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Marcy
Marcy, B.A., M.S., J.D.
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 16344
Experience:  Researcher, Lawyer, Home Remodel Business, Real Estate, Cook
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When appraisers appraise residential properties why do they

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When appraisers appraise residential properties why do they consider only "above grade" square feet when the finished basement is legal living space and should be considered, as well?

Hello there

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I worked for many years for residential and commercial lenders and the appraisal was a large part of what we needed to go forward on a loan. The appraiser is only permitted to consider what is in the tax appraisal records for the property. If you can get the first the building department and then the local tax appraiser to change the designation of the basement and add it to the living space, then the bank appraiser and the bank will accept it as such. This is very, very rare because usually even finished basements do not have enough windows and exits for the building department to approve it as living space and then the tax department to add it to the assessed square footage of the living area of the property. Appraisers used to be able to get away with a lot of variations between them until the last real estate market crash happened and Congress implemented new laws holding them personally accountable for appraisals that are more than 15% off from what another appraiser would value a property at -- so these days you cannot even get an appraiser to change the appraisal unless you can show clear proof that they were wrong. I truly wish I could tell you something different here, but I cannot.

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MARY

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