Monday, October 8, 2007

The county tax office is in a sound proof cave

Home values are down. Many houses in my street are for sale, others for rent, and many are bank owned. They aren't selling well and prices are being slashed. Property values are just plummeting. The house down the street from me has gone up for sale 3 times this year. Another one has been sitting on the market for almost 2 years. This year and the next will be a low point in the value of my home, assuming it doesn't get worse.

But why worry about that when you can just ignore it? The county tax office has. My house has continually gone up in value in the middle of a housing crash. Whodathunkit. Its no wonder people are disputing their appraisals in record numbers. Also amusing, they have issued statements claiming a tax cut. Oh, our actual taxes in dollar amount has increased incredibly, but the tax rate has been slashed a meager .2%, and they think we're so stupid that we'll thank them for it. Yes, that sure will offset my 10% appraisal increase and ridiculously over-valued rate.

Disputing your tax appraisal is much the same in every state. You go in front of a panel of government officials, bring as much evidence as you can to prove what you feel is the real value of your property, and then try to make your case. In a few weeks you get a letter with your new (or old) appraised value. From what I hear from others who have done it, they usually lower your appraisal a tiny amount just to appease you and hope you won't appeal.

Of course unless you are a reasonably good public speaker, the whole procedure is pretty darn intimidating. I'm sure it's supposed to be.

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