Nothing can move forward unless our land appraisal goes higher.
We think our appraiser low-balled our land value. The bank had estimated from land listings that our plot had almost doubled in value, but the appraiser set it closer to what we actually bought it for. Ironically, I received a letter from HCAD (our county records division) yesterday that had the value higher than the appraiser put it at, so it’s pretty evident that the land appraisal is low.
Why did the appraiser low-ball the land? The bank said that sometimes appraisers get lazy and just put down the actual paid amount for it. I have a different idea, though: it’s the same issue we’ve had with the land since buying it. Our property is actually two combined lots that had two HCAD records. We recently combined the lots to one in order to reduce confusion and to make taxes easier on our part, but I’m unsure if HCAD really combined the values or if they are just looking at one plot’s value.
This is confusing, but look at it this way: Lot 1 had a value in 2011 of $25k, Lot 2 had a value of $34k. The letter I just received from HCAD only values the combined at $46k for 2012. Doesn’t make sense, right? This means I get to spend a little more time at the city to unravel this mystery.
Our bank said that if we could get the value to look more like $60k, we’d be in better shape for the lot as our down payment for the loan. We have a trusted realtor looking into running the comparisons in the area for us, which is what the appraiser should have done. If her numbers come back like his did, and I strike out at the city about our records, we’re probably going to have to abandon the project. We should know more this week.