New property assessments from local tax offices have arrived in the mailboxes of some homeowners in North Dakota, and they have placed a much greater value on their homes.

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This is an unpleasant surprise, as homeowners fear what the greater assessments will mean for their impending tax bills.

Some people may see a spike in their property taxes on top of already skyrocketing prices for necessities like food and gas.

We recently posed the question to Williston residents on Facebook after receiving word of substantial raises in appraisal values.

Here is what we found:

1. A significant number of residents received a letter that their home value was rising by over 3,000 or 10% (The threshold to trigger the city to automatically send a letter to home owners)

2. This is not a new occurrence, with homeowners claiming they have had double-digit surges in home value for a third straight year.

3. It was not uncommon to have home valuations increase by tens of thousands of dollars.

4. The fervor appeared to stoke the flames of a petition to place a ballot initiative before voters to eliminate property taxes in North Dakota.

5. The single largest single-year increase was over 40% and over $125,000 from 2023–2024.  Of note, the homeowner claims they have not done any renovations to either the interior or exterior of their house since the date of purchase.

But homeowners can take heart: there is some positive news. Your tax payment can drop by a few hundred or even thousand dollars if you are successful in appealing your property assessment.

According to CBS, the median home in the United States is now worth $344,000, a 37% increase from its value in February 2020, thanks to the pandemic's impact on the property market.

County and city reassessments typically take place annually or biannually, despite the possibility of a long gap. As a result, the effects of the housing boom on homeowners' tax costs are becoming apparent.

The increase surprised some homeowners, and they have since tried to have their property values reduced.

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation reports that despite the potential benefits, only approximately 5% of individuals actually file assessments for appeal. The home services company House Method conducted a study that showed that over the previous five years, property taxes had increased by an average of 18% nationwide.

Those thinking about submitting a tax challenge should follow these guidelines, according to experts:

Understand the evaluation process for where you live

To start, experts agree that a higher property assessment isn't always indicative of a bigger tax liability. For the most part, new assessments aren't meant to increase tax revenue for municipalities; in fact, they're usually meant to be revenue-neutral.

The most relevant question is whether the percentage rise in your assessment exceeds the county or town average.

How much is your home worth?

While the results of a house's assessment can come as a shock to some homeowners, tax professionals advise that some of the values should be reevaluated to reflect what a home like yours could sell for in the current market.

Check recent sales of similar houses in the area to see if your evaluation is reasonable in light of current market conditions before filing an appeal. An appeal may be warranted if the revised assessment places a greater value on your property than what similar properties have recently sold for.

The deadline for filing an appeal can vary by city or county.

Instructions on how to file an appeal should be included in your revised evaluation. There is often a limited amount of time to file an appeal, which might be as little as a few weeks.

Seek the opinion of an impartial expert

Professionals recommend getting a second opinion on your home's value. You can usually get a free comparable market report from a real estate professional in your area who is familiar with the market.

Keep to the facts

The pros advise keeping your appeal brief (often as little as fifteen minutes) and focusing on the essentials while presenting your case.

Do not lose your composure, be professional, and stick to the facts.
Keep in mind that your evaluation might also move up

Additionally, property owners need to be aware that there is a possibility that their assessments can increase as a result of an appeal.

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