Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:02 am

So far here's the run down. Our original assessment was so far off it was ridiculous. For starters the square footage was wrong on both buildings on this lot. The larger building was off by more than 700 sq. ft but even more ridiculous a 1000 sq. ft. home was inflated by 100% to 2000 sq. ft. I can understand mistakes but mistakes of thet magnitude is only be labeled incompetent.

Our original informal appeal ended with them not adjusting to what it was worth primarily because the square footage was wrong. We declined the offer and were informed they would send someone to remeasure the property. We requested to be called but "They don't do that". The house in the back cannot be measured from the road.

So comes Fall and we go to the formal appeal, No one ever came to measure the property.... Told again someone will have to remeasure the property and Again told "They don't do that" as far as calling ahead even after we told them you cannot measure this building without trespassing and as the back gate is usually locked they would have no access regardless. In any event someone did come but they were walking around in my backyard taking pictures which I'm not exactly happy about. Having said that they got the right measurements so be it...

Finally the other day our final reassessment has arrived, keep in mind this process was supposed to be complete in October. They finally have the right dimensions however there is many discrepancies when comparing this house to even two other houses directly across the street. We're all on corner lots. First and foremost is the lot value.

    Ours - .12 acres $38,400
    Neighbor- .19 acres $27,600
    Neighbor- .12 acres $25,700


As you can see we have some big inconsistencies here but lets concentrate on the .19 acre lot. This is directly across the street from my house. There frontage on the main street is about triple what ours is. the lot is longer along the main road than it is deep. It takes up fully almost what 4 houses do on the other side... I'd imagine this would increase the value if anything. The other house on the other corner with the same acreage as ours is about the very same thing as ours in every way. Same street frontage and depth. I'll also add part of our lot on the one side is a common driveway that is all but useless to us because of the house configurations, We could not use it if we wanted, nothing but dead space we can't do anything with or use.

Lastly the guy on the .19 acre lot has a brick building that is newer construction from the 60's. Our house was built at the turn of the century and is clad in aluminum siding sometime in the very early 70's. Nice stuff actually because it's very thick, shhhhhhhhhhhh. However it has been banged up in spots over the years and was just recently painted. The brick building has a C+ rating for "Style / Quality Grade" while ours has a rating of B..... :roll:

This rating can have a significant impact on the buildings assessed value so although I could agree with the values they have given the two homes on our lot it's most certainly not fair especially when you consider the lot value discrepancies. Lot values should under no circumstances change if they are across the street with about the same attributes. If anything ours should be reduced becsue of the land we have lost due to the common driveway.

Frankly I feel screwed, we've finally have document with the correct square footage but the only place we can appeal now is to the courts. This reassessment has been nothing but a sham from the start and the people of Luzerne County should be infuriated.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:28 am

We are going thru it Right Now! They are going to 100% assessment, they were supposed to do the pictures and write ups and submit them to the homeowners, haven't seen anything since the meetings last Aug/Sept? can't remember. It has to be completed by Mar 1? or so....

i have already gotten docked for my new garage last year, my assessed value went up $13,000!! But, that's about what I spent on it, so I am not complaining, YET. We also paid well under fair market value since it was a foreclosure (the bank really wanted to sell it, it was empty over a year), so, we will probably get screwed anyway. :(

We are already paying almost $4000/yr in taxes!!! We pay more for Taxes & Insurance then our house payment!! Sucks.

The couple towns around us just went thru this, and many got screwed big time, they compared the houses to BIG CITY Prices (ya right!), since that is who they hired to do the re-assessments and adjusted them accordingly. WHAT? :(
WNY
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: billw On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:35 am

I agree Richard. There has not been anybody I know of in Luzerne county that got an even break. My taxes doubled. I started looking at the comparables in my neighborhood and they were all the similarly assessed so I didn't appeal. Those that did appeal have had their assessments reduced by 30-40% so now I have to wait a year and appeal individually.

Now note that I said I did not file an appeal. I have received letters from the appeals board on two occassions that stated based on my appeal my property value stayed the same. The assessment company is being paid additional money to handle appeals which means the county is being billed for appeals that did not happen!!! I saved them and intend to write a letter and send copies of these bogus appeals decisions to the County commissioners. How many bogus appeals is the county paying for? This assessment company should be sued out of business at the very least.

This entire reassessment was a joke from day one. How can anyone claim before the process starts that 1/3 of the properties will go up in value, 1/3 stay the same and 1/3 go down? If the assessment is based on fair market value nobody could make that determination until after the data is gathered.
billw
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:31 pm

Well i think when you have 3 lots at the same intersection with inconsistencies as I pointed out then it hasn't been done properly. I'm sure the values could change slighly according to different factors even that close together but not by that margin. I'll epasize for practical reason they are all about the same especially the one that is the same size.

I'm looking at the lot value of prominent local attorney here that lives down the street... Riverfront property..

0.53 acres............ $33,300

That's like almost 5 times the size of our lot and it's river front. Granted maybe .2 at the most is unbuidable as I'm sure that includes the land across the street on the river bank side but obviously it's worth more than our lot but even if you subtract that land you still have a much larger lot in a more desirable location.

.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: U235a4 On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:48 pm

WOW..... my house cost me $771 in taxes a year for 2 acres and 3500SqFt and my 6 acre lot is around $200. Altho I have heard that area is very corrupt politicaly
U235a4
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:05 pm

The reassessment was sorely needed as they have not done one since the 60's so there is undoubtedly people paying too much and others not paying enough. The issue is they have not accomplished the goal of leveling the playing field. I've pointed out before if there is so many issues with people complaining about over assessed property values then there most certainly is many people with under assessed values. Essentially the tax payers have wasted 8 million dollars.

As far as corruption that is an understatement, it's coming to head though as many allegations have made quite public in the last year and investigations are being conducted by multiple federal agencies involving multiple elected officials and appointed employees up to an including judges. Everyone is just waiting for the axe to fall and I suspect it's going to fall very hard on many of these people.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: lincolnmania On: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:48 am

it's nuts.........my parents pay more property taxes on a half acre lot with a 1800 sq foot house couple miles from reading than we do here for a 3.65 acre commercial property up here on the coal........my parents yearly property taxes are slowly approaching what they paid for the house in 1968
lincolnmania
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: Freddy On: Fri Jan 09, 2009 7:19 am

Stand your ground and keep going forward. Taxes are public record, when you get to the judge, show him the taxes on the properties across the street & ask how they justify yours as more. Try to make sure those properties have been re-evaluated at the same time as yours. If yours has been done & theirs not, it won't count. (not that it'll count anyway).

I've appealed and won at different times in my life. I'll do an upgrade, they access it too high, I appeal. They say "tough", & I say "Property is not art. An artist can take $5 worth of canvas and $5 worth of paint & make a million dollar painting, but a structures value is materials plus workmanship. Here are all the receipts for materials, here is a log of the hours it took. Pay the carpenter $20 an hour, the electrician $32 an hour, and the plumber $45 an hour. The total is 32% lower than the value you assigned. To get to your value, the city would be paying the carpenters $ 51.30 an hour. IF the city is paying those wages, then please, let me assessment stand give me a job application". I've done that basic thing three times in my life. Each time they have some comeback like "You didn't take into account if you hired someone they would make a profit on the materials", BUT, each time they dropped my assessment big time.

In your case it's not improvements, I'd do the comparison and see how they explain it.

Here values have been 100% assessment for years, the taxed value is truly about what places sell for, but the taxes remain fairly low. When assessment goes up, tax rate per thousand comes down.

If you sold your house, would you get more than $33,000? What is the mil rate? (tax per thousand dollars of value?)
Freddy
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:42 am

Freddy wrote:Stand your ground and keep going forward. Taxes are public record, when you get to the judge, show him the taxes on the properties across the street & ask how they justify yours as more.


It's in the hands of lawyer now as it's worth the investment because ....


If you sold your house, would you get more than $33,000? What is the mil rate? (tax per thousand dollars of value?)


That's for the lot Freddy, buildings not included. I listed the lot values because you quantify that with acreage. Land is land, at least in this case because of the close proximity and similarities. As you can see they are all over the place on three properties right next to each other. The one lot is the same size, the other is 50% larger and both are assessed more than $10,000 less than ours. That is something that really has me dumbfounded, I've looked at other properties as well and they are all over the place and there is no justification for the differences.. Certainly if you have two lots the exact same dimensions across from one another they should be the same value. There is no significant difference between the lot I listed that is the same size as ours except we have that common driveway that we cannot use so it most certainly should be less if anything.

The assessment value should be 100% of a few years ago when they started this process. I'm not sure what the new millage is but they had to lower that significantly since the old millage was based on 1960's values. Having said that the taxes on this property would have doubled if the assessed value had stuck.

This has been nothing but a show of incompetence from the start. The very fact that the buildings on this property were estimated nearly 2000 sq. footage more that what they should have been is a pretty clear example of that. Since this process has started we have not even seen or talked to anyone looking at this property. Granted to keep costs down they couldn't schedule appointments but at the very least they could have given people a day that the person was going to be there. Instead these people were walking around guessing.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: WNY On: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:00 pm

Just got my tax bill, my Full Market Value is almost $25,000 higher then my total Assessed Value? Does that make sense?

Uniform Percent of Value is 78.00
WNY
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: ray in ma On: Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:22 pm

WNY wrote:Just got my tax bill, my Full Market Value is almost $25,000 higher then my total Assessed Value? Does that make sense?

Uniform Percent of Value is 78.00


Ya that's their way of trying to make you feel better.

Full market value is what the assessor think you could get for it if you sold or what a commercial appraiser would set the value at if you were re-financing. Since this is a guestamate they usually assess for lower by a percentage unless it has sold in the last 18 months. If they do an actual Fair Market Assessment, they are supposed to compare to at least 3 comparable houses. Same lot size, same Sqf., same age, same amenities etc. Sometimes they look at the insured value also (if they are lazy) and claim that's fair market.

By the way at least we know we are getting screwed in Taxachusetts and have accepted as a way of life.

I really can't complain though I owned a condo in Worcester before we bought this house. My real estate value (property and buildings) over tripled while the taxes doubled. I am still in one of the more reasonable towns as far a taxes are concerned and the school system is decent. Of course most of the municipal departments are staffed with volunteers and part time employees but there is nothing wrong with that.
ray in ma
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: BinghamtonNY On: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:04 pm

We're going to 100% value right now. They've gone around to all the properties in the town and I just recieved my assessment notification. I bought my house for 164,000. It's new assessed value is 297,000. Taxes are slated to more than double. What the hell is going on here.. Trust me, nobody would pay more than 175 at best for this place, it's 69 years old and mostly original. New replacement windows and roof but nothing to justify 297,000. I"M SO PISSED OFF RIGHT NOW!!!!
BinghamtonNY
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: TimV On: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:37 pm

Binghamton.....Someone should tell the NYS acessors that property vales have fallen like rocks and as such tax evaluations must also drop .If the law says they can go up it also has to say they have to go down....But dont hold your breath waiting for it to happen
TimV
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:43 pm

Yes, they want us to go to 100% too! I can't complain, we paid a little more than 1/2 the current fair market value for it (it was a Foreclosure and sat vacant for over a year), so we are going in the right direction!! :)
WNY
 
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Re: Luzerne County Reassessment Fair... NOT!

PostBy: BinghamtonNY On: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:34 pm

I would just like to have my value close to what we paid for this place.The sellers even had an assessment before they sold to get an idea of value. I'm just gonna drink my whiskey and watch the Daytona truck race tonight. Tomorrow I'll begin my research and fight this. -Ryan
BinghamtonNY
 
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