Ask Your Appraiser

Ask the Appraiser: How Can I Fight My Georgia Property Taxes?

5 Ways to Fight Against Your Increased Property Tax

Did you know that fewer than 1 in 50 homeowners will appeal their increased property tax assessment, even though up to 60% of properties are overvalued by tax assessors? Most assessors are not even certified to accurately appraise real estate, yet they are the ones who are placing an assessment on your home. Having your home appraised by a certified real estate appraiser can save you thousands of dollars — and lock in those savings for up to three years.

If you've received an increase in your property tax assessment, the following steps may help bring down your bill.

1. Learn your system

Taxing authorities use different methods when calculating home values. Some look at recent sales of similar homes. In more rural areas where sales are few, they might estimate the cost to rebuild. Others may use a combination of these methods. Contact your local assessor's office and ask how they valuate properties in your area. In many areas, your tax liability is based on a percentage of your property's estimated value. You'll want to know what that percentage is so you can figure out if the value the assessor is assigning to your home is fair.

2. Get your assessor's evidence

Your assessor likely didn't pull their estimate out of a hat, even if it seems that way to you. Contact the assessor's office and ask for the evidence used to value your home. Get your home's property card, which lists basic details like lot size, square footage, and number of bathrooms.

3. Ensure the description is correct

When municipalities or counties re-assess property values, they typically hire an outside contractor who looks at hundreds, or even thousands of homes in an incredibly tight time period. Typically, the assessor is not a state-certified appraiser and often has to take shortcuts. Three vent stacks on the roof? That must mean three full baths — never mind that the upstairs laundry room could be the culprit. 

4. Build your case

Find an appraiser in your area to find out what your home is actually worth. An appraisal from a state-certified real estate appraiser (such as Appraisals By Michael) can stand as independent, third-party evidence of your home's true market value. 

You must file within 45-60 days from the time you received your tax assessment. You'll need to arm yourself with a recent appraisal detailing the exact layout of your home, comparable sales, and assessments that prove your home has been valued too high. 

5. File the report 

Appeals are very time consuming, so it is best to file as soon as you can within the appropriate window. Often, if you let them know that you already have an appraisal from a state-certified appraiser before filing the report, someone will meet with you to look over the report and make the corrections there at the desk.

We're Here to Help

Appraisals by Michael offers a number of appraisal services, but appraisals for property tax appeals is one of our specialties. We are here to provide you with the assurance that you are only paying your fair share of property taxes. While we are unable to guarantee the outcome of your appeal, an appraisal completed by one of our state-certified appraisers is your best chance of success. State-certified appraisers are largely considered to be the experts in real property valuation. We are familiar, experienced, and trained in the ins and outs of your neighborhood.



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