Low assessed value calls appraisal into question

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DEAR BENNY: I had an appraisal contingency when I bought my condo, but shortly after closing I started to think my appraisal wasn't fair at all. I paid $190,000 on Dec 2, 2009. The month after I closed, two one-bedroom units just like mine closed, one at $175,000 and one at $170,000.Then, a few months ago I got my city real estate assessment, which came in at $157,000. I know you want your assessment low to save on taxes, but this is a huge difference from the price I paid. Basically, do I have any recourse here? --Stephanie DEAR STEPHANIE: You also advised me that your original offer to purchase the condo was more than $200,000, but based on the appraisal contingency you were able to buy at the lower price of $190,000. Appraisals -- and even city (or county) assessments -- are not science; a man or woman, presumably trained in appraising and assessing property values, makes a value judgment based on comparables in the vicinity of the property you plan to buy. We don't kno...