Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Property Assessments

I happen to sit on the Property Assessment Review Panel #611 - Greater Victoria Residential. It concerns me that a lot of people come before us and are not properly prepared, so I thought I would muse on how to best present your appeal to PARP.

1) Just because a neighbours assessment is low does not give the panel any reason to lower your assessment. The mandate for the panel is to rule on what the sale price for a property would have been on July 1. The panel is looking at your property and not your neighbours.

2) Find sales of homes that are like your home and submit this as evidence. BC Assessment will come forward with 3 to 5 sales that they think are comparable. You can bring in more - find ones that show your case. An appellant with 3 good comparable sales has a strong case.

3) Investigate the details of the comparables BC Assessment will be using - understand how they are the same and how they are different to your home.

4) Review the BC Assessment information on your property - an assessor can have 10 000 properties and therefore the data they have on your home may not be correct. Letting the assessor look at your home will often lead to them making changes to the files.

5) State and condition of your home - this is a factor that can matter. We evaluate a house based on what it was like on October 31st. If your home needs work and it was not done on Oct 31, explain the state and condition. Best is coming in with estimates for how much it will cost to fix the problem.

6) The panel looks at the total value of an assessment - not at either the land or the improvements. The panel first determines the full package value and will then consider how to apportion it. Saying, "I am happy with the value of the land but would like you to only look at the building value" is an argument that will not go far. What you need to say is "My assessment is too high and I feel should reduce it and take the value off of the house"

7) Consider logical adjustments that you would have to make to a comparable sale to make it equal to your house. How much is your street worth, your neighbourhood, how your house is laid out etc...... Assign dollar values to this and see how it all comes out. In a rising market, as Victoria was for the last few years, sales before July 1 are increased to reflect the market increase each month.
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