Property Taxes Up - While Values are Down

Real Estate Appraiser with Seward Real Estate Services

Many homeowners are receiving tax bills that don't seem to be in line with the real value of their homes.  With many real estate markets changing rapidly, it pays to find out for sure. 

This is particularly true for buyers from 2005-2006 - commonly referred to as the "BOOM" period.

Present market conditions, however, have seen 10-20% drops in some Central Indiana markets.  And while local tax authorities may have lowered assessments some - they are at times still not in line with current market conditions.

As a homeowner, you can fight your tax assessment on your own.  You need to know what you are currently assessed, and then figure out what it OUGHT to be assessed for.  


A few tools along the way may include:

  • A CMA or Competitive Market Analysis - this is typically a comparison of similar homes for sale in your area along with closed sales ("comps) with an opinion of market value attached.  These can be provided by local Realtors and may or may not be free - depending on the Realtor/Agent.   If you plan to list your home sometime in the near future - perhaps this would be a free service to win your future business.  But don't be surprised if a Realtor asks for some compensation for this service - as their time is valuable as a professional.
  • A free on-line directory or valuation portal such as this can give you some idea as to sold properties and listings in your area.  This is a FREE service - but typically - the data may not be truly reliable or truly comparable to your home.  The last thing you want is to be before the tax appeal board and be embarrassed because you are comparing your home to others in the area which are clearly not market comparable.
  • A Licensed Appraisal :  Of course as an appraiser - I am biased to suggest a licensed appraisal as the tool of choice in the battle for fair property assessments.

 The one benefit of a licensed appraisal is that the appraiser should be comparing market trends, indicating increasing, decreasing value trends, etc.  There are typically adjustments for various components of the property - adjusting for your 1 car garage when others have 2 car garage features.

An appraisal is not a free service offered - as we appraisers have to comply with many Federal and State regulations as to the depth of reporting we must deliver in order to provide a credible report.  This level of analysis and reporting takes some time and skill to adequately perform.

Being a licensed appraiser also means we have undergone extensive education, training and experience to produce this level of analysis and detail.   But many times - the fee would be worth the added savings for a lower assessment going forward!  

- One Important Reminder -

Be sure you know the date of valuation the tax appeal board will be looking for.  In Marion county Indiana for example, all valuations must be done Typically as of January 31st of that year (as stated in the application for tax appeals).  If you go in with data showing current sales from the last 90 days then (June, July, August for example) - you will not likely be heard since they require a "retrospective" value - dating back to when the assessments were set.

Be sure you know what date your local taxing authority or real property appraiser/assessor 
has set the "valuation date" at.


Call me for an accurate appraisal of your home's true value so you can adjust your tax bill.
William Seward
Seward Real Estate Service

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