Tax Appeal Reduction

Each year at The Coyle Group, we work with dozens of homeowners to appeal their real estate taxes.  Honestly, getting letters like this from our clients still never gets old.  Here’s one where our client received a 34% reduction in their assessment.  In this case that translated into an annual tax savings of $18,875!!!

While results like this are not the norm, it’s nice to know that a well-prepared appraisal can help some tax payers see some pretty sweet reductions.

Tax Appeal Season starts sooner than you may think.  If you or your clients are thinking about appealing their tax appeal assessment, you may want to start in early Spring 2018.  Filing deadlines are typically in the beginning of August but, be sure to check with your county assessors office for the exact date.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

 

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Don’t Rely on the Public Records…

Don’t Rely on the Public Records…When It Comes to Reporting Gross Living Area Accurately.

Just today, I had a situation where I was asked to appraise a property in the Graduate Hospital area.  As it turns out, the homeowner informed me that I was the second appraiser to look at the property.  This was a For Sale By Owner, as well.  The owner also stated that the reason that a second appraisal was ordered was because the first appraiser “muffed-up” the sketch and got the GLA all wrong.  Apparently, the calculations on the sketch were a couple hundred square feet smaller that what was recorded in the public records.  I could feel my eyes beginning to roll backwards.

The homeowner was hanging her hat and the potential sale of her property on the Philadelphia public records.  Geez.  She was very insistent that the other appraiser had no idea what they were doing.  The idea that the public records could be wrong never crossed her mind.  She’d been living in a house of certain size for 10 years and no one was going to tell her different.

So, I went about my inspection, making sure to measure twice.  Upon getting back to my office I drew the floor plan up using my sketch software.  As luck would have it I must have “muffed-up” the sketch, as well.  My calculations were some 200 SF smaller than what was reported in the public records.  Imagine that, two, seasoned, professional appraisers made the same mistakes and arrived at almost the exact same GLA for her home?!?!

The lesson here is it’s never a good idea to rely solely on the public records when it comes to matters of GLA.  Think about it.  Where does the information in the public records come from?  Did an assessor measure the property?  Did a developer provide the info when submitting plans?  Was it taken from an architects rendering?  Who knows?

If you really want to know the accurate GLA of a property, you have to measure it…whether you measure it yourself or use a measuring service!  It’s not difficult to do and can help you avoid all sorts of headaches and misunderstanding.  If you have any questions about how measure a house or about our Home Measuring Services, just let me know.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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The 6 Month Rule

The Coyle Group - 6 Month Rule - Philadelphia Real Estate AppraiserWhile at an appraisal inspection in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia I met a Realtor who asked a question that I get a lot.  As he handed me the comparables sales he used to price the property, he asked…

“Why can we only use sales that settled in the past six months?”

Ah, the old 6 Month Rule. Well, the truth is there is no rule set in stone that says appraisers can only use comparables that have sold in the last six months.  While it would be ideal, that isn’t always possible.

It’s the appraiser’s job to identify the BEST comparables available.  If that means going back 7 months, that’s OK.  If it means going back 12 months, that’s OK.  If it means going back 18 months, that’s OK, too.  However, it is the appraiser’s responsibility to explain why they used sales older than six months.

For instance, if I have a perfect comparable located next door to the subject that sold 11 months ago…you bet I’m going to use it.  I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t.  As appraisers we can and should make time adjustments to reflect any movement in the market since the time of the older sale.  Note: In our office, we start by setting our search parameters at 12 months for each assignment.

So, next time you’re meeting an appraiser and want to provide sales data, feel free to provide sales older than six months.  I’d recommend no older than 12 months unless the sale is really relevant to the subject.  I’d also recommend providing only truly comparable sales to the appraiser.  You’d be amazed at the “comparables” we are given sometimes but, that’s a topic for another blog post.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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ATTENTION AGENTS!!!

Attention Agents - The Coyle Group

Attention all Real Estate Agents!  Do you want to stand out from the crowd and really stay in the minds of your clients and prospects?

Well, you’re in luck…its tax appeal season!  For the next few of months homeowners across the Philadelphia region will have a chance to appeal their tax assessments.  This is a great opportunity for real estate agents to reconnect with current clients, old clients and prospects!  It’s also an opportunity to bring real value and show them that you’re not just any-old real estate agent but, a trusted partner who is looking out for their best interest.

Over the next few weeks, try reaching out to your old clients and prospects suggesting that they might want to consider appealing their taxes.  Show them that you’re looking out for them and want to help them save money.  Imagine how happy your client would be if you were able to help them save hundreds or thousands of dollars off their tax bills each year!

If you have any questions on how the assessment and appeal process works (in Philly, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Chester or Berks Counties) or how to figure out if your clients/prospects would be good candidates for an appeal, please feel free to contact our office.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Attention Attorneys: That Appraisal May Not Be Valid

If you’re an attorney or legal professional and engage the services of residential real estate appraisers for divorce, estates, bankruptcy or tax appeal, you need to read this.  It could be the simple difference between your case succeeding or failing.

Most attorneys’ primary concern when they order an appraisal is the final value and how it will affect their case. They are usually not too worried with how the report is presented, so long as it is defensible. Many attorneys are used to receiving residential appraisals on the URAR 1004 Form which is the most commonly used Form for residential appraisals.

Why give it a second thought, right?  Wrong.  This could prove to be a huge mistake.

FACT: The common URAR 1004 Form is not intended to be used for valuation matters other than mortgage finance. (It even says so right in the report.)

The Coyle Group - URAR Blurb

 

 

 

Yet, all too often, this is the “go to” Form for appraisers who may not be experienced performing appraisal for legal purposes. Their mistake could cost you your case.

Imagine being in court for a hearing and presenting your appraisal prepared on the URAR 1004. While the court may not know the nuances of the Intended Use of a URAR 1004, a savvy opposing counsel, township solicitor or expert appraisal witness could very easily point this out. Technically, the report is invalid as a result of the Form’s Intended Use being violated by the appraiser. The court could deem the report inadmissible and jeopardize your client’s case.

There is a simple solution. There are a number of general purpose appraisal forms available to residential real estate appraisers that are also in compliance with USPAP*. They are typically called GPAR Forms (General Purpose Appraisal Report) and they address most residential usages (single family, multi-family and condo.)  The Appraisal Institute has even developed its own USPAP compliant GP Forms as have most appraisal software providers.

The Coyle Group - GPAR

So, next time when ordering an appraisal; be sure to specifically ask your appraiser which Form they intend use. If they say the URAR 1004, you need to insist that they use a GPAR Form or you run the risk of presenting an invalid appraisal.

Hopefully, you found this informative and helpful. If we can ever be of assistance with your appraisal needs for estates, divorce, bankruptcy and tax appeal; or if you have any appraisal related questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 215.836.5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com .

* USPAP: Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

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Why and When You Need a Real Estate Appraiser

The Coyle Group - Money HousesA real estate appraisal is one of the most critical parts of the real estate process. The appraisal benefits everyone involved in a real estate transaction including a buyer, seller, investor, trustee, heirs, and more. Although it may not be required in every situation it should always be considered as one of the first steps you take when the sale or division of real estate is involved.

An easy definition of a real estate appraisal would be; “the process of estimating the fair market value of your home or property at any given point in time.”

The following are common situations in which real estate appraisals are often needed:

  • You’re applying for a loan against a property as part of a refinance or equity line of credit on your existing home
  • You’re applying for a home loan against a property you’re planning to buy
  • You need to know the retrospective or historical value of a property as of the date of one’s passing for estate purposes
  • You’re going through a divorce involving the division of real estate
  • You’re going through bankruptcy in which a home or property value is needed by the courts as part of the settlement process
  • You’re a homeowner looking to lower your property taxes because the county has over-assessed your property
  • You’re a realtor or FSBO looking to establish current fair market value for list purposes

What to Look for in an Appraiser

The first thing you should check is an appraiser’s qualifications including their certification and/or licensure. Every state requires that real estate appraisers be licensed in their state of residence. You should avoid working with any appraiser who is unable or unwilling to provide you with their license information.

Here are a few other items you should look for when hiring an appraiser:

  • Reputation is a valuable tool in choosing a good appraiser. Although the lender will usually select their own appraisers for most lending situations, in other cases it’s always best to ask for referrals from someone you know and trust. You should also always check online to see if the appraiser you’re looking to hire has any reviews worth noting.
  • Is the appraiser willing to walk you through the appraisal process including going over the final report with you and answering any questions you might have.
  • Professional, experienced, and geographically knowledgeable should be the key hiring factors you look for in an appraiser and NOT cheap and fast. Appraisers must also be impartial and give their honest, unbiased opinion of the value of the property without favoring one “side” or the other. Any conflict of interest should be revealed and dealt with upfront and in some cases the appraiser may have to refer you someone else to avoid any possible conflicts.

An appraiser’s fees are usually based on their level of expertise and experience in the industry as well as the complexity of the assignment. Considering the importance of an appraisal, you should never use the appraisal fee as the main determining factor as far as which appraiser to work with, as that could cost you dearly in the long run.

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below.

The Coyle Group, LLC is one of the most well-respected and sought after appraisal firms in the greater Philadelphia area specializing in residential and commercial appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more. For more info contact us at 215-836-5500, http://www.thecoylegroupllc.com, or email us at mcoyle@coyleappraisals.com.

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FHA Repair Do’s & Don’ts

If you have Sellers who are willing to accept FHA financing from Buyers, make sure you/they understand these two words…professional and workmanlike. The reason being, HUD requires that all repairs for FHA insured loans be completed in a professional and workmanlike manner. If they are not, the financing may be denied.

Now, I understand that most Sellers aren’t thrilled about making repairs to a house they plan on selling.  Some Sellers figure if they do the bare minimum repairs everything will be fine.  However, if the repairs are not completed in a professional and workmanlike manner the deal could fall through. Here’s a real life example of how not to complete required FHA repairs. In this case, the FHA guidelines required that the exterior of all of the windows be scraped, prepped and painted.  The Seller (who balked at the idea) came up with his own solution.  

The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 6 - Philadephia Appraiser    The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 5 - Philadephia Appraiser     The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 4 - Philadephia Appraiser   The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 3 - Philadephia Appraiser    The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 2 - Philadephia Appraiser    The Coyle Group - Bad Paint Job 1 - Philadelphia Appraiser

Well, needless to say this didn’t pass the professional and workmanlike standards of  HUD.  The appraiser deemed the repairs unsatisfactory.  As a result, the Seller had two options, make the repairs or lose the deal.  As you can imagine, his paint job didn’t exactly add value or make his house more attractive to a new Buyer.  Eventually, the Seller decided to make the proper repairs.  He hired a professional painter (at his own expense, over $4,000) to complete the job in a professional and workmanlike manner.  The repairs were then deemed satisfactory.

Bottom line, when it comes to FHA repairs it pays to do them correctly the first time.  If a repair requirement is unclear, reach out to the lender or appraiser for clarification.  Doing so can save time, money and the sale.

If you are working with a Seller and would like to address potential FHA repairs prior to listing, please contact our office.  We have a service available to homeowners and agents where one of our professional, certified and FHA Approved appraisers will visit your property and work with you to identify potential FHA issues.

 

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers is a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing appraisals in the greater Philadelphia Metro Area.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Ignore the Groundhog, Check this Out!

The Coyle Group Philadelphia Appraiser - GroundhogAfter what seems like an unrelenting barrage of snow storms, ice storm, polar vortexes, days off from school and the dreaded 2-hour delay, I have some hope to offer.  This is not hope derived from some rodent (yes, a groundhog is a rodent) in a town in the middle of Pennsylvania.  This is hope in form of a visual aide based on historical trends.  Sounds enticing, huh?

Just as we know Spring will come to Philadelphia, we also know that with the warmer weather comes The Spring Selling Season!  This is the annual phenomenon where Buyers and Sellers come out of their wintry hibernation and start moving real estate.  It’s a great time of year for agents and appraisers alike.

In an effort to provide all with hope, I’ve prepared this graph of the Average Sale Price in Philadelphia from January 2000 to January 2014.  The graph clearly shows a growth trend over the past 14 years.  You can see the build-up from 2000 through the peak in the summer of 2006.  You can follow the market downturn from 2006 through 2011.  In 2012, the market appears to begin a slow turn around and incremental movement in a positive direction.

The Coyle Group Philadelphia Appraiser - March Trends 2014

Click on the graph for a larger version.

I’ve highlighted the month of March for each year in yellow to help illustrate my point.  Nearly every year, March marks the beginning of an upward swing in the market.  The red line is a trend line that was added to provide even more hope and good vibes.  Almost every year, the red line shoots up dramatically after the yellow March column.

I’m sure the same will happen this year.  So be hopeful!  The Winter will end, Spring will arrive and the Philadelphia Spring Selling Season will start very soon!

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing appraisals.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

 

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2014: Year of Recovery

Happy New Year!  I’m confident that 2014 will be the year of real estate recovery, in the PhiladelphiaThe Coyle Group Philadephia Appraisers 2014 region.  With that optimistic statement out of the way, let’s get down to reality.

While I do expect markets to appreciate (yes, remember that word), I don’t expect to see a huge upswing in value.  Instead, I expect that we will return to nice, steady, predictable increases in value.  Think in the range of 2-4% per year.  Sure, there will be some areas in the Philadelphia market that will outperform but, for the most part measurable, healthy growth will be the new norm.

What will keep values from ramping up like back in 2004?

Inventory is relatively low.  However, there is a huge shadow inventory of foreclosed properties that banks will start releasing to take advantage of the healing market.  In fact, a trend that I’ve noticed in the past few months is that more and more banks are pumping money into rehabbing their stock of foreclosures in an effort to get top dollar.  In 2014, it’s pretty likely that foreclosures will compete rather strongly with conventional sales in some Philly markets and the surrounding suburbs.  This, along with the typical Spring listing surge, will influence supply.

Agents tell me that there are plenty of buyers waiting in the wings.  However, interest rates are expected to increase.  This will keep some buyers sidelined, especially the first-timers and low-income groups.  This will influence demand.

It all boils down to Economics 101, supply and demand.  It always does.  I think that each will be kept in check by the other and that growth will occur, it just won’t be a rocket ride.  That being said, I expect a pretty healthy Spring Selling Season as eager Sellers and Buyers enter the market.  This should facilitate an evenly paced recovery with real legs.

What are your predictions for the 2014 Real Estate Market in the Philadelphia region?

Best of luck in 2014!

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy and Tax Appeal.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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2013 Philadelphia Region’s Most Expensive Homes

Let’s face it, 2013 is pretty much over.  With Christmas falling on a Wednesday and New Year’s Eve and Day following shortly thereafter, there are only about 8 “real” work days left.  So, it seems like a perfect time to take a look back at the 2013 real estate market.  In particular, let’s take a look at the ultra high-end sales in the market.*

The Philadelphia Metro Area (Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County & Chester County) had its fair share of heavy hitters this year.  In total there were 20 sales over $3,000,000 and there are currently five sales pending over that amount.

The Coyle Group - Bucks County MansionBucks County posted a $3,300,000 sale with the property at 6356 Meetinghouse Road, in New Hope.  In this case, the price gets you a 20-year-old, 12, 376 Sq Ft, Colonial situated on 92.78 acres.  A perfect little “country” getaway home for New Yorkers.

 

 

The Coyle Group - Villanova MansionIn the Villanova section of Delaware County there was a $4,000,000 sale at 265 Abrahams Lane.  What’s interesting is that price was achieved at auction, down from the original $7,695,000 list price.  Looks like a pretty good deal for the 12-year-old, 10,268 Sq Ft, Mansion sitting on 9.90 Main Line acres. 

 

The Coyle Group - Philadelphia Rittenhouse Mansion

 

At $4,200,000 cash, the “McIlhenny” Mansion, at 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square was the highest sale in Philadelphia.  This mansion faces Rittenhouse Square and is built on five property lots.  The 8,600 Sf Ft structure was listed as being “in need of complete restoration.”  Kind of pricey for a fixer-upper but, that being said, there is nothing else like it in Philadelphia.  New owner Bart Blatstein just received the “go ahead” from the planning commission for renovations to the historic property.

 

 The Coyle Group - Chester County Mansion

Saddle up!  If you like privacy, views and horses, and you happen to have $5,000,000 lying around then you could have purchased the property at 2300 Hilltop View Road, in Chester County.  This 27-year-old, 10,061 Sq Ft, Converted Barn sits on 143.70 acres.  This is a true equestrian property with 14 stalls, paddocks, indoor riding ring, tack room and abuts 800 acres of preserved land. 

 

The Coyle Group - Montgomery County MansionThe honor of being the most expensive home in the Philadelphia Metro Area for 2013 goes to 648 Creighton Road, in Villanova.  This Tudor Mansion is over 80 years old and boasts 13,464 Sq Ft of living space situated on 3.13 acres, in Lower Merion.  This is a classic Main Line residence with a $5,700,000 price tag to prove it.

 

 

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy and Tax Appeal.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

* Only sales advertised in the MLS were included.  No private sales were used.  Photos are courtesy of TReND MLS.

 

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