Does anyone understand?
If you live and own your real property in Broward County, Florida, you probably received the 2010 Notice of Proposed Property Taxes as I did. This is the dreaded proposal that shows my home keeps losing value but my taxes some how keep increasing. When it comes to property valuation and proposed taxes, I just don’t get it.
Because the impact of a tax assessment can be quite expensive for property owners, challenges to the valuations of properties are quite common. In most cases, owners are free to meet with the assessor to present their cases. Owners need to keep in mind that any changes must be based on evidence. Mere complaints that the owners think their taxes are too high will not lead to a reduction.
Tips for Challenging the Valuation
Property owners will need all the records pertinent to the valuation of their property in order to make a successful argument for changing the valuation. Make sure to scrutinize the accuracy of the assessor’s information for obvious errors. If the assessor accidentally added an extra bedroom or bath in his assessment of the property, or figured the tax using the wrong taxing authority, these mistakes can make an enormous difference in the property tax. Owners should also request copies of the comparable sales information the assessor used to value their property. Examine these documents and closely compare their property’s assessed value and those of nearby properties.
A valuation challenge may be successful if the appraisal overlooked hidden conditions such as a pest infestation, a cracked foundation, or other undesirable environmental conditions. These factors could adversely lower the property’s value, and hence adjust the owner’s appraisal downward. Additionally, certain exemptions in the property may negatively impact its value. These include veterans, prisoner-of-war, and homeowner exemptions.
Comparing Property Sales
In most cases, the best evidence of property value is comparisons of recent property sales within the same neighborhood. Because this is public information, it is not difficult to obtain; however, analyzing it and applying it to the owner’s particular situation can be difficult. For example, the motivations of buyers and sellers can influence sales prices, but this information is very difficult to obtain. If there are no recent property sales within the property owner’s neighborhood with which the owner can make comparisons, the next best alternative is to check for areas of comparison between the owner’s property, and property that is reasonably similar to it. Consider factors like location, style, age, square footage, lot size, number of rooms, and so forth.
Don’t get frustrated
Dealing with property valuations can be confusing and overwhelming. But don’t get frustrated. You can challenge the valuation yourself or have an attorney help you with the process. Either way, the effort may payoff and end up saving you some money. Good luck and let us know if Get Smart Legal, Inc. can be of assistance.