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Cainothree, Home Owner in Castro Valley, CA

How do assessors determine the difference between 2 properties with identical houses, 1 lot 5000SF, the other 7500?

Asked by Cainothree, Castro Valley, CA Tue Feb 28, 2012

How does "usable land" (larger lot very hilly) affect the assessment?

Help the community by answering this question:


How an Appraisal is made:
Visualize a series of COLUMNS, probably 4 or 5;
The First Column is the SUBJECT HOUSE and the others are COMP's.
Down the page we list FEATURES or FACTORS; such as # Bedrooms, # Baths, House Sqft, Lot Sqft, Fireplace, Pool, Roof, Garage, Fencing. Got it?
Now, in each box created, there will be a VALUE: Lets say the subject house is 915 sqft it would get --- or 0. And the first Comp house has 2500 sqft, it might get -100,000; which means that the house is WORTH $100,000 more because of the square-footage. (It is a negative number because the Selling price of that Comp house was approximately $100,000 more BECAUSE of the square footage and we have to deduct that $100,000 to bring them to equity.) Got it?

Now, lets say that the Subject house has $5,000 worth of new fencing and the Comp house has 25 year old OK fencing.: Then the SUBJECT house would get +5,000 and the Comp. house would get --- or 0.

When you go down the page, and enter everything, you get total Comparative Values on the two houses, which allows for the DIFFERENCES.

The two houses DO NOT have to be literally COMPARABLE, they MAKE then comparable with the VALUES.

So the house next door is larger, so what? They made up for that with the values.

Now, if you understand what I just did, then you will understand why;
1.) Two Appraisals can come so close together, and,
2.) Why the Bank will not listen to you about the results.

and in fact I will give you a third;

3.) If you hire your own Appraiser, he will end up with about the same numbers!

Also, please do not compare/equate the ASSESSMENT with the APPRAISAL: The ASSESSMENT is based on the LAST SELLING PRICE OF THE PROPERTY which might be last year. five years ago, or thirty years ago.

I hope I've helped.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 14, 2012
This is a bit difficult – it’s easy for an appraiser to look at the data on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and evaluate property condition (if pictures are available), dimensions, amenities, etc. It’s not so easy to assess the land for each comparable – especially in a city such as Castro Valley which has many hills. There is no number on the MLS that states the percentage of land that is actually usable, so, unless an appraiser personally visits all the comps or at least looks at them all on Google Earth, they are not going to see distinctions between lots. To be honest, this is probably not going to happen and, if you get an out-of-area appraiser, they really won’t know the difference.

For this reason, appraisals are weighted more heavily on the actual dwelling than the land – unless the land sizes vary drastically, such as might be the case out on Crow Canyon Road or similar rural locations. Then they run separate calculations for the dwelling(s), out buildings and land.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 14, 2012
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