Rick Asks…I Received the County Assessment for my Home – Can I Appeal the Value?

Yes you can.

Did you ever see the cartoon where there are pictures of a shack and a mansion and then a castle – and that is how the assessor sees your home – as the castle? Things have changed a bit – in the past we wanted to appeal the value downward so our taxes would go down – now we want to appeal the value up so we can sell or refinance! Interesting turn of events in this “new economy”.

Valuations are complicated and complex. The valuations we are all receiving now are based on values from and 18 month period… approx July 2008 – June 2010. So some of the homes that were used to compare to ours might have been a bank owned foreclosure sale or a short sale. However, highly distressed sales ( homes in which the condition is poor due to homeowners removal of items from the home – sinks, appliances, cabinets, flooring, pipes etc…)  are typically not included.

You can improve your chances of a successful appeal of your property tax assessment by following these steps:

Understand deadlines and instructions

Most counties only give you a small window of time in which to appeal. Make sure you read the inserts and information provided.

Prepare

You need to do some research to back your claim . An appeal can’t be won simply because you feel your taxes are too high or your value too low. However, you may appeal if you can prove that your property record is inaccurate or the value is inequitable compared to the estimated value of other similar properties. Use the addresses gathered from the assessor’s office to review property record forms of similar houses and their appraised values. Compare the features of your home to that of the similar properties.

Follow the appeals procedure

Once you determine you have grounds for an appeal, the first step is an informal meeting with someone at the assessor’s office. This meeting will verify the information on your property-record form, explain how your value was estimated, discover if the value is fair, determine if you qualify for any exemptions, and explain how to file a formal appeal. Resolution may be reached at this step. If you are not satisfied at the informal meeting, the next step is a formal appeal. This usually takes place at the local level before a board. Here you will present you case and supporting evidence, so be prepared. Remember that the assessor’s office can be your ally. If you are calm and reasonable they’ll assist you with your appeal.

Contact your county assessor for specifics of the county procedures and  requirements for an appeal.

Meet Cheryl!

About Cheryl

As a successful business owner and community leader, Cheryl Braunschweiger is known and respected for getting things done with a degree of skill and enthusiasm that bring out the best in those around her - colleagues, clients and friends. The name of her business, ALMC Mortgage, reflects Cheryl's philosophy and personality. She says it stands for All Loans Must Close –a reflection of her determination to do whatever it takes to serve her clients. Cheryl has been in the mortgage lending business for 20 years. Read More About Cheryl
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