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Old 01-23-2012, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Virginia
353 posts, read 474,397 times
Reputation: 200
Default Think I want to fight 2012 Loudoun Assessment

So, 2012 assessments are out. Might submit an appeal. We are by far the smallest house on our street but pay the highest per square foot tax amount when comparing SF to assessment. Maybe that is not the right way to look at it.

Can someone shed some light on how it works here in Virginia. I called the assessor's office to see how they factor in basements, which ours does not have. Was told they just include the finished SF in the value...not the total SF.

What factors should I be looking at to see if it is fair. EXAMPLE: Direct neighbor's house sold this year....his new numbers come out to $198/SF. Ours....$217/SF. His house bigger by about 400+ SF (no basement). Upgrades are probably a wash between the two. All lot sizes are about the same.

House right around the corner is similar in style to ours with mostly finished basement. Based strictly on county website numbers, they are paying on $159/SF assessment if I include the 936 SF of finished basement.

So, what's the deal when it comes to assessments and do I have a chance?
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,396 posts, read 1,570,085 times
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I think this is something that alot of people who are not in land development confront. In land development and tax assessment the value of the house has very little to do with the sticks and bricks of a unit and much more to do with the land it sits on. In other jurisdictions where the material cost of the structure might constitute more of its worth you may not see this. In an area where land costs even in the exurbs exceed one million dollars per acre in many cases, the material cost of 100 or 200k for a contractor to create an exact replica of what you currently have, has much less of an effect.

So to your question, the likely reason that your psf tax assessment is so much higher than your neighbors is because of the fact that you have less square footage. If the difference in the total land assessment is nothing because both lots are the same size, lets say worth 500k both. Then the house assessment (a much smaller value than most people actually think), is 150 and 200k between you and your neighbor. Well the difference is only a 650k and 700k assessment. Now you said your house is smaller than your neighbors, well if your house is only 75% the size of your neighbors (based on the assessment ratio above), then the ratio of your square footage in comparison to the ratio of your assessments is far different in percent difference. This is the cause of your high psf assessment ratio.

Again, as a land developer/civil engineer, I do alot of these analyses and the price of a unit is all about location location location and very little to do with how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, and almost nothing to do with marketable features such as flooring and finishes. This is the reason why a 2 br townhouse in Arlington sitting on 5000 sf can be assessed for 950k while a 6 bedroom mansion on half an acre in Purceville is assessed for 450k.
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:16 AM
 
Location: the hometown of the 21st century
2,287 posts, read 2,030,344 times
Reputation: 773
Quote:
Originally Posted by GCPA View Post
So, 2012 assessments are out. Might submit an appeal. We are by far the smallest house on our street but pay the highest per square foot tax amount when comparing SF to assessment. Maybe that is not the right way to look at it.

Can someone shed some light on how it works here in Virginia. I called the assessor's office to see how they factor in basements, which ours does not have. Was told they just include the finished SF in the value...not the total SF.

What factors should I be looking at to see if it is fair. EXAMPLE: Direct neighbor's house sold this year....his new numbers come out to $198/SF. Ours....$217/SF. His house bigger by about 400+ SF (no basement). Upgrades are probably a wash between the two. All lot sizes are about the same.

House right around the corner is similar in style to ours with mostly finished basement. Based strictly on county website numbers, they are paying on $159/SF assessment if I include the 936 SF of finished basement.

So, what's the deal when it comes to assessments and do I have a chance?
What was the breakdown between land/building in your assessment?

What is your family's lot size compared to others on your street?
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Virginia
353 posts, read 474,397 times
Reputation: 200
So, I guess what you are saying....if I factor out the value of the land and just use the value of the building and get a per square foot assessment that way, that figure should be in the ballpark as other neighbors. Not looking for exact.....just closer.

I get the fact that assessments vary by location....I can see that when you compare Sterling-Cascades, to Sterling-Sugarland, to Sterling-Sterling Park. I just want to make sure I am paying what's fair with those directly around me since we are all in a similar boat so to speak.

Let me do some more homework and see.

Thanks for the answer.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 14,886,656 times
Reputation: 42329
Certain locations on a street are also more valuable than others. Or so I've heard, anyway. For example, the lot that backs to a busy road will be less valuable than the lot at the end of the same street that backs to a large wooded area, even if the lots are the same size.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Taxmanistan
4,129 posts, read 3,758,347 times
Reputation: 1956
Arlington's are baffling as well. Our street has houses that were built by one builder in 1939-41 and by another builder a few years later, just after the war. The former group has lots that are all assessed at exactly the same value, even though they are different sizes. The latter group, despite being *across the street,* has a different assessed land value. (The schools are the same.)

And then we have two neighbors who recently did major expansions on their homes. One house is proabably another 1,000 square feet larger than ours. And yet their "improvement" value (the value of the house, not the land) is less than ours! The other neighbor's house (improvement value, not land) was assessed at $25,000 less than ours, which is just crazy. That house is been completely renovated and has at least one more bedroom.

We're not going to contest it, though, because I know that it wouldn't lower our values; it would just screw over our neighbors. And we like these neighbors.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 01-24-2012 at 12:56 PM..
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Virginia
353 posts, read 474,397 times
Reputation: 200
So I've done my homework. If I just look at building value and square footage, we all come out about the same assessment per foot give or take a few bucks. Those with basements must be valued with some adjustment because they are out of whack compared to those without basements. Not going to worry about it.

It just seems like our own assessment has been going up in BIG chunks these past 3 years compared to those around us but I guess it really doesn't matter in the end. If the county wants more money, they will just increase the rate. Lower assessment/increase rate. They are going to get their money one way or another.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:51 PM
 
2,528 posts, read 5,033,349 times
Reputation: 820
why fight a low assesment? You want to pay more taxes?
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
169 posts, read 181,661 times
Reputation: 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
why fight a low assesment? You want to pay more taxes?
I think you need to reread the thread.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Aldie, VA
199 posts, read 361,839 times
Reputation: 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Certain locations on a street are also more valuable than others. Or so I've heard, anyway. For example, the lot that backs to a busy road will be less valuable than the lot at the end of the same street that backs to a large wooded area, even if the lots are the same size.
I can understand that from a selling perspective...but do they go to that level of detail in a county assessment?
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