I just spoke to the State Tax Equalization Board, and I was given “tentative” numbers for Berks and Chester Counties for the upcoming year. This is the single most important number when considering a Property Tax Appeal.
Berks County’s number is slated to increase – as I had expected – from 70.1% to 73.18%. I had thought that a bump to 72% would be the maximum. What this means for Berks is that prices have been “relatively” flat for the past year – and we’ve really seen values decline about 3%. Not a bad number, when you consider the number of Short Sales, Foreclosures, and REO’s that have sold in the past year. In fact, the bulk of properties selling have been what would be called “distressed” properties.
Chester County has seen a slip in prices as well – and therefore, an increase in the ratio. Chester County residents will see the ratio move from 2009′s number of 55.4% up slightly to 56.04%. Chester County has seen prices really remain flat, and I would suspect, we’ve seen the bottom here.
What does all of this mean? Well, the Common Level Ratio is the percentage of your property’s CURRENT MARKET VALUE that you should be taxed on. Basically, if you have a property worth $100,000 in today’s real estate market, your tax assessment should be $73,180 (Berks) or $56,040 (Chester). If you have a newer home – one built in the past 7-10 years, you’re likely assessed too high – and should appeal, if you haven’t already.
Berks County would assess new construction at 100% of the purchase price, until 2005, when they reduced it to 80% – even though the ratio was 75%! So, if you bought in 2004, and paid $400k for a home…. Berks County taxed you on approximately $400k – while you should have been assessed at, or about, $300k!
As you’ve seen on my blog – or in my newsletter – I assisted 60 clients with appeals last year – and will be doing more this year.
So, if you – or someone you know, needs help with property taxes, let me know. I’ve also arranged for an appraiser to do appraisals at $250 ($450 value) for this – in the event we don’t have comparable sales in your area.