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December 30th, 2008 9:29 AM by David W. Welch
This question was asked on "Ask a Realtor" on www.Realtor.com. Below is the answer I posted this morning. This may be something you are considering, and maybe this will provide food for thought.
"I purchased a property at the peak of the market in 2005. With my home value down now, how can I get a reassessment on my property taxes? Is it worth doing?"
The short answer is: "It probably won't hurt to try." There are a lot of considerations though. First, have property values gone down in your area? I was at a luncheon the week before Christmas, and our property appraiser Bill Donnegan spoke about this issue a bit. Odds are that values have gone down, since one estimate I have read says that 71% of home values in America are lower than they were a year ago. (About 2 out of 3 sellers think their house is the same value or greater than it was a year ago.) The next issue is when the values started going down. You see property taxes are typically assessed in arrears, so your 2008 taxes are, to some extent, based on sales in 2007. Another consideration is how your state allows the property appraiser to treat foreclosures. In Florida, the state does not allow the property appraiser to consider foreclosures in determining property values. Of course Mr. Donnegan conceeded that there are areas of Orlando where the only sales are foreclosures, so he has no choice but to consider them in his assessment. One last consideration to keep in mind is presumption of correctness. This is a doctrine where the government entity in question, Property Appraiser, is presumed to be correct. Therefore, you as the home owner have a very high standard to meet to prove your case.
Going back to my short answer, you probably don't have anything to lose. Just make sure you know the answers to the questions above before you start. These are considerations for people in Florida, and there may be additional issues where you live. Best of luck fighting City Hall. http://talk.realtor.com/ask-a-realtor/
David Welch, Remax 200 Realty, Orlando Real Estate