Sullivan v. City of West Haven
A court can reject the opinions of appraisers about the fair market value of property. The assessor of the City of West Haven appraised the fair market value of the subject property, as of Oct. 1, 2010, at $749,800. The plaintiff property owners appealed to the Superior Court and argued that the valuation was excessive. The property has a single-family residence with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, air conditioning and a deck. The plaintiffs' appraiser, Philip Ball, estimated that the property has a fair market value of $675,000, or $220 per square foot. The City of West Haven's appraiser, Charles Liberti, opined that the property's fair market value was $775,000 as of Oct. 1, 2010. The plaintiffs' appraiser argued that the property was "water influenced" and irregularly shaped, and the city's appraiser argued that the property was "waterfront," albeit separated from the water by an abandoned highway and sewer lines. Fair market value is the value that would result from fair negotiations between a willing buyer and seller, when neither is required to reach a deal. "The [difference] of opinion between each appraiser," wrote the court, "is $100,000.00 and it relates to the application of adjustments due to variations for different conditions between the subject property and each of the comparables." The court found that the fair market value of the property was $725,000 as of Oct. 1, 2010.