Is your property tax assessment too high?

In the 4th quarter of 2022, Santa Clara County home prices bottomed out after 6 months of interest rate hikes and sliding home values. The property tax assessment for many home owners on January 1st from the county tax assessor’s office may have been higher than market value for that day, depending on which comparable sales or comps that office used.

If your property tax assessment for this year came in a little higher than market value, you may be able to appeal that assessment.

 

Property tax assessment bill - the annual county tax assessor's office will issue the valuation to home owners on this card each September or October

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Appealing the property tax assessment

 

The county tax assessor’s office uses comparable sold properties, or comps, just like you or I would do, to try to determine the current market value of your home.  The comps used may or may not be the best or most realistic – they could be too dissimilar in size, location, or amenities, for instance.

If they aren’t good, you may be able to get your home’s assessed value, and hence the bill, reconsidered if you present better data and explain why your data is more accurate.

No one wants to see their property values depressed, but if it does happen, there may be a small silver lining: getting slightly lower property taxes, at least for a while.

 

How to appeal your property tax assessment

START HERE TO APPLY – you will find the prerequisites, the instructions, and the login to begin. (Have your comps ready!)

Information on appealing can be found on the county tax assessor’s office website.  This page has links and information on the process and procedures of appealing the valuation.

The appeal application form can be found here:  Assessment Appeal Application form

The folks in charge of the property tax assessment and appeal process, the review, and the hearing are:

Assessment Appeals Division
70 West Hedding Street
East Wing, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-5088
Fax: (408) 298-8460
Email: AssessmentAppeals@cob.sccgov.org

It’s actually very straightforward to appeal your property tax assessment: you simply complete the form and submit it online together with PDFs of your comparable sales to provide support for the lower valuation. The application form states at the end: “The request must contain the basis of your opinion of value. Please include comparable sales, cost, and income data where appropriate to support the value.”
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Buying a Silicon Valley condo? A few questions to ask!

What do you need to know if you’re buying a condominium in Silicon Valley?  Isn’t it simpler and easier than buying a house?

No, not really.

With a condo, you are buying not just the unit (or airspace) that you intend to occupy, you’re also buying a shared ownership in the common features.  This means, of course, that you are also buying into any potential liabilities.

Here are some questions to ask and areas to investigate when buying a San Jose area condo:

  • What is the percentage of owner occupied homes? (Too high of a ratio and buyers will have trouble purchasing with a loan, which means you could have trouble selling.)
  • Is there any litigation (lawsuits) ongoing?  Again, this can impact saleability.  Often newer condo units investigate any building problems around years 7-9 as there’s a 10 year statute of limitations for finding building errors, so younger homes that are just under 10 years of age could be involved in a lawsuit.
  • Is the complex professionally managed or managed by owners? (There will be implications for each.)
  • How much have the dues been going up each year?
  • How many home owners are currently in default on their HOA dues? (HOA dues are often skipped before distressed home owners default on their mortgage.) (more…)