For many people in Bexar County the increase in appraised value has been of the legal upper limit: 10% every year. But for others, it doesn’t change even though houses in their neighborhoods are selling for high prices. When the appraiser increases my appraisal, he does so based on one or two homes in my neighborhood that sold for a high price. So why do some of the very homes that sold for the high prices keep their old low appraisal? For the past couple of years, Bexar County Appraisal District computers have had access to MLS records. When I go protest my appraisal, I look at the appraiser’s screen and see the same numbers I researched in MLS to prepare for the hearing. On a cold winter day I looked up 124 homes that sold for over $500,000 in 2006; 66 of them were under-appraised by the county by over $6,000. 66 out of 124 is 53% error! Several were under-appraised by over $100,000. The biggest difference I found was of $535,220. Appraisals are increasing by 10% in many subdivisions, but entire areas
are under-appraised by many more thousands of dollars per house. I must disclose that I also found a handful of homes that were over-appraised by the county, which makes my claim of 53% error inaccurate; the percentage of error is actually higher. Less expensive homes aren’t immune; I’ve seen discrepancies in the $60,000’s (2007 appraisal) on homes sold in the low $200,000’s in 2006.
Seller concessions: does the appraiser take into account seller concessions?Sometimes during the negotiation of a contract, the sales price is increased above the asking price; in exchange the seller pays for closing costs in order to roll them into the buyer’s loan. By doing this, the buyer doesn’t have to bring as much cash to closing. MLS reflects the higher sales price, and the county appraiser uses that number, inflating the whole neighborhood’s appraisals. Seller concession numbers are available on MLS and should be subtracted from the sale prices in order to reflect the actual sales price of the property. The county appraisal should certainly be based on true sales prices (market values). This year, if you plan on protesting your property taxes, ask two important questions: Is every homeowner in Bexar County treated equally? Or are some having
to carry an unfair tax burden because the appraisal process isn’t functioning properly? And Is the appraiser considering seller concessions when he looks at sales prices and market values? If you need help obtaining information about homes sold with seller concessions or homes that are under-appraised, don’t hesitate to contact me. For the 2006 sale prices and corresponding 2007 county appraisal values discussed above go to www.homeinsa.com and follow the links.