Why We Hoped for a Low Home Appraisal in This One Situation

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  • Appraisals assess the value of a home.
  • Usually, a higher appraisal is better.
  • I hoped for a low appraised value when appealing my property taxes.

There are times when a low appraisal can really be good for homeowners.

Home appraisals involve having a professional determine what a home is likely worth in the current real estate market. There are a few situations when they are required, including when purchasing or refinancing a home.

In most situations, it's better to get a higher appraisal. If you're buying a house with a mortgage, for example, you'll want your home to appraise for plenty of money. That's because the home is collateral guaranteeing the loan, so it needs to appraise for enough that mortgage lenders will be confident they could sell it and recoup their losses in case of foreclosure.

In one situation, however, my husband and I had our home appraised and we were hoping for the lowest valuation possible. Here's why.

A low home appraisal can help lower your property taxes

My husband and I wanted our house to appraise for as low as possible when we hired an appraiser to help us with a property tax appeal.

Property taxes are determined based on the tax rate in your local area and the valuation of your house. When my husband and I built a home, the county originally assessed its value and set our property tax amount based on what it thought our home was worth. Our property taxes were pretty high, and we decided to appeal and argue that our home should be assessed at a lower amount.

In order to provide evidence to bolster our appeal, we hired a home appraiser. We were hoping the appraiser would find out the home was worth less than the county believed, as this would reduce our property tax bill. In fact, the lower the appraised value, the better. Our plan was that if we got a low appraisal, we would present it as evidence to argue that we were paying too much in property taxes.

Since we were hoping for a low appraisal, we pointed out all the problems with the house when the appraiser came while with past appraisals, we emphasized the positive features of the home. Fortunately, the appraiser determined our home wasn't worth what the township thought and appraised our home for below the assessed value. We were able to successfully use this evidence to get our property taxes lowered.

Is a property tax appeal a good idea?

Property taxes are one of the key costs of homeownership, and if there is a way to reduce them by appealing, you can save money for years to come.

Ultimately, though, your ability to successfully reduce your taxes will depend on whether you can show your home is assessed at too high a price. And if you can't get a low appraisal showing that, you are unlikely to be successful at getting your property taxes reduced.

Now depending on the rules where you live, you may be able to present lots of different kinds of evidence to argue that your home's valuation should be lowered. For example, you could potentially compile a list of comparable homes yourself and present this as evidence rather than getting an appraisal.

But in any circumstances where an appeal is successful, you need to provide reason to believe your home's value is lower than what it's currently listed as. With home values up in recent years, this can be harder than before -- but a lot depends on your local area. If you genuinely believe your home isn't worth as much as its current assessment and you think you can prove it, there's little downside to trying to get your tax bill reduced.

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