Appeal Your Real Estate Appraisal

Last week I received the results of a recent appraisal of our home for a refinance. I was shocked to learn the appraised value was significantly lower than I expected. The appraiser had indicated the value of the property had fallen by $50k in the past 25 months (when our last appraisal was done).

The lender suggested I immediately appeal the appraisal. There is no cost to appeal so there wasn't a downside to at least trying to get the appraisal adjusted to be more inline with what we expected.

Here are the tips I learned along the way about filing an appraisal appeal:

  • Keep in mind appraisals rarely get adjusted based on an appeal.
  • Use publicly available data (common data sources are county property records and MLS data) to demonstrate why you think an adjustment is warranted.
  • Keep emotions out of the appeals, the appraiser typically reads the appeal so statements about the mental capacity of the appraiser in check.
  • Compare the appraisal to other appraisals you may have received to look in differences/discrepancies in calculation methods.

I reviewed the appraisal and in my appeal highlighted 3 points to make the case for an adjustment:

  • I submitted 2 comparables that were in the same proximity as those in the appraisal, but more recent transactions whose price/sq ft was more favorable.
  • One unfavorable comparable was listed in the appraisal as having the same approximate heated square footage as our house, but county property records indicates the house is about 300 sq feet smaller. I included a copy of county property records that showed the smaller square footage.
  • The appraiser did not make any adjustments for land size. Our property is .5-1 acre bigger than the lots on the comparables used and no adjustment was made for the larger lot size. All previous appraisals on this property had made adjustments for lot size. I included a copy of the county property records that indicated the lot size for all the properties.

Im not optimistic that the appeal will work as I have little hope that the appraiser will acknowledge errors in his comparable analysis; at best I'm hoping he will revise it upwards ~$15k. However, even $10k would give me the flexibility of not having to pay down $8k in our mortgage refinance.

Related in Real Estate:

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Appraisal Appeal Unsuccessful (Nov 05, 2012) Not much of a surprise, the appraiser dug in and didn't budge after we submitted our appraisal appeal: Our more favorable comparables were based on county property records. Interestingly the appraiser indicated the MLS data is generally considered more accurate...

Comments (4)

I know you are trying to play around with financing, etc. But I'd be glad if the appraiser lowered the value of my home.....from the standpoint of paying less property taxes each year. I expect to be in our home a long time, so that makes a difference in wanting the value to be pushed lower for now though.

Well the lower appraisal doesn't help my property taxes per say. Our county only re-appraises property once every 6 years I believe so have several more years until there is any chance of an adjustment there.

As you rightly mentioned the appraisals are rarely re-adjusted, as current position benefits banks.

Can you go elsewhere, as alternative in a hope for a favorable decision? $8k is a lot of money.

Take the appraisal and appeal your property tax valuation....

I did this myself , I had a couple appraisals for heloc and refinance x 2, one came back lower, the most recent one, I called the county, then emailed a copy to them, and they lowered it to the value listed on the appraisal. Lowered my appraisal by 10k.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
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