Thursday, January 19, 2012

Words Numbers Matter

So which should be the opening line of this article: Appeals of largest-percentage reassessments to be heard first
Version 1: "About 8,000 Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver property owners have appealed their new assessments."

Version 2: "About 6.7%  of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver property owners have appealed their new assessments."
and which version was used?   Actually the 6.7% is the percentage if the 8,000 appeals were just the residential appeals of which the city of Pittsburgh has 120 thousand or so parcels..  If it is 8,000 appeals of the the 150 thousand or so residential or commerical properties you are talking 5%.

Actually I am wondering.. is that scale of appeals higher or lower than what happened back in 2000 - 2001?

So go back to to the angst, anger, fear and loathing reported all around.  All of  5-7% filed an appeal. Likely a chunk of them will not show up if past patterns follow and again looking at past practice I bet you would find plenty of folks see no, or minimal, adjustments in the appeal process. 

So for everyone telling me the appeals will change all the numbers...   how exactly?  and by how much.  Realize that if someone gets a lowered valuation, it will push down the revenue neutral point an iota, but at the same time will push another parcel into a lower valuation.   So the impact on the distribution is unclear.  Some point out the likely self-selction in that higher valued homes will be appealing more than lower valued homes.  Granted, but see the numbers above on what total impact is possible and also I really got the impression from the news accounts that everyone was trying to appeal, not only those with nominal value increases above the revenue neutral point, but those below as well. .. So it may balance out more than one might presume.


Blogger illyrias said...

Keep in mind that more people will be filing appeals (myself included). I just talked to a lawyer today who advised me not to file an appeal until I paid him a whopping $1200. I'm sure I'm not the only one getting that "advice".

We do have until Feb 24th. I have to assume that a lot of people are like me and waiting until the last minute to see if anything important happens in the meantime.

I am certainly not going to spend $1200 lightly.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:48:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Years ago, we went ourselves without a lawyer. Seemed to work just fine*. We just had a list with all of our neighbors assessments. However, the houses on are street are mostly similar in size and whatnot.

*Past performance not a guarantee of future results. Your mileage may vary. Offer not valid where prohibited.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MH, did you mean "your millage may vary"? ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I take the point that there are more appeals coming, but I tell you I saw a lot of the folk streaming into the county offices to file appeals and most were there thinking their tax bills were going up by the nominal assessment increase. Also a lot were being told they needed to go through a formal appeal even for minor things because of the lack of an informal appeal.

Still.. it looks like there were 90-100K formal appeals county-wide in 2000-2001. So if city is roughly 1/4 of county.. a bit conservative since there are more parcels per person in the city than the county. It works out to roughly 25K formal appeals in the city. Though again, I would like to see the stats of how many actually showed up.

I also take MH's story on his appeal, though I tell you most lawyers will tell you the basis for a successful appeal is not showing how your appeal is inconsistent with other assessment value.. but it has to be done looking at other recent and comparable sales. Probably depends who is hearing your appeal but...

I put up the detailed comparison of sales values to assessment values in the city.. and those were 2010 sales transactions. Most every property valued over 100K had an assessment value a bit LESS than the sales value then. Given that there has been appreciation since then I suspect many appeals will not be the slam dunk people think they are.

Friday, January 20, 2012 6:58:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

We did also bitch mightily. That may have been what did it. This was during the "We're going back to 2002 values" stage of things and our pre-appeal valuation was based on a 2003 sale.

Friday, January 20, 2012 9:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do it yourself.

Friday, January 20, 2012 9:44:00 AM  
Blogger illyrias said...

Thanks everyone for the advice. My current plan is to pay a professional appraiser - still an expense but much less than $1200 - to do the comparable values for me. I'll feel much more confident going into the appeal with a professional's opinion. Honestly, I don't know what my house should be valued at, but I certainly think it should be valued at significantly less than what it was assessed at.

As a note, we paid significantly less than 100K 5 years ago, and our current assessment is well over 100K. We are in the mystery zone.

Friday, January 20, 2012 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Polish Hill real estate has probably been experiencing a Girl Talk effect the last few years.

Friday, January 20, 2012 2:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Black AND Yellow said...

But will Hazelwood see a Wiz Khalifa effect?

Friday, January 20, 2012 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I wonder if Hazelwood won't see a "No vaccine plant" effect? Was the plant priced in at all?

Friday, January 20, 2012 3:38:00 PM  

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