As tax bills arrive this time of year, many consumers may find themselves thinking that property taxes are too high – and some research supports that sentiment. According to the National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit advocacy organization, 30 to 60 percent of properties in the U.S. are over-assessed.
For owners who decide to appeal their property taxes, it’s important to be sufficiently prepared.
Assess the Assessment
Sometimes errors are made in how local governments calculate the amount of tax a homeowner owes, leading to homeowners’ desire to appeal the assessment. In most situations, the assessment process uses a value model to produce what is called a mass appraisal for a universe of properties, which is typically many. This differs from an individual appraisal, such as one performed for a lender, which focuses only on a particular property. Additionally, it’s possible for assessments to be based on flawed information, such as incorrect square footage or number of bedrooms or bathrooms or even location.
While homeowners might believe their property taxes are too high, it validates their case to have a profession appraisal completed. Appraisers are third-party experts who provide credible opinions of value. However, homeowners shouldn’t assume that the assessor is out to get them in assessing a property’s value and therefore determining the amount of tax owed.
Qualified appraisers – such as Designated Members of the Appraisal Institute – can help homeowners who choose to appeal their property tax assessments. Many appraisers collaborate with property tax consultants and attorneys who specialize in tax appeal matters, which could provide the best opportunity for a property owner to increase the chances of a successful tax appeal.
Prepare for Change
The value of a specific property can change over time, especially if improvements are made to the home. Before appealing a property tax bill, consumers should be sure to consider recent renovations and how those upgrades might impact their assessed value.
Check out the Neighbors
When evaluating a property, assessors will compare the home being inspected to others in the neighborhood. In some cases, homes with nicer curb appeal are given a higher assessed value than similar properties that are less attractive.
Appraisers, leave a comment below with your property tax appeal tips.