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City Assessor Advises Commercial and Industrial Property Owners to Take Action

If you only have time to do one thing in the next week, file an income and expense statement with your local real estate assessing office informing them of the current ability for you to lease your commercial or industrial property in today's market.  Even if you own and occupy your property you should be current with asking rents, rental concessions, vacancy rates, tenant fit-up expenses and operating expenses for similar properties.  Call your local assessor and find out how you can provide his or her office with income and expense information about the type of property that you own.

Assessors can and often do reflect current real estate market conditions using what valuation experts call the "income approach to value."  But in order to consider this approach your local assessor needs to know how your property and competing properties are fairing in today's market.  So this is not only a plea for you to provide such information to the local assessor, but other commercial and industrial property owners as well.  It stands to reason that an assessor will be swayed by strong evidence that indicates prevailing market conditions more than just a few instances of the lowering of rents and high vacancies.

In some states, like Virginia, if the local assessor asks for income and expense information and you did not comply with the request neither the assessor, the income approach to value can not be considered in the assessment review and appeal process by the assessor, Board of Equalization, or circuit court.  As such you are left only with construction costs and comparable sales approaches to value.  Don't eliminate this valuable approach!

Most assessors have downloadable income and expense statements available on their websites.  Unfortunately there is very little standardization in the real estate assessment field at this time.  So don't use a statement from another assessor's website.

Posted by

Richard L. Sanderson - Property Tax Consultant & Valuation Specialist


If your company or membership organizaton would like to know more about our services please contact me through this profile or through soical media.

Richard L. Sanderson



Matthew Johnson
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Woodbury, MN

They will get the $ one way or another!

Jan 07, 2011 04:54 AM
Maria Couto
RE/MAX Premier - Berkeley Heights, NJ
Realtor with "Results That "MOVE" You'

Great information Richard. Right now there are so many people having a hard time with property tax. I've sold several properties (short sales) way below assessed value. New owners plan to appeal assesments with comps and stats but I think Matthew may be right.

Jan 07, 2011 05:01 AM
Richard L. Sanderson
Richard L. Sanderson Consulting - Kalama, WA
helping improve local property tax systems


Well yes, the real estate tax rate can be increased in some states where limitations are not in effect.  But in some states the various classes of real estate (residential, commercial, industrial, vacant land, etc.) differ in how market values change but have a constant tax rate.  You can appeal the assessed value during each reassessment but you can't appeal the tax rate.

Jan 07, 2011 05:39 AM
Richard L. Sanderson
Richard L. Sanderson Consulting - Kalama, WA
helping improve local property tax systems


Several network television news series have just reported on declining assessments but increasing real estate tax rates.  Many times the increased rates offset any assessment reduction.  The local community typically needs the same tax dollars to run schools, fund police and fire protection, etc.  But this is the subject for another blog posting.

Jan 07, 2011 05:44 AM