Like everyone else this time of year, I just received my new assessed value for determining what my share of property taxes will be for 2020. Property taxes in Washington County are based as a percentage of your assessed value. Washington County says they try to get the assessed value of your property to be 95% of the estimated sale price and then your tax owed is approximately 1% of your assessed value.
Well, being in the real estate industry for a living, I know how hard it can be to accurately determine what a property will sell for, so I know that an assessor has a hard job. I make it a point to get into as many properties in the Hugo area as possible that come on the market so that I can use that knowledge to come up with accurate pricing. Especially for an old farmhouse like mine that has many issues that can affect value, good and bad. So, when I received our value that I think is about $50k high, I called the assessor to dispute the value. I don’t think the value is drastically off but being that valuing property is what I do for a living, I felt that my value should be as accurate as possible. So the assessor came out and I gave him a tour and tried to point out all the things that are wrong with the house and will affect the resale price. He was a nice guy and seemed to be open to adjusting the value, but we will see what happens when he goes back to the office. He was certainly more agreeable than any city assessor that I have encountered in St. Paul or Minneapolis. Those guys were like professionals, they had scripts that they used that made it seem like they were fully trained to negotiate with homeowners on the value issue. Dan, the Hugo assessor, seemed like he was genuinely interested in looking at the value. So, that’s good, I hope.
Here is some data on assessed values of the over 6,000 properties in Hugo from one year to the next:
5-10% decrease - 7
1-5% decrease - 36
no change - 522
1-5% increase - 872
5-10% increase - 2,951
10-15% increase - 1,401
over 15% - 278
Some additional information: according to the City of Hugo, the average home value change for 2018 was 6.9% increase.
With the average increase in value based on actual sales being 6.9%, which is a healthy increase, I am not sure what Washington County is thinking when it has almost 25% of the households in Hugo having a 10-15% increase. That’s where I was and I believe it was my second year in a row of over 10% increase. That’s agressive. I think as a homeowner you should keep these values accurate and it isn’t that hard to dispute your value, especially if you live in area where there are good comparable sales to justify your value. I can always pull a few comparable sales so that you have actual sales to justify your claim. Just give me a call, I am happy to do it.
The assessor told me that if you don’t dispute the value by next week, then you would have to go to the meeting for the board of equalization to dispute the value and I am not sure what the process looks like to dispute at the meeting. I would think it is more difficult than having a conversation with one assessor.
I’ll let you know how my dispute turns out.