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TJ, Other/Just Looking in Montgomery County, PA

I am trying to appeal my tax assessment for my house (obviously to lower the assessed value and lower my

Asked by TJ, Montgomery County, PA Wed Jul 16, 2008

taxes). I'm not to trained on this process, and was looking to get answers on how I obtain my comps? my home is in Montgomery County. Also, would it help to contact a real estate agent for this matter? I understand everything is based on recent sales, but how recent do the sales need to be? the reason I ask this question is that I have noticed many people in my community that have appealed their taxes down that have bought their homes after I bought mine, would that be sufficient?

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I am an agent in Montgomery county (Jenkintown) and I have assisted many homeowners with the assessment appeal process. First, you need to determine if you have a case. Here in Montgomery county you convert your assessment to a market value by dividing your assessment by .508 (that's point 508). That is almost the same as simply multiplying it by 2. Then you compare that to what you feel your home is really worth. For example, if your assessment is 230,000 dividing that by .508 means that you are paying taxes on a value of $452,756. If you are sure that your home is worth more than that then you would not want to file an appeal as it means that you are under assessed. But lets say that you think your home is only worth $350,000 and recent sales of similar homes (within the last year) back up your opinion. Then you have a great case. Feel free to e-mail me for more information. Sincerely,
Andrew Smith
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
If you feel that your tax assessment is out of line with other in the same tax base, you might start by talking to the tax assessment office. Here in Cumberland and Franklin Counties (S central PA) they are reasonable and will discuss it with you-- and the tax assessor is the one who makes that call.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2008
Hi TJ- I am a real estate broker in Colorado but was chief appraiser for my county for 8 1/2 years so hope I can give you a few tips when appealing your assessment. First, call the assessor's office and an appraiser there what the assessor used for sales date to get the current values. Also ask the assessor's office for the sales comps that they used. This is a public office and this information should be given to you. Then, review the comps and try to objuctively compare your home to the comps the assessor used and write a brief narrative explaining why your property is inferior to the comps. You can also ask a local Realtor for sales comps in the correct appraisal period and find some comps that are more similar to your than the assessors. You should prevail but make sure your appeal is done in a timely manner. You might also ask about abatement,. Good luck! DJ Young from beautiful Teller County, Colorado in the Pikes Peak region!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Just because someone bought their home more recently than you did does not make them comparable sales. Comparables should be the most recent sales of homes in your specific area that are most like your home. The differences between the subject home (yours) and the comparable home (the recent sales) will enter nto the evaluation process. Yes, a real estate agent or appraiser can help you here. The difference is the level of expertixe and accreditation (appraisers do valuations by a very strict set of guidelines and have more experience in valuing homes). For your purposes a good agent will be able to help, but generally they are doing this as a favor to you. So, pick someone you know and like, and then ask them to do this favor for you. In return you should remember this is their livlihood you are taking time away from, so be sure to remember that down the road and refer some friends, neighbors or acquaintences that may be looking to buy or sell to that agent! Good luck with your taxes, i know a lot of people have been successfulo in lowering their assessments and today every dollar helps! Take care, Beth
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2008
Yes: The key to appealing a tax assessment is comps. Whether you do it yourself, receive some assistance from a Realtor, or pay for an appraisal, you need to present the appeals board with solid evidence that your home (based on the sales of comparable properties) is worth less than the proposed assessment.

A Realtor is probably the quickest and easiest way to get comps.

You could pay for an appraisal, but in many/most cases that's not necessary. It might be if you had a unique property and there weren't readily-available comps, but that doesn't sound like the case from your question.

Or you could do it yourself. I've done.

As for how recent the sales should be: The more recent, the better. In today's market, for most purposes, you'd like data from within the past 90 days. If that's not possible, go back further, to 180 days. Beyond that, the numbers are likely to get shaky. Then you have to weigh whether the best comp is in your own neighborhood, say, 210 days ago, or in a nearby neighborhood 30 days ago. There's no perfect answer; it's often a balance of proximity and time.

If, in your neighborhood, other people have successfully appealed their assessments, and you have a similar property, then their current assessment (the lower one, after appeal) does provide evidence of the value of your home. So, if you can find properties in your community comparable to yours with a new, fresh, lower tax assessment, then that data works in your favor.

Your local assessor's office probably has some detailed instructions on how to appeal an assessment. Follow those procedures to the letter.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
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