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FAQ

MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How much does your Property Tax Evidence Report service cost?

How much work do I have to do after I pay the fee?

ValueAppeal thinks my house is only worth how much!?!

Can I really save that much?

What is my guarantee of success?

What Happens in a hearing?


How much does your Property Tax Evidence Report service cost?

ValueAppeal’s one-time fee for the Appeal Kit is $99.00 - $199.00, based on jurisdiction.

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How much work do I have to do after I pay the fee?

  1. Relying on your knowledge of the neighborhood, you select the best five to seven comps out of our list using our robust comparison tools. ValueAppeal sifts through hundreds of potential comparable properties that sold within the correct time period and presents you with a list of only the best ten comps.
  2. Print out the report. ValueAppeal uses your comp selection to create a custom report in PDF format.
  3. You drop the report into the mail.

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ValueAppeal thinks my house is only worth how much!?!

  1. ValueAppeal offers evidence to prove the lowest supportable assessed value as of a particular point in time each year called the "assessment date" or "lien date".
  2. ValueAppeal does NOT offer evidence to support the market value of any property as of any point in time.
  3. ValueAppeal does NOT offer an opinion of the market value of any property at any point in time.
  4. ValueAppeal is NOT an appraiser.
  5. Our only goal is to reduce the assessed value of your home.
  6. A homeowner should not use our revised assessed value for the purpose of determining the appropriate purchase or sale price for any particular property.

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Can I really save that much?

Your estimated savings is based on the average selling price of the actual comparable sales we’ve identified as specific evidence for lowering your particular assessment.

ValueAppeal only allows you to purchase our report if we’re confident you have strong evidence for winning your appeal. That means we have five to ten comparable properties that sold for less than your home is assessed for.

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What is my guarantee of success?

ValueAppeal can't guarantee that you will win your appeal. No one could guarantee that.

Using our Appeal Evidence Report we estimate you have an 80% chance of lowering your assessed value.

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What Happens in a hearing?

Find out more here.

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OTHER QUESTIONS

How can I find out what my property assessment is?

How do I read my assessment notice I got in the mail?

How do I find out the assessor' s opinion of the market value of my house?

What is a phased-in assessment increase?

What is the relationship between an assessed property valuation and taxes?

How does the region determine the tax rate?

Will my property tax bill increase if my assessed valuation rises?

Can I appeal the property's assessment, the tax rate, or the tax bill?

Can I lower my property taxes without appealing my property’s assessment?

If I did not receive a notice of assessment change, how do I know they did not change the assessment?

How often is my property reassessed?

Am I the only taxpayer receiving the notice or have my neighbor’s assessments been changed as well?

What causes the assessed value of my property to change?

What improvements will increase my assessment?

My home is well maintained and has excellent interior decoration, will it be assessed higher?

How do assessors value new construction?

Why would the value of my house go up if I have not done anything to it?

How can the assessor say my property is worth $300,000 when I paid only $200,000 for it three years ago?

Should the value of my property increase when the real estate market is declining?

Why has my insurance company just appraised my house for a much lower amount than the region did?

After a recent purchase can I be reassessed based on the selling price?

How is land valued?

How does the region value land for a condominium?

Why does my neighbor with a much larger lot have only a slightly higher land value?

Can I assume my assessment is correct if my neighbors with similar homes have assessments close to mine?

What is an assessment appeal?

How do I know if I need to appeal my property tax valuation?

When must an assessment appeal be filed?

Where do I file an appeal?

What happens next after I have appealed in writing?

What happens at an informal hearing?

What if in an informal appeal my assessor does not agree with me and I still think my assessment is too high?

What happens at a formal hearing?

If I request a reduction in my assessment, will the assessor's office notify me of the results?

Do I have to appear at the formal hearing?

When will I not have to appear at a formal hearing?

What should I present at the appeal hearing to support my case?

Do I still have to pay my property taxes if I am going to appeal the region’s valuation of my home?

If I receive a reduction in assessment, can it apply to prior years?

What is the difference between an assessment and an abatement?

If my property valuation is reduced, can the assessor increase its value next year?

How can I find similar properties or “comps” to use in my appeal?

How many comparable properties “Comps” do I need for my appeal?

My neighbor’s house is almost identical to mine and just sold last week for a lot less than my property tax valuation. Why isn’t ValueAppeal recommending that sale as a comp?

What types of homes are not allowed as comps?

Will you be coming to look at my home and the other comparable homes?

Why don’t you cover homes in my region?

Do you analyze commercial properties, apartment buildings, mobile homes, floating homes or agricultural land?

What about property tax breaks based on home improvement exemptions available in my state?

Do you take into account property tax discounts for veterans, senior citizens, disabled, and low income persons that some regions offer?

Do you use rules of thumb?

Do you address allocation of value disputes?

Couldn’t I just get this information from other websites like Zillow or Redfin?

What if I know of a good comp for my home that you missed?

What if I rent out a room(s) of my owner occupied home and receive income as a result?

Do you accept cash or checks?

What if the appeals board decides to raise the valuation of my home instead of lowering it?

What if I miss the deadline for mailing in my appeal?


How can I find out what my property assessment is?

In almost all states you will receive notification by mail of your assessment shortly after the lien date. You can also visit your assessor's website or office to find out the new assessment for your property.

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How do I read my assessment notice I got in the mail?

Although the format varies from region to region, the figures on the assessment notice generally display the property’s old and new market values, any new phased-in assessments, any applicable credits, and land and improvements information used in making the new assessed valuation.

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How do I find out the assessor' s opinion of the market value of my house?

Some states assess properties at less than the full fair market value of the property. If this is true of your state, divide your assessment by the average sales ratio to find the fair market value for your home. Example: Assessment of $ 150,000 divided by .75 ( 75 percent ) sales ratio equals $ 200,000.

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What is a phased-in assessment increase?

In some states, the increase in your assessment from the old market value to the new value may be divided over several years. This phase-in spreads your property value increase over a period of time so that the full increase will not show up in your taxes in the first year. These values will be stated on your assessment notice.

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What is the relationship between an assessed property valuation and taxes?

Local tax jurisdictions use assessments to determine what tax rate they must set to raise the revenue they need to pay for public services. If property valuations go down overall in a particular year, the region will likely raise the tax rate on all properties so they still have enough revenue to pay for public services.

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How does the region determine the tax rate?

The region decides how much money it needs to meet expenses and then divides this budget figure by the total assessed value of all properties in their jurisdiction to determine the new tax rate for the upcoming year. If property valuations go down overall in a particular year, the region will likely raise the tax rate on all properties so they still have enough revenue to pay for public services.

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Will my property tax bill increase if my assessed valuation rises?

Not necessarily. An assessment increase will probably only increase your property tax bill if the specific assessment is at a higher rate than the average increase for similar property. ValueAppeal helps customers confirm that they’re not being unfairly taxed at a higher rate than their neighbors with similar property.

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Can I appeal the property's assessment, the tax rate, or the tax bill?

Generally, property owners cannot appeal their property tax rate or tax bill; only the property’s assessed value can be appealed.

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Can I lower my property taxes without appealing my property’s assessment?

Maybe. Many states have specific programs that offer tax relief for homeowners, veterans, widows and widowers, disabled, and elderly homeowners.

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If I did not receive a notice of assessment change, how do I know they did not change the assessment?

You can always go to the assessor's office and verify in their property records that your assessment has not changed.

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How often is my property reassessed?

In most states properties are reassessed at least once every 3 years, if not more frequently. However, property can be reassessed at any time if the assessor determines that the data on file for your property is incorrect. For instance, if the assessor discovers your home has 4 bedrooms instead of 2 bedrooms, your property will probably be reassessed right away. In most regions assessors do not revalue individual homes because the process is too time consuming. Instead they revalue entire neighborhoods every few years using Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal software.

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Am I the only taxpayer receiving the notice or have my neighbor’s assessments been changed as well?

Unless you recently remodeled your home or requested a visit from the assessor you won’t be the only homeowner receiving a notice in the mail.

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What causes the assessed value of my property to change?

The most common reason for changes in residential real estate value is the average wage in your city. If average incomes are rising or falling, you can expect residential real estate values to follow. Another reason could be an addition or improvements made to your home, which could increase the value of your home even if average wages are unchanged or falling in your city.

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What improvements will increase my assessment?

There are no hard and fast rules. However, features that will usually increase your assessment include any additions of a new bedroom, garage, decks, pools, or additional bathrooms.

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My home is well maintained and has excellent interior decoration, will it be assessed higher?

Generally, maintenance and decorating are not factors in an assessment because the assessor will almost never step foot inside your home. Also, home décor is a matter of personal taste only. However, remodeling and adding to the size of your home is not a matter of personal taste so a higher assessment would likely result.

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How do assessors value new construction?

Normally the cost approach as well as the market comparison approach are both used and adjusted along with the overall price change in the last communitywide mass revaluation .

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Why would the value of my house go up if I have not done anything to it?

The value of your house increases mostly due to local wage inflation and other demand factors that impact the real estate market. Your property is revalued by the assessors every few years even if you haven’t remodeled it. The new market value reflects the changes in the real estate market since the last time it was assessed.

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How can the assessor say my property is worth $300,000 when I paid only $200,000 for it three years ago?

The current assessed valuation reflects the region’s opinion of changes in the real estate market since you purchased the property. The region chose to use sales of certain comparable homes that have taken place in the past three years to suggest that the market value of your property has increased. If you feel that the increase in your assessment is unjustified and would like to appeal, ValueAppeal can help!

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Should the value of my property increase when the real estate market is declining?

No. The real estate market is what should determine the value of your property. The assessed value assigned to your property should take into account current market trends over recent years. Remember, if the regions need for funds increases, it will be noted in an increased tax rate, not a higher assessment of your property in a declining residential real estate market.

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Why has my insurance company just appraised my house for a much lower amount than the region did?

This could be for many different reasons that must be determined on a case by case basis. For instance, for fire insurance purposes the land as well as the foundation and underground utilities are not included in the valuation.

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After a recent purchase can I be reassessed based on the selling price?

Probably not. Most states do not allow "welcome stranger" or "spot assessments”. To keep assessment values fair, and to save time, homes are usually revalued during the general mass revaluation process.

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How is land valued?

Land values are based on the comparative sales approach. Comparison features such as square feet, acreage, water frontage, road frontage, etc. are used to develop land value from the sale of similar properties.

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How does the region value land for a condominium?

The land value attributed to an individual condominium unit within a multi-unit building is based on the principle of allocation. A percentage of the total land is assigned to the condominium. Usually this is done by dividing the number of square feet of living area of the individual condominium by the total amount of square feet of living area of all condominiums in the building.

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Why does my neighbor with a much larger lot have only a slightly higher land value?

Market conditions are reflected in the land values the same way as building values. Because lots are usually valued on a dollars per square foot basis, a smaller building lot size does not usually cause a significant difference in the lot’s dollar per square foot value. Other factors such as location and unique topography can also affect the land value of a particular lot. Also very important, zoning may allow different types of construction on a slightly bigger lot that may greatly affect the market value.

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Can I assume my assessment is correct if my neighbors with similar homes have assessments close to mine?

No, it is possible your whole neighborhood may be overassessed if the real estate market has declined.

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What is an assessment appeal?

An assessment appeal is a process whereby you can appeal your property's assessed value to a review board. This board will review the information you present to justify a lower property tax valuation and then determine if your request is justified.

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How do I know if I need to appeal my property tax valuation?

You should appeal your property tax valuation if your assessed value is more than that of comparable homes in your neighborhood. You can find out for free in seconds on the homepage of ValueAppeal.

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When must an assessment appeal be filed?

The deadline varies by state and region. Check the ValueAppeal website to find specific instructions for your state.

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Where do I file an appeal?

Check the ValueAppeal website to find specific instructions for your state.

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What happens next after I have appealed in writing?

Depending on your local jurisdiction, a certain percentage of appeals are approved without a hearing if the information submitted is overwhelmingly compelling (ValueAppeal customers have a much higher than average chance of winning their appeal at this stage). If the appeal is not immediately approved, the first step will be for you to have an informal hearing with your assessor on the telephone or in person.

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What happens at an informal hearing?

At the informal hearing over the phone or in person, the assessor will verify the property information and comparable sales you obtained from ValueAppeal and compare this data with the region’s valuation on file. Remember, the homeowner is responsible for providing comparable sales (comps) as evidence that the region’s current assessment is wrong.

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What if in an informal appeal my assessor does not agree with me and I still think my assessment is too high?

You must file a petition for a formal hearing, usually with the local or regional tax board.

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What happens at a formal hearing?

If your appeal is not approved during the informal hearing, you must request a formal hearing to present your case in front of the review board.

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If I request a reduction in my assessment, will the assessor's office notify me of the results?

Yes. If no hearing is scheduled, a preliminary decision, which you can appeal, will be sent to you by the assessors.

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Do I have to appear at the formal hearing?

Yes, you must appear at the formal hearing to support your case.

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When will I not have to appear at a formal hearing?

Frequently, ValueAppeal customers have such high quality data that their appeals are approved without a formal hearing.

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What should I present at the appeal hearing to support my case?

You should present the custom information package you created on the ValueAppeal website that supports your appeal. We make it easy for you!

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Do I still have to pay my property taxes if I am going to appeal the region’s valuation of my home?

YES. You must pay your assessed property taxes even if you are planning on appealing or are in the process of appealing. If you are successful in your appeal then you will receive a refund of your overpayment of taxes from the taxing authority. If you do not pay your taxes on time you will incur a late fee.

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If I receive a reduction in assessment, can it apply to prior years?

No. A lowered assessment applies only to the year in which it has been given and to future years. However, once you have proven your property is overassessed, you need to file for an "abatement" for relief of prior years' taxes you’ve already paid.

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What is the difference between an assessment and an abatement?

An assessment refers to the property’s valuation for tax purposes; an abatement is an amount of tax forgiven or refunded for taxes already paid in prior years due to an unfair assessment.

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If my property valuation is reduced, can the assessor increase its value next year?

Yes. Depending on the state, assessors are generally allowed to review values annually. If it is determined that market values have increased for comparable homes, the assessed value is likely to increase as well.

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How can I find similar properties or “comps” to use in my appeal?

This can be very difficult. Some websites will list many comps for a particular property, but most will not be helpful for a successful appeal to reduce your property tax valuation. Many comps listed on real estate websites would even be disqualified by the Board of Appeals because they were not “arms length transactions”. Fortunately ValueAppeal provides you only the most high quality and relevant comps you need to mount a successful appeal.

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How many comparable properties “Comps” do I need for my appeal?

Usually at least three, and not more than five is the best number to submit with your appeal.

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My neighbor’s house is almost identical to mine and just sold last week for a lot less than my property tax valuation. Why isn’t ValueAppeal recommending that sale as a comp?

The comps used for challenging your property tax valuation must have sold before the assessment date. For instance, if the assessment date for your region is January 1st, 2009, all the comps used in your appeal must have sold prior to that date. Most regions will allow homeowners to use comps sold up to three years prior to the assessment date.

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What types of homes are not allowed as comps?

In general, any home sale that wasn’t the result of a willing buyer and willing seller negotiating a fair price. For instance, the appeal board typically denies: foreclosed homes, short-sale homes, inherited homes, homes donated to nonprofits, homes sold as part of a divorce settlement, etc.

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Will you be coming to look at my home and the other comparable homes?

No, we do our proprietary analysis based purely on the various data sources we have compiled.

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Why don’t you cover homes in my region?

We are in the process of adding more region’s around the country all the time. Please feel free to email us and suggest we add your region to our coverage area.

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Do you analyze commercial properties, apartment buildings, mobile homes, floating homes or agricultural land?

No. We only work with single family homes, condominiums, townhomes, lofts, etc.

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What about property tax breaks based on home improvement exemptions available in my state?

We do not take into account home improvement exemptions that may be available in your state. In most states there is a separate application and appeal process that must be followed.

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Do you take into account property tax discounts for veterans, senior citizens, disabled, and low income persons that some regions offer?

No, we only analyze the value of the home itself. Any discounts that may or may not be applicable due to your personal situation must be applied separately.

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Do you use rules of thumb?

No. A rule of thumb is a perception based on experience or practice rather than on evidence or knowledge. Rules of thumb, or preconceived conclusions, are completely inappropriate in an assessment appeals hearing.

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Do you address allocation of value disputes?

No. We only provide our opinion of the total value of the property. For example, you may agree with the region’s overall valuation of your property, but not agree with how the region has allocated the value between the land and the improvements. Our comps may support your argument but they are not intended for that purpose and a failed appeal for reallocation will not earn a refund of our fee.

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Couldn’t I just get this information from other websites like Zillow or Redfin?

Comparable sales information is indeed available on other websites. However, sifting through the data and choosing the right comps is extremely difficult. Most failed appeals are turned down because homeowners interpreted the data incorrectly. It also takes a lot of your time and effort doing research. We make sure our comps abide by all of the unique rules your region requires. Some regions allow foreclosure sales to be used as comps and some don’t. Some regions allow properties donated to charities to be used as comps and some don’t. Some regions disqualify homes that were inherited by a family member after a death in the family, some do not. Some regions disqualify homes that had excessive cumulative days listed on the market prior to sale, and some don’t. Some regions don’t allow properties that have been sold between two financial institutions to be used as comps, and some don’t mind at all. ValueAppeal knows the answers to these questions about your particular region but other websites do not.

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What if I know of a good comp for my home that you missed?

If there is an appropriate comp that you think we missed you can contact us and receive an explanation of why it was not a good comp for your home.

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What if I rent out a room(s) of my owner occupied home and receive income as a result?

We do not take into account any income earning potential of your home into our property valuation.

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Do you accept cash or checks?

We accept payment by major credit cards or checks.

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What if the appeals board decides to raise the valuation of my home instead of lowering it?

This is highly unlikely.

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What if I miss the deadline for mailing in my appeal?

Unfortunately we cannot refund your fee if you fail to mail your appeal on time.

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