To Appeal, or not to Appeal – That is the question after you receive your property reassessment.
By now, all property owners have had some time to stew over the preliminary reassessments they have received. You’ve read our recent post on the Lancaster County property reassessment, searched Google for more information and discussed it with friends and neighbors. The good news is, you don’t have to do anything yet. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not time for you to start considering your options and preparing for the inevitable.
Final assessments will be mailed to all property owners on June 1, 2017. You have 40 days from the date of final notice to file your appeal if you don’t agree with your property’s assessed value or the value becomes final. As is the case with everything else in life, that time will fly by. And because the appeal process may in some cases require an appraisal of your property, your decision to begin the process should be made sooner rather than later.
What can I do now?
If you are unhappy with the preliminary value you received, start getting things in line for the appeal process now, because chances are your final value will not be too far off. To be successful in the appeal process, you must be able to provide some sort of proof that the value is out of line for your property.
You can start by reviewing your homes property information recorded by the county online at www.co.lancaster.pa.us/ta. One of the easiest ways to potentially get your value changed is by showing the assessment board that the information they have is inaccurate. Pay special attention to things like the square footage and number of rooms.
You should also start researching recent home sales in your area. If you can find some comparable properties that have recently sold that are below your assessed value, it may provide the proof you need. Generally, you want to look for homes that have sold within the last 18 months. And if you recently purchased your home for a price below the assessed value, you can use your settlement statement as proof to what the value of the property should be.
If neither of these approaches will help you, you can also have an appraisal done on your property. All appraisals must have been done within the last 18 months by a certified real estate appraiser.
What we can do to help.
In Lancaster County, there are no fees to file an appeal in a reassessment year. After filing, you will receive notice of a hearing date, where you must appear before the Board of Assessments to provide proof that your assessed value is incorrect.
During the last reassessment in Lancaster County, our firm successfully assisted many property owners through the appeal process. Again, our firm is here for you. If you need assistance in deciding whether pursuing an appeal is the right choice for you, we will sit down with you to discuss your options and the likelihood of a successful appeal. And if you choose to proceed, we can help you through the hearing process.
County wide property reassessments are always irritating for property owners, but a better understanding of the process and how you can ensure that your property is properly assessed can have a significant impact on future tax bills. Your assessment may not be incorrect but if you believe that you could not sell your home for the assessed amount, you should consider an appeal. Remember, the deadline to file your appeal is 40 days after the date of final notice. Get started early to ensure you don’t run out of time!