Appealing your King County property tax assessment, and my first-hand experience – Part 2: The Appea
In Part 1: Filing the Appeal, I discussed the background of the appeal process and paperwork up to the point of receiving my first correspondence from the King County Board of Equalization (about three months after filling my appeal). The correspondence was a mailed letter with my “notice of hearing” that was scheduled for another two months later. This is where I pick the story/process back up for Part 2.
Approximately one month before my scheduled hearing, I received an email from the assessor’s office that contained their response to my appeal. Though they had revised their valuation, it was still close to 15% higher than the market value I had on my home. At this point in the blog point, it is worth pointing out that I had a model match comparable property that had sold within the distance of the comps the assessor provided, so I had pretty iron-clad evidence of “market value.”
The assessor’s response gave me the opportunity and instructions on how to approve their response and accept the new value they came up with, or, disregard the response by taking no action and continue moving forward with my hearing as scheduled.
I chose to have the hearing, which would be with a King County Board of Equalization board member(s). My “notice of hearing” said that hearings generally take 30 minutes and that both parties (Petitioner and Assessor) are allocated time for oral argument.
At the time of my hearing, I was greeted by one of the Board of Equalization Board Members and informed that she would be the only Board Member at the hearing. From what I gathered, the members are stretched thinner during times of heavier appeals, which is why there would be just one board member at my meeting.
This was fine by me, because I learned that the Board Member at my hearing was a retired attorney who had experience filing appeals in the past. I had no idea what sort of person to expect at my hearing, so I was pleased to learn that I was working with someone who was experienced with property valuations.
A representative from the assessor’s office didn’t attend the meeting, and I gathered it was typical for them to not attend. It is my assumption that the aforementioned “assessor’s response” would essentially take the place of the oral argument the assessor would be giving if they were to attend.
The hearings are recorded and I was sworn in. I was pleased with the attention that the Board Member gave my appeal; it seemed like she cared about accurately piecing the data/facts together. After talking through the appeal, I was told that I would get an answer in 6-8 weeks, which is where I currently am in the process… awaiting the final valuation decision.
So, altogether, the final valuation based on appeal will come around nine months after receiving my Official Property Value Notice.
One of my reasons for wanting to share this info is to give an idea of the amount of work it will take to successfully appeal your value. Based on my experience, the time involved might not have been worth it if the assessed value was pretty close to market value. If you’re appealing for something like a discrepancy of $25,000, then you may decide that it isn’t worth your time to try to save around $250.
Furthermore, if you are interested in paying someone to be your personal representative to spend the time appealing and arguing the case on your behalf, the cost thereof may outweigh the potential savings in property taxes (particularly for less expensive properties).
One other thing I’d like to point out is some feedback I received from one of my colleagues from the Northwest Independent Brokers Association. He told me that he had successfully appealed his taxes in the past, but that a similar overvaluation occurred the very next year.
I’m optimistic about the results of my pending appeal. However, I’m feeling rather realistic about the likelihood that the same computer models will lead to me going down a similar road next year.
If you’d like to speak with me personally about my experience and your particular scenario, then just click on over to our contact page and shoot us a message.
***UPDATE*** I received the results of my appeal in the mail well before the 6-8 week timeline I was told to expect, and I'm happy to say that my assessed value was adjusted to the exact value of my appeal!