Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mostly a Non-Event

Okay, so I didn't go the appraisal district yesterday as I'd planned. When I got to work, I decided to figure out which building it was in downtown. Ha--if only I'd done that the night before! For some reason, I thought the DCAD had moved from its I35/Inwood location to the part of the Records Building that became vacant once the district courts moved, but I was wrong. So, long story short, I didn't want to figure out how to get there by bus yesterday. Instead, I drove straight there this morning, since they open at 7:30 a.m. I got right in and made it to work by 8:05.

All in all, it was an interesting meeting. The guy I met with was very nice.

Appraisal Guy: You're Susan of (address).
SF: Yes, sir.
AG: Your house has 2240sqft.
SF: Yes.
AG: Two and a half baths.
SF: No, sir. Only two baths.
SF: But I would love to have that half bath.
AG: Your house is valued at ($$$$$$). At first glance, that appears to be a good appraisal. What is it that I can do for you?
SF: Well, I would like to understand how my appraisal could jump more than $13,000 in one year.
AG: More than likely it was undervalued in previous tax years. But let's take a look.

We pulled recent appraisals of comparable houses (comps) in the neighborhood. The comps were all from sales within the last six months. Using three really good comps--I agreed with the guy, the other properties were very comparable to our house--our appraised value only dropped $800.

SF: What happens to the value if we remove the extra half bath that's on the books?
AG: I think it will bring us to this value, but let's see.
{bathroom number change & computer calculation}
AG: Wow, that really made a difference. Your value is now down $2,000 from your original.
SF: I'll take that.
AG: Do you have builder's plans with you to show that you do not in fact have a half bath?
SF: No. My builder refused to give me a copy of my blueprints.
AG: Do you have a flyer from the builder showing that your house plan only called for two baths?
SF: Not with me, but I do have one on file at home. I'm more than happy to mail a copy directly to you.
AG: When is your hearing?
SF: Friday.
AG: Do you have access to a fax machine?
SF: Yes, both at home and at work.
AG: If you'll fax that to me, I'll make that change for you. At this point, I can only make a note in the computer. I cannot actually make the change without documentation.
SF: I'll get that to you today.

Whoohoo! Granted, I would love to have dropped the appraised value a lot more than $2,000. But without quotes for some work that needs to be done, I didn't feel like I really had a leg to stand on in a fight for an even lower assessment. I'll take it and worry about those repairs the next go around.

I'm just glad I'm going to avoid the hearing on Friday!!! (Assuming Derek can find the paperwork that I'm thinking of)

1 comment:

The Calvinator said...

I got ours lowered last year based on our purchase price. But, because the home changed hands last year, the 10% cap on increase for Homesteads didn't apply, so they jacked us up this year.

Not much room to argue for us, though. We got the house on a short-sell (which is still technically an arms-length transaction and not a distressed sale). In reality, the increase doesn't amount to enough of an increase in taxes due to complain too much.