How to Fight a Property Tax Assessment, if it’s Even Worth it in the First Place

Comments Off on How to Fight a Property Tax Assessment, if it’s Even Worth it in the First Place 30 May 2011

In this day and age, the market is not strong. While there is hope that in the near future market rates will increase with a strong economy, homes are still losing their value quite rapidly. It’s an unfortunate situation, to be sure, but there is a silver lining. A drop in home values means your property assessment should also be lowered, lessening the property taxes you would owe in a given year.

What should you do if you think you received too high of an assessment? Would it benefit you to fight it at all? There is a possibility it would be.

First, it is useful to understand how home values are assessed. Two of the most popular ways are with comparables and replacement or rebuilding value. Also known as “comps,” comparables are simply other homes in your neighborhood or the surrounding area that are similar to your home and have recently been sold. By noting how much each of these homes sold for, assessors are able to value your home accordingly. Replacement or rebuilding value is more like how a bank appraises your home based on how much they think the cost would be to replace it.

You must first build yourself a case for a lower property assessment if you believe your home was valued too high. If you meet with an assessor and inform him or her of your believe that you were assessed too high, you’re part of the way there already. Your next step is to file an appeal. You should note any time limit for filing an appeal, since most locations have them. Be sure to check what the actual time limit is where you live so you don’t miss your opportunity, but 60 days tends to be about average. You will go through an appeal board and given an eight to ten minute presentation during the appeal. Bring as much evidence as you can, including pictures with comps, and all the data you have that supports your case, like floor plans for the comps you’ve researched.

While there are other ways to fight your property assessment, doing your research and filing an appeal is the most direct and uncomplicated. During your appeal presentation, dress and act professionally, laying out the facts that support your side in a clear and concise manner. You have a good shot, if you’ve done your homework. In that case, fighting your assessment and consequently reducing your annual property taxes is definitely worth the time and effort.

Looking for your dream home in Colorado, but can’t decide if you want to buy real estate in Westminster Missouri or purchase Boulder real estate? You may consider letting a real estate agent help you in your property search.

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