Asking for a Real Estate Reduction

cactuscatieMarch 22, 2011

Our neighbor gave us the name of a lawyer friend and told us to retain him to obtain a reduction of the assessment of our property. We have to give him $25 prior to his filing and if he succeeds in getting a reduction, he will take a one-time fee of 33 1/3% of the reduction.

My question is by seeking a reduction, can there be other consequences that can steamroll from our filing for a reduction. I just don't want to make it worse for us in the long run.

If anyone has any experience with this, I greatly appreciate any advice.

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Is this for property taxes? Before you pay anyone, call your local assessor's office. In a lot of places, they'll handle it for you for free.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:11PM
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sushipup, it is for property taxes. Well according to my neighbor, I can do it myself through the assessor's office but there are formulas, applications and it could be tricky, blah, blah, blah.

We are going to talk to the assessor's office as you suggested. Thanks for your reply.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:05PM
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Well, your neighbor either wants to justify the money he/she already spent with the attorney, or the attorney is her brother-in-law. I bet it won't be that tough!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Depending on where you live, it actually may be quite a pain. There is undoubtedly an official way to appeal the assessment, but that doesn't mean that your local officials have made it easy or transparent. A phone call should give you some indication whether the department is easy to work with or if it is something you might rather pay a few bucks to have someone else do.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:52AM
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I went to the assessors office to ask for a reduction, after all we were still farming, though we had a new house on the land. I went with a recent appraisal and after much chat about what deficits we had on the property they said they were willing to look at the appraisal, until they discovered that the appraisal from the current year - would not be considered because the assessment was from the previous year - therefore not relevant. WTF???
Make sure if you HAVE an appraisal it is in the same year as the assessment.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:34PM
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The other thing that could happen is the appraiser's office will reevaulate the entire neighborhood and then everyone's taxes will go up. Could depend on what is going on--remodeling, foreclousers, new business, schools etc. All figure into the tax rates.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:41PM
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When I met with our accountant last month to do taxes, I asked about appealing property taxes...something we are considering. Our accountant informed me that he hires a guy every year to appeal his ...sometimes they are reduced, sometimes they're not. I asked for and was given the fellow's name and will be calling him next week, when we return home. Our process is a pain in the backside and I'll be happy to share the benefit with someone who will do the legwork.

My brother in law makes a chunk of his living appealing property taxes for industrial/commercial properties. It's lucrative!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 1:01PM
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If county property tax files are available to you, ours are on-line, try looking for a comparable property that is taxed less than yours. If you can build a logical case based on these comps, a simple letter to the assessor's office should get them to re-look at your situation. There may be an annual deadline for this reclama to adjust the following year's tax bill, though.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 6:52PM
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