Should I Protest My Property Value? FAQ and Tips from the Assessor's Office
If you are a homeowner in Colorado you recently received a Notice of Valuation from the county in which your home is located. This happens every two years, but many are noticing a big increase in their property value compared to previous years. This is because of two things. The first is the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, which happened in 2020 and affects our property assessment rate, and the second is the data that was collected on home sales within the study period of July 1, 2020 – June 31, 2022. In case you need a reminder of how the real estate market was doing in the spring of 2022 – it was nuts. This was the peak of the market, before 30-year mortgage interest rates went up above 6% and home prices decreased. If you check your current home value through Homebot or Zillow’s Zestimate you will probably notice that your Real Property Valuation provided by the county is higher than your estimated market value. Does this mean that everyone should protest their property value?
The answer is no. The assessor’s office is aware that home prices have dropped, in some cases significantly since the end of the study period. However, any data on home values since June 31, 2022 is outside of the study period and cannot be used to protest your property valuation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t appeal your home value, but there does need to be evidence or a reason you can provide to show that your property was overvalued within the study period. Below are some steps to take to determine if your property may qualify for an appeal.
First, gather information on comparable sold listings that occurred within the study period (July 1, 2020 – June 31, 2022). Places you can easily do this include the comparable sales analysis report included in your assessment by the county, Homesnap, REColorado, Realtor.com, or through your Realtor (me). These should be homes that are similar in style to your home (ranch, two-story, condo, etc), within your same neighborhood, and those that share similar square footage and a similar number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Next, look carefully at the photos and the listing language and rank your property in comparison to those sold properties, especially those sold in the latter half of the study period (January 2021 – June 2022). Is your property in worse condition than the comparables? This is the time to look for those negative features of your home that might equal a lesser value. Are you near a busy street? Have you not updated your home in many years?
Third, look for errors in the information the county has on file for your property. Is the square footage incorrect? Does it say you have a finished basement when you don’t? Is it listed as a ranch style when it’s really a two-story home?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you may have a good case for an appeal, especially if you think your home has been overvalued by more than $10,000. Many people who appeal citing a mistake or an overvaluation will receive a lower property value.
The deadline for protesting your property value is June 8, 2023. This is a fairly straightforward process and each county has a website to guide you through the process. Here are links to the different county tax appeal sites:
Please reach out to me if you need further assistance.