HOME VALUATION: LOCATION
Appraising properties in Atlanta GA is not as easy as some may think. While the practices of appraising are all the same no matter what area you are in, the locations within the city present different obstacles and challenges for appraisers. Let’s take a look as to why.
Different Areas make up Atlanta
Atlanta Ga is made up of many areas that all have their own unique features, designs, and attributes. You have the areas such as Buckhead, Old Buckhead, Colonial Homes, & Chastain Park to the North of Downtown. You have Morningside, Piedmont Park, Virginia Highlands, Atkins Park that are east of Midtown. You have Ponsey-Highlands, Little Five Points, Edgewood, Kirkwood, Old Fourth Ward and Iman Park that are east of Downtown Atlanta. You have Summer Hill, Ormewood Park, Glenwood Park, East Atlanta Village and Peoplestown that are south East of Downtown. You have Mechanicsville, Adair Park, Pittsburgh and Capitol Hill South of Downtown. You have West End , West View and Oakland Park South West of Atlanta. You have Vine City, Mozley Park, and BankHead to the west of downtown. Now these are all the sub areas of the city of Atlanta , as there are more and as you continue into other cities like Decatur, Sandy Springs, Vinings & Union City to name a few you also have these same sub areas. Some of these areas are considered Atlanta but sit in 3 different counties Fulton, Cobb & Dekalb and that can have a big impact on the value. So why am I mentioning these?
Each area in Atlanta as stated above has its own specific market. Within that market there are specific schools, specific buyers & specific neighborhood elements. For example. The West End of Atlanta is an up and coming area to which many homes are being torn down and the lots rebuilt with newer homes as well as many homes being completely renovated. The West End is located on the south west side of downtown and while its up and coming as they say it still has it neighborhood elements & schools. Comparing homes in this specific area to that of Piedmont park, Kirkwood or areas that do not share the same locational elements would be completely incorrect. YES even if the home is the exact same as one in one of those areas. Location is everything!!! Remember that Location is everything. Homes in this area MUST be compared to similar homes within this area. While on this let me say that YES even comparing a home in the West End to a home in Adair Park or Mechanicsville which are located next to it locationally is incorrect due to location specific elements and schools.
Lets look at Virginia Highlands for a second.. Located close to Piedmont park which is considered by some “ The Central Park of the South” would not be comparable to a home say in Old Fourth Ward. While not too far from each other the area is made up of different style homes, location specific elements and schools. Market values in this area are drastically different than in Old Fourth Ward due to the locational elements.
So now we move over to an area where homes are considered to be in Atlanta Ga but sit in 2 different counties. Would the same house be the same value as if it were in a county next door? Let’s take a look at Brookhaven. Brookhaven located in Dekalb County is located just to the East of Buckhead located in Fulton County. While they may share a similar location they are located in 2 different counties, with 2 different tax areas & different county rules. Taxes may be assessed different, schools may be the same yet may be different. While an appraiser may find a similar home within Fulton County that shares the same schools etc. the home is located in Dekalb county and should be valued with other Dekalb county homes that are similar. But the schools and area are the same you say?? Yes they may be but now the county its located in comes into play Another locational issue. Homes within Fulton may be valued higher or less due to the county its located in vs Dekalb county or vice versa.
I’m going to step outside Atlanta for one minute… Cobb county GA where I reside has many sub areas as well. I live in an area called EAST COBB. The area has some of the best school districts in the county. In one particular area there is an area that comes together where 3 high schools meet. Wheeler, Pope & Walton. When appraising in this area it is crucial to pay attention to the School districts Wheeler is not comparable to Pope or Walton. Walton is not comparable to Pope even though they are close to each other but due to some school differences. Why?? Ask the people on a waiting list to move into Walton or POPE and those not looking to move into Wheeler. So in a way this is similar to the County aspect above. There may be many benefits of living in Dekalb County as opposed to Fulton or vice versa however while you may be located in the Atlanta city limits the county you live in may play a very important part of your home value.
To conclude, Appraisers must be very in tune with the location of the property when comparing them to similar homes. GA Appraisal law states:
GA Appraisal Law Chapter 593-3
Section D) select comparable properties for valuation of a property that are located within the market area of the subject. Absent a credible real estate appraisal explanation for a different market area, the market area for residential properties shall be presumed to be comparable properties located first within the same subdivision as the subject and second located within one mile of the subject
So whats the challenge?? Realtors, Lenders and others alike tend to just focus on the home itself and not the AREA its located in. When done improperly and not valued for the immediate area, the home is typically over valued or maybe under valued for the area it is located in which can lead to further issues down the road.
For more information or to make sure you are properly being valued contact us for a consultation.
Photo credit: Main: Creator: SeanPavonePhoto