Property values are a funny thing, aren’t they? If a seller, you want the highest price possible and you and your agent team together to determine the ideal listing price. As a real estate investor, you do your own research to justify the lowest price protesting property taxpossible. Both buyer and seller have different methods but they both want the very same thing: more profit.

 

It’s also interesting when owning real estate. If you’re selling your property and want the highest price, you’ll do whatever is feasible to achieve the ideal price point. Or, you’re a real estate investor and you get your property tax bill and you want just the opposite—the lowest value possible, right? So what happens when you get a tax bill you don’t agree with? You protest it, naturally and while different parts of the country can have a slightly different appeals process, it all boils down to proving to the taxing authority that your property isn’t worth what they say it is. You do that by providing comparable sales and features of your own property.

First understand that the county appraiser or whoever performs the value assessments doesn’t visit every single property for an inspection. That’s impossible. Instead, a sampling of recent sales in the area is performed then compared to your real estate. Primarily this is performed by calculating a per-square-foot price then adjusting for age and amenities. If homes in the area are selling for $100 per square foot then it’s likely that’s how your home will be assessed.

Yet a sampling doesn’t provide as much detail with regard to value.  You must provide the evidence why your home is worth less than what the tax bill says. Is your home older than other homes in the area? Are you on a street heavy with traffic? Is your property overbuilt for the area? Are there some recent sales in the area that discount your property’s value?

You have the right to protest your property’s value but don’t go unprepared. Contact your real estate agent and your appraiser and tell them of your plans and seek their help. Document your evidence and make your case. The county assessor may agree or disagree with you, but if you don’t try at all you might be paying more than you have to.