Are you seeing a recent increase in news articles mentioning the rise of property values near you? Do you hear talk of how people in the area need home appraisals to find the value of their home, but are lost and confused about what this means? A recent article published by cleveland.com mentions the rise of property values in the local summit county, but some people aren’t aware of this. “In Akron, properties on average increased by 2 percent, but the values inside the city ranged from a 30 percent gain in one cluster, to a 22 percent loss,” the article says, with some of the biggest gains being areas like avenues at Chapel Hill, with an increase of 30 percent; Grafton roads in Fairlawn, gaining 27 percent; and Sovereign Road and Oneida Avenue in Northwest Akron, gaining 27 percent. With recent changes in home values, it’s important to know the pricing of your property.
Summit County Property Appraisal; Can I Challenge Appraisal Value?
Another article published by wkyc.com mentions how residents have tried challenging the summit county property appraisal value of their home. One woman by the name of Hillegas spoke with an appraiser about her homes increase in value- nearly 30 percent more than before. “[The appraiser] did answer that all of that won’t be on my tax bill. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a reduction,” said Hillegas. Another resident of a nearby county also tried to challenge a raise in her propery value. “In Geauga County, one resident took her concerns to the county auditor’s office after her home value increased approximately $30,000. The office helped to negotiate a new deal that same day bringing that number back down.”
Property Appraisal Helps Negotiate Tax Assessment
With this said, it’s important to find an accurate property appraisal of your home with the recent shifts in property value. At Cleveland Home Appraisals, our team of professionals will give you a precise evaluation of your home’s value. We make sure that you will know exactly what your property is worth, so you can challenge any false prices set on your home. If you are in need of summit county property appraisal, contact us, fill out our order sheet for a residential appraisal or call 216-932-4663 today to find an accurate home appraisal for your home today.
Over the years Fast Appraisals, a Cleveland home appraisals company, has been performing a steady increase in bankruptcy appraisals, or a residential property appraisal to determine the valuation of residential real estate when filing a bankruptcy. Many home owners that find themselves in financial duress mistakenly assume that a bankruptcy isn’t a viable option if they have equity in their home, but a good bankruptcy attorney will review your options, have you order a legitimate home appraisal from a licensed, certified home appraisal company like Fast Appraisals, and in some cases you could be surprised.
Certified Bankruptcy Appraisal vs. Realtor Valuations and Zillow
The value in a certified home appraisal by a licensed residential appraiser is the most reliable valuation and trends lower than a valuation from a Realtor or home-valuation sites such as Zillow or Redfin. When a real estate broker is selling a home they have financial incentives to get the most they can for the home owner, so their valuation tools assume the highest price based on highest quality, the most home up-dates, the freshest paint, the most curb appeal and all the cosmetic bells and whistles. Valuation websites, like Zillow and Redfin, are financed by Realtor advertising and also motivated to show a high valuation to the home owner, enticing them to consider selling and therefore contacting a Realtor, who in turn pays for the ad placement. Neither of these sources are taking into consideration the reality that your home may have some deferred maintenance – peeling paint, dated kitchen appliances, worn carpet, unreliable HVAC system, front steps in need of replacement, etc. Make sure your bankruptcy attorney isn’t relying on one of these sometimes over-valued methods and order a certified appraisal report for your bankruptcy.
Why Zillow, Redfin & Other Valuation Websites Are Not Enough
Check the house statistics. Many of the valuation websites have erroneous data on square footage, number of beds and baths, year built, etc.
Check recent sales. What your house is worth typically depends on what houses, similar to yours – meaning comparable in age, size, number of beds and baths, location, style of house and condition of house, have sold for in the past 6 – 12 months. If the recent sales are further away than a few miles or in far better condition than your home, these houses would typically not be considered in the valuation of your home.
Remember how these sites make money – advertising! Real estate brokers advertise to sell their homes and acquire new clients. Promoting higher values encourages more activity and Realtor engagement.
Are you filing bankruptcy and wondering how to value your home? Is it the market price? Is it what the county has it appraised for tax assessments? Will you have to use the prices neighbors are listing their house for even though they haven’t been sold? How does a Bankruptcy Court decide whether there’s equity in your home? Although there are many ways to provide the bankruptcy court with a home’s market value – the most official, most accurate method is a full appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser. (see bankruptcy appraisal)
Bankruptcy Appraisal for Chapter 11
At Fast Appraisals we work with many bankruptcy attorneys and I was just at bankruptcy court today providing expert testimony regarding some questions the court had about our appraisal report (which prompted the blog post). In today’s trial, a real estate investor was filing a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and needed to determine if there was equity in any of the homes that could be used to pay his creditors. In this Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case it was the intention of the creditor (in this case the bank that held the mortgage) to allow the current owner to hold on to the property and write the loan down to current market value at 100% LTV (loan to value).
Two Appraisals. Two Very Different Values.
The bank benefits in this case because it isn’t dropping the the property at liquidation value and the owner benefits because they can still retain possession of the home and can maintain their livelihood. The value of the homes in a bankruptcy case is the value as of the filing date, which in today’s trial was 18 months ago. At that time, 18 months ago, Fast Appraisals performed a full home appraisal and submitted the full residential appraisal report. The bank holding the mortgage did the same thing. Because the bank’s appraisal and our appraisal were so far apart in the estimated market value the trial had to be set.
Although this was only one of many, many time we’ve been to court to provide our expert testimony regarding a home appraisal, it’s always intimidating walking into the big courtroom with a court reporter, a judge, two attorneys, two interns and the owner of the properties. The other appraiser, the one representing the bank and estimating the house to be worth much more than we had, was in the other room. I wasn’t sure if we would be in a situation to speak to each other and discuss why we both came to such different conclusions on the market value of this property, but we never went head to head.
Reviewing “Opposing” Bankruptcy Appraisal
The Bankruptcy Attorney contacted me a few days prior to let me know what to expect and provided a copy of the bank’s appraisal which our I carefully reviewed. Although it isn’t a competition, and we mean no disrespect to the bank’s appraiser, when you have been doing appraisals and running an appraisal business for over 20 years, when you take pride in what you do and stand behind the quality of your work, a situation like this forces you to be extra-critical of your own appraisal report and compare it to the opposing appraisal in question. I was relieved to see from the beginning that the bank’s appraiser wasn’t local, didn’t have the intimate knowledge of the Cleveland area that I do and lacked the formal education in the appraisal industry.
Questioning Appraisers in Bankruptcy Court
When I typically go to court to provide expert testimony for one of my appraisals it’s for a tax appeal appraisal or divorce appraisal so this was my first experience defending my appraisal against another appraiser’s in a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding. From what I could tell, it seems these events are mostly protocol. I was questioned for 90 minutes but surprisingly answered very few questions regarding why I chose the comps (comparable sales) that led to the value in the appraisal report. The first 15 minutes was to determine my credibility as an expert witness – at which time the Bankruptcy Attorney representing my client was asking the questions. Then I was asked about the other appraiser’s work and I simply let them know why mine was more credible.
Then I was cross-examined by the other side and it did not go as well. Luckily, the person asking me the questions was not emotionally invested in the outcome – although a true professional and I had to explain that their case was based on no fundamental appraisal principals. I think it’s important for appraisers to remember that attorneys and judges are not appraisers and when we get called-in to testify about our appraisals it isn’t because we did them wrong – it’s because we need to explain to these people, who aren’t appraisers, why we did them right. That’s why we we’re there. All in all I would say that for this bankruptcy case things went well.
Hire Fast Appraisals for Expert Witness Testimony
I have to say that being an expert witness for home values is another home appraisal service that we specialize in at Fast Appraisals. We don’t market it well or have a page devoted to it on the website but I have been at court a handful of times over the past month. I think because I’m usually doing the appraisals, running the office and mentoring other appraisers that when I get the opportunity to provide expert witness testimony it’s enjoyable to some degree. In this case, and based on my clients results and reactions to my testimony, it was another great success.
Geauga County Auditor Frank J. Gliha recently published a press release, “2017 REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL PROPERTY VISITS” and updated the Geauga County Auditor’s website to let property owners and residents know that beginning this fall, and continuing for the next 18 months, appraisers for the county will be inspecting properties to prepare for the 2017 reappraisal.
What’s the 2017 Reappraisal in Geauga County All About?
It’s the job of the County Auditor to make sure each of the over 51,000 separate parcels of land (Real Property), and the buildings thereon, are fairly and uniformly appraised and then assessed for tax purposes. A “reappraisal” of all Real Property is mandated by Ohio Law every six years (the next one being in 2017) with an update during the third year after the appraisal (August/September of 2020).
The last reappraisal in Geauga County was in 2011 when the majority of property owners received notice that their homes decreased in value from 2005. Read this article from August 18th, 2011 for some perspective on the last reappraisal: “Many Geauga Property Values Declined in Recent Reappraisal“
When Will I Know What Geauga County Appraises My House For?
In Geauga County the Auditor’s Office sends letters to property owners in August to let them know what the county appraised their house for. This new appraised value will be the basis of which your property taxes are calculated so it’s very important to start checking the mail in early August of 2017 to see if you agree with the county’s assessment of your property. If you believe they have made an error and that you could not possibly sell your home for the market value they have listed, then it’s in your best interest to dispute that value right away.
Disputing Your Geauga County Appraisal
The reappraisal process in 2017 actually provides an excellent opportunity for home owners to appeal their appraised market value if they feel they have been unfairly taxed at a higher amount than what the county has it appraised for. Even though there is a formal tax appeal process (the traditional Board of Revisions process detailed below), there are special hours and appointments made specifically during the reappraisal period, which is typically less time-consuming than the more traditional process.
– Appealing the Market Value: What Your Home Should Sell for
For example, if your house in Chardon has a market value on Geauga County’s REALink website of $299,700 but you think if you were to sell your house you would be lucky to get 210,000 for it, you may be being taxed on an inflated market value. Market value is the price your property would get at market, and if there is deferred maintenance, structural damage or other characteristics of the home that the county appraisers might not know about from a brief exterior inspection, the reappraisal gives you an opportunity to correct the market vale without having to endure the more lengthy Board of Revisions process.
– Get Supporting Evidence: Certified Appraisal
Once your reappraisal amount hits the mailbox in August of 2017, look at the market value, determine if you think it’s too high, then look on the letter for contact information and special hours for disputing the new reappraised value. In order to dispute the value, you will need evidence supporting the value you think it is. In the example above, if you feel your house would sell for $210,000 it’s recommended that you get your own appraisal. A certified residential appraiser, like Fast Appraisals, will look at the houses sold in the same area, similar to yours, from the valuation date (January 2017). Then the appraiser takes into consideration any deferred maintenance or other characteristics that justify adjustments to the value.
– Take Advantage of Reappraisal Dispute Appointments
After you have evidence to support a lower value than what the county appraised your property for, make an appointment (only available during the times specified by the County Auditor’s Office during these special reappraisal times) and dispute the value. In 2011, the last reappraisal period, the Geauga County Auditor’s Office required appointments to be made by August 26th – so property owners had about 2-3 weeks to get their evidence and schedule an appointment. The office also offered extended hours twice – one Saturday morning and the other during a weekday, in order for residents to dispute the value without having to go through the traditional Board of Revisions process. It’s projected that in 2017 the office will do the same – meaning there should be some special hours in August listed on your reappraisal notice during which you will be encouraged to provide any supporting evidence to dispute the county’s new reappraised value.
Traditional Board of Revisions Process in Geauga County
If you feel that your Geauga County property valuation is not accurate you can file a complaint any time, you don’t have to wait for a reappraisal or appraisal update from the county. Find more complete information on the county’s Board of Revisions page. You must file a DTE 1 form after January 1 and before March 31 which must be notarized and filed specifically by the owner, or a qualified agent of the owner. The details are covered in the “Filing a Complaint Against Valuation of Property” directions on the website. Again, you will need supporting evidence for your complaint – which could include a tax appeal appraisal from a certified appraiser.
The process of going through a divorce is generally not pleasurable – but assessing the value of your property doesn’t have to be a hurdle. Although a divorce will require a professional assessment of what your marital property is worth, the property valuation for your divorce can be a simple process. At Cleveland Home Appraisals (aka FAST Appraisals) we have been working with home owners throughout Northeast Ohio – including Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Medina, Lorain and Summit counties to provide quality home appraisal reports in divorce cases for many years.
Expert Testimony – Divorce Appraisal
The majority of home valuations we deliver at Cleveland Home Appraisals for the divorce process are completed quickly and without the need for a court appearance. However, when a court appearance is necessary, our certified appraisers also deliver expert divorce appraisal testimony where we support our reports at a hearing and/or with additional supporting market valuation data.
Although we work on a number of divorce case appraisals and most are not contested, whether the case is contested or collaborative, Cleveland Home Appraisals (also doing business as FAST Appraisals) consistently gathers all the information possible to present the most thorough report.
Multiple Valuations: Marriage, Property Improvements and Divorce
A recent divorce case we worked on in Cuyahoga county required multiple valuations over the course of the marriage.
1. Property Value at the Time of the Marriage: Assessing the property value at the time of the marriage requires research to determine a Retrospective Appraisal, or the value of the property based on a date in the past.
2. Value of Improvements Made During Marriage: Determining the value of improvements made during the time of the marriage will involve gathering details of all home improvements made and the impact they would have on the value of the property. The value of home improvements are typically more difficult for parties to agree on and can seem more subjective, however when our certified home appraisers provide supportive, detailed valuations and adjustments, the data can be compelling.
3. Value of Property at Time of Divorce: Whether one of the parties is keeping the home, or the property is being sold to divide proceeds, an appraisal of the home’s market value at the time of the divorce will likely be required .
Appraisal to Determine if Home Can be Sold
Lastly, a recent divorce appraisal case for Cleveland Home Appraisals was in order to determine if the home owned by the couple could be sold for an amount that would cover mortgages and fees. The couple going through the divorce preferred to acquire a certified real estate appraisal rather than consult with a realtor in order to determine from an unbiased source what the home’s market value was. In this particular case, our certified appraisers worked directly with the attorneys and determined the sale of the property was definitely a feasible option for the home owners.
The team at Cleveland Home Appraisals specializes in working with home owners, attorneys and lending professionals to provide quality home appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate appraisals, tax appeal, pre-listing appraisals and more throughout the Greater Cleveland area. Contact Cleveland Home Appraisal for a professional property valuation of your home for a divorce appraisal.
by calling us at 216-932-4663, or fill out the contact us form on our SERVICES page. Give as much information as you can, and we’ll get back in touch with you to process the appraisal order.
For my first blog post I wanted to share my experiences with the Cuyahoga County Board of Tax Appeals. One of the many reasons a consumer may request an appraisal of their home is to appeal their tax valuation, or the value at which the property has been assessed for property tax purposes. As a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser I prepare many appraisal reports for home owners who intend to submit the appraisal to the county for an appeal of their tax evaluation. When the board has questions about the report submitted, I will occasionally be called-in to explain the report and justify the approach I used to reach the appraised value.
After presenting a few comments about my credentials, and how I arrived at the property valuation contained in the report, I am generally asked a few reasonable questions. In this capacity, as an expert property appraiser, my objective is to keep my answers brief and direct, as to not waste the board’s time.
Multi-Family Property Appraisal in Lakewood, Ohio
This most recent experience was regarding a four-family home in Lakewood, Ohio – typically a more complicated report than a single-family appraisal. The tax appeal process seemed very fair and reasonable. The Cuyahoga County Board of Tax Appeals was made up of experienced board members who asked pertinent appraisal questions concerning the residential appraisal report in question. I was also impressed to learn they now have property appraisers on staff, as well as access to the property database known as the MLS (Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listing Service).
The board was professional, and as a long-time residential property appraiser, I found the whole process to be effective.
Doing real estate appraisals for almost 20 years throughout Cuyahoga and surrounding counties, as well as being a real estate investor in the Greater Cleveland area over the years, I have both professional and real-world experience. This experience adds to the credibility of my report as well as to the confidence with which I address the board when I think that the customer’s house has been over-valued by the county and is paying too much for taxes.
The purpose of a well-researched appraisal report, is to compile the relevant data to support that conclusion and save the tax-payer money. The board is not there to argue, but to simply ask reasonable questions as to the conclusions made in the report in order to fulfill their job of representing the other tax payers and the rest of their community.
Use of Short-Sales or Foreclosures in Tax Appeals
Recently, I found that the board should not reject short sales or foreclosed sale transactions when assessing a home’s value. However, it’s the job of the Appraiser to examine how these transactions fit into the big picture and justify their opinion with real data and supporting expertise. I would not suggest to any home-owner, or property appraiser, to approach a tax-appeal with all short sale transfers or foreclosures.
Overall, from this Property Appraiser’s perspective, a thumbs-up to the system of the tax appraisal and appeals process – specifically with the Cuyahoga County Board of Tax Appeals.
Please comment below about your experiences at the board, or feel free to ask questions.