Do Property Tax Valuations Have You Feeling Anxious?

Every two years, during the first week of May, assessors across the state mail out updated property valuations to homeowners. You likely just received yours and may have been a bit surprised to see your value has jumped up by five, even six figures from 18 months ago!

Residents along the Front Range have had to repeatedly deal with sticker shock, ever since home prices started rising back in 2012. For 2021, the median increases in home values over a two-year period ranged from 7% in Broomfield, Denver and Arapahoe counties to 11% in Boulder County.

That’s much tamer than 2017, when the median gains in residential value ranged from 17% in Douglas County to 40% in Adams County or 2019, when the median gains ranged from 13% in Boulder County to 24% in Adams County.

So, what is there to do?  Some will shrug in resignation (you know the old “death and taxes” quip?), others will find the value about right and a few will feel something is not quite right and decide to appeal what you may consider an inflated value.
If you feel your new valuation is incorrect, you have until the end of May to file an appeal with the county assessor. Typically, that can be done online, over the phone or in person, although many metro counties require making an appointment to come in because of COVID-19. But it’s free, other than the time required.

How can you best prepare for your appeal? 

Zero in on the property value that the assessor has come up with, and try to determine if it accurately reflects what was going on as of June 30, 2020. Appeals should be based on the three C’s of a property:   

  • Characteristics:  If the county property / public record claims a home has four bedrooms when it has only three, or the square footage is overstated, that would make for a solid appeal based on characteristics.
  • Condition:  If the other homes in the neighborhood are all renovated, while yours could serve as a stage set for “That ’70s Show,” then consider a protest, although that battle will be more subjective and tougher than one based on hard facts.
  • Comparables:  If the characteristics as reflected in the public record and condition are correct, the best information you can provide are similar sales in the base period to support a value reduction.  The key with comparables is to find home sales with similar characteristics and in a similar condition. And while sales across a two-year period can be used, the closer to June 30, 2020, but not a day after, the better.  Some counties list the comparable home sales the assessor used to determine a value. Try to find better ones and support why they are better.

Want to appeal and feeling overwhelmed with the above?

 You’ll be happy to know, as your “Real Estate Advisors for Life,” we are here to help! Give us a call, text or email and we would be happy to assist you evaluate your current valuation, access the property’s public record and help get you better data to submit with your appeal.

All things considered, depending on the county and how well researched an appeal is, the odds of getting a downward revision in value are pretty good. In Denver, about half of residential appeals result in a revision.
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