Are Your Property Taxes Getting Ahead of Your Property Value?
At Kensington Research and Recovery, our goal is to make sure our clients do not pay more than their fair share of property taxes.
That requires careful scrutiny of comparable properties or “comps” to make sure that the value the tax assessor sets is fair. We know from having assisted with more than 24,000 successful residential appeals, it often isn’t. There are many ways that property tax assessments can end up inflated, leaving homeowners paying more in taxes than they should.
But for people who live in areas hit hard by economic downturn, inflated assessments can be a financial disaster, eventually costing homeowners more than their properties are worth – especially when foreclosures and short sales in your area are not factored into your property taxes.
Keeping Taxes Fair When Property Values Fall
Research in The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago City Wire identifies multiple neighborhoods on the city’s South and West Sides where falling home values, rising tax rates and assessed values – that in some cases were multiple times higher than sales prices – left homeowners paying more in taxes over time than their homes are worth.
That happens when assessments don’t accurately account for things that reflect a home’s market value – like foreclosures and short sales, where properties sell for less than the mortgage value. For too long, assessment officials in Cook County have disregarded these transactions deeming them not “arms-length” and thus not reflective of current property values in their neighborhoods.
A 2010 change to state real estate law was meant to address the problem by mandating that such sales be included in the review and correction of assessments. But the research, and our own experience, tells us this isn’t happening in many cases.
The only way to be sure that your assessment is fair is to appeal and use relevant transactions, including foreclosures and short sales, as part of the evidence – doing so could save you hundreds or thousands per year in property tax savings.
Detailed Analysis is The Key to a Fair Assessment
Foreclosures are just one of many data points that we use to create a detailed analysis of the fair taxable value of your home. We obtain and review the county’s data up to three times a year and use a proprietary algorithm to ensure that no factor is overlooked in making your appeal. If we don’t think you have a strong case for reducing your property tax bill, we won’t take your case.
Take advantage of our expertise and make sure you’re not paying more than you should be.