Lovingston : Did You Get Your Property Tax Assessment? Ohhhh, thought so!!!

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    REFRESH Nelson County Life Magazine HERE

    Photography By Tommy Stafford
    Nelson County Life Magazine ©2008
    Nelson Residents Wait to Appeal Their Most Recent Tax Assessment
    Lovingston, Virginia

    Assess-1
    Above are just a few of the many folks that showed up Monday afternoon to appeal their most recent property tax assessments delivered to Nelson property owners in the mail last week.

    Imagine your taxes going up 600% since the last assessment in 2003. That’s the surprise that waited on some Nelson property owners last week when they opened the mail. NCL has spoken with several owners who report their assessments on land increasing anywhere from 4X to 6 X the last assessment. Generally speaking the assessment on buildings doubled.

    When we visited the courthouse Monday afternoon a steady stream of property owners showed up to discuss their the assessments on the first of seven days set aside for appeals hearings. Many folks we spoke with are very concerned about even being able to pay their taxes, some going from $3000.00 to $10,000.00!

    If you wish to appeal your current assessment, below you will find a schedule of times you can go in person to the courthouse.

    ASSESSOR’S HEARINGS
    The County Assessor’s hearings on the Reassessment will be held in the County Court House. Please check in with the receptionist located in the main hall on the first floor. If you wish to discuss your assessment, you may telephone (434) 263-7075 for an appointment, or you may come in during any of the times shown, and you will be seen as soon as possible. Due to the thousands of notices mailed out, our telephone lines will be busy and we will appreciate your patience. Note: please have this notice available when calling.

    The following dates and times apply to walk-ins, as well as appointments.

    Monday, January 14, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Tuesday, January 15, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Wednesday, January 16, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Thursday, January 17, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Monday, January 21, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Tuesday, January 22, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Wednesday, January 23, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Thursday, January 24, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

    door sign
    This is the sign posted on the west door of the courthouse in Lovingston.

    Here’s more from:
    WINGATE AND ASSOCIATES, LTD., REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS
    CONTACT HAROLD WINGATE 1-800-277-2799
    NELSON COUNTY
    PROPERTY REASSESSMENT IN PERSPECTIVE

    As most property owners are aware, rural acreage properties have experienced a tremendous increase in market value in recent years. This is true, not only in Nelson County, but in other Virginia rural counties as well. Consequently, rural land, and particularly acreage tracts, will show a much larger increase in value than residential or commercial properties.

    Property owners should be aware that the basic requirements of a reassessment are to bring all assessments to current market value and equalize assessments with similar properties. Amount of increase is not, of itself, indicative of an erroneous assessment.

    Reassessment notices will show the assessed values for 2007 and the proposed assessed values for 2008. “Land Use” assessments are not shown on these notices. Computer printouts of County-wide proposed assessments will be available for public view at the Public Library and the Nelson County Courthouse in Lovingston. These lists will give property owners an opportunity to compare their proposed assessments to other comparable properties.

    The real estate tax rate for 2008 will be set by the Board of Supervisors based on the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. It is impossible to determine the exact amount of taxes applicable to each property, until the new tax rate is set by the Board.

    The reassessment process began in the fall of 2006, with a study of real estate sales for 2006. As work continued, sales for the first half of 2007 were also examined and considered, as market value was estimated on all County properties.

    In collecting sales information and in the assessments, the reassessment office staff considers location, construction cost, quality of construction, condition of the buildings, etc., in order for the sales data to be compared, for assessment purposes, with the various properties in different neighborhoods throughout Nelson County. No sales or construction costs outside Nelson County were used in the reassessment.

    Sales which were higher or lower than typical sales were not considered in the assessments. These would include family transactions and sales which took place because of pressure on the part of the buyer or seller. This can occur when there is an immediate need to raise money and time will not allow for the property to be properly exposed to the open market. This may, then, result in a sale for less than market value. It is also possible that an adjoining owner may pay more than market value in order to protect his existing property.
    Land tracts of similar size, use, etc., must be used when comparing assessments. For example, a small acreage house site will reflect a much higher value per acre than a larger acreage property, even though the two may adjoin.

    We would encourage property owners to compare their assessments with similar properties in order to determine if the assessments are fair and equitable. If you feel your assessment is out of line with similar properties, or over market value, it should be brought to the Assessor’s attention along with supporting facts which can be used in reconsidering your assessment. Percentage of increase above the old assessed value is not, by itself, grounds for an appeal. Please remember the last reassessment was five years ago and does not represent today’s market value.

    Owners of a manufactured home assessed as personal property, need to be aware that water and septic systems are assessed as real estate and will be included on the landowner’s reassessment notice under “Buildings”. The water and septic systems are always assessed to the landowner, regardless of ownership of the manufactured home.

    Again we urge property owners to keep in mind that Reassessments are not conducted to raise taxes, but rather are required by State Law to bring all assessments to current market value and to assure uniformity of assessments.

    5 COMMENTS

    1. I’m thinking the assessments were previously under valued, but now they went above the actual selling price. I’m not sure they compared apples to apples when taking what a neighbor got for their property and what you can get for your property. That is not a true assessment, just an estimate. They were surprized to hear that I had river front property that was 90% in flood zone.

    2. Now I completely understand why Nelson is called a “sleeping” or “bedroom” county…no one can actually afford to live here unless they work SOMEWHERE ELSE! I feel deeply sorry for the folks that have lived here for decades and because of the wealth of some, are being forced to be taxed to the hilt. Is it just me or does this remind readers of Robin Hood?

      I hope the county does as promised….reduce the tax rate so this isn’t as ugly as it currently appears.

    3. We’ve seen this all before, having lived in southern California in the late seventies when families by the thousands were being forced from their homes due to obscene assessments and out of control property taxes.

      A tax revolt ensued and Proposition 13 was overwhelmingly passed and became part of the state constitution, restricting the government’s ability to adjust assessments and taxes except at the time of sale of real property. As I recall, one’s taxes could go up by no more than one percent(1%) per year, regardless of the assessed value of your property.

      Sounds like it’s time for that approach here, don’t you think?

    4. Thanks for chiming in Jack, Sally, Sean, and Kevin. Good points!

      We have been told the assessors office has been very kind to people calling, some tell us they have had substantial decreases in their original assessment after calling or meeting.

      It appears much of the property was not assessed correctly. One property owner was assessed at full value when the majority of his acreage was a flood zone it could never be developed. He got an adjustment after calling. So it does appear they are being reasonable, at least initially.

      It will be interesting to see what the board of supervisors sets the actual tax rate at in a future meeting.
      NCL

    5. If the goal is to assess real estate at present true market value, we obviously need reassessments more often than every 5 years. Charlottesville does it annually. Based on the statement from WINGATE AND ASSOCIATES in your article, the assessments for 2008 are based on data from 2006 and the first half of 2007. These times reflect the end of a housing boom. We are now in a bust and the 2008 assessments do not reflect that. We went from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market in that amount of time. My source for that statement is the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors web site. Their quarterly assessment of the area’s housing market can be found at
      http://www.caar.com/caar/buyersandsellers
      There is absolutely no way I could sell my property for as much as it has been assessed at by the county.

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