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Dear PoP – Real Property Assessment Question

Birdhouse down
Photo from PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoP,

I am considering submitting an appeal on my recently assessed Property Taxes. I am a recent first time home owner, so I am new to the “fun” world of taxes regarding property. I feel that my assessment was quite high. I compared my assessment to every house on the block and I am probably the most heavily taxed on the block (I have the Homestead Deduction, as does 90% of the houses on the block). I bought a 1909 rowhouse that needs quite a bit of work. It is liveable, but needs quite a lot of finesse to make it shine. Of the 24 or so houses on my block, I would say 60% have been renovated nicely (i.e. gutted, updated, etc…), 30% need some work, and the final 10% need substantial work. My property falls in the 30% pool of needing some work. I was shocked to see that the majority of the renovated homes have substantially lower taxes then my house. I called into the DC Real Property Assessment Division and spoke with my designated assessor and he mentioned that my tax assessment was more or less based on other home sales and most importantly my actual purchase price of the house. “Even if that house needs work and isn’t as nice as your neighbors, you paid that much for it, you are going to get taxed about that much for it.”

My immediate thought is I paid $x.xx amount of dollars because that house was worth that much to ME. But how much is it worth to the city? If I felt like paying $1,000,000 for the home, should I get taxed for that amount?

With my house needing quite a bit of work compared to the other “nicer” houses on the block, should I be taxed that much more than them? Avg is a solid $80,000 assessed value more…

Should I submit an appeal?”

You should definitely appeal the assessment in my opinion. I appealed once for a similar reason and won. And also don’t forget to file for the deduction if it is your primary residence. Here is the discussion we had last year. Did anyone’s assessment go up?

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