Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Pool Problems in Nashua

I was competing an appraisal for a person who inherited a house from an estate. Well, he also inherited a pool problem too!

He asked me if the pool affected value. I told him that so long as the pool was in it’s current condition it would be a safety issue that most lenders wouldn’t loan on. I gave him the “bad news” that the value would take a big hit if the pool was not fixed .

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My wife Lisa Lavoie and I are excited to be offering our clients all the tools and resources of EXP Realty.  Lavoie Realty Group, brokered by EXP Realty will bring to the table what buyers and sellers have asked for….  Knowledge, Integrity and Service!!

EXP corporate logo

Our contact information is:


Email:  Jack@LavoieRealtyGroup.com   Lisa@LavoieRealty Group.com

Cell:      Jack: (603) 345-7355   Lisa: (603) 289-6688

Office:  (888) 398-7062 X 114




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We complete professional tax abatement appraisals!

The filing deadline for tax abatement filings in in less than 3 weeks.  This is most likley the “last call” for tax abatement appraisals.  Here is a review:


Several communities have recently completed re-assessments that have left many people wondering how they can abate (reduce) their taxes.  Even if your city or town has not completed a “re-val” you can question the assessment by a process called tax abatement.  MOST towns actually with work with you if you can provide (often by a professional appraisal) some support for your claim of being over-assessed.  Some towns are not so eager.

One key point to remember is that the value you claim (your opinion) my best lower than the equaluzed assessment.  What does that mean?   I will answer by example.  Lets say your town has an equalization ration of 110%.  That means that the average property in town is assessed at 110 percent of market value.  So long as everyone is over assessed by 10 percent, that is ok, as in theory the tax rate would be reduced by 10 percent.  Lets say your house is truly worth $300,000, but it is assessed for $330,000. Using my 110% example, you would not have a case since your property is assessed at 110 percent of market value which is the town standard.   If after doing this calculation you feel the property is over assessed, here is the process.



In all New Hampshire communities, all assessments are paid on the market value of the property on April 1st of the tax year.  Therefore, for the 2017 tax bill, the assessment must reflect the “equalized” value of the property as of April 1, 2017.

Since prices/values can decrease and increase over the years, the state allows assessment to be higher or lower than market value provided that they are equitably assessed.  What does this mean?   Let’s say you live in Manchester NH and the average assessment is 110 percent of market value (example only) and your property is 10 percent over assessed.  In this case you are equally assessed (or equally over-assessed) and have no case for abatement.


How do you file an abatement?

Step One:  Obtain a copy of the tax assessment card from your community.  If the full card is not available online, I suggest you go to the town and obtain the full card which has the most detail.


Step Two:  Carefully review the card to accuracy.  Note the assessor’s ratings with regards to condition and quality.


Step Three:  Research comparable sales, enlist the assistance of a realtor friend or hire a professional appraiser.  If hiring an appraiser, select one that has experience in this type of assignment.


Step Four:   Complete the State of New Hampshire Tax Abatement Form.  Here is the link to download the form:       https://www.nh.gov/btla/forms/documents/municipal-abatement.pdf    The abatement MUST be filed no later than March 1st following the tax year (March 31, 2017 for 2016 tax year).


The abatement form summarizes the rules, deadlines and procedure for abatement.  If you need assistance in analyzing your property do not hesitate to call Jack Lavoie, SRA at 603-644-1000 or email at: jacklavoie@comcast.net   For more information, find us on our website at www.AppraiserNH.com


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seasonal-effect-of-valuiesEven in years where the market seems stable, property values fluctuate over the course of the year. Historically, values increase in the spring and early summer, stabilize in summer and early fall and decrease over the winter season. This is attributed to several factors such as the “holiday season” and the harsh cold winters we experience in New Hampshire. To illustrate, I have included a graph of Hillsborough single family houses over the last three years. I have noted by highlight and red pen the bottoms of the annual market which happens usually around February or March. The “high water mark” is typically around June or July. So remember, house values DO change regularly. Keep that in mind when you are evaluating your house and making a financial decision. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions!

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Manchester NH and most of the other towns and cities in New Hampshire have sent out there final tax bills which means the clock starts for tax abatement season. If you are a homeowner and are paying property taxes, you may be eligible for a tax abatement. Your property taxes are based on your property assessment that your town or city assigns you. Most assessor’s do a great job, but there job is very difficult. They must design a computer/statistical model that will accurately appraise thousands of parcels at the same time. Even the best of models will not fit every property, which is why in every town, nearly a 1/3 (33.3%) of the properties are over assessed and a 1/3 are under assessed. It’s the 33% of the over assessed who can get a tax break on my plan (there I go again…lol).


Click for Tax Abatement Assistance

Many people look at their assessment and say to themselves “Oh, I could never sell my house for what it’s assessed for!” …lol That doesn’t mean your house is over assessed. Sounds confusing, but I will explain why.

In every town, it is the assessor’s goal to have assessments equal the true market value of the property. Every five years or so, the town does a complete revaluation of their town to do this. Each year thereafter, the assessment stays the same, but the market value could go up or down which means the assessments are higher or lower than market value. Here is the key…… As long as every property in the town is either over assessed or under assessed the same, then it is fair. You are only entitled to get a tax abatement if you are MORE over assessed than average person in the town. Here is an example.

If the “Assessment ratio” for the town is 110%, which means the average property is assessed at 110% of the actual market value, you will not be able to fight your taxes if your house is assessed at $220,000 and is only worth $200,000. The reason being is that your house is in line with the 120% assessment ratio ($220K is 110% of $200K). If your house is only worth $160,000, you may have an excellent case to get your $220,000 assessment reduced down to $96,000, since $192,000 is 120% of $160,000. If you can prove your home is worth $160,000, your assessor may reduce your assessment in this example to $192,000.

“Margin of Error” Most communities will only reduce your assessment if your “equalized assessment” is more than 10% higher than market value. This is because there is a reasonable “margin for area” due to complexity of assessing an entire community.

The State of New Hampshire Department of Revenue provides the official “Assessment Ratio” for each town in the State on an annual basis. That is one half of the equation. The other half is figuring out what your property is worth in terms of market value.

In abating your taxes, if will be necessary to provide “proof” of your market value estimate, as of April 1st of the tax year being appealed. This can done by hiring a Certified Appraiser like myself to provide a professional opinion of value. The appraisal with be attached to an official abatement form and will need to be filed in a timely fashion.

If you would like to contact me and find out if you are a candidate for a tax abatement, feel free to contact me @ jacklavoie@comcast.net. I do residential and commercial tax abatement appraisals throughout the state of New Hampshire should you need my assistance.

Tax bills will be mailed out soon. When you receive your tax bill, get the process going and you may be one of the 33% who can get an abatement!!

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Try this short quiz to see which 2016 Presidential candidate you side with…


Jack Lavoie, SRA
Designated member Appraisal Institute
Accurate Appraisal Services
a division of Jack Lavoie Real Estate, LLC
62 Quincy Drive
Bedford, NH 03110
Office: (603) 644-1000

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Kitchen 101….

I viewed a house today which an investor renovated. Spent over $22K in repairs and upgrades. The starter home looked nice. He even added this nice granite countertop. But why in the world would someone cheap out on the cabinets. By keeping those very old cabinets he essentially wasted the money he spent on that fabulous countertop. The kitchen is probably the most valuable room when it comes to resale. I think by adding basic, but new cabinets this little house would have “wowed” someone and commanded a higher price.  


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If you are hiring an appraiser to do an appraisal for you or to be an expert witness, BEFORE you divulge too much information you should disclose to the appraiser all parties of the litigation to insure he/she does not have a conflict of interest with anyone.

It is my standard practice to ask these questions upon receiving the inquiry before getting into too much detail. As example, if you are going through a divorce I will ask you who your spouse is and the attorneys who are involved. It would be a shame to ignore this step and later find out your appraiser hangs out at the same golf course as your soon to be ex-husband.. NOT GOOD!!!

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Throughout my workday I regularly receive calls and emails with questions regarding a wide range of real estate related topics. I have come to realize that many of these questions are of interest to my page followers. Therefore, starting this coming Monday and every Monday thereafter, I will be submitting by “Monday Mail bag” blog post. The weekly post will cover and answer many of the questions I receive during the week. Go ahead and subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter @JackLavoie, as my blog automatically gets sent to my Twitter account.

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I know what your thinking. I just said I was “not competent”.  Did you know that EVERY assignment an appraiser receives he/she MUST declare themselves competent for the assignment if they are to accept it. Today I was asked to do an appraisal on a special purpose type of commercial property in a location outside of my market area.  I was had limited experience in that geographical area and NO experience for this unique type of property. I declined the assignment. So YES, I declared “incompetency” 🙂 

The lesson I’m trying to make is just because the appraiser has the appropriate license, does not mean they are competent for the job. An appraiser who accepts a job he/she is not qualified for is in violation of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). 

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