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How to Appeal Real Estate Taxes

If you’ve ever felt like you’re paying more on your real estate taxes than you should be, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, estimates show that nearly half of property owners pay far in excess of their property’s value each and every year. And yet, only a small portion of property owners ever move for an appeal. Why? Typically, the problem comes down to a lack of knowledge, which is an issue we at Coakley Realty feel should be corrected.

Before You Get Started

When going into an appeal, any property owner should understand why appealing is important. In a nutshell, it’s about ensuring you pay your fair share—nothing more, nothing less. The local offices that handle assessments do good work, but the information they have to work with is often ballpark at best, meaning they’ll be forced into situations where they can far over-assess properties through generalizations or outright inaccurate information.

Appealing is important to keep your taxes down and save on unnecessary expenses. It also keeps assessment office records up-to-date so it doesn’t continue to cost you in the future.

What You Need to Begin an Appeal

You want to accumulate as much hard evidence or direct information as possible, so beginning with the details of your property assessment is the best choice. Look over everything, including the number of rooms listed, the acreage of your property, and home condition. Note any differences and keep this information handy. To further harden your case, getting a property appraisal might be the right avenue of approach, especially if your home hasn’t been professionally appraised in a long while.

Once your information is collected and in hand, you’ll also want to find a solid set of comps, or comparable properties, in your local area that are appraised lower than yours. These are used for comparison against your property and can be a strong argument in your favor in terms of sheer equity.

Making Contact

With your evidence of human error or comps in hand, you can now contact your local assessor’s offices. State that you intend to appeal your property tax and from there, you will make your case. With strong enough evidence of an issue, the matter can be settled right here via an informal discussion, though keep in mind this is rare. It’s more likely you will be rebuffed.

But from here you can go further, requesting a formal review that will go to a review board. Depending on your local laws, this may or may not require your attendance, and the process can take some time. However, if you stick to your information and your information is solid, then you have a good chance of saving yourself the frustration of paying in excess.

Seek Professional Help to Maximize Your Chances

Though the popular opinion among professionals is that you should always appeal, the fact is that only roughly half of the cases presented are successful. There are so many places where you can slip up if you’re alone or points you can miss if you lack legal training and experience.

This is why choosing to work with a professional is highly recommended. Find specialists with a history of appeal experience, and if at all possible, make it the same team that handled your appraisal.

Looking for property tax specialists in the Maryland or Virginia areas? Contact Coakley Realty! Our seasoned agents have been helping property owners for years, and with our history of successful appeals, we can help you get the fair treatment you deserve.