CFAH

A plugged-in reader reports:

So a year late and quite a few dollars short the Assessor’s office granted my informal request for review and lowered my 09/10 assessed value by 25.7% from the “Prop 13 Base Year Value”. So after saying my place gained value from Feb 2007 to January 2008 they now say it dropped at least 25% from January 08 to January 09 (and 22.7% from when I purchased it).

Once again, the average granted reduction for 2008/09 was 11.5%. And the San Francisco Tax Assessor’s tally for 2009/10 adjustments should be out soon. Tipsters?
UPDATE: Additional history with respect to the subject property, a 2/1 condo in District 6.
Average Granted Assessed Value Reduction In San Francisco: 11.5% [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Rillion

    Couple of additional details, I had requested a 14% reduction from the Prop 13 value for 09/10, so after denying my request last year, they not only granted it this year but almost doubled the requested reduction. One thing that I think contributed to it being granted this time was I was able to find a lot more and better ‘comps’ this year then I was in 2008. Last time I could only find one small 2bd/1ba condo in [D6] that sold. This time there were several that I was able to use.

  2. Posted by Can't Say

    I had the exact opposite thing happen to me. Last year, they denied my original informal assessment within a few days of submitting it. I then filed a formal assessment and after stalling for several months, they granted me a 10% reduction. This year, I filed another informal appeal, and they got back this past week – saying my originally assessed value was fair. In other words, my tax base has now increased by 12%. To make matters worse, they said that it’s now too late to file a formal appeal, and that I’m stuck with the increased assessment….WTF?!
    Needless to say, I’m pretty fired up and preparing to go toe to toe with Phil Ting and his team. I don’t think they even look at these things half of the time. With that said, I wonder what district the OP was in. 25% is a huge drop in value. From what I’ve seen in my hood (in D5), 10-15% is about the average drop since early ’07.
    [Editor’s Note: See comment above, apparently a 2/1 condo in [District 6].]

  3. Posted by Trip

    Congrats Rillion! That is a really good result, and some smart work on your part — and some decent money right back in your pocket.
    I’d be curious to see some stats on re-assessment requests. I have a suspicion that relatively few recent SF buyers would even seek them because that would require a coming to terms with the fact that property values have fallen significantly. Just about everyone who bought from 2006-2008 should be entitled to a lower assessment, and many who bought in 2004 and 2005. May as well go get it.

  4. Posted by Rillion

    Can’t Say – Good luck but I think you are hosed. The info and forms all state that if you wanted to file a formal appeal you had to do so by Sept 15th. Last year there was no way I was going to do that as my expected savings would have been less then the cost of getting a professional appraisal and the filing fees. I strongly considered it this year since there were more comps I could find myself, I even printed out the formal appeal form. But I left for vacation on September 10th and did not get around to filing before I left. So I got lucky that they granted it because otherwise I would be in the same boat as you (unable to file a formal appeal).
    Still I have been very disappointed with the Assessor’s Office overall.

  5. Posted by Rillion

    Whoops my bad, I always mess up the Districts. It is a D6 condo, not D5.

  6. Posted by Rillion

    Trip – It was interesting, the mixed emotions when I got the response. I was glad that I would be saving a nice chunk of money on my property taxes but it was still a bit shocking and distressing to see the lower value written on an official document.

  7. Posted by Jimbo in SF

    Anyone know what are the advantages of putting your house into a trust and if you did this right now while the market is low, would that ‘lock in’ a lower valuation for property tax reasons?

  8. Posted by mkk

    I have my informal appeal hearing on November 19th. Does anyone have tips on how to handle the hearing? It’s the first time I’ve done this. The property is a D9 3-unit building purchased in late 2006.

  9. Posted by Trip

    Again, kudos to taking the smart financial route. I’m quite certain my place is also down 20+% in the last couple of years. The tax issues are not relevant for me since we bought quite a while ago, but the mark-to-market impact is the same, and I’ve accounted for the “hit” for investment asset allocation purposes. The smart move is to make the best of it, as you’ve done.
    Jimbo in SF — there can certainly be some estate-planning benefits to putting your house and other assets in a trust. But it’s not going to affect property tax assessments. If the Bush estate tax revisions are not extended past 2010, when they all magically disappear without further action, estate planning will become much more important. Not my area of law, though, and I can’t provide any detailed thoughts. Our tax people are quite busy on these issues.

  10. Posted by Michael E

    A few questions for SS readers. If the assessor grants you a reduction on your assessed value for 09/10, is it permanent? Can the assessor come back and change it for any reason – for 09/10 and then in the future? Or is the newly assessed value the baseline from which taxes will grow in the future at the Prop 13 rate of increase? As you might have guessed, I’m a bit confused.

  11. Posted by flaneur

    No, they revert it back the next year – as I found out. It’s a yearly fight.

  12. Posted by anon

    “I have my informal appeal hearing on November 19th. Does anyone have tips on how to handle the hearing?”
    Just don’t show up in Armani and park your BMW 531i a few blocks away. Sobbing may help also. We bitter renters can’t wait to give a poor home ‘owner’ another big tax break.

  13. Posted by J

    ^ At least for Alameda county, it is only for 1 year. Next year, you need to file another request.

  14. Posted by Can't Say

    “Good luck but I think you are hosed. The info and forms all state that if you wanted to file a formal appeal you had to do so by Sept 15th.”
    I’m kind of venting here, but the policy makes no sense. How can they possibly expect you to file a formal appeal until they give you a decision informally? I gave them five months to repond and ironically they wait until a week or two after the “deadline” to respond. In Santa Clara, the assessor had a backlog of informals and actually automatically filed formal appeals for anyone who hadn’t received an answer in time….and they waived the fee! Of course, it woudld be too much like right for SF to follow suit.
    Honestly, I don’t even care about the extra $1K in taxes. I’m more just pissed at the shady tactics of Ting and his office. Ridiculous!

  15. Posted by mkk

    In SF as well, you have to reapply every year, according to the literature. Your baseline isn’t changed.
    I’m lacking an Armani suit and I’ll be taking the bus to the hearing, so I guess I am at least covered there.

  16. Posted by InfinityBuyer

    Can anyone shed light on what happens in the formal appeal process? I submitted our paperwork (with appropriate comps) by Sept 15th but have yet to hear anything. Will I be required to attend in person? It was not clear in the paperwork.

  17. Posted by Mikey

    I just got my informal assessment back–23% reduction from base value! (it’s a 1/1)

    I’d be curious to see some stats on re-assessment requests. I have a suspicion that relatively few recent SF buyers would even seek them because that would require a coming to terms with the fact that property values have fallen significantly.

    That’s crazy talk. Owners, ESPECIALLY owners who have lost “value” will seek an assessment. That’s why the assessors office was so backed up. I appealed my assessment on another condo every year from about 2001-2005 and got it reduced every year. I saved thousands.
    A few questions for SS readers. If the assessor grants you a reduction on your assessed value for 09/10, is it permanent? Can the assessor come back and change it for any reason – for 09/10 and then in the future? Or is the newly assessed value the baseline from which taxes will grow in the future at the Prop 13 rate of increase?
    That’s how it has worked before, but if I read the insert that was sent with my new assessment correctly, it sounds like they are going to automatically review assessments that were reduced in 2009/2010:
    “Q5: I RECEIVED A REDUCTION FOR 2009-2010. DO I HAVE TO REFILE AN INFORMAL REVIEW FOR 2010-2011?
    No. If you received a temporary reduction for 2009-2010, the Assessor will automatically review your property’s 2010-2011 assessed value as of the January 1, 2010 lien date.”
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/assessor_page.asp?id=110961

  18. Posted by mkk

    When you say you “got your informal assessment back”, what does that mean? Did you go in for the hearing?
    I applied for an informal assessment, and now I have a hearing date. Maybe not everyone has to have a hearing?

  19. Posted by Mikey

    When you say you “got your informal assessment back”, what does that mean? Did you go in for the hearing?
    I applied online for an informal review months ago (which don’t have hearings). I JUST heard back, which is lame, as someone pointed out above. If I wasn’t happy with the outcome, it’d be too late to appeal it.

  20. Posted by sf

    “How can they possibly expect you to file a formal appeal until they give you a decision informally? I gave them five months to respond and ironically they wait until a week or two after the “deadline” to respond.”
    I’m in the same boat Can’t Say. We bought in November 2007, a large 1 bed/1bath condo in D7. I applied for reassessment shortly thereafter but was denied. Then several months back, we received an INCREASED valuation to the tune of $17k so I immediately called their office and they said to “disregard the notice, it’s just a form letter” and told me to again apply for an informal review which I did back in April. The assessor also made a point of saying how they expected to process requests faster this year and hoped to be done with the informal reviews no later than July 1.
    I was in constant contact with the assessor’s office starting in June (about 4 phone calls and 2 office visits) as they kept telling me they would have an answer in the “next month, next couple of weeks, next day, etc.” I wanted to know the results because I knew I would need to file a “formal review” if things didn’t pan out. Well, I finally heard back this past week (after calling and speaking to someone literally on September 15th, the day I later found was the deadline to request a “formal” review) and they not only denied my appeal, they retained my INCREASED VALUATION OF $17,000!!! I spent literally hours finding comps to submit that in my view could not be questioned, same building type, same unit type, same area, similar year built, same NUMBER Of units in the building, etc. etc. etc. Apparently the assessor did not agree.
    So I went down to their office to file the “formal review” only to find out that in fact, I could not do so because it was “past the September 15th deadline” of which I was notified on the BACK of the supposed “form letter” I was told to disregard. I referred to that letter, which I had with me, and lo and behold on the BACK at the BOTTOM there it was, an admonition to file an informal review by September 15th.
    Resisting the urge to go postal in their offices’, I calmly prodded them for more information. “What were the comps used, who assessed my property, is their some sophisticated modeling that the assessor does to determine value?” I was told that valuations are done based on two criteria, recent area comps, and any improvements done to my unit. I asked to see these comps, and was told that I was “in luck” because this year was the first year that they had the appraisers actually record the block-lots of the properties they used as comps. Again, I was dumbfounded by the fact that what should be standard practice was somehow perceived as some new-fangled bit of “innovation” on their part.
    Whatever, I was anxious to get these comps so I kept my cool and got 3 different block-lots. Because I live in a condo, just in case I researched building permits for my unit to make sure that no work had been erroneously attributed to my unit (it wasn’t, but this did happen to me before). So I researched the comps and was absolutely shocked by what I found.
    As best I can tell, and this is not only based on the comps I was given but on extensive conversations with the assessors office, they query by type (condo, sfh), area (within a few blocks), and square footage. That’s really it. As a result, in my case each of the block lots used as comps for my 1 bedroom 1 bath unit were ALL nearby 2 bedroom, 2 bath condos that were similarly sized (like I said, we have an unusually large 1 bedroom, well over 1000 square feet). To add insult to injury, upon further investigation, it appears that ALL of the units used have either views, private outdoor patios, or both. Our unit has neither.
    I was able to get the name of the appraiser who performed this work. I will be contacting him to inform him of this “error” as I think this is my only chance to get a proper valuation as the September 15th deadline seems to be written in stone. Still, I cannot believe how much the appraisers office apparently operates like the mob: it seems that I was purposely misled, important information buried, and denied due process as a result. I don’t think I would even be that upset if the appraised value remained the same, but because they increased it, and then seemed to systematically prevent a reasonable reassessment is very troubling to me.
    Ultimately, the extra $1,000 in property taxes is not a big hit for us, it’s really the principle of the matter. At this stage I’m seriously thinking of calling a lawyer. Any suggestions regarding next course of action (or the name of a good lawyer) would be appreciated.

  21. Posted by notphilting

    Here’s my take. The San Francisco Assessor’s office is a complete joke led by Phil Ting. If you have any questions, good luck getting a straight/correct answer from this office. Call them, you’ll be ringing for days. Email them, good luck getting a response. Going down there in person, Sorry your appraiser just left for lunch and they do not know when he/she will be back.
    As mentioned before, I don’t know why SF is so behind? Somebody mentioned above how San Mateo handles this same process w/ good customer support. I mean how hard can this be?
    Zillow has better appraisers/software compared to this office. USE their software.
    I’m actually looking forward to going in front of the board and arguing comps with the appraiser. Too bad Phil can’t get the office running.
    Phil, get off the twitter and get to work. You are not Gavin nor have the appeal of him, so no social networking for you. Get to work!
    PS: If you need questions answered and the Assessor’s Office is not picking up. Secret, call the Tax Collector. They pick up promptly and can transfer you to someone in their office to answer basic questions. I’ve used the Tax Collector’s Office as a bridge to get into contact with the Assessor.

  22. Posted by BernalDweller

    For another view: I called the Assessor’s office in June to inquire about an informal reassessment request, because I was having difficulty selecting true comps in my ‘hood. I was immediately transferred to Phil Ting’s assistant, who quickly and courteously told me about the status of the automatic reassessments they were conducting in the south/southeast neighborhoods. They also told me to go ahead and submit an informal application w/out comps and they would still look at it and do their own review if my property was not already reviewed. I received the formal letter a few weeks later informing me of my reassessment (roughly 11% lower than my 2008 assessment).
    I couldn’t be happier, and the assessor’s office was easy to deal with from my point of view.

  23. Posted by Rillion

    “As best I can tell, and this is not only based on the comps I was given but on extensive conversations with the assessors office, they query by type (condo, sfh), area (within a few blocks), and square footage.”
    I think this explains why they came back with such a drastically lower value then I requested. My 2/1 is a very small 2/1. It is smaller then your 1000sq ft 1/1. I expect my place got compared to some 1/1’s in the neighborhood. For the comps I submitted I found small 2/1’s and came up with an average price per square foot for 2/1’s. Interesting to see that the Assessor’s Office doesn’t think extra legal bedrooms or bathrooms effect price.

  24. Posted by Rillion

    mkk – I believe that generally there is no hearing for an informal review. The hearing is for the formal appeal and is before either a hearing officer or the appeal board. A formal appeal had to be requested by September 15th. I do fault Tang’s office for not getting the informal appeals out sooner.
    It seems to me that they like to deny the first request filed, but then end up granting it the second year you file. Perhaps they figure that most people will not have filed in time for the formal appeal the first year but after they screw you over with that one the first year they expect you will be filing a formal appeal in year 2, so are more likely to grant the informal one? Have I really become that cyncial?!?

  25. Posted by anonn

    Bernal dweller, where do you live? I don’t think I stand much of a chance of getting a big reduction given some of the recent North Slope small footprint/small lot sales. But the increases they have been slapping me with yearly smack of cash grabs by the city.

  26. Posted by huh

    okay … maybe i’m an idiot but i got an advertisement about a socal firm that would fight this for me
    frankly, i wasn’t aware of the reassessment potential until only a couple of weeks before the 9/15 deadline … also, I wasn’t willing to do the work given the expected runaround from SF
    I read the fine print and felt okay giving them a percentage of the savings … nothing else at risk, no up fronts, no committments, etc. signed the form and sent it off
    did i miss something? … the only one who did this?
    any likely that this will be successful?

  27. Posted by Mikey

    Bernal dweller, where do you live? I don’t think I stand much of a chance of getting a big reduction given some of the recent North Slope small footprint/small lot sales. But the increases they have been slapping me with yearly smack of cash grabs by the city.
    1. The increases are capped by prop 13, they CAN’T slap you with increases (unless you’ve done major renovation work, etc).
    2. The comps are based on Jan of the assessment year. Recent sales won’t affect this assessments.

  28. Posted by mkk

    “mkk – I believe that generally there is no hearing for an informal review. The hearing is for the formal appeal and is before either a hearing officer or the appeal board. A formal appeal had to be requested by September 15th. I do fault Tang’s office for not getting the informal appeals out sooner.”
    Hmm, the application for informal review is here: http://www.sfgov.org/site/assessor_form.asp?id=99896 , and includes the text
    “I understand this request for informal review may only be made by the property owner between April 1, 2009 and August 28, 2009, and if a lowered assessment is granted, it is a temporary reduction for the 2009-2010 year.”
    The application I filled out is called the “formal review”, using the application here: http://sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/assessment/Forms_and_Documents/application_for_changed_assessment.pdf
    So that is where my disconnect is – the “informal review” isn’t available for a 3 unit building, which is why I didn’t file for one, hah. Informal reviews are “For single-family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts and cooperative units only.”
    I also got a mailer from a firm just like “huh” did, offering to handle my review on a contingency basis, fee being 40% of whatever my savings was. I’ll have to see how it goes when I go to the hearing myself and then decide if I want to enlist professional services to handle it next year.
    Well wish me luck on Nov-19th, or don’t, depending on your leanings.

  29. Posted by anonn

    I know what the deal is, Mikey. They increased it by 1.75% one year, and about 1.8% the following. They should read Socketsite and believe everything on here and then lower my taxes.

  30. Posted by EBGuy

    fee being 40% of whatever my savings was
    Wow, if you take them up on their offer and are in the 28% federal tax bracket, only about 25% of the savings come back to you once Uncle Sam and Arhhhhnold also take a cut of your new found wealth. Still, better than poking a stick in your eye. I wonder if they use under-employed RE professionals to find comps…

  31. Posted by mkk

    Yep, the mailer, which I no longer have, said that it was indeed an RE professional that would handle the matter. I would have thought it took an attorney to represent me at a hearing on my behalf, but perhaps not.
    That said, 25% of the savings is better than 0% of the savings obtained by someone that either a) doesn’t have the time or the inclination to handle the matter themselves, or b) is concerned that the process is too complex for mere mortals to handle.

  32. Posted by Mark

    Phil Ting is constantly emailing me — about his campaign for office. I get sick of it. Green this — Anti-Prop 13 that. Please stop Phil!

  33. Posted by observantneighbor

    I have had a couple of conversations with in-the-know staffers at the assessor’s office about how they are dealing with the deflation of the bubble. It is my understanding that they would like to do across-the-board adjustments based on an in-house, SF-specific index analogous to Case-Schiller, but that they do not believe they have authority to do this under state law. They read state law as requiring an appraisal based on (1) comparable sales, (2) replacement cost, or (3) capitalized income stream, and “original purchase price deflated/inflated per market trends” does not fit into any of these boxes.
    Because of this, they are stuck doing arbitrary searches for nearby sales like the one described by “sf” above, when homeowners ask for a reduction.
    The bubble deflated first in outlying areas characterized by cookie-cutter developments, where the comparable sales method is both reliable and easy to use. It’s neither reliable nor easy to use in SF, and the assessor’s office knows this, and they’re panicked.

  34. Posted by tipster (not the realtor)

    Bernal must be a magical place! All over SF, people are getting huge reassessments to reflect the dramatic loss in values, but the local Realtor in Bernal informs us that, nope, Bernal is going up, up, up!!!
    All I can say is that it is good that this site can change with the times. In 2006 this site had the One Rincon/Infinity Smackdown, in which flippers from each property argued about how much more money they were going to make. Today, we have the “Help me claim the most complete loss on my property tax forms” posting. Other than our local cheerleading Realtor,everyone else seems to be in agreement that property values have fallen big time.
    I do have to say that it is refreshing that the OP honestly didn’t know how far down his home value had fallen. The next time you see some inflated list price, pity the poor, out-of-touch seller.

  35. Posted by Trip

    I, for one, am perfectly happy to have anonn or anyone else who is entitled to a lower assessment forgo that re-assessment. As I noted above, I suspect that most people are not even requesting it but are just accepting the prop 13 rise the City just about automatically assesses everyone (with, apparently, some exceptions noted by others). If people are willing to voluntarily pony up additional property taxes, better for the rest of us.

  36. Posted by anoon

    Oh, you’ll get a faster response from Phil Ting if you PM him on twitter instead of trying to contact his office.
    Politics over Professionalism at it’s best.

  37. Posted by Mikey

    @ anonn:
    yes, they can increase it by 2% / year per prop 13. Doesn’t sound like a “cash grab.” It sounds like a tax that everyone who owns property knows they have to pay. If you don’t like it, try to get it reassessed or sell the property. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

  38. Posted by anon

    And BTW, who do I need to call to ask for a property tax increase if my property has increased in value by 20% in one year? Anyone have a number? You people are a joke.

  39. Posted by anonn

    I told you what happened, Tipster. The city didn’t think property values “have fallen big time.” “Up up up” ? Save it. All you do is make wild rambling “same same same.” I do like it when you share anecdotes though. They’re funny.

  40. Posted by anonn

    Trip,
    ” City just about automatically assesses everyone ”
    How would you know enough to say this?
    Oh, I see. You say this.
    (with, apparently, some exceptions noted by others
    So, basically, you said nothing.

  41. Posted by anon

    anonn, I’ll learn ya a little lesson. The City does not appraise your property each year and assess it up or down. It simply gives you an increased assessment each year unless you ask for different treatment, as Rillion and other smart owners have done. The City’s handing you a higher tax bill says absolutely nothing about where anyone values your property. But keep thinking otherwise, and paying higher taxes that help all of us, if it makes you feel better about things.

  42. Posted by anomn

    Um, in plain point of fact the city doesn’t always give you “an increased assessment each year unless you ask for different treatment.” Have you owned property in the city, anon? I doubt it. Thanks for nothing.

  43. Posted by anonn

    And the city very much uses recent comparable sales in the area in order to determine value, as others have pointed out. When you see my name it’s really quite OK if you don’t say anything to me.

  44. Posted by BernalDweller

    @anonn – I’m a half-block off Cortland.

  45. Posted by Mikey

    @anonn:
    Clearly you are confused about how property taxes work. I suggest you do some reading and perhaps talking to someone in the assessors office.

  46. Posted by Trip

    Here is some info from the assessor website on the question I posed above:
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/assessor/Roll_Close_PR_072009_final.pdf
    So it looks like 2009 is the first year since the mid-90s that the assessor has, in fact, “proactively issued widespread deductions.” States there where only 989 taxpayer requests for a lower re-assessment — so my suspicion that the request rate is extremely low has been confirmed, although we can always debate the reasons it is so low. Also says they reviewed another 13,700 homes and granted a total of 9997 reductions (including, apparently, 4749 timeshares), mostly in the Southern neighborhoods. Looks like the average re-assessment was $120k lower.
    It looks like there were 30,000 – 40,000 new and resale sales in the 2004-08 period the assessor looked at. So they looked at about 40-50% and gave reductions to about 25-30% of overall candidates. So I think it’s fair to say that for the most part the assessor simply tacks on the prop 13 increase — that’s what they’ve done to me each year. But they do seem to be reaching out to look at a bigger number than I would have guessed given that so few actually seem to be interested in requesting a reduction.

  47. Posted by Rillion

    Tipster: “I do have to say that it is refreshing that the OP honestly didn’t know how far down his home value had fallen.”
    Interesting Tipster. So you believe that the Assessor’s Office method of considering only three things: type of unit, square feet, and neighbor is the method that came up with the most accurate value of my unit.
    I honestly know roughly how far my unit has fallen in value, just as I knew that last year when the same people you are now saying told me the true value of my property told me it had increased in value. I knew my place fell in value long before the Assessor’s Office was willing to admitted it.
    Obviously it is very difficult to determine the “true value” of a place without selling, but I know this, last year I would have sold my condo for what the Assessor’s Office said it was worth. This year, I would not sell it for the amount they say it is worth.

  48. Posted by Rillion

    Trip: “States there where only 989 taxpayer requests for a lower re-assessment — so my suspicion that the request rate is extremely low has been confirmed, although we can always debate the reasons it is so low.”
    So a press release from July 20th, 2009 stating the number of requests received to that point is confirmation of the total number of requests even though people still had more then a month to go before the deadline for informal review requests (August 28th) and almost two months before the deadline for formal reviews (Sept. 15th)? Please, read the whole press release next time before jumping to conclusions and using incomplete data as confirmation of your hypothesis.
    I believe the Assessor’s Office issues an update to those numbers in October, so have a little patience and we will see how much that number changes (from the SS editor in the post: “the San Francisco Tax Assessor’s tally for 2009/10 adjustments should be out soon.”) I would not be surprised to see that number jump as a result of people like me that waited until we received our property tax bill before we submitted a request (mine was submitted in early August).

  49. Posted by anonn

    No, Mikey, as I said I understand how it works. I have owned numerous properties in SF since the mid ’90s. The property taxes have not arrived in lock step with this peanut gallery’s depictions.

  50. Posted by Trip

    Rillion, fair enough. You are right that the numbers in the press release are not yet final. I was just trying to find something other than anonymous blog postings that shed some light on the issue. I’m betting, however, that the total number of taxpayer requests will be a small fraction of those who bought in the bubble years and thus are good candidates for a re-assessment. But we’ll see when (and if) updated numbers come out.

  51. Posted by sf

    I was told by the clerk at the assessors office that they received “thousands” of requests for review. Perhaps the 989 number is not only premature, but only includes “formal” review. Most people, like myself, start with informal review in part because we are encouraged to follow that route by the assessor.
    I was also told by the same clerk that the city generally does just “increase your assessment each year by what Prop 13 allows” although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are exceptions, especially recently given the collapse in values.

  52. Posted by danalotus

    I purchased a home in June 08. Assessor send notice that my assessed value was going up — something close to the max 2%.
    I applied for informal review in July, heard nothing back, so filed for formal review on Sept 14. Of course, just got my result from the informal review back yesterday saying nope, your property hasn’t decreased in value, rather it has increased. Yeah, right.
    In the denial response to my request for an informal, they actually included a form that I had to return in order for my formal review to continue. Bastards! They’re creating as many hoops as possible for you to screw up.
    I was looking for something along the lines of a 15% reduction, though honestly the comps I came up with seems to indicate more like 20%. I’m now looking forward to getting a real live person trying to tell me face to face that my property value has not declined.

  53. Posted by Rillion

    Heh, fits perfectly with my theory that they generally deny the requests the first year after you buy the place. I hope you continue with your formal appeal, I would like to see them justify their belief that it increased. I wish I had fought mine last year for moral reasons but the discount I asked for at the time wasn’t worth the time/cost.

  54. Posted by Chad

    Pardon my ignorance everyone, but why would you want to get your home re-assessed at a lower value. I understand that most people do this to get a reduction in property taxes, but in seeking a small gain in the property tax liability, aren’t you unwitting incurring a HUGE negative blot on your home when you try to sell it, because it will be assessed at the 10 or 20% lower rate and you will be trying to sell it at that 20% premium and won’t get any offers because the buyer would deem you to being greedy ?
    Please someone explain this re-assessment benefits, cos I just don’t see it.
    Thanks
    chaD ~ chad with the big “D”

  55. Posted by Mikey

    Pardon my ignorance everyone, but why would you want to get your home re-assessed at a lower value.
    MONEY. What the property is assessed for should make zero difference to a buyer. If I want to buy a house that was last sold 20 years ago, am I going to care what the property tax assessment is? No.

  56. Posted by Willow

    Just got back from vacation and was greeted by a 19.5% reduction in my property tax bill. I’m thrilled! I had applied for an informal review expecting no more than 5%. (BTW, I live in Glen Park.)

  57. Posted by D7 appeal

    Purchased in ’08 and two appraisals support valuations lower than our purchase price. Our informal appeal got denied (they applied the max increase to arrive at our 09/10 valuation), so we filed a formal appeal.
    They haven’t cashed the check yet, and when I called to check the status this morning I was told they are still entering the over 3,000 formal appeals they received. They have two people doing the data entry, so I suspect it will be a while before we hear anything…

  58. Posted by Brian

    Apparently they’re working on case number 300 or so. I have a couple of case numbers in the 4300s. I get the feeling that it’s going to take a while for them to get around to me…

  59. Posted by Ken turner

    Is there a way to access sold comparables by neighborhood; I am not a real estate agent, and do not have access to MLS closing information. Thanks to anyone who can help. ken

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