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#1 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just got an e-mail from the town yesterday saying they have hired agents to do property assessment. They are measuring the exterior and have to do an interior inspection. I feel a little uneasy about this. I mean, I find it rather intrusive. I'm not concerned about my safety, just the whole idea that someone is going to come inside and decide the value of my house.

This is my first-time first-hand experience with property assessment. Is this really how it is done?

BTW, they will not find fancy gold and marble-lined rooms or bodies in my basement Am I wrong to feel a bit libertarian about this intrusion? I'm ok with the measurement of the exterior, but the interior?
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#2 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:35 AM
 
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We have a property assessor come by every year and they've never come into the house. Call up your county/township and find out why they want to do an interior check.
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#3 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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Ditto to the above. Never had a property assessor inside my house. I can't see where they *have* to be let inside your house without a warrant. I'm not a fear-mongerer by any stretch, but that's WAY out of my comfort zone to let the local government in my house to poke around.

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#4 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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Um... yeah, I don't think they can legally command entrance to your home without a warrant. If they think they can... I think you have a good court case on your hands.
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#5 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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When I lived in Rhode Island I had an assessor come into my house. I was glad he did, the official record apparently had our house listed as a 4 bedroom. It was really a 2 bedroom.
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#6 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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We used to have that when we were little. My mom would always say "don't pick up today, the assessor is coming" because we wanted to house to look less valuable. Another time, they had raised my dad's property taxes along with everyone else in his neighborhood, but his house had not been updated in decades, while everyone else was putting in $50,000 kitchens. We had the assessor come out and look at the interior of the house, and they lowered his taxes by a couple of thousand dollars.

I can't see why you wouldn't want them in. They are tax assessors, they could care less how you parent.
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#7 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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Why would the *town* need to assess your house? I've never heard of this! I have had people come in to assess my house, but that was when I was refinancing my mortgage. Never anything related to my town.

I would decline until I had more info!

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#8 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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We had out house assessed when we refinanced. An assesor did come inside - I was so pissed at DP for not telling me beforehand since the house was a disaster! I *think* the assessor was from the county hired from our mortgage person.

I think they'd have to see the inside of the house to get a proper value, right?

\m/

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#9 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by New_Natural_Mom View Post
Why would the *town* need to assess your house? I've never heard of this! I have had people come in to assess my house, but that was when I was refinancing my mortgage. Never anything related to my town.

I would decline until I had more info!
The town sets the property taxes.

The mortgage people also do it to get a value of what they think the house is worth so they know how much they want to lend you.
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#10 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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An assessor came into our house (built last year) to look around. Took her 10 minutes or so. Didn't really bother me, but I see how it could bother people.

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#11 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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When we were looking at houses in Portland, our real estate agent told me a little trick about reassesment. She said that the process is kind of crazy around there. It's not just based on the purchase price of the house, but on the market value based on remodeling, etc., so assessors constantly go around just knocking on doors wanting to come in and take a look. If they reassess your house, you could pay higher taxes. So when the assessor knocks, most people say "This isn't a good time for me right now, you'll have to come back at a different time."

Usually houses will go unreassessed for years. I don't know how you ethically feel about this, but I have an ethical issue with the government knocking my door and demanding to inspect my house!

ETA: To refinance/get a mortgage, yes, they come in and look around. When we refinanced, they came by. Our house was a total disaster, but what did I care, value wasn't an issue. However, what I didn't know was that she took pictures all over and put it in the report! We still have the report with pictures of our completely destroyed house. I was mortified!
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#12 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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We had someone come in at our old house. I knew we were in for it when the guy opened up a door and I heard him mutter "Two bathrooms!". The old owners didn't get a permit for putting in another bathroom.

They just drove by our new house, I think. They might not have even come here at all even.
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#13 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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We had an assessor come into our first house. Threw me for a minute because I wasn't expecting him and DD1 was napping, but it didn't bother us.

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#14 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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I've never had one come inside before except for private inspections when selling and buying.

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#15 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
When we were looking at houses in Portland, our real estate agent told me a little trick about reassesment. She said that the process is kind of crazy around there. It's not just based on the purchase price of the house, but on the market value based on remodeling, etc., so assessors constantly go around just knocking on doors wanting to come in and take a look. If they reassess your house, you could pay higher taxes. So when the assessor knocks, most people say "This isn't a good time for me right now, you'll have to come back at a different time."

Usually houses will go unreassessed for years. I don't know how you ethically feel about this, but I have an ethical issue with the government knocking my door and demanding to inspect my house!

ETA: To refinance/get a mortgage, yes, they come in and look around. When we refinanced, they came by. Our house was a total disaster, but what did I care, value wasn't an issue. However, what I didn't know was that she took pictures all over and put it in the report! We still have the report with pictures of our completely destroyed house. I was mortified!
This is the EXACT opposite of how things work around here. Yes, it is the town or county assesor's job to assess the value of your home for property tax purposes. No, you don't have to let the assessor in to inspect the house if you don't want to. However, if you don't let them in they will value the house based on certain assumptions. They will assume that everything is in good condition, that older houses have been updated, and in our area they assume that you have finished the basement. So it's quite likely that they will assess the value of the house to be higher than it is in actuality. And in our area, if you choose NOT to let the assessor in, you waive your right to dispute the assessor's findings. So it may be in your best interest to let the assessor in.

FWIW, there is information about the assessor's office on our county website (and I live in a tiny, rinky-dink county with a population of 16,000). So you can probably find the info you need if you do a little bit of searching on your county website.

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#16 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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Ive owned homes for 20 yrs and have NEVER had had a tax assessor in my home. I dont think I would let one in either

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#17 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 02:08 PM
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You are under no legal obligation to allow the assessor in your home

He can ask to be let in, and you can grant access but you do not have to
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#18 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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We have had assessors come to our house, but never inside. When they ask if they can come in, we just say no. It is totally your choice whether to let them in or not.
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#19 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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We had one come over when we bought our house, which was new. He counted rooms, bathrooms, checked to see if the basement was finished etc.
When I told my neighbour they were going around, he said "LFH they are coming in my house!":LOL and they never did go in. So I don't think you HAVE to let them in, what's the worst that can happen? They over/under charge you, I guess?
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#20 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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The assessors come in around here - it only takes a few minutes. You don't have to let them in, but if you don't, the county can make up their own assessment value and I don't want them doing that. I'd rather they see my house is a pit than assume it's really nice, lol!
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#21 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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I've let them in. It took about 2 minutes. It wasn't a big deal.
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#22 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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We haven't yet had anyone from the city- or hired by the city request a view of the interior of our home. All communication with the town government has been by phone, in person or by letter. They don't have our e-mail address.

The only person we have had come inside was an inspector hired by the bank to make sure we did certain repairs. It was quick and unintrusive.

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#23 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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I wish the assessor would come in my house. I'd show him the huge cracks in my walls, and the depression in my floor. He could see how our foundation is bad, and then adjust the assessment down. Well, I could hope, at least.
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#24 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 04:46 PM
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When I was a kid, it was well understood in our house that we were never to allow the local property appraiser into my parent's house. Why? Because the taxable value of their house was based, in part, on how many finished square feet of the house there was. When they moved in (the last time the assessor had been able to get in), the unfinished basement and attic didn't count towards the total square feet. My father subsequently built out the basement and attic himself, without obtaining building permits. Had he obtained the proper permits, this would have tipped off the property appraiser that there were x more square feet, y more bathrooms, etc., therefore the property was worth more and would be taxed accordingly.

My parents have been dodging the local property appraiser for decades now. The appraiser could care less if your walls are crumbling or what condition your house is in, they care that the interior features (square footage, number of bathrooms, etc.) match their records for assessment purposes.

On the other hand, whenever I refinance my house, I have to have a property appraiser come in and snap pictures. You bet I point out every last feature in my house (and make it photograph well so the bank doesn't laugh at me).
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#25 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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We had our property reassessed about a month ago. I didn't like it, but it wasn't worth fighting the town over. Yes, the assessor did come inside, but she was courteous about it. I told her our upstair bath was unusable (beginning a remodel), and she didn't even go up to check.
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#26 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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Because the taxable value of their house was based, in part, on how many finished square feet of the house there was. When they moved in (the last time the assessor had been able to get in), the unfinished basement and attic didn't count towards the total square feet. My father subsequently built out the basement and attic himself, without obtaining building permits.
In my state you can have a fully finished basement and it cannot be counted towards square footage. I don't know exactly why, but you can only count square footage above ground.
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#27 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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The only thing that came to my mind was to call your town (or whatever) and make sure they *do* routinely come in the house.

My first thought was someone trying to gain access (but that's because I've never heard of the town sending emails out...they send letters around here). But, I'm paranoid like that.
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#28 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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The appraiser could care less if your walls are crumbling or what condition your house is in,
They should care about that, actually, since it affects the what the house is worth. Some people in my neighborhood who have foundation problems were able to get their assessment reduced until they fix the foundation.
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#29 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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Our town is reassessing for property taxes (gotta pay for the new multi-million dollar high school somehow... ) and they came in last June. I didn't have a problem with it. We have done a lot of work on the house, but our taxes only went up a little. Basically they were checking for work done without a permit (easy to see if you have a finished basement and no record of it with the town) and if things were "old", "semi-modern" or "modern" (I live in an old town with old houses.) It only took five minutes.

We were told that if you did not let the assessor in they would tax you the higest rate for your size house in the township - and considering I live in a 4 bedroom on the cheap side of town and the other side is all 4 bedrooms over $500K, it behooved me to let him in.
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#30 of 41 Old 06-04-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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I've never heard of that being standard. My sis had them come in by request a few years back, when she was disputing the assessed value of her home. She got quite a bit knocked off, because while her house was in good condition, much of it was original to 1968 and hadn't been remodeled.
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