Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Valuations of property...

Due to events here, there is a need to have the value of our house assessed and the value of all items within the house assessed.  That is according to my attorney and is apparently necessary.  It seemed to be a straightforward request.

For assessing the value of the house, that was the case.  It took an hour and a half for an assessor to check out the important infrastructure elements like plumbing, electric, heating, and air conditioning, inside and out.  Square footage had already been documented and counting the rooms and their purpose was simple.  They could eyeball the condition of the house, which is fine since there had not had any major renovation from the time it was purchased in 1997.  The house was built in 1972 and we were the second owner.  In fact, while the appliances in the kitchen were updated substantially by necessity 13 years ago, the cabinetry did not change and the counters remained the original yellow original yellow laminate.  No marble countertops, shameful, or now deemed retro?  And actual wallpaper from 1972 remains in the hallway and kitchen.

Overall  that inspection was straightforward.  I do not yet know their conclusion, particularly since one of the most important aspects of this type of assessment is relative.  What the value is of comparable homes in this particular neighborhood and school district, as well as the walking or driving distance to the town and train station, is fundamental.  How does it fit in?

What was not at all straightforward was the valuation of the contents of the house.  Two women who are apparently specialists in this field, certified in some way, were joined by the attorney and spent more than four hours going through the house.  I stayed as quiet as possible, spoke when asked once or twice, and once offered an opinion when they were looking at an Ethan Allen knock off and admiring it as a fine antique.  Otherwise the attorney led them around, but their voices carried.

They opened cabinets and examined dishes packed in cases.  What apparently was Lenox china was examined and counted one by one, what was heavier Chinese china was looked at but not counted.  They removed everything from the den mantle and referred to some miniature chairs as collectors items as they did some small pottery items bought in Portugal in 1998.  Vases were inspected and large Chinese floor standing pottery was photographed.  Overheard once was "that is ivory?".  Whatever that was, was not, but my silence remained.  They photographed paintings on the walls, including two done by a daughter when she was eight.  A "Victorian chair"was repeatedly mentioned, and hopefully they were referring to the style and not the condition or age.  "This is Shaker" was overheard, an utterance that must have been meant to sound informed but was used in reference to Piedmont Virginia/North Carolina cabinets and dressers.  They oohed and aahed about a desk purchased by my father in the 1970's as if it were a pre-historic gem.

The results are awaited.  Our attorney told me that their conclusions do not need to be accepted, but that this needed to be done.  The outcome will be interesting.  One clear fact is that they really had a good time exploring the house and making their judgments.  The joy of a small power.  It felt like a violation of privacy.  That must be the timing of it all.


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