Did you know that the National Taxpayers Union estimates that as many as 60% of homes are assessed for too high of a value, resulting in an incorrectly larger property tax bill? Chances are good you might be in that group of people paying too much, so taking the time to review your property tax bill could save you a nice chunk of change. I know this is true because it just happened to me!
If you’ve recently received a postcard from the county assessor notifying you that your property has been reassessed, check to see whether the value of your home has increased significantly. I was shocked to see the amount mine had increased! The good news is that it’s relatively easy to determine if the new rate is too high. The first step is to contact the local tax assessor’s office and ask for someone in the reassessment area. Ask that individual to review the information on your postcard and confirm that the basic information about your property is correct. For example, is the square footage and number of rooms for your home accurate? If the number is incorrect, the county may change the assessment without a formal appeal. In my case, the square footage of my home had magically increased by over 400 square feet. Once I provided the assessor with the square footage measurement, from the appraiser who measured the home when I purchased it, the assessor verified the information and made the correction. That reduced my property tax assessment substantially and lowered the property tax amount I will pay.
If everything on the property card is correct but the assessed value still seems too high, your next step is to gather the documentation to support an appeal. And don’t be surprised if the assessed value is lower than what you think the market value for your home is–many counties use a formula which uses a percentage of market value to determine assessed value. Ask what the formula is, because an assessment which is less than market value still might be too high.
If you have a current appraisal that supports the value being lower using recent market-value information, many counties will accept a copy of the appraisal with the appeal. If the appraisal is outdated, you can order a new one–just call me for a referral to a great appraiser. You can also visit the local assessor’s office or search online, and look through the public records for other homes that have similar features to yours, but have lower assessments. Or, contact me—as a Realtor who knows your area, I can give you current market information for your Canyon Lakes neighborhood and help you see how your market value and assessed value stacks up against your neighbors’.
Your Canyon Lakes Realtor,
Sharon Sasser Warren
Direct: (509) 551-4393
Office: (509) 783-1431