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Old 11-10-2009, 06:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
It should come as no surprise that regardless of where they live, everyone grieves when they pay taxes.
Wrong, I have no problem paying my fair share. The problem in Fla. is no one pays a fair share. Take the same exact houses all on the same block and everyone is paying a different tax. Not different by a hundred bucks but by thousands.

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Old 11-10-2009, 06:35 PM   #22
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We protested this year. We've done it a couple of times. DH always hates it because I send him to do it with the data I accumulate.

It is important to know what data the appraisal board is legally able to use and how they are supposed to make their decision.

In our case, the county with the assessment sends you the comparable sales they used to come up with the value. The problems with the comparables were several. They didn't use some recent foreclosures. Also, there were a couple of pending sales very close to our house that would have been better, lower comparables. The other issue was that in determining price per square foot they considered the square footage and quality of construction but not quality of finishes, amenities, etc. That is almost all the houses in the subdivision had the same overall construction quality so they would value two 4000 square foot houses identically, even if one of them had cheap carpet, formica counters, and a bare lawn while the other had granite, wood floors and extensive landscaping.

They indicated that state law (which was proposed to be changed) prevented them from using foreclosures or pending sales. They didn't agree that things like granite, landscaping, amenities, finishes, etc. had anything to do with values (if only that were true!). They did however agree that we had found better comps in some instances so switched out some comps so we got reduced their increase by about 1/3 which was worth several hundred dollars.

Oh, we went to the real estate agent we had used to buy the house and asked her to run a report on comparable sales along with the descriptions of each house.

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Old 11-10-2009, 06:39 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Wrong, I have no problem paying my fair share. The problem in Fla. is no one pays a fair share. Take the same exact houses all on the same block and everyone is paying a different tax. Not different by a hundred bucks but by thousands.
I know you are a patriotic American/Floridian - just kidding.
Numbers is hard.

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension

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Old 11-10-2009, 10:30 PM   #24
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One such company took it upon themselves to represent me at the appraisal office. They did get my value reduced (and sent me a bill) but they also forged the document stating that they were now and forevermore my legal tax representative. They're being sued by the state Attorney General for such practices.
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:38 AM   #25
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Thank you this is a lot of help, I'll go to the realtor that sold the home to me and see if she'll get comparable recent sales.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:38 AM   #26
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I am thinking of challenging mine. Our town was reassessed at the height of the market, and my house is assessed MUCH higher that I could sell it for. Maybe $50K or so, but not sure.

Trouble is, not many houses are selling, so unsure if there are any comps locally.

When I called 6 months ago, they said yeah its over valued, but so is everyone else...
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:50 AM   #27
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I've often thought it would be cool if an assessment was a firm offer to buy the property at 80-90% of the appraised value. Seems that would encourage "sane" valuations in the assessment process and discourage overvaluation in the assessment, though in reality I know it's not workable.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:38 AM   #28
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I challenged my assessment last year. They had a two-step process. They sent out a preliminary assessment and give you the option to have an informal meeting with the assessor -- then they finalize the assesments and if you are still not happy, you can discuss with the town assessment board.

I met with the assessor and shared with him my comparison info -- showing several similar houses that were paying lower taxes. A few weeks later we got a letter saying they had denied our challenge. When the final assessments came out -- they had RAISED the taxes even higher on the two houses I was comparing mine to!! -- an interesting strategy. I'm sure the owners didn't appreciate that.

Anyway, I still met with the town board and was able to get mine reduced slightly. My arguments were somewhat weaker since I could no longer use those two houses as comparison. So, I guess the lesson is to save your best arguments for the final step. I put the key comparisons on a 1 page spreadsheet. Note that I got the best info from my realtor -- he was able to pull lot of info on sales, etc.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #29
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Two years ago I went thru the process. It is simple but a bit frustrating. Where I live you cannot protest based upon selling prices, you can only protest if your assessment is out of line with other comparables in your immediate vicinity.

Of interest is the fact that assessors have never been in my house in 23 years that we have lived there. But I found my taxes were on average $1,000 higher than comparables. I also found out that the assessment system seems to have no rhyme or reason where the township assessor could explain the differences. Mostly it is lot size and square feet. Beyond that it is pretty fuzzy.

I was fortunate in that one of my five comparables was the township assessor's house, (I didn't even know it at the time) I think this helped because my yearly tax bill was reduced $1,450 as a result of my protest. I guess the township assessor did not want to have it become public that they had the lowest assessment for like sized property in the neighborhood. Wonder how that happened?

As a last note, I also saw during my research what my next door neighbor's property tax bill was. Not nearly as bad as mine but I am sure he could save some serious money. I mentioned this to him and suggested he protest. He said, "when the bill comes I just pay it". Go figure!
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:31 PM   #30
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I see that I already responded to this old thread. In the meantime, we protested again this summer and got a huge reduction in proposed property valuation.

On our block about 30% of the homeowners protested the proposed increase in values of their property. It seems that the earlier you protested, the larger the reduction. The folks who protested last hardly got any lower value.

One street over, only 10% of the property owners protested. The variation in property taxes and assessed values is simply the result of whether you protest or not. Thus, your neighbor who can be likened to a sheep is paying more in property taxes than anyone else.

And as written over and over above: information is knowledge. With documented evidence of actual property values, a protest is easy.

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