I get many questions from my buyers regarding how their new home will be re-assessed following their purchase when the sales price is below current SEV and/or taxable value. I spoke with a staffer at a local assessor's office yesterday and she gave me the clear guidelines as set forth by the state. Keep in mind that assessments are always one year behind. The re-assessment current homeowners receive in the mail later this month or in early February is based on sales during the period October, 2007 thru September, 2008. That's why homeowner's assessed values don't seem to drop as quickly as expected. The process consists of measuring sold prices during the specified period to the previous assessed value to come up with the new re-assessed value. This is NOT accomplished by taking sale prices and dividing them by two. That is called "following sales" and it is illegal in the State of Michigan. All counties (cities and townships) follow these same guidelines mandated by State law. While appraisers for your lending institution will take foreclosures into consideration, don't expect the assessor to do the same. They won't use the vandalized or deteriorated foreclosures if they don't think they compare equally to the other sold properties. Hmmm.
Bottom line: When you're ready to purchase, plan your budget based on the CURRENT SEV of the property. It is not a slam-dunk that the taxes will drop to a SEV based on one-half of your purchase price....that just won't happen. And any adjustment will take some time to catch-up.