Assessment Grievance (Certiorari)

Assessment Appeal Valuation Service – General Information:

Typically, most municipalities (cities, villages, townships, counties and school districts) determine individual real estate tax burden based on an ad valorem assessment of the real estate’s value. Often, the real estate/property owner, receives an unexpected and unwanted surprise notice in the mail informing him/her that the real estate/property taxes are increasing, and sometimes it may seem as though the assessment is too high. To correct such a condition requires a timely and appropriate action on the part of the real estate/property owner or owners.

Frequently, such matters can be readily resolved with a telephone call to or a visit with the assessor. However, if after discussing the new assessment with the local assessor or the taxing authority about the viewed overvaluation, and with such discussion not producing or resulting in a satisfactory solution to the owners, the engaging for the service of a professional, independent, third-party real estate appraiser is often the best means in proving the real estate/property owner’s side of the situation.

This is where our, Abbott Appraisal Agency, valuation service is available to assist and help the real estate/property owner in presenting his/her assessment grievance case.

Because there may be many different procedures for appealing assessments (certiorari proceedings or tax grievance proceedings) depending on the particular real estate taxing authority or districts, it is therefore important for a real estate/property owner to engage the assistance of a professional real estate appraiser that has the knowledge and the experience in certiorari/assessment grievance proceedings in general and in the specific practices and procedures a particular taxing jurisdiction.

It is very important to note that it makes good sense for the real estate/property owner to do his/her/their own research before determining whether to initiate a property assessment appeal; and particularly before making a decision to engage a professional real estate appraiser. Further, it is important to note that according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the state licensing and other rules and regulation, the real estate appraiser is not permitted to take “shortcuts”; for example, to accept and use the real estate owner’s research data and/or information on its face value as part of the real estate appraiser’s independent evaluation. When the property owner hires a professional real estate appraiser for an assessment appeal, the owner is commissioning an independent, third-party professional who will provide an independent opinion of the market value of the owner’s real estate and typically provide that opinion via a written appraisal report.

Therefore, in order for us, the Abbott Appraisal Agency, to provide a professional opinion of the market value of a particular real estate/property, we need to do our own evaluation from the very beginning to the conclusion. In the case where the real estate/property owner is correct that the subject real estate/property has been overvalued/over assessed, our independent valuation report should be even more persuasive than any other evidence the real estate/property owner can marshal on his/her own.  This however, depends on our ability to do the work independently.

There are times, however, when the assessor “gets it right” – namely, the assessor’s opinion of market value agrees with ours. In such a case, the owner will realize that any formal assessment appeal of his/her property will likely not result in a tax reduction and that pursuing such course most likely will result in a waste of the real estate/property owner’s time and effort.

Also, it is worthy to note that there exists a common misconception in that the appraiser, after being engaged by the real estate/property owner, is an advocate for the real estate/property owner and for the purpose of lowering the real estate/property assessment. Although, a successful assessment appeal is always the real estate/property owner’s goal in a certiorari process, the real estate appraiser is specifically forbidden by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) to not be an advocate in a valuation service. The information for this fact may be further researched utilizing the following link:

http://www.uspap.org/FAQ_files/faq251_300/faq_289_.htm

Definition of Selected Terms – Source: USPAP 01/01/2016 through 12/31/2017, pages U-1 through U-5:

APPRAISAL: (noun) the act or process of developing an opinion of value; an opinion of value. (adjective) of or pertaining to appraising and related functions such as appraisal practice or appraisal services.

APPRAISAL PRACTICE: Valuation services performed by an individual acting as an appraiser, including but not limited to appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting.

APPRAISER: one who is expected to perform valuation services competently and in a manner that is independent, impartial and objective.

REAL ESTATE: an identified parcel or tract of land, including improvements, if any.

REAL PROPERTY: the interests, benefits, and rights inherent in the ownership of real estate.

VALUE: the monetary relationship between properties and those who buy, sell or use those properties. Comment: Value expresses an economic concept. As such, it is never a fact but always an opinion of the worth of a property at a given time in accordance with a specific definition of value. In appraisal practice, value must always be qualified – for example, market value, liquidation value or investment value.

SPECIAL NOTICE: At times, the real estate/property owner will have a hearing on his/her assessment appeal and may need for the engaged real estate appraiser to testify.  We, at the Abbott Appraisal Agency have the experience and the knowledge in the certiorari/assessment grievance proceedings, and we are able to professionally testify at assessment appeal hearings.

The appraisal fee which we initially quote for assessment appeal appraisals is solely for the appraisal report. For any subsequent need such as for testimony before the assessment appeal board or in court, the fees or charges will in accordance with prior written mutual agreement. Please discuss this with the appraiser prior to or at the time of ordering the appraisal.

It is our experience, that in most residential real estate/property tax assessment appeal cases, an appearance by the appraiser is not necessary.

We appreciate an opportunity to provide as many of our professional appraiser services as we can, and it is our good business practice and policy not to charge for services which are not necessary.

OTHER NOTICE:

We recommend to the real estate/property owners to consult with the local municipality assessor, special assessment district, and/or the county department of assessment for further information/clarification; and for assessment appeal filing dates and their assessment grievance procedures.