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Harrison and Chesterfield Twp, ​Harper Woods

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Real Estate News and More Frequently Asked Questions

how to appeal your property taxes

Step 1: Go to your local assessor's office and obtain a copy of the field sheet on your home. This sheet will list the size of your home, the type of construction, special features, etc. It also contains other information such as style of your home, utilities, construction date and amenities. You will also need a report of similar properties sold which you can obtain from the assessors office or through me.

Step 2: Once you have the field sheet, carefully check it for errors. If there are any make sure to make notes. There should be a "percent good" calculation on your worksheet which shows you how much your home has depreciated. If you home is ten years old, it will be about 90%.

Step 3: Check to verify that your taxable value has not increased more than the allowable amount. Increases in taxable value are capped at the rate of inflation or 5% whichever is less until the property transfers or additions are added to your home. SEV is not capped but must reflect 5% of your property's true cash value. Either taxable value or SEV may be appealed to the Board of Review.

Step 4: As noted in step 2, the percent good is the way an assessor depreciates the value of a home based on its age. For this reason, normal issues common to all homes of that age are not considered in the specifics on the assessment. However, many homes have problems that are not associated with general aging. Examples might be cracked foundations, wall construction, and poor masonry. The impact of these problems on the value of the home should be specifically addressed. Therefore, it is necessary to perform a complete inside inspection of your home. Written repair estimates and photographs of structural damage are very good evidence of defects which could affect property value.

Step 5: Apply the real estate rule, Location, Location, and Location. If you live near a major road, landfill, business or industry, your home may be less desirable than the same home located in a purely residential neighborhood. You may live in a mixed zoning area, which include commercial, industrial, and residential property. You may have a well, septic system, or dirt road. Obtain copies of citizen complaints about area drug houses, rowdy party homes and neighborhood eyesores. Take photos and tape the noise. Their characteristics may have changed the value of your home and should be noted at the appeal review.

Step 6: If you recently purchased or refinanced your home, determine whether your purchase price or your appraisal is lower than your assessment. It's not a guarantee but it will help strengthen your case. A good strategy is to bring a presentation copy for yourself and for each of the board review members. You may only have about five minutes for your presentation so outline it in bullet form and always be as professional as possible.

Step 7: If you just purchased your home and items such as furniture, appliances or other similar items were included in the sale of the home, make sure that the assessors office is aware of these, as they should be exempt from the assessment. If you have not informed your assessor in writing about these items, they may erroneously be included in the value.

Step 8: Comparable property assessments are one of the most important tools for a property tax assessment appeal. If comparable properties are assessed lower than yours, you may argue that your property is over assessed. Make your comparable study by asking me for a report of sold properties of comparable assessed value, SEV and taxable value of homes similar to yours. This information can also be found at your local assessors office by request.

Step 9: The final step is to pull all of your information together and put it on paper to have ready for your review. Don't forget to put it in bullet form and present it as professionally as possible.

For help with your appeal, to request a report (steps 1 and 8) or to receive a sample appeal letter template go to and click on "Contact Lynn" and email me or call me at 586.294.5055 if you do not have access to a computer.

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