Ten Simple Questions Every Property Owner Should Ask
Before Paying The Next Real Estate Tax Bill...
Your real estate tax bill is based on the value or "assessment" assigned to your property by the local assessor. Before you write out your next property tax check, consider whether any of the following questions apply to your property. If any of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, there is a possibility that your commercial or industrial property is over-assessed.
#1 Did you recently purchase the property? If you recently purchased your property, you could qualify for a refund, provided the price you paid was less than the assessed value. The assessment date for FY 2016 is January 1, 2015. So, an "arms-length" purchase during 2015 and forward would be highly relevant.
#2 Is the property in poor physical condition?
If the property suffers from substantial "deferred maintenance" and is in poor condition, the assessment may not be accurate. Many times cities or towns are unaware of a property’s true condition.
#3 Has the property recently suffered from substantial vacancy?
If a property has been lying dormant, or has substantial vacancy, the result may be a diminution of market value. High vacancy can therefore be a solid reason for a reduction in assessed value.
#4 Does the property have any kind of environmental contamination?
If a property cannot qualify for a clean "21E", and has some form of documented environmental contamination, the market value can be adversely affected.
#5 Does the property receive more than one property tax bill?
Many times, properties with multiple parcels are over-assessed, because the extra parcel does not contribute any additional value. For example, a shopping plaza with an additional land parcel which provides essential parking on site.
#6 Does the property have any protected wetlands on the site?
If a parcel contains protected wetlands, it means that a part of it is unuseable. The assessor may have been unaware of wetlands on the site.
#7 Is the property’s potential income less than the amount assumed by the assessor?
Assessors sometimes over-estimate the amount of income that a property is capable of generating. Since assessments are often based on an income valuation, such over-estimates can result in inaccurate assessments.
#8 Have similar properties in the area recently sold?
By examining the sales prices of similar properties in the area, and adjusting for any differences, an owner can determine the likelihood that his or her property is over-assessed.
#9 Are the Assessor’s records accurate?
All cities and towns keep "property record cards" which contain important information, such as useable building area. However, if these property record cards are inaccurate, the result is often an inaccurate assessment
#10 Have you recently had your property appraised?
If your property was recently appraised by a qualified appraiser, the appraisal may indicate an over-valuation. The appraisal, or the information therein, can be used to help establish an over-valuation.
Ridgefield Valuation has successfully negotiated well over 4,000 property tax applications, in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We know how to maximize your chances for an abatement! So call us today.