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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    17

    Default Land Assessment Problem

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: New York

    I own a house and 1 parcel of vacant land in upstate NY. The vacant parcel is 1.8 acres and of poor quality: a logger stripped them of hardwoods, left behind massive amounts of slash and left huge skidder trenches which are basically mosquito breeding swamps now. In addition many massive trees have come down in recent storms and the land itself is drastically sloped. I'm fixing what I can but it's essentially garbage not to mention dangerous.

    My town assessor has assessed this at 10K with a full market value of 20K. A private appraiser valued it at at 7K and my grievance was rejected, which I expected. I now need to hire a lawyer to respond and am seeking advice on what to provide him. Here are a few relevant bits: The assessor

    1) says he has nothing to do with assigning FMVs but will not tell me who does (he says it's "a calculator")

    2) says valuations have risen as a result of new construction in the area but those luxury homes are 8 miles away

    3) has never been on my 1.8 acre parcel so where is this FMV coming from?

    4) asked me years ago to attend tax auctions for him, stating he was too busy to go. He then made me hold these properties for about a year before transferring back to him. I stopped after two auctions, seeing the scheme for what it was. To this day I don't know if it's technically legal for him as a town official to acquire property in this way. It is almost certainly the source of his behavior toward me.

    5) assessed my adjacent neighbor's 23 acres at 20K. It is literally the continuation of my 1.8 acres assessed at 20K, same land but in better shape and even waterfront.

    I do not expect all land parcel assessments to be precisely coordinated however it seems they should be in some kind of FMV ballpark.

    Need advice on what to provide attorney.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,425

    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    My town assessor has assessed this at 10K with a full market value of 20K. A private appraiser valued it at at 7K and my grievance was rejected, which I expected. I now need to hire a lawyer to respond and am seeking advice on what to provide him.
    Assuming "him" refers to the lawyer you will hire, you should provide your lawyer with whatever he requests from you so that he can properly do his job.

    Was that really what you intended to ask?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    17

    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    no, "he" is the assessor.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2016
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    4,099

    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    You might want to tell the lawyer about #4. If a crime was committed you were part of it.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    no, "he" is the assessor.
    Ok, then I assume the advice you are seeking on what to provide to the assessor will come from the attorney you hire. Do you have a question for us?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,005

    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    I have had a lot of experience with appealing property assessments in the last 40 years so I can answer your questions with some degree of validity.

    1) says he has nothing to do with assigning FMVs but will not tell me who does (he says it's "a calculator")
    He's probably right. In the last couple of decades property assessments have been done by computer algorithms developed at a much higher than local level.

    2) says valuations have risen as a result of new construction in the area but those luxury homes are 8 miles away
    Doesn't matter what the distance is. As development occurs and infrastructure goes in, property assessments will rise.

    3) has never been on my 1.8 acre parcel so where is this FMV coming from?
    Given my answer to number 1, he doesn't have to. It's computed by size and shape, not condition.

    4) asked me years ago to attend tax auctions for him, stating he was too busy to go. He then made me hold these properties for about a year before transferring back to him. I stopped after two auctions, seeing the scheme for what it was. To this day I don't know if it's technically legal for him as a town official to acquire property in this way. It is almost certainly the source of his behavior toward me.
    I have no answer to that.

    5) assessed my adjacent neighbor's 23 acres at 20K. It is literally the continuation of my 1.8 acres assessed at 20K, same land but in better shape and even waterfront.
    Hmmm, that's disturbing. Is there an appeal process? How many levels? Where I am, the next level is the county board and after that an Administrative Law Judge and after that a lawsuit in state court.

    Here's a thought. Many people place too much emphasis on the assessed "value" without noticing that the difference in the actual "tax" amount is very small. Not saying you should give up the quest just think about how little it will actually save you compared to the cost of an attorney.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,932

    Default Re: Land Assessment Problem

    Every state publishes an assessor's manual for the assessor to follow. Some states make them public and some don't. Fortunately for you New York State makes the manual public. I suggest that you read through it to understand how an assessment is calculated.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    I own a house and 1 parcel of vacant land in upstate NY. The vacant parcel is 1.8 acres and of poor quality: a logger stripped them of hardwoods, left behind massive amounts of slash and left huge skidder trenches which are basically mosquito breeding swamps now. In addition many massive trees have come down in recent storms and the land itself is drastically sloped. I'm fixing what I can but it's essentially garbage not to mention dangerous.
    Your house lot has nothing to do with the vacant lot so I don't understand your point. If your vacant lot is a buildable lot that would conform to the local zoning, then it is assessed as a buildable lot even though you may think of it as garbage. Why did you buy it if it is garbage in your opinion? Is it contiguous with your home lot? And if so, do you plan to merge the two lots or develop the lot in the future?

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    My town assessor has assessed this at 10K with a full market value of 20K. A private appraiser valued it at at 7K and my grievance was rejected, which I expected. I now need to hire a lawyer to respond and am seeking advice on what to provide him
    Your town is assessed at 50% fair market value. That is obvious from the assessed amount of $10K and FMV of $20K. Do you understand what that means? The first thing it means is that your town has not done a reassessment in quiet a few years and market value has increased compared to assessed value. It means that you have an inflated tax rate to compensate for the low assessed values compared to newer homes. Newer homes are being assessed lower to compensate for the 50% assessed value so that all the properties are on equal footing.

    An example would be that your home is assessed at $100,000 but would sell for $200,000. A new home that had a fair market value of $400,000 can't be assessed at FMV because it would be paying twice the property tax that you were paying on par. So it gets assessed at 50% the FMV. This practice will continue until the entire town is reassessed and all assessments are brought up to FMV at which time your tax rate will drop.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    Here are a few relevant bits: The assessor

    1) says he has nothing to do with assigning FMVs but will not tell me who does (he says it's "a calculator")
    Read the manual. In general, they take 3 to 5 comparable homes ( similar neighborhoods, size, style, square footage, etc.) that have recently sold at FMV. In your town's case, you would be assessed 50% of the average FMV.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    2) says valuations have risen as a result of new construction in the area but those luxury homes are 8 miles away
    It doesn't matter where the luxury homes are located because it is likely that those homes are not comparables to your home. And this would have little to do with your vacant lot's value.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    3) has never been on my 1.8 acre parcel so where is this FMV coming from?
    The assessor doesn't have to inspect your lot. He/she has the property card that specifies everything he needs to assess your property.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
    View Post
    4) asked me years ago to attend tax auctions for him, stating he was too busy to go. He then made me hold these properties for about a year before transferring back to him. I stopped after two auctions, seeing the scheme for what it was. To this day I don't know if it's technically legal for him as a town official to acquire property in this way. It is almost certainly the source of his behavior toward me.
    I don't understand what you mean. Are you looking for some questionable behavior that you may leverage on to get the assessor to change the assessment?

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    5) assessed my adjacent neighbor's 23 acres at 20K. It is literally the continuation of my 1.8 acres assessed at 20K, same land but in better shape and even waterfront.
    You have to keep the apples and oranges straight. Your neighbor's 23 acres is assessed at $20K meaning the FMV is $40K. You posted earlier that you assessed value was $10K with a FMV of $20K. So your neighbor's property is assessed twice the value of yours. You can go check the property record cards to find out why if you care to take the time. Maybe his land is not buildable and yours is or he has wetlands on it that is not buildable.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    I do not expect all land parcel assessments to be precisely coordinated however it seems they should be in some kind of FMV ballpark.
    From what I see they are in the ballpark.

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
    View Post
    Need advice on what to provide attorney.
    Ask the attorney.

    https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/...ontestasmt.htm

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