Property Tax Assessments Bottom Line: Appeal

Last week I wrote about Borough property tax assessments and a number of property owners in Homer were facing huge leaps in property assessment values. Some clients are reporting increases of $50,000 to $100,000 while some land owners are looking at assessed values greater than market value of their properties.

This week, the Kachemak Board of Realtors invited the borough assessors down to Homer for a meeting about these notices. Local builders, realtors, appraisers, inspectors, lenders and title offers came out to hear what the assessors had to say and try to get a handle on why the big leaps this year.

I had wondered in my last post about a change in assessment ratio – there was a change and it was a change that would bring the borough in line with State Law at 100% of market value. It used to be 95% of market value, two years ago it jumped to 96%, last year to 98% and its now in line at 100%.

During this meeting, the assessors told us how they arrived at an assessed value for houses and land and what’s changed this year. In a nutshell, three things have changed: A house-type factor analysis (house types are grouped together for analysis), the assessment ratio (from 98% last year to 100% this year) and they re-calibrated land values for Homer this year. These three things combined are what’s resulted in the new assessments.

I asked a few of my fellow Realtors in town what they though of this change and they unanimously stated that they felt that the re-calibrated land values were off. So my advice to you is to look at your assessment bill closely and don’t delay.  The deadline for appeal is the end of March and though the assessors can’t get to everyone before then, filing an appeal secures your spot in line to be reassessed.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that if you feel your property assessment is too high, contact the Borough to appeal your assessment. It’ll cost you to submit your formal appeal, of course, but it sounds like some appeals can be handled by a phone call to the borough.

During your phone call to the Borough, make sure the information they have about your property is correct including any and all utilities, roads, wetlands, non-useable parts of  your land, anything. Ask them to share how they arrived at that number and see if they’ll share the supporting information like comparable property sales and adjustments.

If you get to the point of filing a formal appeal, remember that part of that process involves assessors coming back to your property and going in side your house to make a more formal determination.

Here’s a link to the borough assessor’s appeal page for more information: