Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

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Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby kamo » Wed May 22, 2013 3:27 pm

Thank you for taking time to read and respond to this question.

I am protesting the change in appraised value by the county for our home. I would like suggestions on what evidence would most support our position.

The 'structure and improvement market value' on our single family was increased 5.5% over last year, according to the 'Notice of Appraised Value' we recently received from the county.

To support my protest I submitted a printout from trulia.com of the only comparable home sold within the past 12 months in the same zip code. It sold for $98/sq ft while ours is being valued, per the new appraisal, at $108/sq ft. I couldn't find a comparable home sold on zillow.com. I recommended in the protest that our home be valued at $100/sq ft.

Do you have any other ideas how to build evidence for our protest?
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Wed May 22, 2013 3:44 pm

Rent equivalence and cost to build are also good comparisons.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Honobob » Wed May 22, 2013 3:47 pm

kamo wrote:Thank you for taking time to read and respond to this question.

I am protesting the change in appraised value by the county for our home. I would like suggestions on what evidence would most support our position.

The 'structure and improvement market value' on our single family was increased 5.5% over last year, according to the 'Notice of Appraised Value' we recently received from the county.

To support my protest I submitted a printout from trulia.com of the only comparable home sold within the past 12 months in the same zip code. It sold for $98/sq ft while ours is being valued, per the new appraisal, at $108/sq ft. I couldn't find a comparable home sold on zillow.com. I recommended in the protest that our home be valued at $100/sq ft.

Do you have any other ideas how to build evidence for our protest?

How big is your house or how high is your tax rate that this would even be worth your time? You do realize the money goes to the schools.
Pay $300-500 for an appraisal!
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby bkslainte » Wed May 22, 2013 3:48 pm

Have you visisted the county assesor's website? Do they have any information on filing an appeal? Sometimes, this type of information might appear in the FAQ section.

Or,call the office up and get someone helpful on the line and ask, "Have you seen successful appeals over the past few years? What type of information/evidence did they supply to be successful?"
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby bungalow10 » Wed May 22, 2013 3:51 pm

kamo wrote:Thank you for taking time to read and respond to this question.

I am protesting the change in appraised value by the county for our home. I would like suggestions on what evidence would most support our position.

The 'structure and improvement market value' on our single family was increased 5.5% over last year, according to the 'Notice of Appraised Value' we recently received from the county.

To support my protest I submitted a printout from trulia.com of the only comparable home sold within the past 12 months in the same zip code. It sold for $98/sq ft while ours is being valued, per the new appraisal, at $108/sq ft. I couldn't find a comparable home sold on zillow.com. I recommended in the protest that our home be valued at $100/sq ft.

Do you have any other ideas how to build evidence for our protest?


Are you confusing appraisal with assessment, or did you actually pay to get an appraisal done?
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby vveat » Wed May 22, 2013 3:55 pm

The rules would vary by county - have you been on their website to get information what is needed? We successfully challenged our appraisal last year (we wanted $2000 a year down, in the end they offered $1000 down, I could have fought it to 1500 I am pretty sure but I felt I wasted enough time). Our county requires 5 comparables (excluding foreclosures and short sales) - I narrowed down the listings from zillow and got the sales info from a realtor because it's not easy to see whether something was a short sale or not. Checked the public records for the square footage and also asked our municipality clerk for confirmation on that. They wouldn't accept any other evidence (though if I would hire an appraiser they would accept their estimate as supporting evidence)

I noticed that for comparability the judge considered mostly the square footage and the number of rooms. And another thing (since I had to watch the court process all morning until my turn came) - a lot of people seemingly hadn't bothered to check the requirements and came in with just 1-2 examples, some of these were thrown out for the above-mentioned reasons, and they had nothing to base their case on.

Also very important - our county has a range around the assessed value - and if the difference is within that range (I would say 7-10% but don't remember exactly) they wouldn't even consider the appeal. Your case may fall here with 98 vs 108 difference, if your county has a similar procedure.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby rogermexico » Wed May 22, 2013 4:47 pm

I've done about 4 appeals in front of local assessment board.
Recent appraisal (or sale) of subject property are very strong evidence... they usually give me those values without further argument.
Usually more likely to be given token reduction (or fail) on DIY appraisal of the type you suggest. If you were able to put together an appraisal-like package (e.g. include interior pics of comps, etc.) you might have improved odds.
Also you could check your property card at assessors office for errors (in sq. ft., condition, etc.). What definitely won't fly is arguing that your neighbors are under-assessed and that you want the same treatment.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby rogermexico » Wed May 22, 2013 4:49 pm

One way to get a recent appraisal that might make financial sense would be to refinance your house (if your current rate is not the best). During that process, you're already forced to buy an appraisal, but can recoup costs in lower interest.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby livesoft » Wed May 22, 2013 5:21 pm

Our appraisal board will not take numbers from Trulia or Zillow. They take the actual numbers from closings. They also have to provide all those numbers to anybody that walks into their office. So before we protest, we get the real numbers.

As for square footage, one should make sure the appraisal office as the correct square footage for your home, too. They can make mistakes by adding sq footage of breezeways, porches, etc.

If one has an appraisal, it has to be very recent for our appraisal board, say within 2 months of protest date.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Rodc » Wed May 22, 2013 5:39 pm

Here appraisals are supposed to be full value with error bars no more than +/-10%.

I doubt anyone can assess/appraise your house to better than +/- 10% because in part it depends on who you can entice to buy your home. It is not like going to a store and reading off the price. Sell this month get one price, next month a different price, even in a flat market.

A 10% error is all you are alleging. On one data point.

I think you would have to show gross error, and likely something like they have an error in their database (have your run down 50 year old house listed as brand new condition or something).

My guess is this is going nowhere.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby frugaltype » Wed May 22, 2013 5:47 pm

Our town has a database online, so one can look at the assessments of neighboring houses. I save screen captures of previous appraisals so I can compare the increases. One year for no apparent reason they increased mine by a larger percentage than my neighbors' houses, and they adjusted that when I appealed.

Check to be sure the description of your house's features is accurate.

I also save screen captures of sale prices for nearby houses, but the town is very resistant to using those for the intermediate valuations (the ones between the ones where the walk through the house.) They are even less interested in asking prices for houses that did not sell. They really only seem to change things at the major valuation time (I forget if that's every 9 or 12 years.)

The property taxes here are so high that people often appeal. Generally the assessor's office does nothing, but if you appeal to the board, they cut about $300 from the taxes, I guess as a sop. It would be possible to go to court after the board's decision, but that would probably cost more in legal fees than any savings in property taxes.
Last edited by frugaltype on Wed May 22, 2013 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby frugaltype » Wed May 22, 2013 5:50 pm

Honobob wrote:How big is your house or how high is your tax rate that this would even be worth your time? You do realize the money goes to the schools.
Pay $300-500 for an appraisal!


My house is about 1,200 sq ft and my property taxes are $14,000. Is that high enough for you? And our schools were run by a spendthrift supervisor (marble floors in the new high school) who was thrown out of office, but his cronies on the school board are still there.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Honobob » Wed May 22, 2013 7:13 pm

frugaltype wrote:
Honobob wrote:How big is your house or how high is your tax rate that this would even be worth your time? You do realize the money goes to the schools.
Pay $300-500 for an appraisal!


My house is about 1,200 sq ft and my property taxes are $14,000. Is that high enough for you? And our schools were run by a spendthrift supervisor (marble floors in the new high school) who was thrown out of office, but his cronies on the school board are still there.

Psst........Prop 13! Tell your neighbors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California ... n_13_(1978)


Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!
It's slowly dawned on me that we won the real estate lottery!
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Wed May 22, 2013 7:24 pm

Honobob wrote:Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!


Both my places are worth more than that, but of course it's highly dependent on your local market. (No, we don't live in a McMansion)
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Ged » Wed May 22, 2013 7:33 pm

Clearly_Irrational wrote:
Honobob wrote:Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!


Both my places are worth more than that, but of course it's highly dependent on your local market. (No, we don't live in a McMansion)


So where are houses $100/sq ft.? Around here they run about twice that.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Honobob » Wed May 22, 2013 7:45 pm

Clearly_Irrational wrote:
Honobob wrote:Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!


Both my places are worth more than that, but of course it's highly dependent on your local market. (No, we don't live in a McMansion)

My point was where do you pay $14,000 annual property tax on a $120,000 house. :shock:
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Wed May 22, 2013 7:52 pm

Honobob wrote:My point was where do you pay $14,000 annual property tax on a $120,000 house. :shock:


Yeah, that's crazy high.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby prudent » Wed May 22, 2013 8:00 pm

When I appealed, I used the county website to see which homes were used as comparables when assessing ours, then pointed out where our house was not exactly comparable. Some had similar lot sizes but were flat while ours is quite steep (making some of it not usable). Some of the comparables were somewhat larger in square footage even though they had similar layouts and room counts. I took pictures of the outside to back up my arguments. Worked fine, got a 18% reduction.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby frugaltype » Thu May 23, 2013 4:33 am

Honobob wrote:
frugaltype wrote:
Honobob wrote:How big is your house or how high is your tax rate that this would even be worth your time? You do realize the money goes to the schools.
Pay $300-500 for an appraisal!


My house is about 1,200 sq ft and my property taxes are $14,000. Is that high enough for you? And our schools were run by a spendthrift supervisor (marble floors in the new high school) who was thrown out of office, but his cronies on the school board are still there.

Psst........Prop 13! Tell your neighbors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California ... n_13_(1978)

Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!


Prop 13, I only wish. I used to live in California and paid less than $2000 a year in property taxes for a house worth twice this much.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby frugaltype » Thu May 23, 2013 4:37 am

Honobob wrote:
Clearly_Irrational wrote:
Honobob wrote:Waitaminnit! Your house is worth $100 a square foot!


Both my places are worth more than that, but of course it's highly dependent on your local market. (No, we don't live in a McMansion)

My point was where do you pay $14,000 annual property tax on a $120,000 house. :shock:


It's the 6,000 sq ft of land, waterfront, soon to be underwater as we all know. The house is appraised at $100,000 the land at $360,000.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby donall » Thu May 23, 2013 7:35 am

I think protesting assessed valuation of a property varies ...a lot. We've protested our taxes four times, with successful reductions three times. Reading the directions from the assessor/county website is the most important. Reductions will be the easiest when the value of the house is overvalued by a high percentage. Lower reductions (10% or less) are much harder to prove, as happened this last time. Often land values/sq ft are set in areas and will be difficult to change. Reductions in house values, as you are attempting tend to be easier. Check all the data on your property, house, outbuildings, etc.: are they correct? Errors in the record can often be corrected without a formal process. Does your county use different grades for the house construction? Perhaps the county's high construction grade should be average. By all means use an appraisal, that carries a higher weight legally than looking up Zillow values. Our one unsuccessful protest was when we did not use an appraisal as evidence. A few hundred dollars is well worth a reduction of thousands in property taxes. One thing that is helpful, if you have the time, is to observe the process and proceedings before going through the process yourself.
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Re: Property tax increase protest - other forms of evidence?

Postby johnep » Thu May 23, 2013 7:37 am

Your best argument is comp sales. Comparing with only one sale from Trulia will get you nowhere. Our county provided a list of comp sales in our area with its last reassessment. Even that was insufficient for me to make a case for assessment reduction. You should carefully check their data to make sure there are no discrepancies. For example, we have an unheated sunroom. The county data showed it as heated. However, the county did not show 2 decks and a nice 200 sqft stick built storage building which would have added to my value. It would have been a waste of my time to appeal and I could have wound up with a higher value.

You probably need to get access to MLS database to build a case for a reduction in value.
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