Like many El Pasoans, Bob Moore saw a spike in his home’s value this year, a hit of more than $10,000.
That appraisal was based on the comparable sales data, or “comps,” of houses that have recently sold in his neighborhood, or so he thought.
“One was right across the street from me; makes sense,” Moore said. “But the other two were more than five miles from where I live.”
Dinah Kilgore, Chief Appraiser with the El Paso Central Appraisal District, said that happens sometimes.
“We don’t have access to sales information, so the information we do have may be stretched out a little bit,” Kilgore said.
As KTSM has reported, Texas is one of a handful of “non-disclosure” states, meaning buyers and sellers do not have to report how much a home sold for. Kilgore said because the housing market drives property values, a lack of data makes things complicates things for her team of appraiser.
“We may have areas where we haven’t had sales in a while,” she said. “So we try to look within that neighborhood. It may not be right across the street, it may not be next door, or it may be a couple of blocks over.”
She added, “Some neighborhoods may be totally across town but they’re very similar.”
Speaking of neighborhoods, Moore—a local journalist and former Executive Editor of the El Paso Times—requested the property valuations for the entire county. Moore said while reviewing the numbers, something stuck out to him.
“You have some neighborhoods that are right next to each other with widely different variations (in property value changes),” Moore said.
KTSM noticed it, too. According to Moore’s data, the Scotsdale neighborhood, located in the older part of the Eastside, saw one subdivision drop in value by an average of one percent this year. But another area of Scotsdale saw an average appraisal increase of about nine percent.
Kilgore said an explanation can be found just a few blocks away in the Cielo Vista area.
“You’ve got the older homes in Cielo Vista that were built in the 50s, and you’ve got the new section of Cielo Vista built in the 70s,” she said.
Kilgore reiterated that any property owner who does not agree with their appraisal can file a protest by May 15 or within 30 days of their valuation notice.
Moore protested his appraisal and received a counter offer from the Central Appraisal District that knocked a good chunk off his home’s value.
“I thought, ‘OK, that’s fair.’ And I decided I’ll accept that offer,” Moore said. “It’s very similar to buying a car. You don’t have to accept that first offer.”