Why is there often a huge difference between what the Assessor says your property is worth and what an appraiser says maybe during a purchase or refinance? Let’s take a look below a some of the main distinctions and then consider a real life example of a property owner who has overpaid about $8,000 in property taxes in recent years because his assessment was simply too high. Ouch.
Assessor vs. Appraiser: An Assessor in California is required to have a certified appraiser’s license, but that doesn’t mean the value will be same as an appraiser coming out to your house during a refinance, purchase or other situation. Ultimately there is a huge value difference at times because the Assessor is establishing value for taxation purposes (and is bound by the protocols of tax code) and an independent fee appraiser is likely measuring the current market and is not doing anything related to taxation.
Overpaid $8,000 in Property Taxes: This case above is a striking example of one of the unfortunate byproducts of a mass appraisal process by the Assessor. This property owner’s assessment on his fourplex in Sacramento was accurate for a couple of years after purchasing around $300,000 in 2003, but as values tanked in the neighborhood, the assessed value simply remained too high above all other competitive sales. The sad result for the property owner has been about $8,000 in overpayment through the years. Unfortunately the owner cannot go back to dispute the previous years of assessment, but at least this year he is going to appeal his property taxes to hopefully bring the assessed value down from $325,000 to around $200,000 where it should be.
Any thoughts, questions or stories to share?