Local laws put a cap on how much property taxes can be raised each year, regardless of market values. Most municipalities in Westchester County don't have the manpower or the resources to assess each and every property individually, so taxes can be assessed on general averages, drive-by appraisals or automatic increases based on your home's sale price. Many areas don't assess annually, so your home's value can be overvalued in a hot market. Which means you could be paying too much in property taxes.
The appeal process doesn't have to be intimidating. The appraisers and appeal boards are well aware that the appraisal system isn't perfect, so they are prepared for challenges.
Depending upon your municipality's appeals process, you can represent yourself. You don't need your CPA, attorney or real estate professional.
Print out a full copy of your property's tax appraisal from your city/county website. Check it over carefully for errors number of bedrooms, baths, stories, parking spaces, lot size, and other details.
Take pictures of your exterior and be sure to include anything that can lower the value of the property such as a busy street, telephone poles, looming water towers, peeling paint, sagging roof, etc.. Condition matters in appraisals.
Appraisers use the same Multiple Listing Service that real estate professionals do, so if you know an agent or broker who can get recent comparables for you, bring those to the appraisal appointment.
During your appointment, you'll be meeting with an individual appraiser or perhaps an appraisal board comprised of volunteers, real estate professionals, appraisers, or city officials.
Don't Be Intimidated -- You Are Not On Trial. It's only A Hearing That You Have Requested.
An appraiser can show you the values of nearby comparable homes to illustrate why the district arrived at your appraisal price. Bring a map so you can illustrate zoning changes, construction, road expansion that may affect the area's value, as well as your home. Your data will be compared with the findings of the reviewer. You may need to defend your appraisal several times throughout the appeal, so know your neighborhood well.
Usually, the answer will be immediate. If the tax assessor agrees with you, he or she will adjust your appraisal right on screen right in front of you and print out a new assessment for you to take home.
If the assessment stands as it is, you haven't lost anything but a little time.