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Property Tax Adjusters

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Socrates

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Got a letter from an outfit here in San Diego promising to reduce my property taxes. Here's how it works:

-They complete and evaluation of the assessed value
-They perform a market analysis
-Prepare the application and submit it to the Assessor
-Talk to the Assesor on your behalf and go to the Appeals Board if necessary.

All for the bargain basement price of $95.00!!

In looking at their website, I just about fell on my chair when I read the following in their FAQs section:

"I have a recent refi appraisal that indicates the value is the same as when I purchased, does that mean I cannot get a reduction?

Probably not. Firstly, the dates of the comparable sales are quite specific and may not at all coincide with the sale the refi appraiser used. Secondly, most refi appraisals try to substantiate the existing loan balances or increase the limits to allow enough value to get a new loan in place. While it is indeed an appraisal (estimate of value) its goal is to push the estimate as high as is reasonable, while our goal is almost just the opposite.​

Needless to say I sent an immediate letter to the website and the contact person indicating that the statement above is misleading to the consumer. I have checked for this person on the OREA and the Real Estate Board for CA and cannot find a license. I am sorry - this is a very scary state of affairs when something this misleading and incorrect can be advertised and this person is evidently still in business most probably without a license.

As I am not sure if we are allowed to post links, if anyone wants to check this out, please PM me. Or if someone can let me know if I can post it, I will.:new_multi:
 

Mike McCool

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
This was supposedly a scam letter that was being sent in our area too. It was mentioned in the news and local papers.
 

Stephen J. Vertin MAI

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Illinois
Katherine:

Welcome to the forum. You failed to mention if the author of the site was a licensed appraiser or not. I am not sure about California but many states do not require property tax adjusters (as you call them but have a variety of other names) to be licensed. While poorly written I believe the writer of the first sentence is claiming the date of the refinance appraisal may not be the same as the date of value of the tax appeal which is probably true. How do you read it? The second two sentences reflect what many people believe because of the poor players in the appraisal industry. While it does not reflect good the profession I fail to see how regulators would be interested. Is there some thing about the California system I am not aware of?
 
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Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Actually, in some staes, such as in Texas, you can register as a tax rep, pay the license fee, and do this stuff. They do it every day. Generally, they charge 25% of the tax reduction. Appraisers and real estate agents don't have to register as tax reps, covered under other licenses.
 

Elliott

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Oregon
Katherine,

Unlicensed people can say/email/claim anything.

Us little appraisers are suppose to be ethical.

I'm not in CA, but I haven't done a board of equalization issue in
10 years. It just doesn't happen in states with 'tax limitation'
in place. But it should be profitable for gypsys, tramps and
thieves (no offense intended to gypsys or tramps).
 

Jim Mallon

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
California
It should be noted that, while this firm's promise to represent a homeowner at an appeal hearing may have some value, in California there is NO CHARGE to request that the Assessor review your assessed value. Our county assessor just ran an ad in the newspaper informing property owners of this fact.

There are a lot of companies out there that prey on unsuspecting homeowners by charging them a fee to file paperwork and review applications that can be filed by the property owner for free.

We're going to see a lot of this in the coming months, but don't be fooled: You don't have to pay anyone to request an assessment review (or to file an appeal, for that matter) in the state of California. It's free.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Secondly, most refi appraisals try to substantiate the existing loan balances or increase the limits to allow enough value to get a new loan in place. While it is indeed an appraisal (estimate of value) its goal is to push the estimate as high as is reasonable, while our goal is almost just the opposite.
unfortunately, that is the goal of way too many appraisers. USPAP screws appraisers out of doing tax reduction work and working as an advocate. To advocate, you have to eschew the appraisal. Then you still cannot be rewarded for the bucks you save someone. So non-appraisers HAVE TO do it...another source of income dried up.

I can and do consult on tax reduction. I have a 100% batting average. I am not wasting the time of the BOE or myself to try and get an undeserved deduct. But having said that the typical assessor works in a mass appraisal world where you are shooting flies with a 12 guage. I find innumerable mistakes in assessor work. Eff. ages less than 1/3rd the actual age, "average" condition where serious defects are obvious. The assessors typically change the actual grade of dwellings, jacking the quality up a notch or two. Leads to serious over-appraisals especially on rural property and large older homes.
 

Socrates

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Thank you Terry - this was my point EXACTLY. His statement is misleading about how an appraisal is completed for a refinance.

The assessor here in San Diego has made appeals through the media encouraging those who purchased their homes in the last year to 2 years to submit information to his office if they believe their value has dropped below the assessed value. He specifically advised that an appraisal is not needed, listings or other information will suffice.

The fellow who authored the letter is not an appraiser - I searched his name via the OREA website. I have learned since my post that he was chanced out of LA and Orange counties following several complaints.

My irritation came with his very misleading statement regarding how a refinance appraisal is completed.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Here's the unvarnished truth about the tax assessors. They are under tremendous pressure from tax jurisdictions NOT to cut values. A survey of Dallas County appeals found that when individuals went in, they seldom got a tax cut. Conversely, when they hired a tax rep, the great majority got a tax cut. Sure, you don't have to pay someone. You also don't have to get a tax cut.

Now, as to USPAP. You are NOT acting as an appraiser. Therefore, you are not under USPAP. You are acting as a consultant. If you want to try to deal with USPAP, that's your decision. If you want to listen to people who don't understand the business tell you how to run your business, that's your decision. Just my two cents.
 

Jim Mallon

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
California
Here's the unvarnished truth about the tax assessors. They are under tremendous pressure from tax jurisdictions NOT to cut values.

Well, I am one of four commercial property appraisers for a California county assessor and I can state -- unequivocally -- I have never, ever been pressured to inflate a value, nor have I ever been dissuaded from appraising a property at whatever value I determine is the Fair Market Value. This is a common public suspicion, and I can't speak for every jurisdiction, but from where I sit, it's simply not true.
In fact, in our county, the assessor has been pushing very hard to make it clear that property assessment reductions are a taxpayer's legal right in a down market, and we are unilaterally (meaning the property owners don't even have to ask) reviewing the values of every property purchased in the county since about January 1, 2006. We are expecting to reduce assessments on at least 10,000 separate properties this year; it could be as many as 20- or even 25,000.
Sorry if I seem a little touchy about the "unvarnished truth" stated above, but I have to defend my honor. It just ain't so where I come from.
 
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