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REASSESSMENT MAGIC NUMBER

Taxes_3

The Hub reports today that the total value of Red Bank properties under the latest reassessment was $2.2 billion, up from $968 million at the time of the previous revaluation, which was in 2000.

By our math, that’s an average multiplier of 2.27.

Did your assessment increase by more than the average, or less? The answer might give you guidance on the direction of your tax bill this year, and whether you’ll want to sit down with Realty Appraisal Co. for a chat.

Of course, this is a rough number. And no one yet knows whether the municipal budget will go up, down or sideways. But an unchanged total levy would mean that an owner whose property value rose by the average would see no change in his or her tax bill. A higher-than-average increase could indicate a bigger tax bite.

In last year’s election season, Democrats said that with the addition of the new Hovnanian headquarters and other structures to the tax rolls that the average tax bill would likely decrease this year.

The school and county budgets are whole other schmears in their own right. The Monmouth County Freeholders are set to hold a public hearing tonight on a budget that, according to another story in today’s Press, would increase the average residential bill by $41 this year.

Realty Appraisal is now conducting meetings with property owners who want to question or challenge their assessments, which were based in part on an exterior look at the properties (as opposed to a revaluation, in which each property is inspected inside as well).

Here’s a recap one homeowner shared with us about her meeting:

Basically, they’re not giving you any info at all. They claim it’s because none of the numbers are final. They said it’s the property of the appraisal company until it’s certified. And it’s not certified yet. So you’re operating in the dark.

They could, if they wanted, at least tell people what the average rate of increase is. Then you could estimate whether your taxes are going to go up or down. But again, they’re saying they can’t until all the numbers are final. (would be nice if someone could ask the mayor to ask the company for the info. but the attitude of the people we met with today was that if they gave out that information all it would do would rile people up. that’s what they said. can you believe it? so much for public info).

You’re meeting with third party people, people who work for other townships. They give you a card with all your house info on it and you can make sure it’s all accurate. Then you can submit info telling them why their assessment is wrong. They have a book of all homes that were sold in RB for the last year and you can go and look up comparable homes and write them down to show why their assessment is out of whack.

I think it’s completely worth going in at this point. They’ll review the information and might revise your assessment and will send you a letter in a few weeks. After that you go through the formal appeal process if you want to try to change it. It’ll be interesting if they actually do anything with the original guestimates.

The other odd thing is that they’re doing this rassessment during a housing slide. So you’re looking at this book of home sales over the last year. In our case (as I’m sure in most cases) you’re finding plenty of comparable houses far less than your new assessment. And yet those sales took place 6, 8 even 12 months ago — at the height of the bubble. Makes you wonder what how this appraisal company did their job.

As long as the borough government is aiming for greater transparency via the town website, wouldn’t it be nice to see something like this, in which all property sales data and revaluations in Montclair are available for all to see? Montclair’s borough administrator also seems to be doing a good job of keeping the public in the loop.

Realty Appraisal can be reached at 732-571-6996.

Any other readers have details from their own sit-downs with Realty Appraisal? Love to hear from you. Use the comments function below, please.

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