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Our town is undergoing reassessment for first time in 10 years. I believe our house is currently undervalued compared to other houses in our neighborhood. It looks smaller from outside. When we bought house it needed a lots of cosmetic work, which we have done. Every room painted, floors sanded, lots of little things fixed, improved landscaping. But only major improvement is an updated kitchen (simple, laminate counters etc). We have not added any new living space, or bathrooms.

I see conflicting advice whether to let the tax assessor into the house.

Edit: Many say never let the assessor into the house. Others claim that if you deny access, which is legal, the assessor will assume that interior improvements have been made on the high end, and let you dispute if you don't like the numbers.

Advice?

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We live in different universes.

Xnarg (Sep. 10, 2008 @ 7:50p) |

Dear Reader ...I failed to answer the question... so here's my answer based on property assessments being basic, based ... (more)

Smittyroonie (Sep. 10, 2008 @ 7:58p) |

Much ado over nothing. Chances are interior improvements have very little if anything to do with your assessment. The ... (more)

Kanosh (Sep. 11, 2008 @ 6:04a) |

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Are you asking if you should try to get your property taxes increased?
Are you going to sell anytime soon or is it just number envy?

revheck said: I see conflicting advice whether to let the tax assessor into the house. Advice?
Do you have a choice? If yes, no.

jason243 said: Are you asking if you should try to get your property taxes increased?
Are you going to sell anytime soon or is it just number envy?


Of course I want to reduce/limit any tax increases.

I have heard conflicting advice. Many say never let the assessor into the house. Others claim that if you deny access, the assessor will assume that interior improvements have been made on the high end, and let you dispute if you don't like the numbers.

If the assessor is young, female and hot, then by all means let her in.
And don't forget to show her your new built in waterbed.

Tax assessor does not need to see your house if he has other basis to increase your assessment. You shouldn't need worry about the cosmetic works. Did you file the permit for the kitchen remodel? Usually there is a plumbing permit needed but it is up to the local law. I don't think you have too much to worry.

revheck said: Our town is undergoing reassessment for first time in 10 years. I believe our house is currently undervalued compared to other houses in our neighborhood. It looks smaller from outside. When we bought house it needed a lots of cosmetic work, which we have done. Every room painted, floors sanded, lots of little things fixed, improved landscaping. But only major improvement is an updated kitchen (simple, laminate counters etc). We have not added any new living space, or bathrooms.

I see conflicting advice whether to let the tax assessor into the house.

Edit: Many say never let the assessor into the house. Others claim that if you deny access, which is legal, the assessor will assume that interior improvements have been made on the high end, and let you dispute if you don't like the numbers.

Advice?
My experience: When I disputed the land valuation portion of my assessment, I allowed the assessor to enter our house. My land valuation was not adjusted AND my building valuation was increased by 70%.

Put fake dog poop and vomit in every other corner of the your house. Pour ammonia in a bowl and hide it in the corner of one room , then dribble water like pee on the carpet. Paint long dark cracks in your ceiling. Buy some stink bombs for the restrooms. Temporarily clog the bathtub drain with TP, then make sure a few inches of water is pooled up. Remove doors from their hinges. Board-up a window.

If you know how to disconnect an electrical outlet, buy a spare and take a lighter to it so it looks like the outlet shorted. Don't wire it in, just put it in the place of the good one.

Pour a puddle of water under your hot water heater and in front of your kitchen sink. If you know when the inspector is coming, spray one section of your foundation so it looks like water is leaking from your house.

Pull the fuse on your A/C and run your shower without the vent so the home is hot and steamy.

BrainySmurf said: Put fake dog poop and vomit in every other corner of the your house. Pour ammonia in a bowl and hide it in the corner of one room , then dribble water like pee on the carpet. Paint long dark cracks in your ceiling. Buy some stink bombs for the restrooms. Temporarily clog the bathtub drain with TP, then make sure a few inches of water is pooled up. Remove doors from their hinges. Board-up a window.

If you know how to disconnect an electrical outlet, buy a spare and take a lighter to it so it looks like the outlet shorted. Don't wire it in, just put it in the place of the good one.

Pour a puddle of water under your hot water heater and in front of your kitchen sink. If you know when the inspector is coming, spray one section of your foundation so it looks like water is leaking from your house.

Pull the fuse on your A/C and run your shower without the vent so the home is hot and steamy.


That's funny but interesting...green.

Simple advice....

Let the inspector in, they will ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..

DON'T Let the inspector in, they will in-ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..
and you can dispute..

any more questions????

I know there are some municipalities in NJ that are getting completely re-assessed and from what I understood, this will not create an immediate increase in taxes. Essentially, if you have assessed value of $100 and tax rate of 5% next year you will have value of $200 and rate of 2.5%, thus ending up with no net changes.

Of course should tax rates go up later those with greater amount of assessment increases will have higher tax increases as well. Which I think is a reasonable goal..

If you feel that your house is undervalued, then wouldn't it be to your benefit to have assessors get the same feeling by looking around instead of slapping you with some kind of baseline average increase?

Technologist said: Let the inspector in, they will ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..

DON'T Let the inspector in, they will in-ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..
and you can dispute..

any more questions?

What will be the goal of the dispute? If it's to get an accurate increase then wouldn't it be simpler to get it through scenario 1 in the first place?

And if it is to dispute any increase, period - then can't you go to scenairo 1, dispute anyway, and then have a smaller amount (decrease) to fight for?

Devil's advocate..

The value has very little to do with the workmanship or quality of improvements. They base the value on square footage, the number and types of rooms, the style of the house, and the acreage. They don't have time to look at what kind of countertops you have or whether or not you've refinished the floors. They simply want to know if you have put in an extra bathroom or added a bedroom in the basement.

lampy2k4 said: Technologist said: Let the inspector in, they will ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..

DON'T Let the inspector in, they will in-ACCUARTELY estimate the increase..
and you can dispute..

any more questions?

What will be the goal of the dispute? If it's to get an accurate increase then wouldn't it be simpler to get it through scenario 1 in the first place?

And if it is to dispute any increase, period - then can't you go to scenairo 1, dispute anyway, and then have a smaller amount (decrease) to fight for?

Devil's advocate..
I think that was the original idea--generally if you have nothing to hide, it is better to have them inspect it. Otherwise it is most likely going to get a huge inaccurate increase slapped on. Of course if you had added 5 illegal bathrooms you may want to think otherwise.

BrainySmurf said: Put fake dog poop and vomit in every other corner of the your house. Pour ammonia in a bowl and hide it in the corner of one room , then dribble water like pee on the carpet. Paint long dark cracks in your ceiling. Buy some stink bombs for the restrooms. Temporarily clog the bathtub drain with TP, then make sure a few inches of water is pooled up. Remove doors from their hinges. Board-up a window.

If you know how to disconnect an electrical outlet, buy a spare and take a lighter to it so it looks like the outlet shorted. Don't wire it in, just put it in the place of the good one.

Pour a puddle of water under your hot water heater and in front of your kitchen sink. If you know when the inspector is coming, spray one section of your foundation so it looks like water is leaking from your house.

Pull the fuse on your A/C and run your shower without the vent so the home is hot and steamy.


Great advice. Instead of a tax increase, you can have the code enforcment guys up for butt for the next 10 years.

Are you in NJ? We are having a re-evaluation done here in East Windsor. They actually do say that they will come in and evaluate the kitchen. Therefore, since we upgraded our kitchen last year to granite, the value of our house will be higher. Basically, the way it generally works is that 1/3 of houses pay more in taxes, 1/3 less, and 1/3 the same. Our house is 8 years old and the last re-evaluation was done 18 years ago the chances are high that we will be paying the same or less (since our value is only 8 years old while others are 18). Of course, you never know what is going to happen. I have been wondering the same thing about you, should I let them in or not. I have decided that I will let them in and when the evaluations come in, I will ask the other houses in the neighborhood that are the same model as mine what price they have and what their kitchen and other areas look like. Then I will work with my realtor (I bought the house from) for some comps in the area to see how accurate their assessment is.

Also, they noted to us that the tax assessor (a private company) will not report anything back to code enforcement or any other government group.

Hope this helps.

This is one of those threads where I scratch my head. If a person was trying to screw uncle sam, the responses would "Pay your taxes deadbeat" If he was trying to get out of a debt, the responses would be "pay your bills deadbeat" Both with 25+ reds for the OP. Now he is trying to reduce a scheduled tax increase (which I might add that most of us have every 4 years) and people are suggesting to the point of fraud to the tune of green.

OP what's your house worth with the additions and improvements? If you are assessed lower than that and are afraid of paying more then all I have to say is:

Pay your taxes deadbeat.

I personally would say no, because I don't want to allow unknown people into my house for privacy reasons.

You can clearly state that you are not interested in having anyone you don't know in your house. If they try to screw you, you just dispute the increase saying, "Any improvements I do would be accompanied by the building permits as required by law."

It's pretty funny how all these people always say that if you don't have anything to hide, you should throw your right to privacy out the window. A right unenforced is no right at all.

My two cents...don't let the assessor into your house. You will eventually get a new home assessment in the mail based on what the assessor thought from the outside. Once you receive the assessment, compare it with the assessment that neighbors in your community received for letting the assessor into their homes. If your assessment is higher, dispute.

Don't let them in.

Our house was blindly reassessed in 2004 when muni's were going nuts levying taxes b/c of nationwide boom, even though we are in an area unaffected by the boom. They boosted the value 10K on a house we had just bought a year before, and it was slightly less than a 10% increase (modest house). We disputed and they left it alone.

In discussions with our neighbors and reading the local geodata explorer, we were the only ones who disputed. It was a paper dispute, just by downloading a dispute form and sending it in. Nearly painless, aside from my indignation. Since then we've not been reassessed and housing has appreciated at 4-6%/year.

In retrospect it was a great move. I was shocked that we were the only ones out of the subdivision to dispute. I don't think it's worth the effort for them to get blood from a turnip, not when so many people say "wow, look at how much more our house is worth this year!"

On the other posters notes, car parts and 1970's era cars on cinder blocks add a certain ambiance to the house too, especially when placed on the lawn. It's amazing what an old sofa from a street corner and a pile of mufflers do to the assessed value. Not exactly as good as a neighborhood methadone clinic, but close. In my apartment years I've lived in many areas that had this accoutrement. Needless to say, we didn't get many visits from the LDS.

I challenged an assessment increase of 35% in Cook County, Illinois.

The assessor who came to the house did not want to come inside, just look around the outside.

When he arrived, he asked for $200 to "make all your problems go away."

I probably should have paid him, but as a recent transfer to the area, I was unaccustomed to the Chicago way of doing things so I declined his request for a bribe. I've since learend that's typical of government agencies in Cook County & Chicago.

We kept fighting the increase and eventually got it cut about in half.

Just build my house last year and had the tax assessor come. They don't need to go in the house. They give you a general questionnaire on materials used that you fill out. They also look up your house plans and such at the township. Yeah they may be looking for some improvements, but it's not necessary or even required to disclose them. I know around here they reassess after two years of building due to obvious improvements done in newer homes so I'm waiting to do my landscaping.. until then, I've been building up my basement as my plans show a completely unfinished basement. No permits necessary anyways here unless we were building on to the house such as new exterior walls, porch, deck, swimming pool, shed, garage, etc. I can take my current floorspace and fill it with imported marble, gold toilets, water fountains, and a quarter million dollar home theater and they'll never need to know. I imagine some things differ from one area to the next, but it's fully legal here. I had lengthy conversations with everyone during the building process about these things, as well as printed out the documentation on it.

As stated in a post above, that's true too about bribes. haha. A friend of mine is a sewage enforcement officer.. you wouldn't believe the stories. lol.

On a side note - Too bad the towns are waiting till now to asses the homes. If they would have done it 2 years ago they would be collecting more taxes wouldn't you agree. Haha

xCarsonx said: On a side note - Too bad the towns are waiting till now to asses the homes. If they would have done it 2 years ago they would be collecting more taxes wouldn't you agree. Haha

I don't believe that matters. At least around here, they base the values on some 1950's numbers or something.. it's all about the millage. Maybe I'm wrong though?

The important thing to remember is that its all relative. If your towns property base value is $10M dollars and they decide the budget needed is $1M then the rates are adjusted accordingly. They have two finite amounts to deal with. As long as they are re-appraising the entire town then even if they double the base they will end up cutting the percentage.

My condo in Dallas actually fell very slightly this year in DCAD's (Dallas) opinion. I am guessing thats based on the average change on comparables that have sold in the zip code. Its not the county/city taxes that get us -- its the Dallas ISD. (Texas has a 10% maximum increase in value/year on homesteads)

I would consider it a tip for the trouble visiing your house and waiting for you to show up . He would pay taxes on his tip. Bribe is when you have to pay an arm and a leg to get something done. For 200$ what can you buy . A full tank of gas may be. An assesor may not be a government official. He could be a private party hired by the government.

No offence but some people are plain stingy and they pay an arm and a leg fr it later down the road.
I know some families who dont take their kids to emergency room and suffer a lifetime.



Xnarg said: I challenged an assessment increase of 35% in Cook County, Illinois.

The assessor who came to the house did not want to come inside, just look around the outside.

When he arrived, he asked for $200 to "make all your problems go away."

I probably should have paid him, but as a recent transfer to the area, I was unaccustomed to the Chicago way of doing things so I declined his request for a bribe. I've since learend that's typical of government agencies in Cook County & Chicago.

We kept fighting the increase and eventually got it cut about in half.

fatcool said: ...You should have given that 200 before he ask. ! Huh? He was asking for a bribe - in typically corrupt Chicago/Cook County government style.

I don't bribe government officials. Do you?

I told my story about the bribe solicitation to a relative who owned a manufacturing business in Chicago. He said he refused to pay bribes, and consequently always got written up by various inspectors, like the fire department, sanitation, building code inspector.

Chicago area politicians and their agencies really are incredibly corrupt. It's entrenched in the system. It is extremely difficult for an honest politician to be elected in Chicago.

Wait the minutes, they have to look at your house b/f they increase any taxes? My former tax assessor never did that. Even thought I long have suspect his minions have seen my ext./interior during one of my seasonal garage sales.
I lived in an old house by the way. It is deteriorating and have to be fix, which I did somewhat. God, I hoped they are not going to increase my tax just because I replaced broken windows. What kind of world do we lived in?

revheck said: Should I let the tax assessor into my house?
Yes, just don't let him out.

sweetbutter said: Wait the minutes, they have to look at your house b/f they increase any taxes?

The procedures vary greatly depending on where you live.

Xnarg said: I challenged an assessment increase of 35% in Cook County, Illinois.

The assessor who came to the house did not want to come inside, just look around the outside.

When he arrived, he asked for $200 to "make all your problems go away."
Oh my goodness, that's just awful! I was 100% unaware that this type of thing still went on!

mahlax said: Xnarg said: I challenged an assessment increase of 35% in Cook County, Illinois.

The assessor who came to the house did not want to come inside, just look around the outside.

When he arrived, he asked for $200 to "make all your problems go away."
Oh my goodness, that's just awful! I was 100% unaware that this type of thing still went on!

We locals call it Crook County.

My HOA recently retained an attorney to appeal our assessment increase. The Cook County Board of Review came back with a ridiculously low assessed value such that the homes are obviously under-assessed. I was shocked when I saw the result and imagine that the attorney probably paid someone off at Crook County; he made over $50k for a few hours of work.

Xnarg said: fatcool said: ...You should have given that 200 before he ask. ! Huh? He was asking for a bribe - in typically corrupt Chicago/Cook County government style.

I don't bribe government officials. Do you?

I told my story about the bribe solicitation to a relative who owned a manufacturing business in Chicago. He said he refused to pay bribes, and consequently always got written up by various inspectors, like the fire department, sanitation, building code inspector.

Chicago area politicians and their agencies really are incredibly corrupt. It's entrenched in the system. It is extremely difficult for an honest politician to be elected in Chicago.
You should have reported him. There was an assessment corruption case in NYC. A bunch of people got arrested.

nycll said: Xnarg said: fatcool said: ...You should have given that 200 before he ask. ! Huh? He was asking for a bribe - in typically corrupt Chicago/Cook County government style.

I don't bribe government officials. Do you?

I told my story about the bribe solicitation to a relative who owned a manufacturing business in Chicago. He said he refused to pay bribes, and consequently always got written up by various inspectors, like the fire department, sanitation, building code inspector.

Chicago area politicians and their agencies really are incredibly corrupt. It's entrenched in the system. It is extremely difficult for an honest politician to be elected in Chicago.
You should have reported him. There was an assessment corruption case in NYC. A bunch of people got arrested.
To whom would one report a Cook County employee for asking for a bribe?

You don't get it, do you. Chicago hasn't been swept clean by someone like Rudy Giuliani yet.

Government agencies and politicians in the Chicago area are incredibly corrupt. That's just the way it is here, and one of the reasons I live out in the suburbs in a collar county.

Xnarg said: To whom would one report a Cook County employee for asking for a bribe?

You don't get it, do you. Chicago hasn't been swept clean by someone like Rudy Giuliani yet.

Government agencies and politicians in the Chicago area are incredibly corrupt. That's just the way it is here, and one of the reasons I live out in the suburbs in a collar county.

Maybe the local news? I grew up in Chicago a couple miles from Wrigley Field and my parents still live there. Maybe there is some corruption but I haven't heard about it from friends and relatives. The tax increases are insane but bribes? No, that is not very common.

Dear reader... in thought, personal taste only contributes to or against an opinion of beauty (which the age old controversy of beauty is IN the EYE of the beholder).
Our country has been telling the world for years that we shouldn't be prejudice
Now are we being told that as Americans government can be prejudice, and that they'll add a penalty to the property owner based on the assessors prejudice?
Take out the play of unfair opinions.
Property evaluations for tax purposes should only be based on the land dimensions and the building's square footage (THAT'S IT)!!!
I would like to see it in writing where that a property owner has to pay more for detailed choices in property taxes then a property owner who chooses to have a modest structure.
What's wrong about simple or basic assessments?
Is that too basic for our elected and paid officials to understand a true fair assessments
Property owners should NOT be penalized for saving pennies and building something NICE.
* thought of the moment Expensive buildings already paid more taxes in the extras in their building materials costs upfront.
Sincerely,
Property owner in Central NJ

cmv said: ...I grew up in Chicago a couple miles from Wrigley Field and my parents still live there. Maybe there is some corruption but I haven't heard about it from friends and relatives. The tax increases are insane but bribes? No, that is not very common.We live in different universes.

Dear Reader ...I failed to answer the question... so here's my answer based on property assessments being basic, based on square footage of dwelling and land based on acreage there would be no need to infringe on the property owners right to privacy... simply said, there would be no need to enter a dwelling. ...and that's really all I got to say about that.

Skipping 1 Messages...
Much ado over nothing. Chances are interior improvements have very little if anything to do with your assessment. The exact criteria for an assessment in your town should be posted publically. It's not the same as a real estate appraisal. Check with your town for the criteria, then decide what to do.



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