How Do I Correct the Records for My Home?
Frequently the Assessor’s Office property records are not accurate since the Assessor’s Office is a massive processing government organization and possibly the work was done very fast, or the information varied without their knowledge or there was documentation that slipped through the cracks. The reasons are endless, however the great thing is that the answer to this problem is simple. Every house there is a property record with the Assessor’s Office which includes a drawing of the shell of the house and details about the house.
Some Assessors keep much more detailed records depending on their tools, work load and staff. However, all records for your house are for valuation purposes even though other real estate professionals use these records to verify property records. From the diagram the square footage of the building is calculated and the description will include the type of property, the use type, and any other information that may be relevant to the residence and its value.
The Assessor’s records affect most real estate purchases and sales despite the fact that the Assessor’s Office makes no representation of having information for anything other than assessment purposes. The records are in reality is generally used by real estate professionals as official. Essentially, making sure your records are accurate will more than likely affect the value of your house since the banks, buyers, sellers, etc. all use these records to confirm the structures on your property.
If the records for your house are wrong, it easy to adjust and/or bring them up to date. Contact your county Assessors Office and your request will generate a public service request and ask to have the records updated. The public service request will be forwarded to staff memeber who will talk with you and/or make an appointment to possibly visit your property for measurements or find out from you over the phone what the differences are and then make the adjustments accordingly. Frequently, the Assessor’s Office will use the information you give them over the phone for something simple such as a bedroom or bathroom count adjustment. Generally, this is very easy for the Assessor’s Office to process. If there is some type of new contruction to your house that you constructed and has not been assessed yet, it may result in more propety taxes however, if the error is the Assessor’s fault there is a statute of limitations so ask about this when you speak to them and make sure you document their response. Remember, there are many facets to assessments and you want to be covered should you be misinformed.
If the differences were done prior to your purchase of the residence it may be seen as construction before transfer and since you bought the residence with the structures already there, very likely no increase in your property taxes would result from the record update. The reasoning for this is that you paid for that construction when you bought the residence and consequently there is no adjustment in value. On the flip side, if you enhanced your home then there may be a change in the worth. The Assessor may ask for data relating to the construction information or documentation as to what the property was when you bought it such as the listing documentation this will be different on a case by case basis. Often, the Assessor will go based on your word and will update the records through a phone call.
Remember as you think about requesting these changes and adjustments that the Assessor’s Office is usually not connected to your city. The Assessor needs truthful data so the assessments of your home are accurate. The Assessor usually doesn’t care if what you have on your property is legal or not because even when not permitted it may add value to your home. The Assessor wants to keep an open channel of communication with the taxpayers so they generally don’t get into the habit of reporting anything whether structure related or not. The Assessor’s Office is not generally in the practice of telling the city what is or isn’t on your property. When taxpayers think of the Assessor or the City they often think these government entities as the same when they are usually totally seperate.
About the Author: Valerie Faltas, Property Tax Expert worked in assessments for over four years and assessed over 6,000 properties. Valerie is also a licensed appraiser, real estate investor and consultant. She left the Assessor to make information public she could not disclose while she worked there.