When I was in school, I had a class where the teacher would put pretty much everything we would need to know for a test on the board, and all we would have to do was copy it down, because we could use the notes on the test.
For many students, it worked great for most of the year. I mean, you’d have to try pretty hard to fail a test where you have the answers right in front of you. Then came the twist.
On the final test of the year, the big one, most of the questions were the same ones we had during the other tests. Only this time, you couldn’t use notes. Those who were content to just regurgitate the information were in trouble, because they hadn’t really learned anything. Those that actually took the time to learn and know what the class was about did fine.
Assessment appeals are kind of the same.
ValueAppeal makes the process a lot easier. We give you the appeal form you need. We give you a list of the strongest comparable home sales from which to choose. We try to advise you as much as possible. But unless the homeowner takes the time to really understand what they’re doing, simply relying on ValueAppeal may not be enough. Because while the data we make available is strong, it’s up to the homeowner to present it in a way that convinces the assessor and the hearing board that you know your stuff and understand why you’re there.
But what does that mean?
At its most basic level, do you know what you’re appealing? We’ve had many clients who call us and want to move forward with an appeal of their assessment, but don’t really know what it is they’re appealing. Clients who are most successful are those who know what an assessment is and understand when and how their home’s assessed value may be too high. Before you decide that appealing is something you’d like to do, it’s always smart to learn just what an assessment is. ValueAppeal is happy to answer those questions for you.
Once you’ve filed an appeal, there’s still work to be done on your part. The most important thing you can do is to know your comparable sales. Look them over. Where are they located? How big are they? How old are they? What were their sale prices? The assessor wants to see that you’ve actually considered these homes, thought about them and determined that they are in fact comparable to yours.
If you are able to, it’s a great idea to drive by your comparables. See what they look like. Is the neighborhood similar to yours? If possible, take a picture of them from the outside to show their similarities. The more you know about the evidence you’re submitting, the more impressive you will come off to the assessor and hearing board.
Next, go on your state or county’s website and look up each of your comparables on their site. Confirm that the information in your ValueAppeal report is the same as is listed on the state’s site. If the assessor asks how they know your information is correct, you can say you checked their own site and the information is right there. That’s hard for them to dispute.
And finally, follow through. Don’t be scared into withdrawing. You’ve put in a lot of work and effort into presenting your case. You wouldn’t have appealed unless you believed the assessor made a mistake. Don’t be intimidated into believing you’re doing something wrong. Be courteous, but firm. You’ve checked out your evidence, you know the details. If you have a hearing, go to your hearing. The assessor wants to see that you are willing to follow this through.
And remember, if you ever have any questions along the way, give ValueAppeal a call. We’re here for you from the beginning of your appeal to the final result.