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How do I Know if my Property Tax Assessment is Correct?

Posted by Daniel Jones on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 @ 01 PM

The only way to know if your assessment is correct is to do some research. Perhaps, if you're lucky, you have a good friend that is a realtor and they can provide you with some settled sales from your neighborhood. That would be a big help. Chances are that between the three recognized approaches to value, the sales comparison approach, the cost approach, and the income approach, the sales comparison approach is the only one that you can take a stab at.

You can do some research online by visiting websites like trulia.com and realtor.com to find some comparable sales in your market area. Another option is the property tax assessors website. I know many property tax assessors have excellent websites that show each and every parcel assessment and their last sale price. This is becoming more and more true since the technology needed to provide this is been getting cheaper and cheaper over the years. Now even some small rural counties surprise me by having this type of website.

Some assessor websites are very interactive and you may be able to search for sales data by neighborhood. Some are not so functional and you may have to search street by street in your neighborhood looking at every parcel to see whether there has been a sale within the past year or two. What you want are the most recent sales available. For example, most states have an effective date of appraisal of January 1. So the tax assessor will be using sales data from the prior calendar year and so should you.

You should look at your assessed value on a total value per square foot of building area basis. Then compare your value per foot to the sale price per foot of the comparable sales that you have found. If your value per foot is higher than many of the sales, that is an indication that your property may be overvalued. Of course, the sales should be as similar to your property as possible.

Another angle for appealing your property tax assessment is equity. Just as you compared your property's assessment per square foot to sales, you can also compare it to other assessments. You can compare your assessed value to all of the assessed values on your street regardless of whether or not they sold. If there are some similar houses that have a lower values that may be another reason to appeal your property tax assessment.

For more information on appealing your property tax assessment, residential property assessment appeals, or commercial property tax reduction, contact the experts at Fair Assessments LLC the property tax reduction professionals.