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Lower Your Property Taxes

In September we wrote about challenging property assessment taxes.  Today we came across an interview*** on the Today Show with real estate tycoon Barbara Corcoran talking about the same topic.  Why?

According to an industry trade group, more than 60 percent of U.S. homes are currently over-assessed as a result of falling home valuations and inaccurate county records.

X House & Gavel

Barbara makes the point that 30-40% of property assessments are inaccurate.  These are not malicious inaccuracies but errors or assumptions made on old information.  For instance, the three most common mistakes are:

A good example is the townhouse next door to us.  The previous owners turned the two bath, three bedroom upstairs into a one bath, two bedroom space.

Was that information accurately recorded for an adjustment on their assessment?  I don’t know and if I were my neighbors I wouldn’t count on it.  Instead, they should ask to see the ‘property card’ on their house.  This will tell them how the property was assessed and what comparables were used.

The other point that Barbara made was that physical (on site) assessments are not done every year and have not kept pace with the downturn in housing prices.  At the same time, cities and towns need revenue.  Guess who is likely to be caught in the middle?

For more information and help, check out the National Taxpayers Union.

And just a final side note, Barbara Corcoran also appears on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and is the one who made the wise decision to invest in Pork Barrel BBQ, coming soon to Del Ray!


***this interview actually ran in April 2010 but is still totally relevant in today’s market

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  1. Stephanie

    The City of Alexandria’s real estate assessments website has a function where you can look up your property and check several data fields online.

  2. Fred

    We challenged our 2009 property tax assessment in Alexandria and got it significantly reduced (about 15%). It helped that it was a recent purchase, so we had an assessment on hand, but we also used comparable sales.

  3. Michael Bergin


    What good news for you and for others. Appreciate your letting us know.


  4. Michael Bergin

    Stephanie –

    Good to know. Thanks for adding this information, I’ll see about incorporating it into our post.


  5. Pure Soap

    I like your post – great effort!

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