Have you updated your place? ..because if not that would be part of the low appraisal.
Buildings are all about utility..actual use. There are several factors:
1) As a multifamily, this means higher density housing than a single...so generally will be worth less money.
2) No matter what we would like to think, the fact is local banks are now being forced to treat this market here finally as a declining market...declining less than other areas, but declining nevertheless.
3) You need to understand the difference between PRICE to sell versus ACTUAL SOLD price. Never use the term "a house costs..." unless you are a builder building something...that is cost, as opposed to what something is worth...and a building is only worth what someone is willing to pay.
4) The average SOLD price in the neighbourhood varies block by block and the SIZE of the property....over 2000 SF, the price per sf goes DOWN unless you have a place in the French Quarter.
5) The FACT is, multifamilies average SELLING price is closer to $110.00 per sf....with variations from $80 to $130 per sf.
Take a closer look at your building...digest these factoids and then give me a call to see what you can do to best raise the value of your property.
Multifamilies are always less than single families in the same neighbourhood..has been so for a very long time.
To add to your pain, (and mine..for I have several triplexes around town).. triplexes are confusing to most mortgage companies...it does not fit a "normal" criteria..the mortgage companies ALWAYS get confused..as if your triplex just fell out of the flying real estate saucer and landed at Bayou St John.
Appraisers will not use Uptown...and neither will seasoned agents...even within Uptown there are HUGE variations between zip codes and blocks..especially with multifamilies. For Bayou St John you will have to stick to Area 68.
What was probably your problem is you had an appraiser that used properties that were flooded, in less desirable neighbourhoods, and simply not true comps to yours. As Craig said, and appraiser on such a property should also use the rental income method and as Elizabeth says.."things they are a changin'" The rental market has exploded for quality rentals and is not slowing down as people continue to "flood" the city..different day..new kind of flood..educated young professionals coming for a weekend, staying for a lifetime. Hang tight and see what 1 yr will bring.
When I looked at the comps I found that they used singles as the comparables. Your best bet is to work with a commercial agent who is used to using multi-family properties. The New Orleans market is actually listed as having gained in the last year. Try these sites..zillow.com(usually 10% low), Cityfeet, etc. Since when and who says that a triplex is worth less than a single. With the taxes and insurance in New Orleans I would say that a triplex would be worth more to a buyer. Look in the Uptown area as well..yes yes I know you can't use them as comps as a rule but look anyway. Take the neighborhood comps(SOLD), check the selling price divided by the sq. footage and then multiply your sq. footage by the avg. sellijng price..Good luck..things will go up this coming year..New administration, new jobs, etc..Good luck..