When you get the assessment value for your home, you should be able to look at it and be able to understand why it was given that value by the DeKalb County tax assessor. However, if that isn’t the case for you, you aren’t alone. Many people have no idea how assessment is done or why property taxes fluctuate. This is also why many people aren’t aware that requesting an appeal or questioning the assessment is an option.
Now that you know, you should also be aware that you have a limited time to choose to appeal. Take out your Annual Notice of Assessment and check the date on it. You have exactly 45 days from that date to appeal. Thankfully, finding the paperwork to do so is fairly easy. The DeKalb County Property Appraisal website has a section for forms and one of the options is an appeal form for real estate.
How the Appeal Process Works
The appeal process has a few different parts to it and before we look at why you should appeal, we want to offer insight into how things work. After you turn in an appeal, a DeKalb County tax assessor for your neighborhood will be assigned the case. Your assessment notice will have the contact information for who this individual is.
Depending on the circumstances and evidence of your appeal, the DeKalb County tax assessor is going to choose to leave the value as it is or they can choose to reduce the value. If it is decided that you deserve a reduction, you will receive written notice of that.
At this point, assuming you are offered a reduction, you can choose to accept the new value or you can reject the offer. If you choose to reject the offered value, you can have the appeal certified to the Board of Equalization. There is a time limit on this as well. If the DeKalb County tax assessor doesn’t hear back from you within 30 days, you are no longer entitled to an appeal.
On the other hand, if the county declines to make a change, you will have your appeal certified to the Board of Equalization. When this occurs, it’s possible that you can have an even larger reduction on your property appraisal, but it is more work.
Why to Consider Appealing
Not everyone should go through with an appeal. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience. However, those who look at their assessment letter and do the work to determine the assessment by the DeKalb County tax assessor is wrong and should be lower should always consider an appeal. It’s a way to save money that you may not be responsible for paying.
If you believe the assessment is higher than it should be, challenge it. Do it early so you don’t end up running up on the deadline. At that point, it’s time to dig in and do some work to prove that you are being assessed incorrectly. We’ll explain how to do that so you can focus on following the steps.
Look for Mistakes in Your Property Description
Luckily, DeKalb County makes it simple to get the information that is being kept about your home, business, farm, or other property. The county offers a website where you can punch in the owner name, street name, address, or parcel ID to get more information about the property.
Once you get this pulled up, it’s time to look for any pesky mistakes that might be there. Look over every piece of information that is provided there. Is the square footage right? Are the appropriate number of bedrooms and bathrooms listed? See if your garage is listed, that the property category is correct, and go through every detail and consider it.
If you’re lucky, you’re going to find an error whether it’s that an extra bedroom is listed or an in-ground pool you used to have is still listed. These things give you good cause for an appeal of the findings by the DeKalb County tax assessor. Even if the error is small, take down the information because it could help you through the appeal.
Check Market Values for Comparable Properties
You want to look for assessed values and sales prices for properties in your neighborhood to have the most ironclad case that your own property has been overvalued. You can check this information from the website we mentioned earlier or many real estate sizes, like Zillow, shows recent home sales you can browse.
The homes you look at need to be similar to your own, sold in the last few years, and sold for less than what your own property has been assessed at. When we say comparable, you want to look at number of rooms, size, and things of that nature. Discounted sales like foreclosures and short sales won’t be useful so ignore those.
Turn in Your Appeal and Evidence
Once you have everything that you need, you want to put through your appeal. This can typically be done online or in writing, depending on your preference. Once you have completed that task, the only thing left to do is wait. You will eventually find out whether the DeKalb County tax assessor has accepted or rejected the appeal. If the latter is the case for you, you’ll need to move forward with the Board of Equalization meeting.
Need a Little Bit of Assistance?
If you’re fairly sure you want to go through with an appeal of the finding of the DeKalb County tax assessor, having someone to help with the process can make things much easier. Thankfully, that’s exactly what Fair Assessments, LLC is here to help with. Whether you own a home or a business, our experienced professionals can walk you through the process and give you the best chance of positive results. You can visit our website or reach us by phone at 404-618-0355.