What is an Assessment?

An assessment is the value that your receiver of taxes uses to generate your tax bills. If your municipality hasn't had a revaluation in the past year, your assessment will be a fractional percentage of your market value. If the assessment rolls are current, the market value of your property and your assessment should be relatively similar.

Why should I hire Property Tax Savers, Inc. when there are so many other companies to chose from?

I was called a tax assessor's nightmare in a "Reporter Dispatch" article. Why? Because if someone is over-assessed, I know how to lower their assessment. I am a thoroughly relentless person, and the only people who work with me, are the same way. Before I have anyone else take a case, that person has been trained for over a year, going with me to seminars, Board of Assessment Review meetings, and Small Claims Assessment Review proceedings. The three people I have trained have won every appeal they've taken to completion. I have won over 99.7% of my cases. I have represented thousands of people in the 26 years I've been in business.

  • Property Tax Savers, Inc. has been in business for 26 years
  • We have over a 99.7% success rate
  • Each consultant has agreed not to take on more than 200 cases per year (except under extreme conditions, and never more than 210 under any conditions)
  • We have never had a case dismissed on a technicality
  • We do not take frivolous cases – if you are not overassessed, we will not represent you
  • We do not solicit cases until we know the proper ratio to use for our mailings
  • We have always been part of the solution to fair assessments, not part of the problem The appraisers I use have extensive experience defending their reports in court. They have integrity and are thorough.

What are your fees?

We charge 50% of one year's savings based upon tax rates at the time your assessment is lowered. There's a $50 retainer to start the job and an appraisal fee unless your you recently purchaesd your home and haven't done any work. The appraisal fee is .045% of the Indicated Market Value of your home, with a minimum fee of $450. So, if your house is assessed as if it were worth $1,000,000, your appraisal fee would be $450. My appraiser gets paid when he shows up to inspect your home. If, after inspecting your home and researching comparable sales and listings he finds that you don't have a winnable case, the most you will pay for his work is $500. If your appraisal fee was less than $1000, then you would only pay half of his fee.

Why do I need an appraisal?

Put yourself in the position of an assessor, a member of the Board of Assessment Review or a judicial hearing officer. Who would you take more seriously - someone who presents your value who has no interest in the outcome of your case, or someone who works on a contingency or who gets paid by someone who works on a contingency? We require that anyone who does an appraisal for our company comes in at a fair market value to the best of his ability.

If I challenged my assessment last year, may I challenge it again this year?

Unless your assessment was raised, or there was a reval in your community, if your assessment was reduced in Small Claims Assessment Review, you may not challenge it again the following year.

How do I know if I have a case?

If the market value of your home is a reasonable amount less than its Indicated Market Value (IMV), you have a case. The IMV of a home is determined by dividing your assessed value by the current Residential Assessment Ratio for your municipality. You may get your RAR from the ORPS municipal page on the web. For example, if your assessment is $20,000, and the RAR of your town is 5%, the IMV would be $400,000. If the market value of your home is a reasonable amount less than $400,000, then you have a good chance of having your assessment lowered.

How do I know the market value of my home?

There are basically three ways to determine the market value of your home: The best indication of the market value of a home is its recent sale. If you have recently purchased your home in an arm’s length transaction, and you haven’t made any improvements, the purchase price is the market value of your home. If you haven’t recently purchased your home, the next best way to establish its market value is to get an appraisal from a bona fide, independent appraiser, who will come up his opinion of the market value of your home. You must remember that an appraisal is an opinion of value. So what you need is an appraiser with good judgment who will come in with a fair, unbiased value. If an appraiser comes in too low for your benefit, he will lose credibility and you won’t get very far. If your home has been on the market for a reasonable period of time, and the listing price is lower than the IMV, you most likely have a case. A listing price is basically a wish. If your home has been on the market for six months and it’s listed for $500,000, odds are that your home is worth less than $500,000, but we don’t know how much less. Statistically, we can determine what a home will sell for from it’s last listing price. But until a home sells, we don’t know what the last listing price will be. Therefore, we advise our clients who have homes on the market, to also obtain an appraisal. When you work with us, the appraisal fee also includes updates for negotiating with your assessor, and a court appearance by the appraiser as an expert witness, if necessary.

How often can I challenge my assessment?

We work hard to get you the best reduction possible so that you do not need to go through this process multiple times. But the market fluctuates and it's wise to check in with us every two years to see if your assessment can be lowered again. If we go to SCAR, you unless the assessor raises your assessment or there is a reval, you must wait a year before refiling a protest.

How are my tax bills generated?

Each taxing authority generates a tax rate each year. The tax rate is multiplied by your assessment (minus any exemptions) and divided by 1000 to determine your invoice. So, if your assessment is $20,000, and your tax rate is $100 per $1000 of assessment, then your bill would be $2,000.

When you do mailings, why is the value on your brochure different from the value on my tax bill?

If you read your tax bill carefully, you will see that there is the following statement (or a variation of it) on it: The Uniform % of value used to establish assessments in your municipality was xxx. If you feel your assessment is too high, you have a right to seek a reduction in the future. For further information, ask your Assessor for the booklet “What To Do If You Disagree With Your Assessment”. Please note that the period for filing complaints on the above assessment has passed.”

Why? Because the assessment reflected on your bill, is the assessment from the preceding year.

The ratio that is used to determine the Indicated Market Value (IMV) of your home on your tax bill is the Equalization Rate (ER). The ER is the State’s measure of your municipality’s level of assessment.

Now it gets even more confusing. So your municipality tells you the value of your home. But the ER is used for determining the IMV of all properties in a municipality. However, for the purposes of challenging assessments, there is a different rate that is typically used for people who live in owner occupied one, two or three family homes, and that rate is called a Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR).

When you receive a mailing from us, the IMV that we use is generated using the most current available RAR for your municipality. And it will almost always be different from the ER that is used on your tax bill. Sometimes the difference is over 30%! Unfortunately, this discrepancy often discourages people who are overpaying real estate taxes by thousands of dollars, from seeking relief for which they are entitled.

Why do I need an appraisal?

Most companies do not require that their clients obtain appraisals. Unless your home has been recently purchased, or it’s on the market, or you have a good appraisal that was done in the past six months, or under other rare circumstances, we insist that you use one of our appraisers. Why? Our appraisers get paid independently of their results. Put yourself in the position of an assessor, a Board Of Assessment Review (BAR) member, or a Judicial Hearing Officer. Who would you take more seriously: someone who had an appraisal done by an independent appraiser, someone who gets paid on a commission, who determines the value themselves, or someone who appraises a property and is paid by the company/person who gets paid on a commission? Our appraisers are instructed to come in with a market value that they would come in with no matter who retained them. IF anyone of them ever came in low for our advantage, it would be his last job with us. We want to obtain a fair assessment for our clients. And the only way we can do that is if we strive to get an assessment to accurately reflect the market value of your home.

What is the difference between my assessment and my property taxes?

Unless your municipality has conducted a recent revaluation of all properties, your assessment is a percentage of the market value of your home. Since most municipalities have not done a revaluation of all the homes, often your assessment does not reflect the actual market value of your home. It is important that your assessment be correct because your municipal, county, village and school taxes are levied from your assessment. Every year, your municipality generates a new tax rate based on its budget. And the taxes are generated using mil rates, which means you are taxed x amount per $1000 of assessed value. So if your county tax rate is $285.432, and your assessment is $10,000, your tax bill will be$2854.32 (285.432×10,000=28,543,200. 28,543,200/1000=2854.32).

If I challenge my assessment, will my Star Savings be affected?

Not unless your assessment is so low, that it's lower than your STAR exemption. If you have a Star exemption, click here to see your savings.