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Market Insights: Is the assessor’s value of my property accurate?

Daniel Webster Johnson
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily/Bob BlochThis three-bedroom home sold for $51,213 below the current tax assessed value.
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“We believe it is.” That is the answer I was given this week when I met with Beverly Breakstone, the Summit County Assessor. We met in her office at the old courthouse in Breckenridge. I was impressed with our meeting. For that matter, over the past 15 years, I have found everyone at the office of the Summit County Assessor to be extremely professional and attentive to taxpayers’ needs.

My answer – it probably is accurate. If you don’t agree, make sure your objection is postmarked before June 1. Bev told me that the office of the Summit County Assessor welcomes objections and each is considered very seriously. In a typical reappraisal year, which we are in now, about 10 percent of property owners object.

Let’s start by understanding the timeline. The most confusing thing on the tax assessment notice is “The Sales Study Period” highlighted in yellow. This is the period that was used to determine your assessed value. If you object, select comparable sales that took place during this period to include with your appeal.

The most critical date is June 30, 2010, which is the “appraisal date.” This is the date that your property’s assessed value is based upon. Here is the really, really bad news. Prices overall in Summit County have declined since last summer.

Let’s ponder what my sentence above means. The following three-bedroom home in the Breckenridge area illustrates my point. The previous assessed value was $924,482. The owners received a postcard from the assessor this month saying the 2011 assessed value is $726,213. Yet, because prices have declined since June 30, 2010, the house sold on November 23, 2010 for $675,000. The truth can hurt.

One of the most interesting comments Bev made in our interview was when she said, “This year we have had taxpayers contact us asking if their assessed value can be increased. That’s a novelty.” What I learned is most of the phone calls to the assessor came from people who are selling their homes and they fear the new assessed value will make selling their home for a premium price more difficult. And, in my opinion, they are right.

Want to learn more? The very best place to begin is to watch the two videos located in the lower right side of the Assessor’s website at http://www.co.summit.co.us/Assessor/assessor_home.htm. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that if you plan to object to your assessed valuation, the property owner is allowed to nominate an agent to act on their behalf. You might want to consider your real estate professional.

Pay very close attention to the actual value of your property. Make sure it is accurate. If you need more help, call the office of the Summit County Assessor at (970) 453-3480 or call your Realtor for help. Over the years, my team and I have helped dozens upon dozens of people better understand their actual and assessed value and helped them with their appeal, if it is appropriate.

Daniel Webster Johnson is a broker associate at Resort Brokers Real Estate in Breckenridge. He can be reached at (970) 393-3300 or Daniel@YourMountainBroker.com . *Data provided by the Summit Association of Realtors.


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