in your favor.  These professionals know the system and can advocate on your behalf.   We work with a number of tax appeal firms and would gladly provide recommendations if you need one.

If you are not sure whether or not you have a case for an appeal, please feel free to contact one of the appraisers at our office.  We will take a look at your situation and give you an indication as to whether an appeal would be worth your while. 

But hurry…time is running out!

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The Importance of Listing Appraisals

Last week temperatures in the Philadelphia area flirted with 70 degrees.  Spring fever was definitely in the air.  People were out and about; and for a day or two everyone forgot that it was still February.  It got me thinking about the upcoming Spring Selling Season. 

Traditionally, Spring is when the Philadelphia real estate markets start to shake off the Winter sluggishness and things start to pick up again.  However, I can’t help but think this year may be different.  Given accumulating inventories, high unemployment, impending inflation and the lack of a tax credit, the 2011 Spring Selling Season could be a challenge.  Sellers and Agents alike will need to rethink their marketing strategies and pricing in order to be competitive enough to attract Buyers.

Pricing will be the key this Spring. 

For Agents, this year more that ever it will be important to make sure listings are priced to compete.  Not only will you have to compete with the older listings that are out there, you will have to go up against fresh, new listings that will be priced to move.  If you haven’t thought about getting a Listing Appraisal, now is the time to act. 

More and more, Agents and Sellers are having Listing Appraisals completed to aide their decisions about pricing and marketing strategies.  They realize that in this market not only do you have to price a house to sell, you have to price it so that it will appraise, as well.  Other Agents (your competition) are getting Listing Appraisals.  Frankly, if you are relying on the same old CMA these days, it’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight. 

Aside from helping to price a house properly, there are several benefits to having a Listing Appraisal done:

  • Demonstrates to the Seller that the Agent is committed marketing the house effectively
  • Sets realistic expectations for Seller
  • Provides Seller with an unbiased opinion of how their home compares to others on the market
  • Helps maximize the asking price without overpricing or under-pricing
  • Can help identify potential problems, repairs or issues present at the house that may cause delays or make the sale fall through
  • Gives the Agent/Seller an indication of how a potential Buyer’s appraiser may view the property which could have an affect on the Buyer’s ability to obtain financing
  • Can help reduce days on market, resulting in higher selling prices and possibly eliminate unnecessary negotiations 
  • Saves time, money and effort

Selling a home can be a very emotional process.  Perhaps the most important benefit of a having a Listing Appraisal completed is that it allows Agents to maintain client relationships without having to be the bearer of bad news.  The Appraiser is the one to present any unpleasant or “bad” news to the Seller.  The Agent is there to aide the Seller with interpreting the news and devising a strategy to sell their home. 

Listing Appraisals can also provide some level of defense against issues arising from the HVCC Guidelines; namely, appraisers who are unfamiliar with your market, inexperienced appraisers and appraiser who may not have access to the best data for your market.  The Listing Appraisal will provide a benchmark against which any subsequent appraisals can be measured. 

So, as the Spring Selling Season begins to heat up, it is time to invest in your own success and that of your Sellers.  Get a Listing Appraisal from a Certified Real Estate Appraiser.  For $300-$450 depending on the size and complexity of the property being appraised, Agents and Sellers can get a solid understanding of the value of a property and use that information as a tool to develop the best pricing strategy possible for the property. 

For more information on Listing Appraisals please contact The Coyle Group at 215.836.5500.

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Manayunk, Philadelphia

The Coyle Group - Manayunk, Philly

We’ve received a number of calls from real estate agents in the Philadelphia market, including Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester Counties who have been inquiring about our Listing Appraisal Service.  Many have asked to see some case studies.  We thought it was a great idea and will be posting Listing Appraisal case studies from time to time.

Our first Listing Appraisal Case Study involves a house located in the popular Manayunk section of northwest Philadelphia.

The agent called The Coyle Group to help revise the list price for the house.  It had been on the market for over 150 days and the showings had pretty much stopped.  The agent was hoping that an objective appraisal might help convince the Seller to lower the price to be more competitive and hopefully get the house sold.

One of our certified appraisers inspected the house, researched the market and prepared a report for the agent and Seller.  The appraisal results indicted that the house was priced about 7% higher than comparables homes in the area.  It wasn’t competing.The Seller lowered the price and the showings picked up, again.  The house was under contract within 10 days of the price change.  The contract price was within $2,000 of our appraised value.

To find out how TCG can help you with your listings visit our Listing Appraisals page

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