The Cobb County government goes through a process of assessing all taxable real estate on a periodic basis. The next time an assessment is done, you’ll be notified through the mail. This will include information about your property including the legal description of the property, the lot size, and the current assessed value of the land and home.
In some cases, your home may be assessed incorrectly, which can lead to paying higher property taxes than you should be paying. If you get your assessment and notice that it seems to be off, you should start the property tax appeal service as quickly as possible. You typically have a limited time to do so. The exact procedure will be explained on the same mail piece that outlines your assessment.
Step One: Decide Whether Appealing is Worth Your Time and Effort
If it turns out that your property is being assessed slightly high, but it isn’t enough to be worth the time of appealing, you have your answer. However, in many cases, going through the process is an excellent idea. As an example, perhaps your home is being assessed at a worth of $500,000. You aren’t sure that’s correct and end up able to prove that. Instead, perhaps your assessed value drops to $425,000. This could be a savings of nearly a thousand dollars a year, which most of us would consider substantial enough to take action.
Step Two: Take Time to Check and Double Check the Data
The next step in the process of appealing is to ensure all of the information that the government is claiming about your property is accurate. Make sure that you spend time and double-check things you aren’t sure about. If you find that your assessment includes any mistakes, this is something that can make gaining a judgment on an appeal a snap. The assessor’s office is required to keep complete and accurate information and anything that is inaccurate needs to be edited, which can often lead to saving money on property taxes.
Step Three: Understand and Research “Comps”
For this step, you will want to get in touch with a licensed realtor who has access to information about comparable or “comp” properties to the one that you own. These should be properties that have sold in the recent past and that include many of the same specifications as your property. Think about style, location, size, and condition when considering comparisons. If you want to go even further, hiring an appraiser will give you a professional review of the value of your home.
After you have a few comps to review, look at the assessments for those properties. You can find these at your local government facility, or they are often provided online in a public database. If you have trouble locating this information, your real estate agent may be able to provide you with the needed information. Take a look at this data, and if you find that the assessments on the comps are lower than yours, you may have a case for arguing yours is too high.
Step Four: Contact the Assessor’s Office and Present the Case
Once you have all of the needed information, along with the help of a property tax appeal service as needed, you are ready to get in contact with the Cobb County assessor’s office. In many cases, you can speak about the case in an informal manner with someone over the phone. If you cannot, or you do not feel that the conversation answers your concerns, you may want to request a more formal review.
At all times, you must take care to be aware of the proper procedures and applicable deadlines. You will likely need to fill out a form and follow instructions in terms of any evidence you would like to submit. If you are provided with a typical review, it does not occur in person. Instead, you will receive a decision in writing after you submit your information. Be patient as it can take as long as three months to hear back.
Step Five: When All Else Fails, Appeal the Decision You Are Given
If you find that the review does not go the way you prefer that it would, you can appeal it. This can often be done with an independent board. You can choose whether or not to have a lawyer there to represent you. In many cases, there will be a small filing fee to appeal the original decision. The property tax appeal service, when dealing with a board, can be rather lengthy. Depending on the location you are in, the entire process can take as long as a year. However, it may be much less in an area of Cobb County where fewer appeals are requested.
In many cases, the homeowner does end up winning their case. It just may take time, effort, and patience. There are a few things to keep in mind as you go through the process.
- If you plan to sell your home in the near future, an assessment reduction could drop the value of your home and leave you getting less money for the sale.
- The board associates with appeals can lower the assessment of your property but is not able to change the rate you are taxed at.
- In extremely rare cases your assessment could end up being raised rather than lowered, which will result in an increase on your property taxes.
Other Important Information
If you are looking for resources and assistance with your appeal, Fair Assessments LLC is here to provide help. You can learn more about the assessment process in Atlanta and specific areas of Florida and Georgia. If you would like to get in touch with us, you can call the office at 404-618-0355 or email us at info@Fair-Assessments.com. You can reach out to us at any time, day or night.