How Did You Fare With the Tax Assessor?

What to expect from your Board of Equalization hearing - IF you have to go.

Several months have passed since most of us were shell-shocked by our DeKalb County property tax assessments. Outraged, many homeowners disputed the values that they were given and many were granted a reduction in value as a result. 

However, some (including me) were required to attend a hearing to present their cases directly to the Assessor. Today was my day. I was shocked at the outcome - in a great way. Although I had complied a plethora of comparable real estate sales & tax information to prove my point, I never even had to break it out.  (I was a little disapointed. I even used my color printer!)

After waiting for only 20 minutes or so, it was my turn. I was nervous but approched it with conviction. When they called my name, I entered the hearing room. Waiting for me there were three DeKalb homeowners who were appointed to "assist with the process" and a County Appraiser with a calculator and a pile of paperwork in front of him. I allowed the Appraiser to "go first" with his side of the story. 

Honestly, I was prepared to hear 101 reasons defending why they felt that my property had gained so much value in 2011. Instead, the Appraiser spoke up and told the "panel" that he suggested a new value for my property based on recent sales, square footage and age. His suggestion was perfectly acceptable to me and right in line with the information that I had in tow. So, I agreed.

CASE CLOSED! THAT WAS IT! It was quick, painless and easy. I highly recommend the process. It's nothing to fear at all.

Honorable mention goes to the entire Assessor's office personnel. What an amazingly friendly and cooperative group of people. They even offered coffee and cookies! 

The whole experience was pleasant for me. Was it for you, too? Did you win? Let's hear your story!

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Kim Delaney October 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Congrats! I had a very similar experience working for a client in Fulton County...very friendly staff and an Appraiser who concurred with my findings offering no rebuttal at all, but rather total agreement with what my research suggests the home is now worth. It's certainly worth the time and effort to appeal!
Cheryl Miller October 19, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Hi Jessica. Don't take this the wrong way, but ... Pleasant? Yes, they were nice because they knew they were wrong. You expected a fight and didn't have one, but aren't you still a little bothered that you had to be put through the entire inconvience in the first place? Did they explain why their original estimates were so far off? This is the second year in a row that they have blamed "the new software." I am frustrated that they would allow the estimates to be wrong and then only correct the ones that take it upon themselves to fight. Others end up paying too much or too little and, in the meantime, the school board raises the milage rate based on inaccurate estimates. And that is not pleasant at all. You must have a lot more patience for this sort of thing than I do.
Hey Cheryl! I totally feel your pain. I was (am) bothered that they acted like they did in the first place. But, we're talking about the government here. I expect this kind of behavior from them. But, what I REALLY expected was that they would just say, "too bad" and send me on my way. So, I was elated that they changed their numbers. I just hope that others will fight the good fight, too, and not just let them win for fear that the process will be daunting and impossible. I was expecting an entire day to be wasted - with me leaving their office defeated. Instead, I was in and out of there in no time - with a victory. I righted the wrong with no out-of-pocket expense and not much time wasted. I hope that all the other homeowners will do the same thing.
Cheryl Miller October 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Good for you! You are right! I wonder how many people are just intimidated by the whole process and don't bother fighting. Or, they don't realize the error until it is too late!! Unfortunately our house was undervalued two years in a row. I tried to appeal last year, but my envelope was returned for insufficient postage. I sent it back in, but it was past the deadline so I never heard anything back from them. This year I decided to just do nothing, but it is frustrating. I mean, seriously... isn't this the job of these folks to get it right the first time??? Ugh. I just use zillow if I want a fair estimate. Do you find them to be somewhat accurate?
To my blog followers: In MY opinion, you shouldn't shop at this online Coach store. They clearly aren't on the "up and up."


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