Assessment Appeal Services
Before we get started, it's important to reaffirm that professional appraisers are not advocates -- we are required to sign a detailed Certification for each appraisal (see a sample at the upper left of this page), stating that we have acted impartially and objectively. It's not unusual at all for an appraisal to reveal that the property is under-assessed. Accordingly, beware of any appraiser that initially states or implies that they can help you lower your taxes -- such a statement is a violation of professional ethics.
In Vermont and New Hampshire, a property's real estate taxes based on an ad valorem assessment performed by the municipality. Municipal ad valorem assessments are based on a statistical 'mass appraisal' technique that allows generally-equitable property valuation at a fraction of the cost of appraising each property individually. Mass appraisal results in about 80% of a Town's properties falling within a reasonable value spectrum: for example a $200,000 property may be assessed between the $190,000 - $210,000. About 10% of properties are significantly under-assessed, and another 10% or so are significantly over-assessed. On a percentage basis, significantly over-assessed properties tend to be of lower-value (mobile homes, single-family residences in poor condition, etc), and under-assessed properties tend to be of higher-value (e.g. high-end single-family residences, particularly those with attractive outbuildings/amenities).
Every 5-15 years, your Town will have all properties revalued in order to ensure equitable taxation. Should your property's assessment increase after a revaluation, don't panic: a new Town-wide tax rate will be set and your taxes may in fact go down. The bottom line is this: if you were under-assessed before the revaluation, your real estate taxes are likely to increase; conversely, if you were previously over-assessed, your real estate taxes could increase.
There are different procedures in each State for appealing assessments, so it's important to enlist the help of a professional appraisal firm that's experienced and trained in the ins and outs of Vermont and New Hampshire assessment appeals -- that's where I can help.
You will have a hearing on your assessment appeal, and may need your appraiser to testify on your behalf. Be assured that at Lagasse Appraisal, we are able to professionally and persuasively testify at appeal hearings.