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I bought a house in 2020. It had been remodeled ("flipped"), and the value of the house is higher than other, older, homes in the area because of this. This area isn't a well-to-do suburb, and my property is probably the most expensive one in the neighborhood.

I just got my property assessment report from the county for 2022. The increase in appraised value is $20K. I went to the county property-search website, to see what other properties they had compared with to get to the value it's at.

When I looked at the comparable sales sheet for the assessment, the subject was my home (obviously), but the first compared home was also my home (post-sale)! I looked at a few other properties around my area, and they all had 5 different comparable homes on the comparable sales sheet. This seems wrong to me, but before I contact the county, I wanted to know if my concern is even valid? Can they use my own home's sale from 2020 to assess it?

Info:

  • Country: USA
  • State: Kansas
  • County: Wyandotte

Separately, according to Zillow, my home is worth more than when I bought it, and higher than the assessed value. Is it worth appealing, and should that even be a thought?

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  • It seems pretty reasonable to compare a house on which work has been done to its own price before it had work done. Property assessors know pretty well the value of renovations, and also the general increase in house prices in your area. If the house sold for $X a year ago and has had work done, estimating it's value by comparing to the price when it last sold is probably the most accurate way of doing it. You only compare to similar houses if the house hasn't changed hands recently. Mar 17 at 18:24
  • @DJClayworth sorry, added a clarification - the comparison with my own home was not against the last sale value. It was against my own purchase of my home. So my home in 2022 vs my purchase in 2020.
    – Is It Me
    Mar 17 at 18:40
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    The time you purchased the home was the last time it was sold, wasn't it? That's what I meant. Mar 17 at 18:42
  • Are comparables actually used to determine the value, or just to demonstrate that similar houses haven't been assessed in drastically different ways? If your house doesn't have any comparable, it might make just as much sense to list none rather than the same house.
    – chepner
    Mar 18 at 15:13
  • @chepner that's what I would have thought. I'm not sure why comparing my house to my house when it last sold (even if it was my purchase) would be a valid comparison, but ¯_(ツ)_/¯
    – Is It Me
    Mar 18 at 15:44

2 Answers 2

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I would call the county as it they are a great source of free information specific to your jurisdiction.

In some locales there is a "save our homes" type ordnance which limits increases to property taxes provided they remain with the same owner. However, once the property sells, the new owner might see a dramatic increase in their taxes.

This sounds like it might be the case here, which is why your home sale was listed for appraisal.

For counties without a clearly defined process, they are often subject to litigation from lawyers that specialize in challenging appraised values. Getting advice from such a person will probably cost you money.

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The magic words are "Property Tax Assessment Appeal"

The city/county are who assessed the value of your property. You'll have to file one with whatever government entity up'd your bill.

You may be a victim of "Save our House" type ordnances which limit or freeze property taxes, especially for older home owners. Once a home is sold, the government knows they have to jack up the price since they may not get another chance for 15 or 20 years.

What to do

First, calculate the actual increase in your tax bill factoring in Homestead exemption and any other tax breaks available to you. Make sure this fight is worth your time in real dollars.

Next contact your real-estate agent and see if they can get the comps the other agent did selling the house.

Finally, be prepare for a government red-tape fest. Continue preparing as you have been. Look at what other houses around you assessed for and use that.

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