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How To File Property Tax Appeal

Why Appeal Property Tax Assessment

Buying a home is so exciting! It’s a moment of accomplishment, right? But then you’re hit with the big tax increase. It can be such a gut punch if you’re not prepared. Luckily, I had people in my corner to help me understand what was to come, but a lot of people were not aware. Often when people get their letter of assessment, they don’t appeal. I’m hoping I can help in changing that narrative.

I received my letter of assessment in March, 7 months after purchase, and they have valued my home to be worth $20,000 more than when I purchased it. Due to this, my taxes were increasing by $3,800. Instead of accepting this fate, I followed the steps below which were extremely helpful in winning my appeal and seeing a reduction.

STEPS TO FILE PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT

  • Pay attention to when taxes are being assessed:
    1. The state of Michigan assesses property taxes in late February or early March (double-check for your respective city). You will receive a document in the mail, entitled Notice of Assessment, Taxable Valuation, and Property Classification. On this document, it will boldly state that it is not a tax bill.
    2. Important keynotes to pay attention to: the assessed value and the section that explicitly tells you how much your taxes will increase. The assessed value is the amount they are using to calculate your taxes. It will compare what it was the previous year vs the current year.
      1. An example of your assessed value and what it means: Assessed value= $85,000. This number is multiplied by 2 to determine how much your home is worth.
      2. Assessed Value x 2 = Home valuation of $170,000.
  • At the bottom of the Notice of Assessment will give instructions on when, how, and where you can appeal your property assessment.
    1. When I received my notice, it gave detailed information on appeal options. I opted for an in-person appeal to present documents.
  • Research, research, research.
    1. I googled comps of homes in my neighborhood. I looked for comparable homes to what I owned and compared. I used Zillow and Realtor.com. Once I found homes that matched the assessment of my home, I printed off those homes to present as evidence.
    2. Your realtor is a great resource. I was able to reach out to my realtor for comparable homes. He was happy to assist with this request and provided details on how to utilize it when presenting before the board.
  • Evidence. I recently purchased my home in August 2023. I used my inspection report to provide more proof to the board members. The inspection report provided great detail into why my house was assessed at the purchase price during that time. The board members were highly impressed with this information.
    1. Since there was such a short window between purchasing my home and the new property taxes, this helped in a major way. I doubled down on the fact that no changes were made in such a short time.
    2. My home also sits on the corner lot, so I was able to provide images of constant city work and enhancements that come along with owning a corner home.
  • Be confident. Be prepared to argue your case. Make sure they feel what you say and trust your evidence. Preparation is key!

I WON!!

I appeared before the board on March 18 and received a favorable appeal decision on April 04. They now valued my home to be $5,000 more vs the original $20,000. This reduced my assessed value by $8,900. I was able to shave off almost $700 on my tax increase. I consider this a huge win. I screamed for joy when I saw the letter!

A decrease in property taxes is a win across the board. I hope that you find this helpful, apply, and research so that you can be prepared for the next round of tax assessments that may come your way. If you can afford to, pay the difference to your mortgage company to avoid increasing your monthly payment. For example: if your taxes increase by $2,000 for the year, you typically have two months to pay it before it affects your current monthly payment.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Next time, I’ll detail the home-buying process and how I gathered this information before committing to the home. 😊 Thank you for reading!! 😊


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