CHICAGO (STL.News) – When appealing their property taxes – which can be among their largest annual expenses – homeowners should consider hiring an experienced local appraiser who can help navigate the process, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers said today.
“Homeowners should know that when errors are made in how local governments calculate a homeowner’s property tax bill, they can appeal the assessment,” said Appraisal Institute President Jefferson L. Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS. “It’s important to choose an appraiser who conforms to a strict code of ethics, such as one governing the actions of Appraisal Institute Designated Members.”
Sometimes the assessor’s value is higher than market value, while in other cases the assessor’s value is lower than the market value, Sherman said. Additionally, it’s possible for assessments to be based on flawed information, such as incorrect square footage or the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, or even location, he said.
He added that in a perfect world, the assessed value of a particular property would match market value if that is the regulatory intent of the jurisdiction’s property assessment law. But assessors can’t look at each property individually every year as an appraiser might for mortgage financing, employee relocation or other single-property appraisal assignments.
Sherman also noted that tax assessors – who typically are elected officials – have no motivation to intentionally inflate assessed values and therefore property taxes.
Sherman advised that when homeowners consider a property tax appeal, they should be prepared with all the necessary information. Many appraisers collaborate with property tax consultants and attorneys who specialize in tax appeal matters, which could provide the best opportunity for a property owner to increase the chances of a successful tax appeal. Qualified appraisers can help homeowners who choose to appeal their property tax assessments, he said.
“Homeowners should consider having an independent appraisal prepared and then present the appraisal report to the assessor because appraisers – such as Designated Members of the Appraisal Institute – are to act in an independent, objective and impartial manner, and advocate only for their expertly developed value opinions,” Sherman said.
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The Appraisal Institute is a global professional association of real estate appraisers, with over 17,000 professionals in almost 50 countries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Individuals of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA, SRA, AI-GRS and AI-RRS designations. Learn more at www.appraisalinstitute.org.