Fight Property Tax Assessments?

Amanda wants to know if it's worth it to try to fight a property tax assessment. Dave offers his thoughts on the subject.

QUESTION: Amanda in North Carolina wants to know if it’s worth it to try to fight a property tax assessment. Dave offers his thoughts on the subject.

ANSWER: If you can find some comps that prove that the house is worth less than $290,000, then you could fight it. It sounds like the appraisal—the recent appraisal in 2009—said $325,000. Now, maybe the properties have dropped. The only basis you have to argue with the tax appraisal is on the fact that the actual value is less, which is what you did before. You proved to them with comparable sales in the area that they had over appraised it, and then they lowered it.

You have to have a basis for a tax appraisal other than arguing that you don’t like it. If you can have a real estate agent go and pull some comparable sales, that doesn’t cost anything. You can have a reasonable argument that $290,000 is too high. Then maybe you can go do an arbitration of some kind and argue it through like you did before. I’ve done that several times on properties that we own worth less than what they were tax appraised at. But you have to have a basis in fact for it. It can’t just be a feeling.