First of all let me say "Happy 40th Anniversary" to BC Assessment. Now I 'm not about to send them rubies but I am a little in awe of them this year. It's their social media that's grabbed my attention. They have Youtube, Linked In, Twitter and Facebook all linked to their website explaining their processes. The technology "love in" doesn't stop there, the Property Assessment Notices now have QR codes (a code that can be scanned by a smart phone for quick information). I must say I'm a little impressed with what traditionally has been considered a boring old crown corporation.
Now, if you are a property owner in BC, you will have opened your mailbox this week to receive your 2014 property tax assessment. Did you wonder how they arrived at their valuation of your property?
Most often, a BC Assessment Appraiser does not actually enter your yard or home to value it. They don't even drive by. Despite this, less than 2% of assessments in BC are appealed. Here's why.
BC Assessment has almost 300 Assessors that review the property location and view, lot size, home square footage, home age, and comparative recent sales in the neighbourhood as of July 1 of each year. They also go further and compile information from land titles and building and reno permits. They also send out self reporting questionnaires to property owners. For those of you who feel compelled to fess up to a material improvement, BC Assessment would not otherwise know of, you don't have to wait to be selected randomly for a self reporting questionnaire, you can complete it online. Part F is a comments section and you can tell BC Assessment everything you want them to know.
All the secondary information on changes in condition and material upgrades is factored in effective October 31. In this era of online information, there is very little property information an Assessor cannot obtain from afar. Once the value of your home is established, your property goes up and down (mostly up), just the same as Adam across the street, Neil next door, or Bal a block over.
If your property value stayed the same, or went down, you likely breathed a sigh of relief and filed it away. If you property value assessment went up, you likely had more thinking to do.
Now I don't want to sound like I drink the BC Assessment Kool-Aid and just accept it. In fact, my brother-in-law had his assessment spike several years in a row. He appealed successfully. He keeps me on the straight and narrow on accepting the BC Assessment valuations without question. The erraticness of values in his neighborhood and stability of ours is an ongoing thorn in his side (which he good naturedly continues to imply BC Assessment favourtism towards our neighbourhood).
The bottom line is that if you want to appeal your assessment, BC Assessment encourages you to speak to an Assessor first. Do this, because if you go on to appeal, the information they provide will likely form part of your appeal. Upon appeal, an Assessor will take a second look at the data, and may actually physcially view the property. There is some risk that your assessment could actually go up, but that is unlikely if you have done your homework on comparative properties before submitting your appeal. BC Assessment does provide EValueBC services so that you may compare your property value to your neighbourhood.
If you would like to Appeal your Assessment, the deadline for appeal is January 31, 2014 and there is an online form that you can complete and submit.
I have some thoughts on why you'd appeal to have the value increased .... more on this topic tomorrow.Mike Alleyne, Real Estate AgentHomeLife Benchmark604-785-7066