Thousands Saved in Property Tax!

Appealing your tax assessment can be very appealing!  One homeowner that we worked with this past September found this out first hand.  He received a 43% reduction in his overall assessment.  How does that translate into actual tax savings, you might ask?  

Well, in this case the house was located in Landenberg, in southern part of Chester County.  This area has seen some pretty steep declines from the highs of 2005-2007, especially in the luxury home market.  The house was newer and was assessed at $532,770. The Assessed Market Value (AMV) of the home was $951,375.  That means that they were being taxed as if the current value of their home was equal to the AMV amount.  Their annual taxes were in the neighborhood of $16,200 (ouch!)

Our appraisal of the house and determined the actual current fair market value to be more like $545,000.  At the hearing, we were able to demonstrate that our appraised value was indeed the correct value for the property.  The Board of Assessment issued a reduction of assessment based on the appraised value. 

In the end, this particular homeowner saved $6,966 off their property taxes.  That’s a nice chunk of change!  While results like this are not the norm, it is not uncommon for property owners to save 12-25%.  Depending on their particular property tax burden the savings can really add up! 

The bottom line is…if you don’t ask you don’t receive when it comes to appealing your assessment.  It is up to the property owner to initiate the appeal and to demonstrate that the assessment is incorrect.  Homeowners: it is in your best interest to figure out if your assessment is incorrect.  Real Estate Professionals: it is in your best interest to help your past and present clients do the same.

If you have any questions about property tax appeal or other value related topic, please feel free to call us at 215-836-5500 or email at appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Got UAD?

Got UAD?  If you don’t, you certainly will by September 1st, 2011. 

What is UAD you might ask?  Well, UAD stands for Uniform Appraisal Dataset.  It is the new format in which all appraisal reports will be completed if the loan is to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  The UAD was developed in an effort to standardize appraisal reports and to aide the GSEs (Fannie and Freddie) in better manage their loans and risk.  Since, most loans are sold to Fannie or Freddie, and since the VA and HUD have already agreed to adopt the new UAD format, almost all mortgage appraisals completed on or after September 1st will have to comply. 

The UAD will change the way appraisals are written and make understanding the reports even more complicated for the average homeowner.  Some of the changes are fairly minor; however, 0thers are more significant.  The biggest changes are in how certain data fields are populated.  Fields like Condition, Quality of Construction, Bathroom Count, Lot Size and View will see the most change.

Condition – rather than using terms like “Average” and “Good” to describe a property’s condition there will be a rating scale of C1 – C6.  Each rating will describe a specific degree of condition.  C1 will be at the high end and C6 will be at the low end of the range.

Quality of Construction – like Condition, this field will do away with descriptors like “Stone/Frame/Good” and “Vinyl/Average”.  There will be a quality range with standardized definitions from Q1 – Q6. 

Bathroom Count – the new UAD will standardize the format in which bathroom count is shown in the report.  Before, appraisers might use 2.5 or 2F1H to describe a home with 2 full and 1 half baths.  The new format will be shown as 2.1 baths.  If a property has 3 full and 2 half baths, it will say 2.2 baths.  Not that big a change.

Lot Size – lot size and acreage will be described in whole numbers.  Rather that an appraiser using 16’X 72’ to describe a lot in an urban setting they will use 1152 (square feet).  Acres will look like this, 3.2 to describe 3.20 acres.  Anything less than an acre will be in square feet.

View – the appraiser will have to use one of a number of abbreviations or acronyms to illustrate certain view attributes. They will also have to make a determination as to whether or not the view is “N” (Neutral), “B” (Beneficial) or “A” (Adverse).  So the UAD complaint View field describing a home with a residential, golf course location may look like this “B, Res, GlfCrs”.

Below is a guide that describes the Condition and Quality rating scales, Bathroom Count and some of the new abbreviations for View as well as other fields.

This new format may be confusing at first.  If you have any questions about the UAD or appraisals, please feel free to contact one of the appraisers at our office.

Please note that the UAD will not effect the way appraisals are completed for Divorce, Tax Appeal, Estates/Probate, Pre-Listing valuation, Commercial valuation, QRPTs or for determinations of Fair Market Value.

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The Roxborough Row

 

Philadelphia is known as a city of neighborhoods. When Philadelphians meet one another for the first time it’s not long before someone asks “what neighborhood are you from?”

Neighborhoods can be as small as a few square blocks or cover large sections of the city. One such neighborhood is the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It occupies much of the northwestern portion of the City abutting Montgomery County, along with Manayunk and Chestnut Hill. It has always been a solid, working class area with strong family values and sensibilities.

The staple of the Roxborough housing stock is the three bedroom, single family attached rowhome or townhouse. Many were built to satisfy the housing needs of the local factory workers and to keep up with urban sprawl. Depending on which part of the Boro you are talking about the homes were generally built between 1865 and 1970. These are still very popular housing choices for first time homeowners and investors.

Below is a chart of the sales activity of the typical 3 bedroom Roxborough Row over the the past four quarters (2009 Q4 – 2010 Q3). As you can see, the number of sales spiked to 36 in 2010 Q2. This is a direct result of the tax credit that was being offered to first time homebuyers. The three bedroom Roxborough Row was essentially made for this program due to its attractiveness to first time buyers and those targeted buy the tax credit program. You will notice that in 2010 Q3, after the sunset of the credit, sales of the Rows dropped off by more than 60%, which was just where sales were prior to the credit program.

The next chart compares the Average and Median Sale Price for three bedroom Roxborough Rows over the same time period. In 2010 Q1, the Average Price spikes up to $271,042 despite only 12 sales during that quarter. The reason for the skewed average is two or three higher sales of newer townhouses that pulled the average up. Note that the Median Sale price tracks right along with the other quarters. The Median Sale Price for Roxborough Row has hovered between $204,900 in 2009 Q4 to a high of $214,500 in 2010 Q1. In 2010 Q2, the median began to settle into a more traditional trend eventually getting back down to $205,250 in 2010Q3…almost even with where it was in 2009Q4, prior to the tax credit.

It goes to show, that despite government interference with credits and incentives, the markets will correct themselves. It also goes to show that the Roxborough Row is the backbone of this market and can withstand outside market influences. Perhaps that’s why it’s been around for so long and continues to show consistent and measurable value.

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