How to Appeal Your Birmingham, AL Property Taxes

I looked at some appraisals I recently completed and found that 7 out of 10 homes were over assessed.  Property taxes are based on the market value of your home and the market value of your home is determined by looking at what other homes have sold for in your area.  If your home has not been assessed within the past year, the assessment may reflect its value from several years ago when sales were higher.  You can find out what it is assessed at by looking at the notice you get in the mail that is sent out each year, around late spring to early summer.  If you think your home is assessed too high, there are several things you can do:

  • Look around the neighborhood at homes that may be for sale, active listings usually set the upper limit of value.
  • Find out what they are listed at.  If your home is assessed at a higher amount than what they are listed for, then that is a red flag for your homes assessment.
  • Try to find out what homes have actually sold for in your neighborhood.  You can do this by going to the courthouse, looking online at the count tax assessor’s website, or using al.com, since they have a search feature to find out about sales.  Sometimes word of mouth is not a reliable way to get this information.
  • Once you have determined that your home may be over assessed you can then go about attempting to get it lowered.

The first step to getting it reassessed is to call the tax assessor and let them know you believe that your home is assessed higher that it should be.  This should be done within the 30 day time period after you receive your notice.  You will be given an appointment to talk with someone about your property taxes.  This is a good time to get your information together so that you can “plead your case”.  You may want to start with just some sales information such as county records or MLS printouts of recent sales.  You will not know if this is sufficient until some time after the meeting (could be weeks).  If the basic sales information does not win you the case you may need to get a full Fannie Mae appraisal to provide support for your request.  In doing all of this you need to determine if the costs involved in getting this done will be offset by the tax savings.  How long you plan on living in your home will also need to be examined because if you are planning on moving soon, the costs may not be recouped before you move.

I offer two levels of service to aid in getting support for the tax appeal.  These include the following:

  • I can provide sales information to the homeowner to give to the tax assessor to show them that other homes are selling for a lower amount (this does not include an estimate of value), or
  • I can provide a full Fannie Mae appraisal which gives a minimum of three closed sales to support the claim that the subject property’s market value is less than the county assessment.

This information cannot guarantee you that your taxes will be lowered, however it will give you market supported evidence to argue your point.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on facebook.

Comments

  1. Ah, yes, the tax assessors office trying to make up gaps in the revenue stream.

    I hope you have a lot of locals fight their tax assessments! You’ve given very good advice.

  2. Wow, 7 out of 10 homes were over assessed. This is good information every homeowner should know that lives in the markets you cover.

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