Appeals process? Lower than expected assessment of home value stopped our refi cold. What is our recourse? Any suggestions?

Asked by David Hatch, San Anselmo, CA Tue Jan 25, 2011

We paid 865k for our home in San Anselm in 2008 And for tax purposeas it was assessed at 795k. We were in the process of a refi to lower our monthly payments. Everything seemed to be going ok until the in-person assessor marked us at 730k. Is there an appeals process? I'd hate to pay 400 for another in-person assessment only to have it turn out the same. OUr main goal is to get a refi to lower our payments. Open to any suggestions.

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Jaime Pera’s answer
Jaime Pera, , Mill Valley, CA
Thu Jan 27, 2011

I'm wondering if you have interchanged the terms "appraisal" and "assessment" in your question. Assessment relates to the Marin County Tax board and the assessed value of your property for property taxes purposes. Appraised value is arrived at by an appraiser for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage for a home you are purchasing or for refinancing an existing mortgage on your home.

I personally went through a similar situation in September of 2009. We were refinancing and felt that the appraised came in lower than we felt was correct. The problem at the time was that the real estate market was sluggish (still in a recession) and there weren't enough good comps. The bank allowed me submit comps I felt should be included in the appraisal which were then presented to an internal bank board.

I would contact your lender to find out if they have an appraisal appeal process.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
1 vote
Liz Williams…, Agent, Sausalito, CA
Tue Jan 25, 2011
I am pretty sure there is no way to appeal the appraisal. But I would ask how long is the appraisal good for before you can have another appraisal done. I have worked with clients that had their home re- appraised, after 90 days. I don't know if this is the case for refis's but it is worth a shot.
Another option is to switch lenders. Although it is usually better to go to the lender you are currently with for refis, it wouldn't hurt at this point to go to an independent mortgage broker as well. I have had deals fall apart because of bad appraisals, there is a mortgage broker I have switched my clients to in the middle of a transaction because this broker was able to get the appraisal to go through when their current lender could not. if you would like his hame, please give me a call or drop me an email. I'd be happy to give you his name.
Good luck!
Direct line: 415 380-4630
1 vote
Beverly Shwe…, Agent, Greenbrae, CA
Tue Jan 25, 2011
Unfortunately not all appraisers are created equal therefore appraisals can have a wide range of value. I have a client that got an appraisal on their Greenbrae home in October and it came in at $1,050,000. Just this month, he started the refinancing process again and got another appraisal. This one came in at $1,250,000. I had sent him comps to show the appraiser and he was present for the appointment. Recent sales in Greenbrae helped his case but I think his presence and explanations of the pros of the home and location did help. What is unfortunate for him is that his rate is now a bit higher than it would have been in the fall.
I realize I am not really answering your question but at this time I do not know of an appeals process. I would talk with your lender and see if they have any suggestions for what you can do. I would also watch the market to see if there are new sales in your area that could help your case and try again. Yes you would probably have a higher rate and would also have to pay another appraiser but if the rate is much better than what you currently have, it could be worth it. Good luck!
1 vote
Tony McMahon, Agent, WHITE PLAINS, MD
Tue Jan 25, 2011
The tax assessment has nothing to do with the appraised value. An appraiser will take the most recent similar comps in the immediate area to determine your homes market value. In most areas prices have continued to decline from 2008 to 2011. It seems this is what may have happened with your home as well.
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, ,
Tue Jan 25, 2011

Yes, your loan agent should be able to assist you in terms of filing an appeal with the appraisal management company. They usually have a form that is filled out in regards to listing closed sales within the past sixty days along with any pending or active listings. Usually, they want to see 3-5 comparables similar to the subject property. Good luck!

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