Lynne Hagopian - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 7/1/2019

Home valuation is one of the tricky areas of real estate. In general, you want a high appraisal and a low assessment. But shouldn't they be the same? Well, in a perfect world your assessment and your appraisal would be the same, but you don't want the world to be perfect in this regard. Here's why:

Appraisal

An appraised value comes from the report completed by a licensed professional appraiser to determine property value at a specific point, typically for a buyer to obtain a mortgage. It is a tool used by underwriters for lenders to determine if the home has enough collateral for the loan needed to purchase or refinance it.

Appraisers compare the home to similar properties in their evaluation. They look for both similarities to find a base value and difference to increase or decrease the value such as the roof's age, livable square footage, exterior materials, upgrades, and other finished. Using these numbers and other valuation formulae such as the cost to rebuild the home (similar to your homeowner insurance values), and potential income from rental or other uses, the appraiser determines a possible value.

The market value is not the same as the appraised value, however. While it starts with the appraised value, other determiners such as the desirability of the area, or circumstances such as a tornado, hurricane, or eminent domain issues may adjust the market value above or below the appraised value.

Assessment

A home's assessed value typically comes from the taxing authority for the municipality. It is the method of determining the tax basis (or valuation) of the property. The tax assessment is a percentage of that value that the homeowner pays annually to provide the municipality money for water and fire services, schools, capital improvements to roads, bridge, and public parks and additional essential services.

The amount of the percentage and its designations differ for every taxing authority, so a home in one neighborhood might have a different assessed value from an identical house in another block nearby if the boundary lines for the taxing authority (school district, for example) differs.Some counties and cities reassess homes only when they sell, while others have periodic assessments. And the percentage rates of the assessments change when voters approve various tax levies for a variety of purposes.

An appraisal affects your ability to obtain a mortgage for your home while an assessment relates to the ongoing yearly tax expenses. Since a third factor determines the home's selling price, the market value, your professional realtor should guide your understanding of how these factors affect your home purchase or sale.




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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 3/12/2018

Whether you plan on selling your home in the next few months or the next few years, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about the things that can increase or decrease the value of your home.

There are some factors that are mostly out of your control. Things like climate and the state of the housing market aren’t something you can do much about. However, there are several ways you can gain an edge once you put your house on the market.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about some of the main things that contribute to the value of a property, and a few lesser known ideas to help increase your home value.


The most important appraisal factors


Before you start thinking about adding bonus features to your home you should make sure the basics are covered. To maximize appraisal value, your home should be:

  • Structurally sound. The foundation, roof, plumbing, and other vital items need to be in top shape.

  • Efficient. Houses that haven’t been updated with energy efficient windows, insulation, and HVAC systems are going to drag down the value of the home. Prospective buyers want to know they won’t be spending extra each month of the utilities.

  • Well-maintained. Inside and out, having a clean appearance shows potential buyers that you’ve taken care of the home. This includes driveways, lawns, and fences on the outside, and paint and carpets on the inside.

  • Size, location, and market. You won’t be able to influence these, and many times putting additions on a home can actually lower its estimated value, so it’s best to focus on other areas where you can make a difference.


How to increase your home value


Depending on how much time you have left before you want to sell, there are a number of things you can do to improve your home. Some home improvement projects are costly and time-consuming, where others can be simple and cost-effective. Here are some ideas for increasing the value of your home.


  • Revitalize the neighborhood. If you’re going to be living in your home for years to come, it can be worthwhile to integrate yourself into the community. Starting community gardens or converting lots into fields and playgrounds are long-term projects that will add culture and amenities to your neighborhood. Not only is this good for the town, but it could also increase the value of your home.

  • Small upgrades pay off. If you plan on moving within the coming months, you still have time to increase the value of your home. By replacing old faucets, handles, and doorknobs you can make older items appear new again. Similarly, minor electric upgrade, like replacing old light switches or outlets, combined with a fresh coat of paint can make a room look like new.

  • Simple landscaping. You don’t need to start carving topiary animals into your shrubs to increase your curb appeal. On the contrary, having a yard that is simple and well-maintained will appear cleaner and easier to take care of for prospective buyers.

  • Consult an expert. If you’ve lived in your house for a while, it might be difficult for you to see which things might decrease the home’s value. Contacting an agent will help you gain an outside perspective on your house so that you can plan home improvement projects accordingly.





Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 12/11/2017

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




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