With virtually every government office either working remotely or closed due to the coronavirus we are seeing many assessment appeal deadlines being extended indefinitely. This is great news for some residential homeowners that live in communities that have appeal periods early in the year.
Most assessment offices have an online portal for accessing your property record card and all other important information. In the event the area you live in doesn’t have online access, they should be able to scan and email all important information to you.
Welcome to 2020! Will this be the year that you appeal or will you continue swallowing that hard to swallow tax bill? Is there anything worse than receiving that new tax bill? Ok, so maybe April 15th is a tough one as well. Whenever you get your property tax bill, you know that it will likely be higher than the year before even though your property value has remained the same or even had a slight decrease. Government seems to never have enough money and they lean on you, the homeowner for additional revenue. It is almost like they push a huge tax pill down your throat and don’t give a glass of water to help it go down. The Property Tax Dr. is here to help by taking that tax pill and reducing its size so it won’t choke you on the way down.
You may not be up for reevaluation this year but this doesn’t preclude you from appealing your assessed value. Every homeowner should do an assessment checkup every year and the Property Tax Dr. allows you to do this yearly once you download the app. We designed this app to simplify the entire appeal process. We designed the Property Tax Dr. so that you can take your time to detail the information needed to accurately create a comprehensive appeal summary. You wont have to deal with strangers walking around your home, this project is 100% on your time table, you will be guided through every valuation tool ( most law firms and consultants will only use the comparable factor) that is available. Your home is unique and to rest only on comparables is missing the boat.
We want to help that tough pill go down much easier. By shrinking your tax bill by 10-20-30% or more can help you keep your money where it belongs.
Your neighborhood can have a direct effect in your home value.
You know that nasty house around the corner with the ugly paint job? That house can lower the value of every home around it. Did you know that those terrible roads leading to your home can help lower assessed value? How about schools that don’t meet national average?
Basically, if you think it is something that harms the neighborhood it likely has a negative impact on your homes value.
If you are getting started on your appeal but run into some difficulties, feel free to send us an email so we can help.
Oh what a gift it would be if your property tax bill was decreased by 10, 20, 30% or more. That gift is coming very soon in the form of an innovative app called the Property Tax Dr. Our goal is to save you money and create a fair and accurate assessment.
Accurate Property Assessment Inc. and the Property Tax Dr. wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.
We also need to consider when to appeal, how to appeal, and who should we trust to assure an accurate appeal.
Let’s start with the “when”. You have the right to appeal your assessed value anytime during the year but there are certain deadlines that must be met in order to file for a specific year’s value. You are able to present errors of fact anytime and if founded, the assessor must correct these errors. An example of an error of fact would be square footage that is wrong, the house has one bathroom but is listed as having two, the home has window air-conditioning but is listed in the assessors’ office as having central air. If you feel that the value is wrong, you can go to the local or township assessor and ask for a review before their records are turned over for the year. After records are submitted, you will need to wait for either the local assessor to make a determination or submit your appeal to the board of review during the assessment appeal period in order to correct the current year assessed values.
We will move onto the “how” to appeal. The most common question is on this topic and we will address it here. When establishing an assessment appeal you must first decide if your property is over-assessed. Just because your tax bill increased doesn’t translate to a cause for appeal. The assessed value is based on the fair market value of your home and if the fair market value falls below the assessors’ value, you have cause to appeal. To understand how the assessed value is figured, you will need to find out what your assessment rate is set to. Some states are 10-33% of the FMV, some are 50% of the FMV and others are 100%. If you live in an area where you are assessed at 1/3, it is easy to figure. $300,000 home times 1/3 = $100,000 times tax levy of 8.75% = $8750.00 tax bill. Once you establish that your assessed value is higher than it should be, you now need to present that information to your assessor. In most situations, your assessor will use comparables to dispute the evidence you have presented. This is why we created the Property Tax DR. so that you go prepared to dispute the whole comparable argument. To understand ALL of the unique features of assessment could take years but don’t fear, we made it simple and easy for you and it is at your fingertips.
To end this blog, you probably wonder why you should trust the Property Tax Dr.? The answer is simple, our #1 goal is to save you money and our reputation depends on the outcome of our awesome clients. We will be offering a FREE download so you can test the waters before jumping in headfirst. If the results are in your favor, you simply purchase the in-app offering and then you are entitled to the most comprehensive summary that is available, you also get a professional review and if needed a personal consultation with one of our experts.
In a recent news story, it was revealed that the local assessor had implemented a 30% blanket increase in assessment on every home within a small community. We coined the term assessed value manipulation for a reason. This behavior is actually illegal but the grey areas of assessment allow assessors to get away with this type of behavior as long as they can prove that the homes they used as comparables all fall below where they should be valued. I can “cherry-pick” homes in any neighborhood to support this type of valuation but that doesn’t make it right. Assessors are charged with looking at the bigger picture not just what supports an assessment increase.
If a local government wants to increase revenue, they simply need to take a vote of record and increase the tax levy. Sounds easy enough, right? But then they are on record for raising taxes and I don’t know many politicians that want to be known as the tax increase guy or gal. The other option is to increase assessed value and hope that the homeowners don’t notice. Crafty plan isn’t it?
The simple fact is that it is easier to correct assessed values that were improperly inflated with a blanket increase than to explain why you want to vote to increase a tax rate.
Will you accept this behavior or will you appeal your assessment?
23 Billion Dollars
That number, the estimated amount of money that is overpaid by residential homeowners each year. This amount is ignored by the government and sadly, most people simply don’t understand how the assessment world is wrought with error so this number will likely go unchecked.
By simple factoring, the average state takes $462,000,000 from its taxpayers. We know that some states are much higher because of tax rates, population, and home values but this is just an example average.
If we use a state like Illinois, we know there are approximately 3,850,000 owner-occupied homes and with just 50% of the homes overassessed by 20%, the numbers are staggering. An average owner-occupied home valued at $170,000 with a property tax rate of 8% would have a tax bill of about $4,053.00. By reducing that assessment by 20%, that home-owner would save $810.00. Using those average savings and multiplying those savings by 1,925,000 owner-occupied homes that are likely over-assessed, would amount to $1,559,250,00 in potential savings statewide.
Could you be saving some money in the near future?
We could make this a very short answer, but what fun would that be?
Let us first look at what the average homeowner does before they list their home for sale. Fresh paint, new floor covering, new plumbing fixtures, new cabinets, new roof, new siding, etc. Ok, you get the idea, these are all things that could increase the value by 10% to 25% over the neighboring homes.
Now let’s look at your home. Maybe you haven’t had the extra cash to replace those outdated cabinets, or maybe the floor coverings are just your favorite color and you don’t want to part with them. These older items have depreciation and they will lower the sales price if you listed your home as-is. Take a little time to document those items that would lower the value of your home, it could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars saved on your tax bill.
Long story short, recent sales do not always translate to an increase in the value of your home. This is why we appeal.
When you ignore your assessed value, your problems can really pile up. We have spoken with many homeowners that over-paid for years. A simple error in square footage can cost you hundreds or even thousands over just a few years.
Ted P from Illinois has a ten-year-old home that had two errors of square footage. These errors alone cost Ted about $600.00 a year. These were not the only errors discovered after a thorough evaluation; Ted saved a total of $2020.00 a year.
If you ignore those assessment changes, they can really have an ill effect on your bank account. Give the Property Tax Dr. a try if your latest tax bill made you cry.
One of the most common questions from your assessor is an oldie but a goodie. “How much would you sell your house for”, my answer is always the same, “I’m not selling my house, so the question is not relevant”. Many homeowners will stay in their home for 20-40 years and they really don’t care what the value of their home is. Most Assessors live in a mass appraisal world and only think an accurate value comes from comparables or recent sales. If you purchased your home and have no intention of selling soon, why should you be pushed into throwing out a value. There are many other factors that go into proper valuation. When Assessors use mass appraisal, they assume your home is perfect. They don’t know about the sump pump or the settling cracks in the foundation or the outdated carpet, they don’t know about the flaws that you know or that in the event you decided to sell, the prospective buyer is sure to notice. These flaws, as small as some may be, are all contributing factors that can lower the assessed value of your home. Use them wisely and you may be in for a positive surprise when you open your next tax bill.