Donna Moy-Bruno's Blog
Home valuation is one of the tricky areas of real estate. In general, you want a high appraisal and a low assessment. But shouldn't they be the same? Well, in a perfect world your assessment and your appraisal would be the same, but you don't want the world to be perfect in this regard. Here's why:
An appraised value comes from the report completed by a licensed professional appraiser to determine property value at a specific point, typically for a buyer to obtain a mortgage. It is a tool used by underwriters for lenders to determine if the home has enough collateral for the loan needed to purchase or refinance it.
Appraisers compare the home to similar properties in their evaluation. They look for both similarities to find a base value and difference to increase or decrease the value such as the roof's age, livable square footage, exterior materials, upgrades, and other finished. Using these numbers and other valuation formulae such as the cost to rebuild the home (similar to your homeowner insurance values), and potential income from rental or other uses, the appraiser determines a possible value.
The market value is not the same as the appraised value, however. While it starts with the appraised value, other determiners such as the desirability of the area, or circumstances such as a tornado, hurricane, or eminent domain issues may adjust the market value above or below the appraised value.
A home's assessed value typically comes from the taxing authority for the municipality. It is the method of determining the tax basis (or valuation) of the property. The tax assessment is a percentage of that value that the homeowner pays annually to provide the municipality money for water and fire services, schools, capital improvements to roads, bridge, and public parks and additional essential services.
The amount of the percentage and its designations differ for every taxing authority, so a home in one neighborhood might have a different assessed value from an identical house in another block nearby if the boundary lines for the taxing authority (school district, for example) differs.Some counties and cities reassess homes only when they sell, while others have periodic assessments. And the percentage rates of the assessments change when voters approve various tax levies for a variety of purposes.
An appraisal affects your ability to obtain a mortgage for your home while an assessment relates to the ongoing yearly tax expenses. Since a third factor determines the home's selling price, the market value, your professional realtor should guide your understanding of how these factors affect your home purchase or sale.
3 Rosebud Ln, Milford, MA 01757
3 Rosebud Ln, Milford, MA 01757
All communities have increases and decreases in population, demographics, and times when several (or very few) homes are on the market. Sometimes, it's merely that the stars aligned for several homeowners at the same time. Once in a while, because the market is particularly hot, many of the owners hope to cash in on the rising prices. In a few cases, however, it is a BIG. RED. FLAG.
Proceed with caution.
Getting in early to a neighborhood that is on the cusp of gentrifying—of becoming that trendy place where everybody wants to live—can be a savvy move for personal homebuyers and investment purchases. But just because the neighborhood next door made the transition doesn’t always mean this one is next up.
If you can purchase several homes in the neighborhood, you can try to force the upward change, but if you’re buying your first family home, take heed of a few signs that a community has headed down instead of up.
Lots of homes for sale.
As noted above, sometimes it’s just a fluke that several homes go on the market at once. Other times, it is because some community event triggered it. This event could be a school district redistricting so that students no longer qualify to go to the school they planned for, an increase in a local tax, because the water/sewer lines need upgrading but the city isn't budging, or an increase in homeowner association dues.
Speaking of homeowner associations, sometimes it's not the dues, it's just the restrictive rules. If all the houses look identical; if the color palette seems to be within one or two hues; if the turf is all the same grass, the neighborhood might have a super-controlling association. While many folks are fine with tightly-defined rules, you'll want to know going in so that your dreams of a minty-green paint over all that red brick aren't dashed on the rocks of the rulebook and covenants.
If the school district is moving the lines, it's important to know before you invest. The changes might be in your favor, in which case: get right in there and make your move. But if you had old information on where your kids would qualify to go, you need to know.
In older neighborhoods, an aging population may be in transition out. If so, that might signal the perfect time for younger families to move in, upgrade, update, and upscale the homes into this decade. One way for you to know for sure is to speak to people that know. Talk to the neighbors when you go to that open house. Drive along the streets at the end of the workday to see who is coming and going. Stop by in the morning for a look at how many kids are heading to the school bus stop.
Your local real estate specialist pays attention to trends and can tell you how many homes have sold within the last few years, so use their expertise before making the leap.
Everybody loves the feel of a new home, or in the absence of that, an old home with a new look. If you truly want to give your home a new look, you could try out some of these ideas. They are well within budget range and are sure to give your home that wow factor for at least a few more years.
- Change the covers on your sofas. Changing your entire chair and sofa set is guaranteed to change the look of your home, but if that's out of pocket reach for you, get new covers for your armchairs and settees. It does the work beautifully, even though the chairs are the same, they look different and previous guests might not be able to tell the difference. For an extra touch, rearrange the placement of the chairs around the house.
- Spraypaint your dining chairs If you have wooden or plastic chairs in your kitchen or dining area, then spray painting them will entirely not be a bad idea. You could decide to do different colors for different chairs and see how they look. If your chairs happen to have padded seats or upholstered in any way, you should call in a professional to do the paint job so as not to damage them. But a new color in your kitchen is definitely worth it.
- Add a personalized touch The difference between owning a house and making a home is usually that added touch of personality. Adding new photos and personal mementos around the house gives it a new look. The entire family could all go for a new photo shoot and hang up the pictures around the home. Alternatively, decide to change the frame of the current images you have up. Nothing is off limits. Let your home breathe "you" for every guest to see.
- Add wall art You might not be the most astute art collector, but you can definitely pick out a good piece of art, and good art is not always pricey. Check out your local thrift store or garage sales around your neighborhood for attractive pieces you can hang on the wall. Sculptures, paintings, ceramics, all will contribute to making your house take on an entirely different look. For more options on affordable wall art, check out auction sales and exhibitions at local art colleges near you.