ADDITIONAL INFO: Here are my list of findings. I excludes the subjective issues (except part of the last bullet) I have with the appraisal. Do I have a viable argument? What to do?
1) Gross living area miscalculated by 16%. I finished a brand new four season porch/sun room this yearâ€”it's square footage was excluded from GLA though all the guidelines and specs are clear that it this qualifies as GLA. The appraiser said that this would not be corrected because the missed area was accounted for by a $4k offset in the comp adjustments table under Porch/Patio/Deck. If the area were counted as GLA, then with the $30/sf factor used would have yielded a $5k offset. This doesn't account for the fact that it's brand new or that it provides an luxury/utility beyond living space. Essentially, the appraiser is saying that GLA in a new sun room is worth less than any other GLA and that a sun room provides no additional utility.
2) Finished living area below-grade was miscalculated by 7.7%â€”the response was that 5%-8% deviations in area for appraised property and comps was reasonable and there would be no correction. To me, this defies logic because an adjustments was made to account for differences between the comps and my house as small as 6.1%.
3) Four comp sales were chosen. I agree with the validity of the choices except one. My neighbor's house was a recent foreclosure that was purchased by a pair who flipped the place without ever living there. It was a business venture and, indeed, it sold below it's 2009 tax value while all the other comp sales sold a statistically significant percentage above. I made the argument that since this address was sold by a business, not a homesteaded home-owner, the sale does not adequately represent a typical sale between "two disinterested parties" (stolen appraiser best practice verbiage, I don't remember where). The motives and acceptable outcomes of the sale are different than a standard market sale, and thus, per USPAP standard rule 7-3 and appraisal best practice, this sale should only be considered if no better ones can be found. As luck would have it, I was able to find and suggest another comp sale that sold more recently for the same price but the ratio of 2009 tax value to sale price better aligned with market averages and that of the other comps. The only draw-back was this sale was a rambler with a basement walk-out instead of split-entries like my house and my neighbor's. I don't know if that's worse, it's just a little different. I also found comps within a mile that were closer and more recent than all 3 remaining comps (the other 3 comps were 1-2.5 miles away). All my suggestions were rejected.
4) Even though the final comp value analysis produced three similar values ($238K, $242.9K, & $247.8K) that aligned with that of the cost analysis ($239.3K) and one statistical outlier ($222K, post-foreclose flipped home), the final appraised value favors the skewed lower-end of the distributionâ€”below the average of the adjusted comp values, $237.6K. 235 is not representative of the 4 comp values.
5) One of the comps gained an adjustment because it had 2 bathrooms above-grade compared to 1 for the rest of the comps. The house was listed as a 4-level split. I visited the home/homeownersâ€”the home is a split-entry with only one bathroom above-grade. No corrections made.
6) One of the comps gained an adjustment for being 29% bigger than my lot, but no similar decrimented adjustment was made for the other three comps that all had significantely smaller lots than mine (39, 33, and 25% smaller). Percentages are relative, so put it this way: .15 acre bigger than my yard decreases my comp value by $4600, but .14 acre smaller than my yard is negligible-no value added.
7) I have 6 rooms above-grade (2 bedrooms, living, dining, kitchen, and sun room). The appraisal claims that all properties have 5â€”equal.
8) There was no adjustment made for my a full mid-to-high-end kitchen/dining room remodel and bathroom remodelâ€”less than one year old. Also, in the past 3 years, I've replaces all windows, fully resided, fully recarpeted. None of these items were allotted an adjustment, yet one comp sales got a $1K price adjustment for a chain-link fence and one got a $2K adjustment for 50ft worth of a wood fence. Does this seem justifiable? All my home improvements were acknowledged only as justification that the house is well-maintained (same as all the comps). The appraiser only looks at the comp's exteriors, right? Suspicion of "well-maintained" doesn't seem justifiably equal to tens of thousands of dollars in confirmed rennovations/additions. I didn't see any of the comp's interiors either, but I confirmed that they all had inferior siding, windows, and driveways. I proposed the adjustment omission as a violation of USPAP standard rule 7-1. I understand that the value is subjective, but I see omission as an objective error.