Home Re-Valuation

Roof Before

We received a letter from Cobb County yesterday telling us that our assessed home value was dropping by 26%. I dug out my files and did the math and if that assessed value stands, we’re officially underwater on our mortgage.

This is my happy face.

I’ve been thinking about this and I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do. There is an appeals process if I want to challenge the valuation but I have no idea if I want to do so. I mean, a lesser valuation means less taxes. Twenty-six percent less, to be precise. That’s not something to sneeze at.

Also, I have no idea how the official county valuation effects the potential home sale value. I mean, the reason for our reduced value is because of the short sales and distressed homes that have been sold around us in the last few years. It’s not like our house magically coughed up 26% of it’s structural value. So, no matter what the valuation is, really it depends on what we could sell it for.

Right?

I confess little knowledge in this area. We have some Realtor friends whom we’ll query. My gut says we don’t want the house to be valued as low as they told us, but I don’t know if my gut is right. We’ll see.

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2 Responses to Home Re-Valuation

  1. S. K. Graham says:

    As I understand it, a high (or low) county tax valuation will not impact an appraisal for purposes of buying or selling a home. Your real estate friends may disagree, but my experience has been that my realtors are always happy to provide comparable sales, etc. to lower your property tax appraisal, and have never suggested doing otherwise.

    One comment I found online made the snide remark that investing the tax savings in home improvements (new coat of paint, new landscaping) would certainly be a better investment than paying the county more money.

    In any event, you are still going to have to compete against foreclosures and short-sales in your area. If comparable houses are regularly and routinely available for sale at “reduced” prices, that’s the fair market value. (You can certainly assert that they aren’t in as good of condition, etc. but you’re then negotiating up from a really low point.) And most estimates I’ve seen say that we’ll have an overhang of foreclosed and short-sale houses for 3+ years. So this won’t be a temporary situation, from an appraisal / market trend perspective.

    Recently, I heard on NPR that by one estimate 55% of all houses with mortgages are underwater in the state of Georgia. So it may end up even worse, for a longer period of time, here.

    (I’m not underwater vs. my mortgage, but will likely end up dropping several tens of thousands of dollars compared to my purchase price. And I hope it won’t drop much further.)

  2. S. K. Graham says:

    On the plus side, if the value drops by 26%, your taxes drop slightly more (assuming they don’t raise the rate.)

    Since you aren’t taxed on the homestead exemption, you’ll only pay taxes on the amount over the exemption, which is reduced by even more than 26%…

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