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Has the assessment of your home gone up steadily over the last few years. Are you concerned that your assessment is climbing faster than the value of your home. Did you know that there are things you can to challenge the assessment of your home?

Typically, if you are going to fight your tax bill, it is going to be because of the high assessment put on your home. Most of the time, the assessed value of your home is printed on paperwork received from your assessor. However, if you are having a hard time determining what your home's value has been estimated at, you can contact your assessor via phone or by stopping by their office.


Should I fight my assessment?
Once you have determined what your home has been assessed for, you need to consider the following....

  -- Can I sell my home for more than what is has been assessed for? If the answer is yes, you definitely do not want to fight your assessment.
  -- You need to also determine if the value placed on your home is comparable to other houses in your area. If your house is in poor condition when compared to other homes in the area, then you will not be able to dispute your assessment. However, if your home's condition is in a similar state to the other house's in your area, but is being valued less, you likely have a good case for obtaining a reduction. Read more about finding out how much your home is worth.

I have a good case for fighting my assessment! Where do I start?
Every county in the United States has a local assessing organization that has a system for fixing or disputing assessments. The process will likely be different for every area. It would be a good idea to contact your local assessing organization before you start your assessment dispute and find out what information and paperwork is going to be needed as well as what forms are going to required for filling out and what the deadlines are for filing.

What are the top reasons that assessments get lowered?
-- The specs of your property are incorrect. Meaning, the assessor may have the wrong lot size, square footage, number of bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.. Also, home improvements options may also be mistreated. Meaning, a pool or steam room are being included in your assessment when in fact they do not exist.
  -- Your home and property is not in the best of shape and needs a lot of home repairs. For example, your home has been assessed at $300,000, but needs approximately $50,000 worth of repairs. These needed repairs will impact the worth of your home. If this is the case, you will need to document the repairs needed and the costs to fix as best you can with pictures and estimates from contractors.


  -- Your home is not being assessed at the same value as other houses in your area. This is hard to prove. You will need to get the assessment of some other homes in your neighborhood. You can do this by going down to your assessors office with the specific addresses of properties you are interest in, or you can may be able to go online and find out. For a fee, you can seek the assistance of a local real estate agent. You can even hire an appraiser for a few hundred dollars. If you think your case is strong, paying some money and getting your work done professionally may be your best solution.

Presenting your case!
Once you have all of your information together, you should make an appointment with your assessor. Keep your presentation short and precise. Be professional and courteous. The national estimate of homeowners that are successful in challenging their assessments is 45%.

Related Reading:
Your Credit Report and Your Mortgage
Cosigning Mortgages
Buying vs. Renting
Fair Market Value
Buyer's Market vs. Seller's Market?


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