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Need help appealing a real estate assessment?
July 7, 2009 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Where to find data to appeal a real estate assessment?

My sister and I own a cabin & large plot of land in Pittsfield, Vermont. The town recently re-assessed all properties and we were (unpleasantly) surprised to see how much our property has sky rocketed in value. I'm not sure when the last assessment was, but based on tax records, its new assessed value is approximately 230% of its 2004 value and 150% of its 1008 value. The value is split around 60/40 between the land/house.

The town's new assessment is based on sales over the past 3 or 4 years. Total housing sales volume has dropped off in the last year, but according to the town, the few sales suggest prices haven't declined much.

Anyway, I want to make the case that our house and land aren't worth what they think they are.

Three points I'm basing my case on and corresponding questions:

1.) The house has not had renovations or anything but maintenance repairs the past two decades, unlike most houses sold during the past few years.

2.) The house does not have a reliable water supply (it has a well that has slowed to a trickle in the past two years).

3.) Most of the land has been enrolled in a land-use program since the previous assessment. This is somewhat of a complicated point-- it lowers our tax rate, but the land may never be developed without paying a substantial penalty.

Where can I find data that shows how an unimproved dwelling's value has changed over the past 4 years?

How does a lack of water affect a home's value?

How would a land-use program enrollment affect our land value?

I've tried using zillow and trulia to look for data, but haven't found any usable data.
posted by justkevin to Work & Money (3 answers total)
 
This story in the New York Times is focused on the nation as a whole, but it would be a good place to start research. According to the story, people who think their land has been assessed at too high a value have retained lawyers to fight the assessment; presumably, you would do the same thing in Vermont.
posted by dfriedman at 1:47 PM on July 7, 2009


There are real estate appraisers who specialize in this sort of thing. Depending on where you are, and what kind of property you are looking at, local appraisers may be the only source of data.
posted by 517 at 2:14 PM on July 7, 2009


"How does a lack of water affect a home's value?"

Approximately by the cost to drill a new well to good flow, assuming that can be done.
posted by Mitheral at 9:29 PM on July 7, 2009


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