Geographic WHAT?!?!

The Coyle Group - Geographic Competency - Philadelphia AppraisersYou may have heard the term Geographic Competency as it relates to appraisers. It’s been a hot topic in the appraisal industry for the past few years. It basically means that an appraiser has to be knowledgeable and capable enough to produce accurate and reliable appraisals within a specific geographic area. The appraiser should also have access to data about a geographic area. It’s the coupling of local knowledge and accurate data that can make the difference between a reliable report and one that’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

As the appraisal market began to change over recent years, many appraisers found themselves expanding their coverage areas in an effort to stay busy. For some appraisers this meant working in areas with which they were not familiar. This often resulted in reports that were poorly supported and wildly off the mark.

If an appraiser finds themselves in a situation where they do not feel Geographically Competent, they have a few options. All are designed to protect the user of the report from getting inaccurate information from the appraiser.

1) They can decline the assignment

2) They can obtain the knowledge necessary to become competent to appraise in a certain area

3) They can seek assistance from another person who is Geographically Competent in that area

Over my 15 years of appraising in the Philadelphia market, agents have shared stories about appraisers coming from miles away to complete appraisals. My favorite is a tale of an appraiser from Parsippany, NJ who drove two hours (both ways) to complete an appraisal in Philadelphia. That’s insane! Not to mention that after time and travel the appraiser was literally working for peanuts!

But keep in mind that an appraiser doesn’t have to live close to a property in order to be competent to appraise there. Most appraisers are capable of appraising in several different counties or even states. I have an appraiser friend who lives in Lower Bucks County and routinely appraises homes at the New Jersey shore. It turns out that he has a house down there and actually worked in that market for several years. He’s competent to appraise there even though he lives in PA.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not sure if the appraiser has experience appraising in your area, talk with them about it. Interview the appraiser. Ask about their experience in your area. The answers you receive could save you from a “bad” appraisal.

Do you have any stories about appraisers traveling far and wide to look at properties? If so, please share them.

 

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.  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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Tax Appeal Deadlines 2012

It’s Tax Appeal Season, again.  If you haven’t already started the process, you better hurry up! The deadlines are approaching quickly.  In some cases, the deadlines have even been bumped up.   If you miss the filing deadline you miss your opportunity to reduce your assessment for another year.   No excuses, no second chances.   In fact, not filing on time could cost a property owner thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes.

The deadlines for the counties in the Philadelphia region are as follows:

  • Berks County, August 15, 2011
  • Bucks County, August 1, 2011
  • Chester County, August 1, 2012
  • Delaware County, August 1, 2012
  • Lehigh County, August 1, 2012
  • Montgomery County, August 1, 2012*
  • Philadelphia County, October 4, 2012

* Please note that Montgomery County moved the traditional September 1st deadline up a full month to August 1st, which is keeping in line with the other counties in the area.

If you not represented and are filing an appeal this year, we strongly recommend filing in person at the county assessor’s office. When delivering your documents be sure to request a receipt from the clerk. This creates a paper trail that shows when you filed and who took receipt of your documents. If you are mailing your documents send them certified mail, so that there is a record of them being received. The counties receive thousands of appeals each year and sometimes things fall through the cracks.

When filing be prepared to pay any necessary filing fees. The fees will vary from county to county. For any fees that pertain to your specific county we recommend visiting the Assessor’s website or calling their office.

You should also note that if the filing deadline falls on a weekend the assessor’s office may move the deadline to the following business day. Again, this is something you should verify with your county’s assessor’s office.

The appeal filing must be completed with appropriate documentation and fees no later than the end of business on the deadline date. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t file days or weeks prior to the deadline.

If you have any questions about tax assessment appeals please contact our office. We will be glad to assist you.  Please feel free to call us at 215.836.5500 or email appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Assessment Appeals 101

Spring only officially began less than a week ago but, it’s not too early to start thinking about appealing your tax assessment.  Sure, you might think “the deadline for filing an appeal is still months away”…”there is plenty of time to work on the appeal in the Summer”…”geez, it’s not even Memorial Day, why worry about an appeal now?”  

Well, you would be surpized at how many people do begin thinking about their property tax appeal this early in the game.  It ususally occurs to folks when they receive their real estate tax bill in January and February. 

It’s this time of year that we receive hundreds of phone calls and emails from property owners who what to know if appealing their assessment is feasible.  One thing we’ve noticed is that many property owners have a fundamental misconception about their property taxes and how to go about appealing them. Most people think that they can appeal their taxes. Unfortunately, we can’t appeal our taxes. Sorry, folks, no such luck.

However, it is your right as a property owner to appeal your assessment. Your assessment is the underlying factor upon which your taxes are calculated. Given that most properties are taxed on an “ad valorem” basis, meaning the tax is based on the value of the real estate, your assessment should represent the current fair market value of your property.

Now, most counties in the Philadelphia metro region (including Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Chester, Berks, Lehigh & Northampton) have not been reassessed in years (it’s very costly to do a countywide reassessment). What this means is that the assessments may present an inaccurate representation of current fair market value. Now, as a means of trying to keep the assessments current with the real estate market, equalization rations have been developed in an attempt to make the assessments echo the current market. These ratios don’t always succeed in reflecting the market, especially the turbulent markets of the past 3-4 years. As a result, the assessment of a given property may be over stated, which translates into taxes that may also be overstated.

So, it stands to reason, if real estate values are declining your assessment should mirror those declines…right? This is done by filing a tax assessment appeal with your county board of assessment. Along with filing the necessary appeal paperwork, it is your responsibility to demonstrate that the assessment does not reflect the current fair market value of your property. The best way to do this is to present an appraisal report to the board at the time of your hearing.

Appraisals should be completed by a state certified appraiser (or licensed appraiser depending on the state) who is familiar with your area. In Pennsylvania, for instance, only a certified appraiser can provide an appraisal of your property. Anything completed by someone other than an state certified appraiser is not an appraisal.  Real estate agents and brokers cannot provide appraisals in Pennsylvania.

The deadlines for filing a tax appeal are usually in Bucks, Delaware and Chester Counties August 1, 2010 and September 1, 2010 for Montgomery County.  If you reside in any other Pennsylvania counties, please check with your county tax assessor’s office to confirm your county’s deadline. Remember, if you miss the deadline, you miss the opportunity to appeal and will have to wait another year (paying the same high taxes).

For more information or to see if you are a candidate for tax assessment appeal, please contact The Coyle Group. 

Note:  Be sure to visit our site from time to time over the next few months as we present a series of posts that relate to Tax Assessment Appeals and property tax reduction.

The Coyle Group provides appraisals for tax assessment appeals in Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Chester, Lehigh, Berks and Northampton Counties.  Call us at 215.836.5500 for more information.

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