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    Fighting Property Taxes

    Anybody had any experience or success fighting property taxes in Polk County? We're looking at buying a new house and have targeted one that our offer would be 27% off the assessed value. A steal. However we can't really afford the house in the long run unless we can lower the taxes.

    If we appeal, is it based more on our sales price and how the property is assessed with our new mortgage or will it depend on assessments and sales of adjacent properties as well?



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone90 View Post
    Anybody had any experience or success fighting property taxes in Polk County? We're looking at buying a new house and have targeted one that our offer would be 27% off the assessed value. A steal. However we can't really afford the house in the long run unless we can lower the taxes.

    If we appeal, is it based more on our sales price and how the property is assessed with our new mortgage or will it depend on assessments and sales of adjacent properties as well?
    No experience in this area, but the assessed value is supposed to be the market price, so I would think you could get it lower. What concerns me is that if the extra property taxes on 27% of the value of the house means you can't afford the house, then you probably can't afford the house.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone90 View Post
    Anybody had any experience or success fighting property taxes in Polk County? We're looking at buying a new house and have targeted one that our offer would be 27% off the assessed value. A steal. However we can't really afford the house in the long run unless we can lower the taxes.

    If we appeal, is it based more on our sales price and how the property is assessed with our new mortgage or will it depend on assessments and sales of adjacent properties as well?
    Not sure. I know it is based on assessed valuation. But I have the same concerns as well about your purchase not being viable unless the property taxes are lower. You do realize that even if you could get the property taxes lowered.......for now..........that they may not necessarily stay that way.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    I successfully appealed last year and they granted my request. The property assessed value was about $10k more than I paid, due to falling values and poor interior decorating of the previous owner. I appealed in writing only, no appearance, by providing the data from my house sale, and 3 other similar properties. I was hoping the logical assessed value would equal the actual market sales price. Unfortunately, my net property taxes actually went up due to the Ankeny school system.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone90 View Post
    Anybody had any experience or success fighting property taxes in Polk County? We're looking at buying a new house and have targeted one that our offer would be 27% off the assessed value. A steal. However we can't really afford the house in the long run unless we can lower the taxes.

    If we appeal, is it based more on our sales price and how the property is assessed with our new mortgage or will it depend on assessments and sales of adjacent properties as well?
    I have experience.

    1. Buy the property.
    2. Come next year when it is time for new assessments, fill out the form with the price you paid and that will be your assessed value. That has been my experience. Assessed value in Polk County is based on market value, and no better way to determine market value that buying a house on the market.
    3. 2 years from then, be prepared for the value to go up to or nearly go up to the level it originally was.
    4. Don't buy a house only based on affording it if the taxes go down. They will, but short term. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Not sure how it works everywhere but in Mission, KS when we bought our house they adjusted it lower automatically. I was actually pretty surprised.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    In my opinion, if the differences between affording and not affording it comes down to a little bit of taxes, you are already stretching yourself too thin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone90 View Post
    Anybody had any experience or success fighting property taxes in Polk County? We're looking at buying a new house and have targeted one that our offer would be 27% off the assessed value. A steal. However we can't really afford the house in the long run unless we can lower the taxes.

    If we appeal, is it based more on our sales price and how the property is assessed with our new mortgage or will it depend on assessments and sales of adjacent properties as well?



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Quote Originally Posted by mg4cy View Post
    I successfully appealed last year and they granted my request. The property assessed value was about $10k more than I paid, due to falling values and poor interior decorating of the previous owner. I appealed in writing only, no appearance, by providing the data from my house sale, and 3 other similar properties. I was hoping the logical assessed value would equal the actual market sales price. Unfortunately, my net property taxes actually went up due to the Ankeny school system.
    Exactly the same thing here. My assessment was lowered by 30,000 but taxes still went up because the tax rate went up. If you're that close you really should consider whether you can afford it. A lower assessment does not guarantee lower taxes.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    i just did this, you can only do it in a 4-6 week window in April/May. I fought mine and got in lowered $25k, which is still 8k higher than what I paid but it will knock down my taxes by about $400/yr come 2011


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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    We all sound like jerks but it's a valid point. Too many buyers stretching too thin to purchase a house.

    There's a widely accepted % of your income that is suggested to have in your house payment. DON'T listen to your banker on this %. Google it (unless someone here knows it).


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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Also don't buy a house just because it's X% lower than it's accessed value. For one the bank won't care about the accessed value. They will send out a certified appraiser to establish value and how much they'll loan you.

    If you have a good Realtor they should be providing you with a good idea of the value based on several other comparable properties. That's the number that matters.


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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    A couple of things - assessed value and appraised value are not the same thing. 2nd, if it is a fairly new house, it may not be fully assessed, meaning the taxes are going to go up.

    Assessed Value
    1.The value of a property according to jurisdictional tax assessment. 2. Assessed Value applies in ad valorem taxation (school taxes, water board taxes, etc) and refers to the value of a property according to tax roles. Assessed value may not conform to market value but it is usually calculated to a market value base. A tax assessorís determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base. This value is reviewed every two years in Iowa. I believe even years (for the county assessor), but your taxes can still go up yearly if the school tax rate, or a city tax rate changes.

    Appraised Value
    The estimated fair market value of a property as developed by a licensed certified appraiser following accepted appraisal principles. What the home is worth right now.

    Why you don't want to use assessed value to determine what a home is worth - the tax rate set by the county says your home is worth $100,000 for taxes purposes, but every comparable house in your neighborhood is selling for $130,000 due to the demand of the market. Based on your philosophy, your house should be sold for $100,000 less, even though the market says your house is worth $130,000.

    Second, if you go in and offer someone 27% less than the assessed value of the home, they are probably going to tell you to take a flying leap. Based on your idea, using my house, that offer would be $75k less than what it appraised for, and I would laugh in your face. Ask your real estate agent to pull comparable sales and then create a strategy for your offer, based off comparable sales vs. trying to undercut someone based on assessed value.

    Also, NO lender is going to lend you money based on the premise that you are going to protest the taxes with the hope they will get lowered. Lenders have to take the taxes as they are today when basing your payment. Big Bake hit the nail on the head, lender could care less about assessed value, they work with appraised value. As someone else mentioned, you can only protest during a small window of time, every other year, with the next time being in 2012.

    The %'s Big Bake was talking about are 28% of your gross pay should go to house, and a total of 41% of your gross income to all debts (house, car, credit cards, student loans, etc.) If the only way you can afford this house is by getting the taxes lowered, you are spreading yourself way to thin. Sit down, and figure out all your bills every month that are used in determining your mortgage (debts reported on your credit report), if these are above 41%, you can't afford the house, because this doesn't take into account your other bills (groceries, daycare, gas, entertainment, etc.)

    Sounds like you might be better off buying something you can afford without having to worry about fighting the county to lower your taxes. As others have mentioned, you may get them lowered, but your taxes may stay the same because they change the tax rate.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Don't buy it if you're that close to not being able to afford it.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Thanks for all the insight guys. No offense taken in anyone's feedback. The seller has already trimmed ~20% off the assessed value, pretty much what he paid for it in 2008, and is eager to sell. The agent says they are very motivated, already moving to Florida. An indictment of where our housing market is currently. That said, your points about how long the tax reduction would hold is well taken. It would likely jump right back up again once the market rebounds. Prolly time to put the gun back into the holster on this one.



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    Re: Fighting Property Taxes

    Quote Originally Posted by CyPride View Post
    I have experience.

    1. Buy the property.
    2. Come next year when it is time for new assessments, fill out the form with the price you paid and that will be your assessed value. That has been my experience. Assessed value in Polk County is based on market value, and no better way to determine market value that buying a house on the market.
    3. 2 years from then, be prepared for the value to go up to or nearly go up to the level it originally was.
    4. Don't buy a house only based on affording it if the taxes go down. They will, but short term. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.
    The first few made me nervous but this is the final answer. I did it two years in a row in Polk Co and won both times. Its quite likely that you would win something but I doubt it would be 27k and in any event the risk is too great. Buy it because you can afford it now and if the taxes end up lower you can remodel a bathroom or something! Do your homework though when you file. If your house sold for less than everything that is a good comp they will likely treat is as an anomoly. They move a lot slower to lower values accross the board then they might to raise them. Damn guvermint...


    Nothing to see here mods. Keep moving.

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