Making the Case that your home is over-assessed

You will present the case that your house is over-assessed when you make a personal appearance before the Assessors Review. 

The case that the assessed value of your house is too high is a comparative case. If your house is over-assessed, it is because the assessor is using a market value for your house that is too high. 

In order to show that the market value is too high, you need to have recent sales price data on comparable houses to yours. How recent? Your State Equalized Value for 2010 is based on sales prices from September 30, 2008, through October 1, 2009. 

To make the case that your house is over-assessed, you may present evidence of salesduring the September 2008 through October 2009 period that support a lower assessed value of your home. You may not include prices at which banks reclaim properties through foreclosures. However, bank sales to individual owners can be included. 

In making your case, you do have to compare apples to apples. That is, you have to show sales prices for houses of comparable size to yours. To do this, your best bet is to contact a friendly Realtor (although you may be able to research online).

Private Appraised Value. In addition to or instead of making a comparative case, you may hire an appraiser to provide a market value of your home. However, the assessor has the option of disregarding the appraisal on the basis that the paid appraiser lacks objectivity.

There are three general cases which you might fall into:


Case 1: You have NOT just purchased your home, but have owned it a while

With the sales price data, you can see how your assessed value compares to sales prices of comparable houses. From that, make your argument that the assessment is too high.

REMEMBER: the Assessed Value is supposed to be 50% of the Market Value. 

  • The market value that the assessor has used to compute your assessed value is twice the assessed value on your house. 
  • Recent sales prices may be less than your assessed value. 
  • But those sale prices may be far less than the market value that the assessor has given to your house. 
  • You can argue that the assessed value should be half the recent sales prices for comparable houses.

For example, suppose you have a four bedroom house with 2-1/2 bathrooms and 3500 square feet that has an assessed value of $100,000. The assessor has used a market value of $200,000. If the recent sales prices for comparable homes near yours suggest that the market value of your home is $120,000, then you could argue that your assessed value should be $60,000.

Two More Things to Remember:

  • In support of your argument, you also can report the number of vacant houses on your block, because those are holding down house prices. List addresses.
  • Perhaps you have had an extraordinary event such as a fire or flood that has damaged your home. See Case Three below.
Sample Presentation

The assessed value on my home is too high because it is far out of line with recent sale prices of comparable houses in my neighborhood. My house has #### square feet of finished space, including # bedrooms and # bathrooms. 

Attached is a list of comparable houses in my neighborhood and the prices at which they recently have sold. 

As is plainly obvious, the current sales prices of comparable houses is far below the value given to my house in the Assessed Value. From those data, the market value of my house appears to be $##,###. Since the Assessed Value is supposed to be 50% of the market value, the market value of my house implies that the Assessed Value should be $##,###. 

Vacant houses on my block depress the market value of my house. The following houses are vacant:


CASE 2: You have recently purchased your home

Make the case that the price you actually paid for the house obviously is its market value!!


CASE 3: "Obsolescence" This could apply to either of the first two cases

"Obsolescence" is the term that applies to a home that has had damage that would reduce the market value of the home.

This kind of appeal sometimes has had success with the Assessor.

TAKE PICTURES that show the condition of the house.

If you have owned the home (first case), perhaps you have had an extraordinary eventsuch as a fire or flood that has damaged your home. Use the pictures in making your case that the market value of your home needs to be re-assessed.

If you have just purchased a home (second case), perhaps this house was damaged before you bought it and needs extensive repairs, which is why you got it at a low price. Use the pictures in making your case that the market value is what you paid for the house.

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