Underassessment by County Assessor

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stargazer
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Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by stargazer » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am

Where I live, county/town/school taxes are based on home assessment. Full-value assessment is supposed to be the norm.

In the past, when assessments were carried out accurately, it was easy enough to find comps (these must be based on recent sales figures) to challenge my home's assessment. This made it easy to spot discrepancies between my home's value and the value of similar homes.

However, as of late, the county assessor has been uniformly underassessing homes, all by the same percentage. Thus, if I search for comps to challenge my home's assessment, the selling prices for equivalent homes are higher than my current assessment, making it impossible to grieve my assessment.

Is there any way out of this conundrum?

stargazer

London
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by London » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:30 am

Many towns that have not performed a reassessment in a while have a stated ratio for assessments. For example, my old town was 71%. If your house was worth roughly $100k on the open market, it would show as $71k on the tax roles. If your assessment was for $80k, that meant your house was “worth” $112k and you could appeal based on the $100k figure.

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F150HD
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by F150HD » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:40 am

maybe I'm missing something, OP why would you want to be taxed more?

in my location, market values (what you sell it for) is not the taxable value the county assesses it at. 2 different figures, sometimes quite significantly different.

One very low assessed home in the sample can potentially bias the mean.

runner540
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by runner540 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:39 am

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am
Where I live, county/town/school taxes are based on home assessment. Full-value assessment is supposed to be the norm.

In the past, when assessments were carried out accurately, it was easy enough to find comps (these must be based on recent sales figures) to challenge my home's assessment. This made it easy to spot discrepancies between my home's value and the value of similar homes.

However, as of late, the county assessor has been uniformly underassessing homes, all by the same percentage. Thus, if I search for comps to challenge my home's assessment, the selling prices for equivalent homes are higher than my current assessment, making it impossible to grieve my assessment.

Is there any way out of this conundrum?

stargazer
Are you saying that you disputed to get your assessment increased? Why do you care if your home is underassessed?

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hand
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by hand » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:47 am

Is it possible you're describing intended behavior with assessment being some set percentage of market price?
In PA, there is something called a common level ratio to translate between assessment and market price.

Grievance process is to take assessment, adjust with the common level ration, and then compare to market price.

If this dosen't apply to you, perhaps you could pull comps and their assessments, and compare your assessment to their assessment.
Alternately, where I am, there is a small industry of lawyers who fight assessments for a percentage of the first year's "savings." Perhaps you could find similar for your situation and save yourself the hassle.

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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by GuySmiley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am

Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.

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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by runner3081 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:47 am

GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
Why does that even matter?

When you sell the house, it will be appraised and the appraiser will calculate the square footage.

pshonore
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by pshonore » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am

runner3081 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:47 am
GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
Why does that even matter?

When you sell the house, it will be appraised and the appraiser will calculate the square footage.
I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage.

LAFiddler
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by LAFiddler » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:20 am

I'm in Louisiana and work for an Assessor. From your post history, it looks like you're in NY. A quick search of google led me to a couple of important parts of NY law.

New York state does not require local jurisdictions to reassess at any particular time. This is fairly unusual, as most other states have a reassessment cycle between 1-6 years. In LA, we are a 4 year state, with the next cycle coming up in 2020. Our values are all based on 2014/2015 sales, so areas with very good real estate markets are definitely behind the market value, and rightly so. I would suspect your county has not reassessed recently.

I found this, maybe it will shed some light: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/ORPTS/projects-thru-2019.pdf

If you're going to protest the value, you'd have to use sales from the last reassessment period. I cannot imagine this exercise would bear fruit.

If you have questions, I'd recommend you call the county assessor's office. Someone over there would likely be able to explain everything and be happy to talk to you about it. If everyone's uniformly low, then odds are that they don't get many phone calls :D

Nowizard
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by Nowizard » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:24 am

If the underassessment is by a common percentage, just add that to your assessment figures.

Tim

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:30 am

GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
So you wanted to pay higher property taxes, for years, so that Zillow, a site with questionable valuation algorithms, can more properly calculate a questionable value? That's very un-Boglehead-like.

I live in a development of 130+ homes, in an area that is well developed. Zillow's valuations are a joke. Zillow's fluctuations from valuation to valuation are a joke. On 1/16/19, Zillow said my home was worth $X. This is roughly 20% more than the market price in my opinion. On 2/13/19, Zillow's monthly email told me that my home had gone up 0.7%. A month later on 3/13, it said my home had gone up another 0.3%. Then, on 4/10, it was back below the 1/16 value, a drop of 1.3% in 4 weeks. I can tell you that barely any real estate moves in my area in the January - April timeframe, and very little at the pricepoint. And there is no doubt that Zillow is a very inflated value here.
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GuySmiley
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by GuySmiley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:38 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:30 am
GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
So you wanted to pay higher property taxes, for years, so that Zillow, a site with questionable valuation algorithms, can more properly calculate a questionable value? That's very un-Boglehead-like.

I live in a development of 130+ homes, in an area that is well developed. Zillow's valuations are a joke. Zillow's fluctuations from valuation to valuation are a joke. On 1/16/19, Zillow said my home was worth $X. This is roughly 20% more than the market price in my opinion. On 2/13/19, Zillow's monthly email told me that my home had gone up 0.7%. A month later on 3/13, it said my home had gone up another 0.3%. Then, on 4/10, it was back below the 1/16 value, a drop of 1.3% in 4 weeks. I can tell you that barely any real estate moves in my area in the January - April timeframe, and very little at the pricepoint. And there is no doubt that Zillow is a very inflated value here.
No, not years for me. I went in a month or two before listing for sale, with the expectation that I wouldn't be affected due to timing. The house went from 1200 to 1500+ sq ft and added a bedroom and bathroom. Joke or not, I figured it would be better to not have a large valuation delta for anyone to have to reason through.

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deanbrew
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by deanbrew » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:42 am

pshonore wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am
I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage.
I've seen lots of appraisers measure houses. It depends, partly, on how confident they are in the assessment figures. If the appraiser has measured a dozen houses and they all match closely to the assessment figures, there is a certain level of confidence. In my neck of the woods, on the other hand, assessment data tends to be pretty inaccurate, and most appraisers measure buildings rather than rely on the assessment data. Other sources for building dimensions include building plans and plats, which are sometimes available to an appraiser.

As for volunteering information that would raise the assessed value, I would never do that. Never. If Zillow is the concern, you can go on Zillow and "claim" your own house and provide more accurate information directly to Zillow without paying more taxes year after year.

Regarding the OP's specific issue, I've known county assessment offices to systematically under-assess properties by a standard amount in order to greatly reduce the number of appeals. That's not how it's supposed to be done, but if all properties are assessed at, say 90%, there will be far fewer appeals, and the tax rate just gets adjusted to provide the same revenue.
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by GuySmiley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:43 am

pshonore wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am
runner3081 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:47 am
GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
Why does that even matter?

When you sell the house, it will be appraised and the appraiser will calculate the square footage.
I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage.
In my case, appraisals were done by private companies on behalf of the lender for a potential buyer. Probably a drive-by appraisal based on the square footage in the listing. I expect Zillow gets their info from the assessor (government, different source). Could be local customs and laws are different for you guys.

fru-gal
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by fru-gal » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:49 am

Zillow is a joke, imho. It has no idea what the insides of houses look like. It prices my house, remodeled forty years ago, about the same as my neighbors' built new with high end everything about 10 years ago,

quantAndHold
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:02 am

fru-gal wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:49 am
Zillow is a joke, imho. It has no idea what the insides of houses look like. It prices my house, remodeled forty years ago, about the same as my neighbors' built new with high end everything about 10 years ago,
Exactly. The county assessor’s assessment is a joke, too. At best, the assessor drives by and looks at the general condition of the outside of the property. But not every year.

On the last house I sold, the fact that the ZEstimate was 20% lower than market value and the square footage the assessor had was 10% lower than actual didn’t lower the price we got at all. My realtor put the correct square footage in the MLS listing. Zillow picks up whatever is in the MLS listing, Potential buyers were able to look at the condition and compare it to other houses that were for sale.

Every appraiser I’ve seen operate brings a tape measure, draws a picture of the outline of each floor and calculates square footage as part of the appraisal.
Last edited by quantAndHold on Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

megabad
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by megabad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:02 am

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am
Where I live, county/town/school taxes are based on home assessment. Full-value assessment is supposed to be the norm.

In the past, when assessments were carried out accurately, it was easy enough to find comps (these must be based on recent sales figures) to challenge my home's assessment. This made it easy to spot discrepancies between my home's value and the value of similar homes.

However, as of late, the county assessor has been uniformly underassessing homes, all by the same percentage. Thus, if I search for comps to challenge my home's assessment, the selling prices for equivalent homes are higher than my current assessment, making it impossible to grieve my assessment.

Is there any way out of this conundrum?

stargazer
Your post is somewhat confusing (and appears to have confused other responders). I assume you are claiming that your assessment is not accurate relative to the assessment of other houses, but you cannot prove this because you can only use sale prices to protest. This does not make sense to me and is certainly not the case in any jurisdiction that I have lived in. The easiest way to protest an assessment in my experience is universally by claiming an administrative mistake. ie. square footage incorrect, lot size incorrect, bedroom count incorrect, not including addition, etc. If the assessor used improper information to value your home, in my opinion, the assessment must be considered incorrectly determined and should be revised. The weakest argument against an assessment is through comps as this is subjective and where I live, this is almost universally rejected. Focus on every administrative detail and make sure it is 100% correct. Also remember, you can only use a specific administrative mistake once if they correct it.

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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by dm200 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:09 am

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am
Where I live, county/town/school taxes are based on home assessment. Full-value assessment is supposed to be the norm.
In the past, when assessments were carried out accurately, it was easy enough to find comps (these must be based on recent sales figures) to challenge my home's assessment. This made it easy to spot discrepancies between my home's value and the value of similar homes.
However, as of late, the county assessor has been uniformly underassessing homes, all by the same percentage. Thus, if I search for comps to challenge my home's assessment, the selling prices for equivalent homes are higher than my current assessment, making it impossible to grieve my assessment.
Is there any way out of this conundrum?

stargazer
Why is this a problem for you? Isn't it better for you to pay less in real estate taxes?

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hand
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by hand » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:17 am

I think the problem is that the OP's property is underassessed vs market value, however overassessed vs comperable houses.
As a result, OP is overpaying taxes vs comperables, but struggling to have corrected becasue of the underassessment vs market.

OP is underassessed vs. market, just not underassessed enough.

runner3081
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by runner3081 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:48 am

pshonore wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am
runner3081 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:47 am
GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
Why does that even matter?

When you sell the house, it will be appraised and the appraiser will calculate the square footage.
I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage.
Odd, three houses purchased and all three appraisals had dimensions taken by appraiser listed on the report (I was there, watched measurements all three times).

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stargazer
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by stargazer » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:25 pm

OP here.

megabad wrote: "Your post is somewhat confusing (and appears to have confused other responders). I assume you are claiming that your assessment is not accurate relative to the assessment of other houses, but you cannot prove this because you can only use sale prices to protest."

This is exactly correct.

megabad wrote: "The easiest way to protest an assessment in my experience is universally by claiming an administrative mistake. ie. square footage incorrect, lot size incorrect, bedroom count incorrect, not including addition, etc. If the assessor used improper information to value your home, in my opinion, the assessment must be considered incorrectly determined and should be revised."

Not an issue. The physical parameters are correct as entered in the assessor's database.

megabad wrote: The weakest argument against an assessment is through comps as this is subjective and where I live, this is almost universally rejected."

The assessor's office is quite rigid in this regard, viz., will only accept comps as the basis for challenging an assessment. Since the comps apply only to closed sales, I cannot use equivalent-but-not-on-the-market homes to challenge my assessment.

To clear up a misconception voiced by several posters, since all homes are underassessed by the same percentage as compared to true market value, no one is disadvantaged as regards taxes.

To clear up another misconception, no, I am not seeking to pay higher taxes. Quite the contrary.

Again, my county states that full-value assessment is the norm. I suspect that the underassessment of all homes by the same percentage is a deliberate policy. Thus, the typical homeowner will think: "I have flown under the radar." This will make him/her unlikely to challenge the home's assessment. In recent years, the number of assessment-challenges has dropped to virtually zero, minimizing headaches for the assessor's office.

Other than a class action suit, what recourse do I have in challenging my assessment?

pshonore
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by pshonore » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:33 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:48 am
pshonore wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am
runner3081 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:47 am
GuySmiley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:56 am
Years ago, prior to selling my first home, I went in to the county assessor office and provided documentation that my home was larger than they had on record. I wanted the true details of the house to be public (even at the cost of higher taxes) so that the value was estimated higher on Zillow. That is about the only reason I can think of why someone would want to correct an under-assessment.
Why does that even matter?

When you sell the house, it will be appraised and the appraiser will calculate the square footage.
I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage.
Odd, three houses purchased and all three appraisals had dimensions taken by appraiser listed on the report (I was there, watched measurements all three times).
As usual the devil is in the details. I've seen appraisers measure room sizes but not outside foundations. How do you account for roofs on a Cape Cod style house with a knee wall which can be 1.5 X first floor or or 1.65 or 1.8 depending on slope of roof (with dormers or without) . The assessors tend to be more consistent in that area (at least within the same town).

rkhusky
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by rkhusky » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:35 pm

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:25 pm
Again, my county states that full-value assessment is the norm. I suspect that the underassessment of all homes by the same percentage is a deliberate policy. Thus, the typical homeowner will think: "I have flown under the radar." This will make him/her unlikely to challenge the home's assessment. In recent years, the number of assessment-challenges has dropped to virtually zero, minimizing headaches for the assessor's office.
If all houses are under-assessed, then how would a homeowner know that they've flown under the radar?

In my area, the assessor posts the sales in the various neighborhoods in the city, how much they differed from the assessed values, and the yearly corrections made to get the assessed values to line up with the selling prices.

Since the sales are averaged from 0.5 to 2.5 years ago, the assessed values lag the current values by a bit. Perhaps that is why it looks you are under-assessed.
Last edited by rkhusky on Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rkhusky
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by rkhusky » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:39 pm

deanbrew wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:42 am
That's not how it's supposed to be done, but if all properties are assessed at, say 90%, there will be far fewer appeals, and the tax rate just gets adjusted to provide the same revenue.
In our area, the tax rate does not get adjusted. During the down turn in 2008, home values dropped and so did city revenues. The city had to lay off police and firemen and reduced grass cutting and watering. During the last 10 years, police and firemen have been added and maintenance frequency has increased.

miamivice
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by miamivice » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:39 pm

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am
Where I live, county/town/school taxes are based on home assessment. Full-value assessment is supposed to be the norm.

In the past, when assessments were carried out accurately, it was easy enough to find comps (these must be based on recent sales figures) to challenge my home's assessment. This made it easy to spot discrepancies between my home's value and the value of similar homes.

However, as of late, the county assessor has been uniformly underassessing homes, all by the same percentage. Thus, if I search for comps to challenge my home's assessment, the selling prices for equivalent homes are higher than my current assessment, making it impossible to grieve my assessment.

Is there any way out of this conundrum?

stargazer
I have the exact same problem. Let me say a different way:

- In my zip code, zillow has found that the home assement is 75% of the sale price, on average. (i.e, a home that sold for $1,000,000 would assess at $750,000)
- My home is assessed at 96% of what I think it could sell for, which means the assessment is way too high. I am thus paying higher property taxes than I should
- The county states that the assessment is fair market value on January 1 of the current year. Thus, a home assessed at 96% fair market value is just about right.
- I don't know how I can protest my taxes even though I am paying more than I should based on average assessments.

rkhusky
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by rkhusky » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:45 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:39 pm
- My home is assessed at 96% of what I think it could sell for, which means the assessment is way too high. I am thus paying higher property taxes than I should
- The county states that the assessment is fair market value on January 1 of the current year. Thus, a home assessed at 96% fair market value is just about right.
- I don't know how I can protest my taxes even though I am paying more than I should based on average assessments.
The assessor's office should be looking at comparable houses. If the comparable houses are assessed at 20% below your assessment, then you have a case for an adjustment. I doubt that the assessor is using some other number than the average of comparable houses near to you to make the comparison.

miamivice
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by miamivice » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:49 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:39 pm
- My home is assessed at 96% of what I think it could sell for, which means the assessment is way too high. I am thus paying higher property taxes than I should
- The county states that the assessment is fair market value on January 1 of the current year. Thus, a home assessed at 96% fair market value is just about right.
- I don't know how I can protest my taxes even though I am paying more than I should based on average assessments.
The assessor's office should be looking at comparable houses. If the comparable houses are assessed at 20% below your assessment, then you have a case for an adjustment.
I agree but they have a statement that you cannot use the assessment value of a comparable home as the basis for appeal on their website. They say the only thing you can use is to establish that the value of your house is less than what your house was assessed at based on comparable sales.

I'm completely stuck at how to appeal. I think this is the same position as the OP.

LAFiddler
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Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by LAFiddler » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:17 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:49 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:39 pm
- My home is assessed at 96% of what I think it could sell for, which means the assessment is way too high. I am thus paying higher property taxes than I should
- The county states that the assessment is fair market value on January 1 of the current year. Thus, a home assessed at 96% fair market value is just about right.
- I don't know how I can protest my taxes even though I am paying more than I should based on average assessments.
The assessor's office should be looking at comparable houses. If the comparable houses are assessed at 20% below your assessment, then you have a case for an adjustment.
I agree but they have a statement that you cannot use the assessment value of a comparable home as the basis for appeal on their website. They say the only thing you can use is to establish that the value of your house is less than what your house was assessed at based on comparable sales.

I'm completely stuck at how to appeal. I think this is the same position as the OP.
Once again, from an assessor here: You have two basic arguments against an assessment.

1. Value - If you think the house is over-assessed, present comparables and argue your case for why the assessor is overvaluing YOUR house.
2. Equity/Uniformity - Even if you are underassessed, your property is being treated differently than the others.

Different states treat uniformity and value arguments differently. Most states don't allow you to appeal someone else's taxes based on the value. You can appeal the uniformity generally, but it may be a case for a court of law rather than a tax review board or the like.

The OP states that all properties are "uniformly" low. If everyone is equally wrong, there's no argument against the assessor. As I mentioned in my previous reply, you have to keep the reassessment timeframes in mind. Their assessor may be doing things perfectly fine according to the reassessment timeframe set by their jurisdiction.

TLDR: OP would likely have to file suit based on uniformity. OP needs to ask the assessors office the basis of his value and see if the assessor has valued the others in a similar manner. The values do not have to be equal, but the methodology should be consistent.

LAFiddler
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:57 pm

Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by LAFiddler » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:24 pm

stargazer wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:25 pm
OP here.

megabad wrote: "Your post is somewhat confusing (and appears to have confused other responders). I assume you are claiming that your assessment is not accurate relative to the assessment of other houses, but you cannot prove this because you can only use sale prices to protest."

This is exactly correct.

megabad wrote: "The easiest way to protest an assessment in my experience is universally by claiming an administrative mistake. ie. square footage incorrect, lot size incorrect, bedroom count incorrect, not including addition, etc. If the assessor used improper information to value your home, in my opinion, the assessment must be considered incorrectly determined and should be revised."

Not an issue. The physical parameters are correct as entered in the assessor's database.

megabad wrote: The weakest argument against an assessment is through comps as this is subjective and where I live, this is almost universally rejected."

The assessor's office is quite rigid in this regard, viz., will only accept comps as the basis for challenging an assessment. Since the comps apply only to closed sales, I cannot use equivalent-but-not-on-the-market homes to challenge my assessment.

To clear up a misconception voiced by several posters, since all homes are underassessed by the same percentage as compared to true market value, no one is disadvantaged as regards taxes.

To clear up another misconception, no, I am not seeking to pay higher taxes. Quite the contrary.

Again, my county states that full-value assessment is the norm. I suspect that the underassessment of all homes by the same percentage is a deliberate policy. Thus, the typical homeowner will think: "I have flown under the radar." This will make him/her unlikely to challenge the home's assessment. In recent years, the number of assessment-challenges has dropped to virtually zero, minimizing headaches for the assessor's office.

Other than a class action suit, what recourse do I have in challenging my assessment?
Ask to see the calculations.

Your home is likely valued using a CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system. Ask to see how the office derived the value, and look at the assumptions therein. Go in and talk to them, and they should be able to show you the figures. If your calculation methodology is significantly different than the rest of the area, then you have a uniformity issue.

It looks like NY relies on the local jurisdiction to determine the reassessment date. When was the last time your county reassessed? This decision is likely made by your county governing authority and not the assessor. If the county does not reassess periodically, those with higher value properties generally end up getting a break, but also the millage rates will tend to remain artificially inflated. An accurate reassessment allows the tax rates to come down assuming the market is not poor. The public, especially businesses, should pressure the locals to reassess.

yohac
Posts: 167
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:42 pm

Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

Post by yohac » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:59 pm

We had this situation too. The condo next door, virtually identical to ours, was assessed 10% lower. Got nowhere on the appeal. They go on recent comparable sales, and only if there are none, will they consider other data like appraisals, asking prices, less comparable sales, etc. Specifically excluded from "other data" is someone else's assessment.

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