Sunday, May 15, 2011

When You Don't Agree With the Property Assessor

Last November we bought a home. We got it for $80,000 less than the assessed value. We were assured that the new assessment would come in at the purchase price; it was not a distressed sale, financing was normal, etc. In February the City Assessor came for a visit, made some notes and left. A post card arrived in late April....assessing our home at $5,000 more than what we paid. My husband, the ever mathematically efficient electrical engineer, took issue with this assessment. As he is apt to do, he put together a concise email questioning the assessment (which took him about 10 minutes to write). The response that came back was "new windows added to the value". Really those must have been some windows, and the ones that came with the home were functional. Another email, stating this question, resulted in the City Assessor lowering our assessment to the exact value we paid.

The confidence to question authority, a few well worded emails, and we saved an additional $100 a year! The drop in assessment resulted in over $1,000 in tax savings. And that is money we plan to re-direct to paying off our loan early.

1 comment:

  1. I had documentation from the home inspection report that the windows were in working order when we bought the house.

    The people at the assessor's officer were rightly cautious about dropping the assessment without evidence, and they were very helpful when I explained the case I would make in my appeal if they couldn't do an open-book adjustment.

    Before I challenged the assessment, I thought up ideas about the office being some stereotypical gov't agency run by a combination of torpor and graft. I'm glad I ignored those thoughts b/c they appear to be industrious and honest people just trying to set the correct valuations.