Local News

Sep 2, 2013 3:40 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Disconnect Between Home Appraisals and Market Value

CORPUS CHRISTI - It's a common and seemingly eternal American disconnect. The difference between what the Appraisal District tells you your house is worth, and what the real estate market says your house is worth.

Every year, there are differences.

When a house is on the market, the buyer wants the lowest price, the seller wants the highest, but you'd like to think that what a house is worth is what it sells for, or something close to that. But if often doesn't work that way.

Throughout town, there are properties that are on the tax rolls for roughly what they sell for, but there are others that are way off, and remember, your assessed value determines what you pay in taxes.

Safe to say everyone wants everyone to pay their fair share.

We found some houses with some big differences.

On Ocean Drive, one house was on the market for $1,195,000, but the Appraisal District says it's worth $541,850. That's a difference of $653,150.

Another house on Hewit Drive was even larger. On the market for $2,500,000, but assessed at $1,395,247. That's a difference of $1,104,753.

And the biggest one yet, a house on Amistad is on the market for $2,200,000, but valued at $964,909 by the district. That's a difference of $1,235,091.

The opposite effect can hold true as well. In recent years, many houses on Padre Island have sold for thousands less than what they were appraised at.

One island realtor, Gabriele Hipold, told us differences in both directions are usually because the Appraisal District doesn't always have access to enough information, like the inside conditions of many of the homes.

"We are trying to work with the Appraisal District to get a better system set up so that they can take in more of the factors for the older houses," she says.

The Appraisal District says they're usually about a year behind on market values, since they can only base appraisals on sold property, and not asking prices.

In other words, it's hard for the district to keep up with the market.

Hipold says it can be hard for realtors to keep everything straight too. It's a complicated process.

So while there may be a disconnect between the real estate market and appraisals, both sides agree more information is the way to solve the problem.

Taxpayers, however, remain skeptical and mistrustful of the process.

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