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Thread: masonry grades
10-27-2009, 09:19 AM #1
I wrote in last week regarding the excessive expansion joint we saw
on a house we had put a bid on. After hearing several opinions on it,
we decided to pass on the house and look for another. We actually
went out to see it last weekend and the crack runs from the ridgeline
all the way down to the bathroom window! Guess we should've been
more diligent, but glad the inspector caught it.
Well, we have found another in Wylie, TX, and like it enough to put
a bid on it. We looked at the tax appraisal for the home (it is in Rockwall
county) and noticed that it's appraised value went from 145K in 2007
to 122K in 2008. I asked my wife to call the tax appraisers office and ask
why the large drop in value.
They told her that it may have dropped in value because of the housing market crash, but they also mentioned that the house had went from a
"good masonry" grade to an "average masonry" grade. I asked her to clarify with an actual appraiser to find out what that meant. No answer
from them yet, so that is why I'm asking this forum their thoughts.
Could the drop in the rating mean that the brick quality has deteriorated
some, or could it be that the mortaring has degraded? Maybe the mortaring was not done properly when the house was constructed. I did a
cursory look at the walls and didn't notice anything obvious, but I'm not
exactly qualified to spot good or bad mortaring or bricks..
Details on the house: built in 2005, one story, slab foundation, owners use
a soaker hose to keep the foundation soil moist.
Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your replies-
10-27-2009, 09:29 AM #2
Re: masonry grades
The tax appraisers value for our house has dropped $100k in the last 2 years - which really dropped our property taxes.
but they also mentioned that the house had went from a
"good masonry" grade to an "average masonry" grade.
Not a comment on the quality of the masonry or structure but on the appointments inside. I.e., an "average" house may have a $25,000 kitchen, a "luxury" house may have $50,000 in granite just for the countertop, then add in $100,000 cabinets then add in the appliances, with some having $250,000 kitchens.
I suspect that is what the "average" and "good" is commenting on.
10-27-2009, 08:59 PM #3
Re: masonry grades
Well you can request (all) the appraisal card(s) for the property at the office and see all the details (IIRC changes in TX law require you go in person and complete a request and show ID these days, where in past you could get this via fax or on the internet). Get the entire history (since its only three or four years worth) there may have been a change or correction noted on the floor plan, square footage, removal of a "feature" (like a spa), etc. as well as (usually) photos.
I suggest you do so for clarification, there should be many, many comments regarding the description, noted features, and condition, as well as the size of the home, improvements, and the lot. You might also want to check with the building and permits department to see if permitted work, repairs, improvements, etc. has/have been completed (could have been begun before the end of last year) recently.
It is unclear as to if the overall property conditon was listed as Average now, formerly having been Good, (which I suspect) or if that was a specific note regarding the condition of the exterior finish brick.
Admit am also unclear/uncertain as to if the home itself is of masonry construction, or merely brick facing/veneer on frame construction (as the other home).
Generally, the overall condition ratings work something like this (although your local authority might use slightly different scale, not sure if the scale is uniform throughout the State):
Excellent: Building is in perfect condition; very attractive and highly desirable
Very Good: Slight evidence of deterioration; still attractive and quite desirable.
Good: Minor deterioration visible; slightly less attractive and desirable but useful
Average: Normal wear and tear apparent; average attractiveness and desirability
Fair: Marked deterioration but qite usable; rather unattractive and undesirable
Poor: Definite deterioration is obvious, definitely undesirable and barely usable
Very Poor: Condition approaches unsoundness; extremely undesirable; barely usable
Unsound: Building is definitely unsound and practically unfit for use.
It is not uncommon for new purchasers to complely defer any maintenance, especially first time home buyers. In a depressed economy, it is also not uncommon for maintenance to be deferred. Something may have previously been deferred and noted on the last appraisal cycle, or there might have something damaged (example hail storm, broken window, crack, etc.) that has since been repaired.
Also keep in mind that the apprasial conditions (specific and overall) and market value on the card are as likely as of the first of the year (almost 11 months ago). The home may have had work, cleanup, maintenance, etc. since then (to make it market ready and refresh its "curb appeal"), and if the real estate market has slightly rebounded in your area, you could see a significant increase come January 1st (especially if you're paying more than what that card says).
Hope that helps.