How Are Your Property Values Doing?

So, I’ve been kicking around a story idea about property values for some time, since they’ve stagnated pretty much everywhere across the country.

I’m getting the data on this from the appraisal district, but I wanted to throw the question out to you all as well: has your home valued declined? Secondly, does this bother you? For instance, if you’re not trying to sell it right now, the lesser evaluation would mean lower taxes, so it probably wouldn’t matter much.

Just an idea I’ve been playing with, and since I don’t own a house in the Park Cities, thought I’d throw it to you.

19 thoughts on “How Are Your Property Values Doing?

  • January 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    Bradford
    The article is a great idea. Might I suggest speaking with a local appraiser to get the “front-lines” perspective on today’s market.

    Try Grant Day. Grant has been appraising Park Cities homes for several years and likely knows more about the current market than anyone else in the area – broker or appraiser.

    His office number is 972.387.3727 I will let him know you might ring him.

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  • January 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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    Oops phone number type-o. His number is 972.387.3737.

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  • January 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm
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    I just checked out my DCAD history and it is silly. Since the year 2000 my land “value” has increased over 400% while my house (improvement) has decreased over 50%.

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  • January 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm
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    I may be wildly wrong, but inasmuch as I plan to live in UP for the rest of my life, I’m guilty of assuming it’s a more-or-less moot issue. I’ll either die in the house I currently own, or at some point “trade it” on the market for another UP home that will have increased or decreased in value at a comparable rate, so my “house dollars” remain essentially unaffected. Like I say, I could be wrong.

    I suppose actual cash values make a difference to how much the “realtors” are able to skim off other people’s transactions, but that’s also moot to me. Never used on in the Park Cities, and never will. No need to line the mink pockets of an agent, especially in a community where homes sell themselves. Weird that people still use them. Hopefully that “profession” will die off soon, hastened along by the internet.

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  • January 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm
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    I’ve been appealing my valuation for four years now and there is definitely a deeply flawed process within DCAD for this area. First, they probably don’t like the idea of “Park Cities” types appealing their assessments. Fact is, residential real estate is highly diverse in this area, and the “black box” assessment models used by DCAD don’t work. I’ve researched Case-Schiller data back to 2003 (when my home was built) and in 2011, the values were roughly equal to 2000, yet my assessment was 17% higher than my 2003 level. Since 2008, I’ve presented analyses breaking down valuation several ways, with similar conclusions – my property was over valued versus similar properties in the same age, size, neighborhood area (as defined by DCAD) and class. I sliced the data separating out land value from improvement value on a per square foot basis, factored additional improvements separately and then indexed the results against several similar measures – average, high and low across all other classes, and found that my property was at the top end of the valuation. The DCAD appraiser went through his “black box” model in the hearing comparing my property to others that were not as close and of course supported the original assessed value. He couldn’t explain how the valuation was arrived in the model, and quickly breezed past items I questioned him in my rebuttal. The board, while impressed with the thoroughness of my analytics and presentation, sided with the appraiser three years in a row. Then I hired an attorney and received a small adjustment beyond the market decline recognized in 2011, making it a small victory. Can’t wait to see what they do this year – volumes are down but the mix of sales as far as I can tell point to average prices creeping upwards slightly, most likely due to the sales mix (higher values for the fewer properties that sold).

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  • January 21, 2012 at 12:10 am
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    The smartest thing my parents ever did was buy me this condo in 75205 in 1980. I too claim 400% increase. Grandma’s house is worth a tad bit more since the 1922 purchase. Thank goodness everything is paid for!

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  • January 21, 2012 at 7:57 am
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    Value is down, but so are taxes… which makes us very happy.

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  • January 21, 2012 at 9:32 am
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    My property value avoided a huge hit when the smart members on the city counsel voted to deny backyard chickens. Cluck cluck cluck…

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  • January 22, 2012 at 1:38 am
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    If more people would protest their assessed value, rather than be lazy and accept what DCAD says their home is worth, our assessed values would decline. That’s not the equivalent to reduced tax liabilities…homeowners have no control over tax rates on our assessed values, as you all know; however, whatever you can do to reduce your value helps. I have found in the 14 years I’ve owned a home in University Park, every year that I’ve protested my value, I have been awarded a reduction…for just showing up…at the beginning, it was in person; in later years, I was able to handle it with a phone call and an email of relevant supporting information. I went before the Board of Adjusters one year and was successful, but I don’t recommend it because I understand it’s a losers game. The DCAD appraisers and staff are worked like dogs and appreciate the home owners that work with them to make their “black box” work so that both parties are happy… And, it’s their job on the line to keep values up, so don’t blame them or take it personally when they don’t agree with you. Finally, to the comment regarding Realtors…homes in the Park Cities don’t sell themselves…there are hundreds that a Realtor could list that have sat on the market much too long because of seller’s value expectations that aren’t in line with market realities.
    In summary, file a protest every year and follow it with a visit or at least a phone call to your favorite DCAD staffer…you will be surprised at how easy it is to get some amount of deduction.

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  • January 22, 2012 at 1:49 am
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    As a follow up to my post re this subject, pls be aware that you have absolutely no control of land value. Your land value is assessed at the same front foot value (or other measurement) as all of the homes in the immediate area as your home. DCAD will not reduce your land value. Your focus must be on your improvements value. My method is to have a reasonable target value and work with the DCAD staffer to get to that value through manipulating the “switches on the black box” that affect my improvements value…quality, depreciation, square footage, defects, etc.

    Good luck, but remember you don’t get what you don’t ask for…so, protest every year.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 9:18 am
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    DSquared, when you protest, DCAD is only interested in recent sales data of comparable homes. Period. Not neighbors’ valuations, market analysis, indexes, etc. Here’s what you do:
    1. Find a realtor who has access to MLS.
    2. Have the realtor search recent comparable sales, the more recent the better. Comparable sales means houses in your neighborhood that have actually sold that are similar in size, class, bedrooms, baths, lot size, etc. Have the realtor give you the property’s MLS description and sale price documentation. Try to get two or three. Make sure you are comparing homes of similar quality and type. If your home was custom built in 2007, you can’t compare it to a 1940s tear down. Also, you have to compare homes that are in this area. A sale from the other side of the Tollway is not a comp sale.
    3. Make a detailed list and take pictures of all needed repairs (and updates, if your house is really old). Get written estimates of repairs/updates and bring that documentation, along with the photos.
    4. File the protest on time, and plan to go to an informal hearing, which is at least 24 hours before the formal one.
    5. Bring a good attitude and be friendly! In my experience (successful protests for more than 10 years), the DCAD employees have been very pleasant and professional. The one time when things weren’t going well, I politely asked to speak to a supervisor, and I was able to talk to a different person. Think about it, these people are yelled at all the time. Bring in data that they can use, and you will make their job easy.
    6. If you cannot find any comp sales that are less than the valuation of your home, and your home does not need any repairs, save your time and breath.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 11:22 am
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    This would make an interesting article. My total property appraisal has declined 5%/yr for the last 3 years running (mostly the structure, lot value only dropped in 2011).

    However, keep in mind a few things:
    1. The DCAD appraised value may or may not be anywhere close to what the real market (i.e. what you could sell it for) value is. Case in point, the Aikman property on Highland is listed for $24MM on MLS, but DCAD value is only $13MM (both lots). I believe D Magazine has published articles on this once or twice in the last few years.
    2. Look at the history of any property on DCAD and you will notice that when a property changes hands, the new DCAD valuation almost always is what the last selling price was.
    3. There was a bill before the Texas Legislature to more closely align Appraisal District values with real market values. The purpose being that in most cases the market value is higher than Appraisal District value; hence would generate higher tax payments. Not sure if this ever went anywhere.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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    I paid significantly less than my home appraised for when I bought my house in 2010. I appealed my taxes, of course, and DCAD refused to drop the value to the amount I paid–even with the sales data, they literally would not accept that the home was worth so little. It’s a difference of $15,000, so it probably has little effect on the taxes and I didn’t push it, but in principle, it’s frustrating. Did it through a lawyer, so I’m unsure of the details, but since he was paid a percentage of the reduction, I’m assuming he did his best. Any ideas on how they could have gotten away with this?

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  • January 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm
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    @Unsuccessful, that happened to us twice. You protest and bring your closing statement to the informal hearing. That’s true market value.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm
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    Protest DCAD every year. It won’t have an impact on the actual sales price of your home since the data used to determine comparable sales is on MLS, not DCAD. The value on DCAD can be used to get a rough idea of sales price, but in reality the two numbers can be thousands upon thousands of dollars apart.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm
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    Hey Brad,

    Suppose this year, three guys from the IRS came to you and said, “Brad, we think you’re a good writer. In fact, we think you’re underpaid. We think you should be earning 50% more than PCP is paying you. You wrote this many articles at this many words, and your average reader makes this much money. Our model says you should be paid 50% more than what you are. So we’re going to tax you on what we think you SHOULD be making rather than what you actually are. We’re three people. We know the labor market inside out.”

    That’s a system for determining taxes? That’s what we have with DCAD.

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  • January 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm
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    protested using about 8 MLS comps and pics of deferred maint
    their comps were recent construction vs my 1980s nonupdated home
    i argued a 25 year old home is not comparable to a 3-year old home but their appraiser said he takes the square foot price of the new house then just knocks $100,000 off.
    I settled for a downgrade of the condition from good to fair, which knocked $75,000 off the value but still left my home appraised $150,000 more than i can sell it for (according to my Realtor)

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  • January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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    OccupyDCAD, did you look at your home’s “class,” which is on the DCAD listing for your property? New construction is usually a different class than an older home which can be helpful when arguing your case. The class descriptions are on the website.

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