Guilty until proven innocent! That is exactly what is happening here in NY and it ain’t right !
Personal story: I have four properties in Fairport, NY. I received, like everyone else, new higher assessments for all of them. Having the advantage of being a licensed real estate broker, I was able to objectively looked them over and check the comps. I found that two properties were out of whack on the assessment, so for the first time ever, I decided take the appropriate steps to meet with the assessor and state my case.
I made the appointment and when I got there I was quickly shuffled into another room where they had little tables lined up so they could meet with multiple tax payers at once. I thought it must be a busy place and I remember thinking how industrial the set up was, but I kept my focus.
We are in the worst real estate slow down in the history of our country.
The banks are tightening up everything, so that it is harder for a buyer to purchase.
The Federal Reserve is fighting off recession.
We haven’t raised rents in the Rochester area in years.
The population is actually leaving Monroe County and NYS.
Industry and Jobs are being sucked out of Upstate.
When we sat down I asked the assessor to show me some justification for the assessment hike. He told me that he had nothing, except a formula or a number from Albany. I was amazed because basically, what he was telling me, was that the town was upping my assessment by 13% with little to no proof that such a hike was indeed warranted. Instead, he told me to prove that it wasn’t worth the amount of the new assessment! So there it was. The local tax assessor comes up with a number based on little more than a few stats from a city 300 miles away and if I do not like it – too bad. The burden of proof lies with the tax payer – not the assessor paid by the taxpayer!
my case, and a few weeks later I was thrown a bone on my personal residence but not a dime on my rental property. I took the bone and walked. My next step would have been going to grievance day, and eventually to court but when you look at the cost benefit analysis, you just keep on moving.
I learned that you have to have multiple sources of value, the more the better. Comps are good from a real estate agent, but they don’t weigh as much as a licensed appraisal (even though appraisers get their information from the same MLS) Automated Value Reports like the one featured on the www.list2move.com front page, and even the free sources of value help your case.
If you are fighting assessment for rental property, have your rents available (bring current leases) because the assessor will most likely apply one of the income approaches to value and compare it to what they believe to be “market value.”
Assessors assess value to land and improvements separately, so try to keep your ratios in line. An example would look like this….
Land $20,000 + Improvements $80,000 =Total Value $100,000.
20% + 80% = 100%
Here you would see that land is 20% of the total value and the house or the improvements are 80% of total value. In other words don’t say my house is worth $90,000 when your land is valued at 20% or your new assessment would be $120,500.