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A Spring Ritual : Tax Appraisals

May 4, 2011

Every year about this time the county appraisal districts send out the new appraised values for homes and other real estate in the area. These appraisals are performed by county appraisers in most cases and determine the amount of ad valorem taxes property owners will pay for the current year. Historically these values have not changed much from year to year. They tended to track the increase in actual value increased experienced by a particular property

In recent years however home values have decreased somewhat and at the same time the tax appraisals have continued to increase slightly. This year however we have noticed that in some cases valuations were increased a much larger amount than in previous years. This appears to be a result of the deficits the states and the local municipalities are facing. They are looking for sources of revenue anywhere they can find it. New fees and fines are also being used as source of revenue.

In the past most home owners have accepted the small increase in appraised value even though their homes clearly were worth less than in the prior year. The reason for not appealing valuation is probably due to the hassle and time consumed in doing so.

In some cases the amount of increase in value is a considerable amount. It appears that the appraisal district will find a particular sale in an area at a higher price than is usual for the area. The reasons for the higher sales price could be attributed to factors directly affecting that particular house. For example, new pool, bathroom and kitchen remodeling or some other improvement. Notwithstanding the reason, the district appraiser a whole group of nearby homes at the much higher value. This is clearly bad appraisal procedure and can be pointed out on appeal. But many homeowners won’t appeal and several homes will be increased in value incorrectly. This will have a detrimental effect in the future years for the entire neighborhood.

This is a great opportunity for local realtors to offer something of value to area residents. By getting to know the procedures and people involved at the county an agent can provide a great service to many homeowners in the area. Most of the effort needed to handle the appeal does not require a tax specialist or attorney. If one is needed at some point they can be hired to handle the situation. This should help show residents that you a willing to go past just selling or helping them buy a home.

Source: American Crest/05/2011

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