The Double Edge Sword .......
The Tax Assessor and your "Fair Market Value"......
Now don't get me wrong when you read this because it almost sounds as though I am for higher property taxes, and I am not; I am just trying to share with you a different perspective that seemed kind of ironic of how to look at this as well as make sure that your "assessment" is correct . Maybe it is too high, maybe it isn't.... Maybe it's just a double edge sword....
The past two weeks have been relatively crazy with phone calls with customers looking for comparable sales for their properties because the TAX MAN has been out and about physically re-assessing properties in parts of our area. Mason County is broken down into differents areas for tax re-evaluation and every four years on a rotating basis, one area or another in the county is being physically re-evaluated. If memory serves me correctly it is Area "2" that is being re-assessed this year for next years taxes; Parts of the Hood Canal Belfair area to include North Shore, South Shore, Allyn - LakeLand Village etc. Most of us in this area are just now getting our new tax assessed values and our jaws are dropping!
Most property owners saw a susbstantial INCREASE in their land values and a decrease in the building and improvement values with their new tax property tax assessment. Overall many of the new tax assessments are significantly HIGHER for the upcoming year.
"How can this be with the real estate market so depressed and sales/values so ridiculously low?"
That has been the question posed to me for the past two weeks in emails, phone calls and face to face visits. I have been working 12-14 hours a day to try and help the many that have asked me to do a market analysis for their home/property so they can provide and see recent comparables of sold properties in todays market to compare with their new tax assessed value.
There is actually quite a bit involved on how our properties are assessed for tax purposes. And there is a lot involved as well establishing a fair market value in the current market for sale purposes as well. And I am by know means an expert on the process the Assessors use to evaluate properties. It can actually be quite confusing. The information on how they assess our property in Mason County and other assessor information can be found on the county website under the assessor link. You should take a look at it and visit how they establish this value. It may even be worth a phone call to the Assessor's office to speak with an appraiser to understand it even further. But most of all, remember too this value is for a tax assessment value and may be based on a "fair market value" for tax purposes; they are not trying to put a price tag on selling your home in today's market.
The comparables that the Tax assessor uses for Mason County assessments are not current year sales. When homes and properties are re-assessed in Mason County, the assessor uses sold comparables from before January 1st of the year being physically re-assesed; That's what it states on their website. In other words, if your property was re-assessed this year, the sold comparables were from 2009 or maybe even earlier....They can go back even further if they are unable to find good comparables.
Hmm... could that be part of the problem? Well then how can that be a "fair market value?" Well it very well may have been for the year they were using the comparables from...??? They are establishing a taxable value which may not necessarily be the value of what your home would necessarily sell for in todays market.
Some of the assessments do seem to be to high in my opinion, BUT I have to be honest and tell you that SOME did not. The more I researched specific properties, which were mostly Hood Canal waterfront properties, the more I found the assessor was closer in their new-reevaluation than what the OLD evaluation was. They still seemed non-conservative leaning towards the high end.
So we are working with a double edge sword... In one hand you are asking for your assessment to be lower because you have heard the property values are way way down and of course it would lower your property taxes (thank Heavens!) On the other hand you would not want to sell your home for that value!
You need to do your homework if you disagree with the tax assessed value... Find out what sold comparables were used in your property re-assessment and from what year were they from? Call the Assessors office and talk to them about HOW they establish your taxable value and get specific to your house; Who know's you may not even have to file an appeal...
And there's the double edge of the sword, we all want lower values so our taxes will be lower... but is it a true current day fair market value that the property would sell for in today's market?
What does a buyer think when they see a low tax assessment and a high for sale price?
I will be more than happy to provide you with a market analysis of your property for today's CURRENT real estate market, but I can't say that it will change your tax assessed value.
Which brings me to my next topic of discussion : What ARE some of the factors, that are used to establish YOUR FAIR MARKET VALUE of your property or home in today's real estate market? Stay tuned.....
If you would like more information on Belfair, Allyn and LakeLand Village homes for sale or Hood Canal and Puget Sound Waterfront Homes for Sale, drop me a line, give me a call, or stop on by. You can also check out the many choices and prices on my website!
Whether you are buying or selling a home, don't put your goals off without talking to a local real estate expert with knowledge of homes for sale on Hood Canal, Southern Puget Sound as well as LakeLand Village, Allyn, Belfair and the surrounding area.
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