Pretty darn accurate, according to the MOA tax assessor’s 2016 annual report. MLS reports an average sales price of $366,592 through November 2015 and the MOA average assessed value is $354,704. That’s a 97% ratio based on 3,037 deeds recorded through Dec. 12th 2015. Of those total sales, only 929 were disclosed to the MOA. The MOA is a non-disclosure community when it comes to disclosing the sales price of a property so unless a buyer or seller voluntarily discloses to the MOA the purchase price, the assessors have to find other ways to gauge the market. Those include picking up for sale flyers, print advertising, Craigslist and social media research and any other creative means the assessor can think of.
However, if you think your property is over-valued, there is a fairly simple appeal process. On January 15th, assessment notices are mailed and values are posted to the web. This commences the 30-day appeal process which ends on Feb. 15th. February 28th or 29th is the last day to submit evidence for appeals. Mid-March to June is when the appeals are heard and by June 1st the appeals are substantially complete. However, the best way to appeal your tax assessed value is not to wait until Feb. 14th (is to wait until) but as soon as your green card arrives with a questionable value make a visit in person to the assessor’s office with whatever substantiating information for a reduced value. There’s a good chance that after a friendly discussion your value can be adjusted on the spot or perhaps with a voluntary inspection. Sixty-five percent of all MOA revenue comes from residential property taxes. That’s a whopping number so be well-prepared to make your case for a lower assessment when you visit the office. Don’t just go to blow off steam. And don’t send someone who is not the owner of record for only the owner of record on January 1 of each year may appeal.
September thru December is when new construction inspections occur so if you close on a new home before then, your assessment will most likely be lower than your purchase price but you can expect it to bump up the following year. However, assuming you have a mortgage that includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance, the tax portion of your PITI payment will be calculated on your purchase price and mill rate.
In general, residential properties which include single family, triplex, duplex, zero lot lines and condos had an average increase of 3.7%. Vacant land had an increase of 1.7% and commercial 4%. All taxable properties, including personal property had an average of 3.6% increase. January 1, 2017 is not far off so be prepared for another tax increase, despite some economic headwinds, as I have yet to see taxes go down. But, if you believe your tax bill is higher than it should be, get down to the assessor’s office before Feb. 1st.