Author Topic: Fighting the property tax  (Read 669 times)

K-ice

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Fighting the property tax
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:34:53 PM »
Does anyone have experience fighting property tax?

I live in an old neighborhood with a wide range of homes. 1940 salt boxes to 100y old brick mansions to new ravine view condos.

Our tax has just gone up and up and up 8% a year the ten years we have lived here.

We have not done major renos. We did upgraded the electrical and roof but there is still so much to do. People literally come over and ask "when are you renovating the kitchen?" since it is locked in the 1980's.  I don't mind.
We have that saran wrap stuff over our cold windows.  Our furnace is from the 80's.

Our neighbourhood has gone up about 3% per year but other homes around us have not increased at the same pace.

For example there are 2 that sold for much more than me (like 1.5 times & double) 1 to 2 years before ours but one is valued less than ours and one is valued only 10% more. Both are valued less than their sale prices.

There is another one that sold the same year as us for 100K less.  It has been GUTTED new double garage and it is still valued 100K less. 

I've compiled a list of 15 properties that are valued less than mine but I feel should be worth more or similar.  I know I am kind of cherry picking, but the average of this list is $130K less than us.

The direct neighbor to the left and right are valued at $220K and $260K less than ours. Identical sized lots. When I mentioned that on the phone the reasoning was because they are "derelict".  True the one is vacant now and they are about to demolish it but last summer it was used. It would have been grander than our place at one time, and is larger & on a corner lot but they let it go to shit.  And now I need to look at it while I pay almost double tax. GREAT! The other is a rental that has a new roof but needs some TLC.  (I think I will use the derelict neighbor view as a point to lower my tax.)

I contacted the city and they are coming to do an inspection and check square footage (off by 500sqft I think) but I do not know what else they might listen to.  Our basement is on record as partially finished but it flooded the first year and we ripped out the carpet and now just use it for storage. Contrary to the lower valued home behind us who put in a nanny suite.

Oh, there is a house 1 block over. It is literally a twin on a 3/4 smaller lot. I know it is owned by an old may and should be worth less than ours but not $300K less.

I really don't want to call out all my neighbors with their fancy new garages etc. but looking around we are getting screwed.

Does anyone else have experience fighting the tax man? 

(Tax "man" just roles of the tongue, no offence intended.)







Kroaler

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 05:53:37 PM »
Fought and won.   It's a real hassle. 

And you need solid evidence like a current appraisal to even have a chance.

In my county I had to file an official request.  Then it gets reviewed, them they call to schedule you an audience with a small property tax assessment council where they tear down every valid reason you provide.

Then maybe you win maybe you don't.    For some reason they agreed with me and lowered mine, even though I wasn't left with that feeling after my audience with the group.

SwordGuy

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 08:57:29 PM »
I've fought several times and won most of the time.

Never had an appraisal handy.

Twice I showed that either the house was uninhabitable or in real disrepair.  (These were investment properties.)

For my own, I showed that the other 7 properties on our 8 property street went up in value in a totally nonsensical way.  Valuation increases ranged (I'm going from memory) from 18% to 900%.   There was simply no sense to it the valuation changes.  Not only that, but the wrong properties went up the most!   In addition, I showed that the facts on our house were incorrect (no deck, etc.) and that the house next door had been valued 40% less just one year earlier when it sold.  I showed that it had had $60-80k worth of renovations on it in the last year and ours had had none.


I never got as much off as I wanted, but it was always worth my time.

theoverlook

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 07:48:56 AM »
I've fought the valuation several times and each time is was simple and easy. The first time, I had just bought a piece of land and it was valued for more than I paid so I filed a complaint and was called to the board of revisions. I went to the hearing with the closing documents and they took a copy and approved the valuation decrease. The second time, same deal, I bought my current house and the valuation was higher than I paid. I met with the appraiser and he looked at my (very organized) paperwork and appraisal and lowered the valuation without needing to go to the board of revisions. The third time, they had jumped my valuation up again - fortunately I had a current appraisal due to refinancing. I send a copy of the appraisal in with my complaint form and they dropped the valuation to the appraised value without even needing to meet in person.

I've done it a couple times with my commercial property, but that process is very different and requires a lawyer since it's owned by a corporation. For your purposes, you do not need a lawyer but an appraisal - or at least a written "opinion of value" - should be done. The process will vary based on where you are, but generally you file a form called something like "Complaint against valuation or assessment," and include any and all supporting documents with it. If you get an appraisal and submit it with that form, I bet you'd get your valuation dropped to whatever the appraisal was. If you submit the appraisal with the form you probably won't even have to go to any hearings.

Paying for an appraisal would be a good investment - they're usually only $300 - $400 and would save you way more than that in taxes. Assuming your opinion of value is accurate, of course!

bacchi

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2019, 11:23:30 AM »
It depends on your appraisal district.

After dismissing pictures and an appraisal, and claiming that I must've renovated because "Who wouldn't renovate such an old kitchen?", I hired an outside firm to do it. I pay them a % of the taxes they save each year. It saves me the grief of dealing with the petty assholes working in the appraisal district office.

K-ice

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 12:04:24 PM »
So I had my assessor visit today. She was very agreeable. (Wasn’t a “tax man” after all.)

Started with taking measures of the outside.

Our basement footprint is on record as 723. I agree with that.  Our home is 1.75 stories.
(Not a full 2 stories there are dormers on the 2nd floor)
723X2= 1446. + a small addition 10x13 =130

So 1576 total is what I get.

Somehow our area on record is 2038 so the math doesn’t work.

She seemed to agree but it will take a few weeks for them to CAD up the plan & get back to us.

She also looked at our basement & reduced the finished area from 361 to 250.
It flooded 9y ago and I think we fixed the source but the flooring is unfinished.

She also took the “package” I prepared of nearby homes that are all valued less but some are clearly larger & nicer. Some are similar & others should be less but not $300K less.

I expect an answer in 2 weeks.

If they are off on the square footage I wonder if they would retroactively credit us....?

K-ice

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 12:23:42 PM »
PS. It makes me mad the assessment doesn’t list our square footage as I would have caught this mistake years ago. I had to do some extra fancy login I only found out about this year.

kpd905

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 01:53:35 PM »
I fought ours last year.  They assess every 3 years, so they increased our appraised value about 20% from the previous appraisal.  I found a few comparable listings in the neighborhood, and also told them that our roof is shot and due for replacement.  They end up dropping it to a 10% increase instead of 20%, which will save me about $1,000 total over the three years until the next appraisal.

AMandM

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2019, 04:40:32 PM »
We fought ours once and won. We submitted comps (very easy because we lived in a cookie-cutter development at the time) of recent sales that showed our house's assessment was clearly over market value.

This year we looked at comps and if anything our new assessment is under market, so we're keeping our mouths shut!

Rural

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 06:53:52 PM »
We successfully contested the appraisal of the plot next to ours when we bought it by asking the appraiser to click on the topography layer of the GIS she was using. She said "oh, my!" and the appraisal dropped 70% in a few seconds. Turns out no one had noticed it was an absolutely unbuildable, unfarmable gully, worth nothing to anyone but us and maybe the guy who owns the land on the other side. They just had a standard acreage value applied to it.

Duke03

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 09:33:46 PM »
I've fought mine every year and won.  Granted one year the appraiser refused to budge.  So I just sat there in the office not moving.  After about 30 seconds he said you can leave now we are all finished.  That's when I informed him that since he wasted my time now it was my turn to waste his....After about 10 minutes of me sitting there and his next appointment was waiting he claimed he'd knock 10k off my value if I left.  I looked him dead in the eye and told him I just texted my wife who was in the car with our two small children and she was on her way in to join in on the fun.  He quickly offered 20k off the value and I agreed.  Other time's I've gotten quotes to replace flooring, paint the house, do other work....  Nothing needs to be done, but they don't know that.  I have to pull these antics just to keep the appraisal value a hair less than what it really is.  Other wise they are constantly trying to jack me 20k to 40k over what it's really worth.  It's a game and if you fight them they will roll over to the sucker that just pays the bill every year without making a sound.

Jon Bon

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2019, 01:50:27 PM »
Holy shit that is awesome. Screw that guy!

Honestly that kind of sounds like something out of parks and rec. Someone threatened to sit in Ron Swanson's office with a screaming child until they got what they wanted.

I was able to get a big reduction but it was 2009 purchase and an arms length transactions so really it was just what the market said the house was worth. But mazel tov to @Duke03 who wins this thread and 100 internet points!


Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Fighting the property tax
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2019, 02:04:15 PM »
My dad has tried to fight it in our county, but they wouldn't budge. The problem is that they keep the "assessed" value well below market prices, then jack up the millage rates to compensate. So my dad could argue until he was blue in the face that there was no logical reason for his home to be appraised for $100,000 more than a literally identical house next door (seriously, it was the exact same builder, the exact same floor plan, same lot size, etc.). The assessor simply argued that it was technically assessed below the "market value" so he had no case. Sounds like a lot depends on your jurisdiction. If they are materially wrong about certain facts upon which the assessment is based, you'll almost certainly have a better chance of winning your case.