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Entertainment Value - Assessor Appraisal Data with Clear Evidence of Sales Chasing

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by bikspk, Oct 14, 2010.

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  1. bikspk

    bikspk New Member

    0
    Oct 23, 2009
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    West Virginia
    A website has posted and collated all of the data used in residential property appraisal (assessment) between 2005 and 2010 for a city in Morgantown WV and presented it such that evidence that sales chasing and non-appraisal has been going on for a long, long time. All of the data are directly from the IAS system

    Here's a link to a doozy - http://monfairassessments.org/parcel_search_new.php?ID=12-14-0296-0000-0000

    The person who purchased the home saw a 146% increase in their appraisal the year after they purchased the home as a result of the assessor jiggering the dwelling grade (C+ to A+), CDU (0.6 to 0.97), and land price per front foot ($184/ft to $363/ft). Interesting that neighboring properties have had the same grades, CDUs and prices per front foot every year.

    Wonder how well the owner would do on appeal to the courts?

    Would this constitute fraudulently altering public records for personal gain (i.e. hiding the fact that you aren't assessing property from the Tax Commissioner by jacking up the assessments on sold properties since the Commissioner only looks at assessed to sales ratios for sold properties to grade the assessor)?

    Is this Captain Obvious or what?
     
  2. Elliott

    Elliott Elite Member

    36
    Apr 23, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Oregon
    What do you mean by 'sales chasing' and 'non-appraisal.'

    So what did the house sell for, when, and what's it assessed (MV) now?
    I don't know of an assessor who doesn't trend assessed value to sales prices,
    some more obvious and clumsy then others.
     
  3. bikspk

    bikspk New Member

    0
    Oct 23, 2009
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    West Virginia
    Here are the relevant facts for that property (from the included link):
    2007 Tax Year (July 2006 appraisal): $61,900
    Property Purchased June 2007: $158,000
    No improvements to property whatsoever
    2008 Tax Year (July 2007 appraisal): $152,500

    Adjacent property (No sale recorded since 1990):
    Dwelling Grade: D+
    CDU: 0.5
    Land Price: $179/ft
    All unchanged from 2005 to 2010
    Link

    It's more obvious if you look at the listings by district for properties in that same district. The data aren't perfect but they do show exactly what has been going on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  4. Elliott

    Elliott Elite Member

    36
    Apr 23, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Oregon
    Property Purchased June 2007: $158,000
    2008 Tax Year (July 2007 appraisal): $152,500

    When I worked for an assessor, the purpose of having assessed value
    being close to market value was so school funding that came from the
    state was equally applied on an assessed value per pupil. The state
    oversaw county appraisers. I don't know about the WV system, but
    it looks like the assessor is trying to do his job.
     
  5. bikspk

    bikspk New Member

    0
    Oct 23, 2009
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    West Virginia
    It's interesting that you bring that up. West Virginia requires that you assess property at 60% of the appraised market value. The State provides funding to each county, generally, based on the number of students and the potential to levy property taxes. If an assessor in one county artificially holds assessments below the market while an assessor in another county assesses with the market the school aid formula they use will essentially subsidies the county with the assessor who is holding assessments below market value at the expense of the county who has an assessor doing the right job.

    The expense of how it is going on right now is that recent purchasers are paying disproportionately high taxes compared to long-term owners ($200K house runs to about $600/year penalty).

    Have to note that, unlike California, the WV law requires that property be assessed at its true and actual market value. The law also provides that the Tax Commissioner can remove an elected assessor for malfeasance.
     
  6. Walter Kirk

    Walter Kirk Senior Member

    11
    Jun 24, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    New Jersey
    From my experience working in a tax assessors office it seems that the assessor was trying to make the assessment match the actual sales price. Some assessment software requires changes in building condition or class before it will change its indicated value.

    We must remember that an assesment is not an appraisal.
     
  7. bikspk

    bikspk New Member

    0
    Oct 23, 2009
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    West Virginia
    The problem is that the assessor, in this case, has the intent to sales chase and has employed cost based appraisals within the computer-based appraisal system where he can control the appraisals by manipulating the data rather than use the built-in market based approach which would result in accurate appraisals.

    As for the difference between an appraisal and an assessment, WV says the assessment is 60% of the assessors appraisal.

    What might make it easier to see is that, according to the FHFA (and from personal experience), home prices went up over 45% in the Morgantown area between 2004 and 2009 but, during that same time, assessments on unsold properties only went up by 12.5% and that increase was solely the result of a county-wide dwelling modifier. The result is a widening gap in appraisals for sold and unsold property which is worse because, prior to 2004, the practice had been going on for ages. For the property I used in the example, the home right next door was being appraised for ~$60K and was significantly nicer, better maintained, and has a larger yard and, important to WV, flatter, yard.

    Fortunately an outside appraiser has been brought in to re-appraise the entire county (residential and commercial) but that doesn't help those who got burned by the assessor's practices in the past.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
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