With assessments likely to see big increases, property owners urged to educate themselves on the process
For most towns in Orleans County property assessments are being reviewed and soon new assessments will be hitting your mailbox. This may be an eye opener to many as the housing market has been in an upswing.
Currently it’s a sellers’ market, which has caused a frenzy on sale prices in the area. This is important as your assessment is based on current sales, regardless of what improvements or lack of improvements you have made to your property. Therefore, your assessment will most likely adjust.
What does all of this mean? Typically houses that had been assessed at less than $50,000 are now selling for $75,000 or more. This does not mean your taxes will double, it means your property is now worth more.
Keep in mind assessors must follow state guidelines when valuing your property. There are three acceptable methods to value a property in NYS: sales comparison approach, cost approach, and income approach.
Most assessors use the sales comparison approach. Assessors do not make up the market; people buying and selling homes dictate the market. The assessor’s job is to track the sales and make the necessary adjustments to the assessment roll.
If a town performs a reassessment every three years, then an assessment is not adjusted until the year of the reassessment (unless a property owner requests a review of their assessment or a physical change to the property has been made.) If a town follows an annual reassessment plan, then assessments can change each year.
- Verify the information on file, with the assessor, regarding your property. Make sure it is accurate.
- Escrow Account: If you have a mortgage, you probably have an escrow account set up by the bank. (This pays your taxes and insurance.) However, it is only reviewed annually on the anniversary of your mortgage. You can increase the amount that is set aside so that you are not left with a large balance owed.
- If you are going to dispute the value, have the proper proof that is required. Making less money or being on a fixed income will not prove the market value of your property nor will the amount of taxes you pay.The assessor’s job is to determine the market value of your property.
- Current sales prices, from the last 3 years, are used to arrive at the market value. Property is compared to other like properties that have sold.
Please keep in mind these are some of the points of comparison:
- Type of Property (multi unit, ranch, row building, cottage, etc.)
- Lot Size
- Bedrooms/Bathrooms and Square Footage
This is the perfect time to educate yourself on the assessment process in NYS. If you disagree with the process and taxes you pay, reach out to your state representatives. If you disagree with the market value of your property, then contact your assessor.
(Elliott is a member of the Medina Village Board.)