Just Say NO to high property taxes — It’s yor RIGHT.

If you believe the Property Appraiser’s market value for your property is higher than the market value of your property as of this past January 1, you are encouraged to contact your Property Appraiser’s office. Often times the Deputy Property Appraisers will happily meet with you and discuss your market value and how it was calculated. If you still feel your market value is too high, you can file a simple petition with what many municipalities call the Value Adjustment Board. You can find most of those forms online at your local property appraiser’s site. There may be a filing fee and most have a September deadline.

Tips on reducing your assessed value:

• Before you make your appeal, make sure to ask the county or municipality to district to provide you with the homes they used to compare yours to and set its value. Those homes are called the “Comps” or Comparative Market Analysis.

• Then you should research and make sure their comps match your comps.

• You can also add photos to your research. Those photos can be used to show that your home is not comparable to the homes they chose. Appraisers will not know about all the remodeling work, additions or other work that could be making the house next door worth more than yours

• If you live in Florida, keep in mind that Appraisers can now use foreclosures and short sales as comps. That could be good news if you want to get the assessments on your home lowered. However if you are trying to sell a home this will have a negative effect on the value of your property. This means your buyer’s appraiser may also use short sales and foreclosure when evaluating your property’s value.

Provide reputable documentation such as building permits

• Document contributing factors such as termites, foundation issues, flood plain and other such issues

• Use the MLS if it supports your cause. If you have been unable to sell your home on the MLS and it is listed for LESS than what your municipality is assessing it at, you might have an even better case. The longer the listing the better the case.

• If you paid less for your house than the current assessments, bring your closing papers and that year’s tax bill.

The process is very simple but you have to do your homework. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, hire someone. There are professionals who specialize in making appeals on property tax assessments for a fee.

Originally posted to Blog on 8/7/2009