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Dear PoP – Real Property Assessment Time

IMG_6616, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Since it’s real property assessment time, I have a real property tax assessment issue that might be of interest to a lot of readers and I hope I can get feedback on from those with expertise in this. I recently Zillowed my house only to find out that I have 5 bedrooms (I actually have 3). I know Zillow info. is often inaccurate, so I went to DC’s real property tax database which also said I have 5 bedrooms. I also noticed that my house has been assessed much higher than the neighbors homes I have checked thus far so I’m wondering if the mistake has anything to do with it, all other things being equal. I spoke to my assessor, who told me that property values are determined strictly by the square footage of the house, and since the square footage in the database is correct, the mistake does not affect the value of the house–an answer which neither makes sense nor requires her to actually do any work.

Specifically, I’d like to know what sort of information I need to file a successful appeal based on incorrect property records, and can I receive a refund retroactive to when I purchased the house 4 years ago?”

Hmm, this is an interesting question. It’s actually really easy to file an appeal. I’d go through your original closing documents and see if you have something that says it is a 3 bedroom. Sadly, I don’t think you’ll be able to get a retroactive refund as the appeal process only works for the current year, I believe. Does anyone have any advice on this particular situation?

While we’re on the topic of assessments – how’d you guys do? My assessment went down like $60k. Yet somehow my bill for next year managed to increase. Did anyone else encounter this oddity? I suspect it may have to do with the homestead deduction…

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