With the average DeKalb County home value dropping 6 percent, it is essential that homeowners know how to appeal their new appraisal notices to ensure their tax bill is correct. In unincorporated parts of the county, the average drop was 8 percent.
On May 29, the Board of Tax Assessors mailed new appraisals, notifying owners if their residence or business has increased or lost value. Some property values will remain consistent, but many lost value. Some will see an inflated value that will require correction.
Why do these values matter if you are not planning to sell your home? The short answer is they impact how much you will pay on your tax bill. The county computes your bill by multiplying the millage rate by your property’s assessed value minus any exemptions. The assessed value is 40 percent of the appraised value.
While it may seem like a small move of the needle in terms of value, an appeal could mean extra money in your pocket. With unemployment still hovering at 9.7 percent in DeKalb, every dollar our families pay counts.
That’s why it is important that each property owner carefully inspect their notices.
There are two opportunities when you can appeal a new appraisal:
n If your new value is greater than the fair market value, or
n If your value is greater than comparable homes in your neighborhood.
It only takes a few minutes of research online to find the values of your neighbors’ property at http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/propertyappraisal/. To determine if your property is fairly assessed, look at other homes of similar age, square footage, lot sizes and amenities.
If your property has dropped a great deal from last year’s value and is not consistent with similar homes in your area, you may want to appeal your assessment. Act quickly – appeals must be filed within 45 days from when the notice is mailed or before mid-July.
Complicating the values in many neighborhoods is a record number of foreclosures. As of last month, there were more than 6,630 homes in foreclosure in DeKalb, according to RealtyTrac, which uses statewide data. That means that one in every 346 housing unit in DeKalb is under foreclosure.
These defaults not only effect appraisals and market prices in our neighborhoods, but impact the entire county’s net worth.
For example, last month Clarkston was ranked among the 10 cities in Georgia that saw the largest sales price drop: 16.3 percent, according to RealtyTrac. The average sale price for a home was $64,730.
These drastic drops have impacted our entire county, leaving many with a property appraised much higher than we could ever make on a sale in today’s market. Do your homework. If you have a case, think about filing an appeal.
Elaine Boyer represents District 1 on the DeKalb Board of Commissioners.