Videos: Getting Your Property Value Reassessed

Filing an appeal to get your property value reassessed so you can pay less property taxes appears daunting, but this video series from the California State Board Of Equalization is here to helps walk you through the process. It’s designed for California, but there’s things in here that you can learn from regardless of where you live.

Your Assessment Appeal [boe.ca.gov] (Thanks to Sean!)

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  1. James Langille says:

    And she’s hot!

  2. Etoiles says:

    My parents have just done this, because the last assessment their municipality had on file was done when housing / property values were about 40% higher than they are now. Definitely seems to have been worthwhile.

  3. Triterion says:

    California ftw

  4. SillyFTW says:

    We got our property reassessed yesterday. We went in with prices of others in our area, explained how much we thought our home was worth, and that we just wanted to bring it into line with other homes in our area. Took about 15min and the board said that they would get our tax rate reduced. We were paying about $150 per square foot and now are looking at around $90.

  5. lightaugust says:

    My wife and I just did this with the help of a realtor, and it was very easy and saved us a LOT of money. I highly recommend it for anyone, especially in areas where the swing in price has been most drastic. It’s a little intimidating to begin the process, but well, well worth it.

  6. HungryMohican says:

    While most assessors are honest, some are downright crooked. My father questioned an assessment on his house & found out he was being assessed for a room that did not exist. The assessor is now in prison (for other assessment related crimes…in the millions of dollars). Classy!
    [news.findlaw.com]

  7. Matthew Frank says:

    In the last sentence “…but there’s things in here…” should be “…there’re things in here…”.

    There’s = there is, used with singular items.
    There’re = there are, used with plural items.

  8. karrde712 says:

    I just wanted to point out something that a lot of people have been missing when discussing these schemes to lower their property taxes.

    Many mortagees have PMI to provide insurance to the lender against your defaulting. PMI goes away once you pay down the principal on the house so that you owe 80% or less of the assessed value of the property. If you call and have your home assessed for a lower property value, you may in fact be extending your PMI payments for years to come.

    • winshape says:

      @karrde712: Excellent point.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @karrde712: In some states. In other states it’s 80% (or 85%) of the original sale price, period. My home has gone up in value but my PMI does not care until I’ve paid down to that magic number on the ORIGINAL sale price.

      (While this initially irritated me, since houses tend to go up in value, after the meltdown I see the sense of it — if I bought a house for $200,000 with PMI because I had a small downpayment, it shot up in value to $300,00 and I got PMI taken off on the grounds the loan was now less than 85% the assessed value of the house, and then the bottom fell out of the market, the house was worth $100,000, and I still owed, say, $190,000 on it, the bank is SCREWED. But if the PMI is based on the original sales price and therefore on the actual loan amount, they’re recovering what they actually lent, no matter what the housing market does.)

  9. Saboth says:

    I’d like to appeal my assessment, as my house went from 77,000 in year one, to 106,000 in year 2, to 111,000 in year 3, but I had it appraised for a refinance and it appraised at 119,500. I’d be afraid instead of managing to get it lowered from 111,000, I’d end up getting it boosted. Still…having my value go up 35,000 in 3 years from the city’s assessment (when they haven’t even looked at the house) along with my property tax, peeves me a bit.

  10. jmujeff says:

    The city of Virginia Beach FINALLY lowered my assessment to a more realistic value after heavily inflating it for so long…

    I probably shouldn’t be happy about my assessment (and property value) being lower, but hey if the market is in the crapper, I’d rather not pay the extra thousands each year in property tax.

  11. Corporate-Shill says:

    Warning:

    Reappraising your property to a lower value can have long term negative consequences.

    I had my commercial property reappraised.

    I won, I won, oh look how much I saved on property taxes.

    Three years later the City ceased 15′ of property for a road project. The reappriasal came full circle to bite me in the ass. What I saved in property taxes was nothing compared to the loss of value for the sale to the city.

  12. smirky says:

    @ Corporate-Shill

    …seized…..

  13. wgrune says:

    @karrde712

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t PMI based on the principle amount of the loan, regardless of what the house is worth? I thought as soon as you got to 20% of your principle, you quit paying PMI. That seems to make more sense than it being tied to the actual value of your house. At least according to my amortization schedule, this is the case…

    • Wild Monkey says:

      @wgrune: PMI is based on loan to value. Paying down the mortgage and appreciated home value makes your payments to PMI disappear sooner. With home values going down you have to pay PMI longer. You could have 20% payed off of the mortgage that you took out and be underwater on the house because the value of the house has plummeted. With no equity in the house the lender is going to be wanting PMI.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @wgrune: It depends on the state you live in. In some states it is tied to the value of the house; in other states it is the original loan assessment. Don’t listen to the folks in the majority states where it’s tied to the value of the house — you’re obviously in a minority state like me where it’s the original sale/loan value. :)

  14. wgrune says:

    @Wild Monkey

    That makes sense. Thank you.

  15. Rachacha says:

    @wgrune (reply function not working)
    Just a point of clarification. You need to contact your lender and request to have PMI removed once you reach the 20% value/loan amount (don’t just stop paying the PMI). I have read horror stories where the lender does not want to remove PMI as it becomes a profit center for the lender. In situations where you have reached the appropriate level of equity to drop PMI, and your lender drags their feet at removing it, Pay them the PMI with your monthly payment (so you remain in good standing with your lender), then take them to small claims court for reimbursement of the PMI fee (and court costs). Do this every month until they remove PMI from your mortgage.

    Then if you are able, keep paying the amount that you have been paying every month, but make sure to indicate that the extra payment goes towards the principle and you will pay off your mortgage a bit earlier at the end of 15-30 years!

    • Ragman says:

      @Rachacha: I heard the same about stopping PMI when we were buying our house. Fortunately, we were allowed to do a 80-10-10 split since we had the 10% down payment. The monthly payment was almost the same for both, but at the end of the PMI period, we would’ve had less equity in the house.

      We just had our house appraised for our refi, and it came in over $10k less than last years tax appraisal. Looks like I’ll be protesting this year’s appraisal.

      Hey, if you need to have a higher value on your home, just convince them to use Zillow.com’s estimated value. They have my house valued over 11% higher than the tax appraisal. All of that during the time that the rest of the housing market was crashing.

  16. Tuuurd_Ferguson says:

    @ Corporate-Shill:

    Its highly unlikely that your reappraisal resulted in the city’s use of eminent domain to take your business property a few years later. The reappraisal would have to had made your property value so low as to be deemed “blighted.” These are two mutually exclusive events. Unfortunate though.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @Tuuurd_Ferguson:

      eminent domain was used for a road widening project. Not blighted property. And they only “took” 15′, not the entire property.

      I had been under the opinion the road project was not slated for another 5 maybe even 10 years…. which would have saved me the $ on the property taxes in the short term and allow me to reappraise the value of the property with the road project at some far out future date.

      Unfortunate timing. The Fed/State/County found some $ for an interstate exit and bypass project and the City only had to come up with 20% of the funds for the surface road rather than 100% of the funds for the surface road.

      So the road project got moved up.

      Then it became much more difficult to claim a low value for taxes and high value for sizure less than 3 years apart.

  17. craigkay says:

    @James Langille:

    Here’s her website

    [kristensimoes.com]

  18. SadSam says:

    I appealed a town appraisal on land I own (no house, no PMI issue), it was as simple as filling out the form and attaching documentation of similarly sized lots in the same neighborhood (which was all on-line). The town folks came out to view the lot (I wasn’t present and didn’t need to be present) and they lowered my appraisal from the mid 500s to the mid 300s and boy did my taxes go down and I received a refund for taxes I had already paid that year.

  19. thetango says:

    But keep in mind, lenders are NOT required to terminate PMI exactly at 80% of LTV. It can be as high as 78% LTV. The lender, however, is _required_ to notify you when you hit 80%.

    Good explanation of this:

    [www.debtsmart.com]

  20. Jeri Linder says:

    I appealed my property tax assessment for 2008 in Alameda county over six months ago….I haven’t had any response from the county and when I contact them they tell me they are under no obligation to respond to my request within any certain amount of time. I find that sad and interesting since there are so many timelines enforced upon me for payments and filings.

    I also find this incredibly frustrating since Proposition 8 (the amendment to Prop 13 passed in 1978, see: [www.acgov.org] not the one from 2008 about same sex marriages) was passed to assist homeowners like ourselves, but no assistance seems to be forthcoming (at least in Alameda county where property values and lay-offs have hit us very hard).

    The link I list talks about the upcoming 2009 assessments but makes no mention of 2008 assessments, and I get told to just “pay the current 2008 bill in full before the April 10th, 2008 due date, because we won’t be making a determination on the paperwork you submitted before then. We will advise you, if a refund is owed, at some point in the future once a determination is processed.” Uh, when will that be, 2020?

    I submitted that paperwork on September 3rd, 2008, and they can’t make a determination in six months on a request for a decline in market value? I’m wondering what exactly my taxes are paying for then, since they can make an annual assessment within a six month timeline. I don’t think I’m asking for overnight miracles. I’d just like them to perform their job functions that my overpriced taxes are currently paying for. Wait, that must be it. They are afraid if they reduce my assessment to market value, they’ll be laid off too. Seems like a conflict of interest to me…

    They discourage residents from filing out the paperwork I did (see above link). They have no timeline to respond for 2008 requests, and want payment in full in the mean time (did I mention I was laid off in November 2008, and now my husband was laid off this month too). They assure me that my 2009 assessment will be fair, but what it really comes down to is they don’t want to give ud due process on this topic because they might loss their jobs next.

    Think about it, would you hire the guy that benefiting from your assessment to preform your assessment. I think they call this ‘motive’ on CSI. Seriously, this is a lot of paperwork, that I filed long ago and they seem to have no accountability for responding to it before I _die_.

    So what exactly is the point of the BOE spending money to produce these videos? Economic stimulus for the gal in them? Maybe everyone in CA doesn’t have the same issues Alameda county does…I certainly hope not!

    Sorry to rant, but it’s getting pretty frustrating out here for those of us who dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’.

    Jeri.

  21. RogueWarrior says:

    Property assessors are a friggin’ joke. Rule #1: they don’t work for you, they work for the local city and state government. We had an assessor come on the radio about six months ago and actually say “I don’t see property values going down any time soon.” I felt like driving down to the station and slapping the guy upside the head saying “Have you been living under a rock, dumbass?!”

  22. Anonymous says:

    King County homeowners can enter their address on my website http://www.valueappeal.com and find out for free in a few seconds whether they are overassessed or not. If you are overassessed we offer a $99 report that gives you the specific comps you need to prove your case to the appeal board. If you don’t reduce your assessment we give you 100% of your money back. Its a simple, fair, and effective way to save money during this recession.