If you are considering a challenge to your Ohio real estate this year, please be aware that the deadline to file in March 31. This is a hard and fast deadline.
For the great majority of Ohio property owners, the rising real estate market means that the Auditor’s value may be on target, or even a little low. So before filing your complaint, make sure you are on strong footing for a reduction. Because, once a complaint is filed, the Board of Revision has three paths it can go down: reduction, retain the current value; or INCREASE. We do not want to see that third option.
If you purchased your property in the last two years for less than the current Auditor’s value, your case should be an easy layup to get a reduction to the purchase price. Assuming this was an arm’s length transaction (unrelated parties, market exposure, etc.), the Board of Revision should, under most circumstances, simply adopt that sale price – and perhaps without even having a hearing.
Even a small reduction can lead to a nice return to you. For instance, we were recently contacted by a homeowner who had purchased her home for ~$15,000 less than the Auditor’s value. That would result in approximately $250.00 of annual tax savings to the client. Not a lot of money, and not enough to justify paying an attorney to handle. But, the Board of Revision process is accessible to individuals without an attorney – particularly where the case involves a recent sale. For ten minutes time on the internet and the cost of stamp and envelope, this homeowner will save $250 per year over the next few years. $750-$1,000 over the next 3-4 years.
Some cases — Don’t try this at home!
Conversely, if you have recently purchased the property for more than the Auditor’s value, the Board of Revision will likely adopt that sale price and increase your value. DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF.
The closer calls
- If you have owned your property for a long time, the Auditor’s value may not accurately reflect the true value. In that instance, you would want to look to an appraiser to determine the value, or look to recent sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. If the neighbor’s house just sold for $50,000 less than your home (and is generally comparable in age, condition, square footage, bedrooms), that may indicate that your value should be reduced to at or near that sale price. Ideally you will find multiple sales in your area to compare. Remember, school district is a major driver of value, so if the house across the street is in a different school district, that may not be a “comparable sale.”
- The same is true of commercial properties. Age and changes in tenant occupancy can greatly affect value. It is a good business practice to regularly evaluate your real estate portfolio to make sure the Auditor’s value is accurate. For some businesses, correcting the value of the real estate portfolio can be the difference between profit and loss for the year.
- If your property suffered a casualty loss, that may overcome the presumption that the sale price is the true value.
There are myriad scenarios, these are just a few.
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Contact Christopher P. Finney (513.943.6655) for more information.