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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious and I have been doing some research into local property values. I'm trying to find out what it is that I can be doing as a homeowner to increase my values when it comes time for the city to evaluate our house.

I'm in Calgary and after a dull and uneventful search through Calgary.ca for the methodology or even indicators, I've come up empty.

From 2008-2009 we saw a $14,500 drop in our values (we took over ownership in late 2008). This year we saw a further $73,500 drop. This drop seemed to be spread relatively evenly over the neighbourhood. This is generally in line with the 2008 economy, and appears to agree with what I've heard from other people around town.

Obviously curb appeal plays a role, and I've got my headstart on that. Although what else is it that can be done to increase your valuation?
 

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I'm curious and I have been doing some research into local property values. I'm trying to find out what it is that I can be doing as a homeowner to increase my values when it comes time for the city to evaluate our house.
The assessment method is market value based. When you look at your assessment report they note several features not limited to square footage, upgrades such as fireplaces, major developments (which would have required permits) like decks, fences, basements etc. Then, they look at 2-5 houses in your neighborhood that have been sold in and around July 1st of the previous year. Based on the selling price of those houses, an assessed value is given to your house.


From 2008-2009 we saw a $14,500 drop in our values (we took over ownership in late 2008). This year we saw a further $73,500 drop.
What neighborhood do you live in? From one of your earlier posts, I roughly recall the purchase price of your house. A $90k decrease is much much more than was experienced city wide.

One note about the 2009 and 2008 assessments for Calgary. They are partially skewed because July 2008 was about the exact peak of the boom in our city, and July 2009 was roughly the exact bottom. We bought our house Dec 2007 and the current Apr 2010 value is pretty close.

Although what else is it that can be done to increase your valuation?
Sometimes you are hooped. If someone pays below or above market value for a house in your neighborhood (say due to a foreclosure, or bidding war respectively), your city assessed house value will move accordingly.

I do agree with TRM, unless you are selling, you want a low assessed value so taxes stay low too.
 

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Hi michika, a fellow Calgarian here in Monterey Park.

Our house was assessed at $689,000 for 2009 and $516,500 in 2010 for a drop of $172,500. So you're not alone. You can get a more current idea of Calgary price trends by checking the link below. Prices have moved up since the last assessment.

http://www.housepriceindex.ca/

Calgary uses Market Value Assessment which is based on comparable prices in your neighborhood. So there isn't much you can do to change the assessed value of your home. The value is based on three approaches as used by real estate appraisers: Sales Comparison, Income Capitalization, and Cost.

Apart from doing things like adding a garage, developing a basement,etc. the value of your home is determined by outside factors.
 

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What neighborhood do you live in? From one of your earlier posts, I roughly recall the purchase price of your house. A $90k decrease is much much more than was experienced city wide.
We had a drop of $172,500 on house assessed a year earlier at $689,000 for a drop of 25%. Being that the average house dropped about 13% , that means that our house in Monterey Park has a beta of 2. We would expect that as prices move up in Calgary, our price would move up at twice that rate also. This is to be expected as there is a compression in the price difference between high and low end homes during a recession.
 

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Normally the city assessment, and the actual RE valuation are different amounts.

A RE agent could tell you what the appraised valuation would be.

The city as noted below calculates your assessment based upon a few things.

The city assessment is what your taxes are based upon. So you want that one to be lower. If it really is worth more, as per a RE appraisal, be happy. You don't want to pay more in taxes.

One year my city assessment was higher than what the RE market dictated. I contacted a RE agent and he gave me a bunch of printouts of similar homes that had sold in the area for less than my home was assessed at, and I successfully got my city assessment lowered. Thereby lowering my taxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
We're in the SW about 15 minutes out of downtown in an old and established neighbourhood. There have been two sales on our street in the last month or so and from what I've gathered they've all sold for 100K over our assessments from January 2010. My brother got into a stupid bidding war last month and pulled out at 50k over the asking price. Things are heating up in our area again.

I am upgrading our landscaping this year, removing a dead tree, and generally upgrading/cleaning up whats been in place since probably the early 50s. I just don't want to go all in on a gamble that isn't going to benefit me in anyway, aside from being a nice visual.

I know if we were to put our home on the market, and assuming our renos were complete, we could list for our 2009 assessment if not a little higher given the upgrades we've been slowly putting in.

2010 Assessment Values - Single Residential Properties and Resulting Tax Changes by Community

2010 Assessment Search What I did was search through this for our area and street every year its come out. I have printed out information for 2008, 2009, and 2010. Thats how I know the decreases over the last couple of years, as well I know people who live in the area. The annoying thing was even though we experienced such a huge drop when the 2010 assessment came out our taxes still managed to inch up by a couple hundred this year.

Bottom line I don't want to do work that won't benefit me, but at the same time I don't want to raise my taxes any further. A lot of the work I'm doing has to be done anyways, but I'd still like to be informed about how assessments work.
 

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Funny, just did a quick search of the City of Calgary website, I know in the past I've quite easily found a page describing the actual assessment process, but it looks like they took it down. :confused:

If you are concerned about whether the 'mod' you are doing will affect the assessed value, best to call the office.

I know a few people who work in the Assessment office, and honestly, most of the time the City doesn't even go out to the houses. That's why the values are largely determined by 'mods' that require permits. They have this huge database of every house, and base most of the calculations from these values. Only if you ask for a re-assessment will they actual send someone to look over the site.

Re: increasing taxes despite lower assessed values.

Yeah this sucks. Every year the city pulls these 'blinds' over peoples eyes by saying taxes are based on assessed property values and that these values are going down, hence we all expect taxes to go down. But year after year, the tax rate goes up because city council is increasing taxes every year.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
All I found on the process was two sentences; one saying that they take the numbers based on economic factors in the city, and a second saying that your numbers can be impacted directly by the physical state of your property. That is what originally prompted this post.

I guess we'll just finish the updating projects we've started and leave it at that. There is no harm in cleaning up the landscaping and removing a tree we feel is becoming a hazard in poor weather.

Its unfortunate that there is no clearly defined available process to see. I'll probably make a call this coming week.
 

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Its unfortunate that there is no clearly defined available process to see. I'll probably make a call this coming week.
Yeah, this is funny. The City seems to have moved into some less transparent territory. 2-3 years ago, they even included the formulas used for the calculations, and quite easily accessed on the website.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think that is really unfortunate. The transparency lent some validity to their methodology. Most of my landscape updating project is mostly done now, and I'm not going to take it any further then what I've already got started.
 
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