Over-valued Property

If you received a notice of proposed market value for the next property tax year, that attempts to “mark your property to market”, overvaluing your property, it’s likely the proposed market value is based on comparable properties that are incomparable to yours.  You could retain legal services to contest the assessment to lower the market value.  However, if your property needs capital improvements, a cost approach is needed to convince the small claims judge and assessor that the market value of your property should be based on comparable properties less the aggregate value of construction bids to perform basic and reasonable capital improvements.  The following is a multi-point approach to contest your assessment to mark your property to market accurately.

county assessor office 02


Preparing to Contest Your Assessment.  Schedule a meeting with a member of the assessor’s office to discuss the source of the proposed market value and discuss the procedure to contest the proposed assessment.  Take detailed notes; they will guide you to plan to file the grievance claim and how to present it well in small claims court.

Ppty Condit

Assess the condition of your property.  If it was sold, what capital improvements and remodeling would a reasonable buyer make to modernize the property?  (Note: the more reasonable your presentation, supported by fair documentation, the more likely it will be approved.)

Comp Anal

Comparables.  Make an earnest and diligent effort to source comparable properties to yours, whether listed or sold within the past 12 months.  An accurate comparison helps to make your grievance case more reasonable in court.

Const Bid

Cost Approach.  Evaluate your property thoroughly, from top to bottom.  What capital improvements would a buyer make to modernize the property with basic capital improvements.  It would be a good idea if you recruited the help of a friend who is a general contractor for the property type you own.  Spend an hour or so touring the property with them to evaluate what basic improvement would be reasonable to make upon closing on the property.  If it’s a home, what basic capital improvements would a new homeowner need to reside in the home with safety, efficiency, and low cost operations?  If it’s a commercial property, what basic capital improvements would be needed to make the property attractive to renew a lease or relocate to?  Examples are changing old inefficient windows, modernize the furnace, fix broken sidewalks, remodel where necessary, etc.  Some physical parts of your property could be functionally obsolete.

Biz Meeting

Prepare a detailed presentation of current property state, proposed market value, accurate comparables, formal written estimates for capital improvements, and clear pictures of each part of the property you plan to improve.  Pictures help to tell the story of why the market value of your property is less than the assessor’s office proposes.  Take the package to a local lender or mortgage broker to determine what loan would be offered to a buyer.  Those underwriting terms would help prove the market value you’re proposing for your property.


Contesting the Assessment.  The goal of the paperwork you submit and the verbal presentation in small claims court is to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your property would sell for less than the market value proposed by the assessor due its physical condition.  Be prepared to continue the contest through all phases of negotiation; you may need to provide additional information during that time to secure the market value you seek.  Also, be prepared to contest the assessment each year until you have won a market value that matches the value of your property; an annual contest may be necessary to maintain an accurate market value of your property.

I have taken several continuing education courses in property valuation, that education has often enabled me to value a property within 7% of the closing price per sale.  An accurate market value keeps your property taxes fair and enables you to list the property for sale at a competitive price.  If you’re faced with an overvalued property from your assessor’s office, BREG can guide you to prepare to contest the assessment.  Please click “Request A Consultation” link in the upper right of the screen.  Enter “Over-valued Property” in the subject line; please include the name, email address and telephone number of you or your executive assistant in the message body; I reply within 24 hours to arrange an exploratory conference call.  Thanks for reading and listening.###

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