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Homeowners Could Lower Their Tax Bill

12:13 AM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Homeowners in Guilford and Forsyth counties could have an opportunity to lower their tax bill.

Last year, Guilford County had a property revaluation. This year, Forsyth County went through the process.

According to a Triad appraiser, there is a possibility your home was revalued for more than it's worth.

"They use what they call 'mass appraisal'. And it's entirely possible they there could be some differences in the actual market value and what the taxing authorities come up with," said Charlie Elliott, owner and president of Elliott & Co. Appraisers.

Elliott told WFMY News 2's Lauren Melvin, the turbulence in the real estate market has made it more difficult for appraisers to do their job, particularly mass appraisers.

But there's another big reason mass appraisals are not entirely accurate.

"The mass appraisals are performed without an interior inspection of a property, perhaps without even an exterior inspection," said Elliott. "So the people doing that, can't appraise what they can't see. And they have to presume that your house is in average condition, and it's an average house in a lot of respects."

Elliott said there are a number of things that could be inaccurate during mass appraisals and affect the value of a home.

--The size of the house
--The condition of the property
--Whether a house is current in terms or plumbing and electric
--Age and condition of appointments in the house, such as appliances, fixtures and decor
--Age and condition of the floors and the roof

John Porter, who lives in a Greensboro neighborhood, has problems with his revaluation last year.

According to Porter, last year, his home was revalued at $238,000. In 2007, it was revalued at $178,000.

Porter hired Elliott to appraiser his home, so he could file an appeal.

During the process, Porter found Guilford County had recorded that his home was more than 100 sq. ft. larger than it is.

Elliott appraised Porters home at $190,000. The county then adjusted his home value to $201,000.

"It's still about $10,000 more than it's actually worth," said Porter.

However, Porter will be taxed on the adjusted value until the next revaluation.

According to Elliott, there are pros and cons of getting an appraisal after revaluation.

An appraisal for a home is typically between $300 and $500, depending on the size of your home, so it is an investment.
It's possible that a person could spend that and find out that the county's revaluation was spot on, which means you could lose money.

But on the other hand, "it's possible that their home was over-valued and that small investment could produce pretty high return. I know of people who have gotten thousands of dollars worth of tax benefits from having their property appraised."

WFMY News 2

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