Bobbieminard, Home Owner in Council Bluffs, IA

If the 'legal description' of my home is grossly understated, and if I go to have it changed, will it increase my annual home taxes?

Asked by Bobbieminard, Council Bluffs, IA Tue May 14, 2013

the pot cty description is like it's the wrong house!!! it is now worth 3k LESS than the purchase in 2003??? yet, I have an appraisal of $133k AFTER we restored and reclaimed victorian wood and features, AND added a new roof (heritage-special order colonial) new appliances and new hvac, among MANY other items. I actually do plan to sell within the next few years or sooner...however, when agents look at the 'legal' description- they just refuse to speak to me...to which I say -merely DRIVE BY--the home shown on site is from 1996-which IS what the outside looked like THEN. Not NOW, Not for quite some time. the actual descriptor should be 2 full baths (plus rough in -basement) and four bedrooms-3 w/ walk in closets! Master on main floor with cedar closets and private bath.Full size 2 car garage with full driveway (NOT a SHARED DRIVEWAY)

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If the legal description is incorrect, the county auditor is required to make a correction. It may require the filing of a corrective deed which a lawyer would prepare for you. The legal description is under line three on the Pottco online assessor's page, and will either be a "lot and block" ie. "Lot 6 Elm Hills Addition" or if it's an acreage, bare land or farm, it will describe the lot lines and the grid location of the property. I'd be surprised if this is incorrect, the auditors are pretty good at catching even minor mistakes in legal descriptions. I get them sent back occasionally when they're long descriptions.

This may be a case of the county tax assessor not having kept up with improvements on your property. Believe me they'll catch up eventually and it may in fact have an effect on your taxes. The fact that you have had an appraisal would not have an effect on this process, believe it or not. They look at the most recent sale of the subject property (yours) and sales of nearby comparable properties.

The assessor is required to inspect all properties in the county, and they may behind in your area.

I'd be happy to look at your specific situation if you want.

Jay Wise
Jim Hughes Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 6, 2014
It sounds like there are two issues you are talking about here.

First, what I hear you saying is that Pottawattamie County's assessed valuation of your home is below the market value you have established from an appraisal. This is actually quite common, as these two indications of value are not directly related to each other. An appraiser's opinion of market value estimates what it might sell for. The assessed valuation is determined by the county assessor, and is the value you are taxed on. If you have made improvements (and you took out any required permits!) you will likely immediately improve the market value of the home, but this might not get reflected in the assessed value immediately.

You also seem to be indicating that you have contacted real estate agents who, for whatever reason, have not been interested in listing your home. I, for one, would be delighted to visit your home and then prepare a CMA (comparative market analysis) of your home, including recent sales of similar properties and active listings of similar properties currently on the market. There are any number of qualified and ethical agents in this area that could help you.

Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Lyle Waterhouse
CBSHome Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
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