Was your real estate tax bill too high? Your right to appeal ends March 31, 2016

property tax file

By Stephen K. Hall, JD, LLM, Member — Zaino Hall & Farrin LLC 

Real property owners received their real estate tax bills this past December and January. Now is the time to evaluate whether your property is appropriately valued. Ohio real estate taxes are imposed based on the fair market value of the real estate. Even if you have already paid the first half or all of the 2015 tax year tax liability, the tax can be recovered if it was paid on an overvalued property.

Ohio law requires that county auditors re-appraise real estate every six years for purposes of calculating the value of the property that will be used for computing the real estate taxes. The appraised values are also updated every three years, generally through the use of a computer-based system. Because real estate values are constantly fluctuating, the county auditor’s valuations may not accurately reflect the true value of your property for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, different regions of Ohio are experiencing different trends in real estate values.

Deadline is March 31, 2016

The deadline for filing formal complaints with the county auditor is March 31st of the year following the tax year whose value is being contested. For example, tax year 2015 complaints may be filed between Jan. 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016.

Process of the Appeal

Pursuing an appeal of your real estate taxes can be daunting and is fraught with risk — it is usually worthwhile to retain a professional with experience with navigating such appeals. The key is to first determine whether an appeal makes economic sense. The following is an outline of the approach Zaino Hall & Farrin LLC takes to real estate tax appeals.

1. Review the valuation that the county auditor has assigned to your property.

“Market Value” is the value that the auditor alleges that your property is worth (generally, what a typically motivated buyer and seller would agree is the fair market value or the value that it would sell for in the open market).

If the county’s value is higher than the price at which you believe the property would sell in the open-market, an appeal may be advisable.

“Taxable Value” is 35 percent of the value that the auditor alleges is the “market value.”

The “Effective Tax Rate” that you may see on the tax bill is somewhat complex because the starting point tax rate is first reduced by deductions (H.B. 920 tax reduction factors tax rollbacks, etc.) and then is applied against the “Taxable value” described above.

2. File the Appeal: After reviewing the pros and cons of filing the complaint, the owner’s attorney may file a complaint with the auditor not later than the deadline of March 31, 2016.

3. BOR Hearing Scheduled: The Board of Revision assigns a hearing date at which time the owner is permitted to present evidence of the fair market value of the property. However, the school district in which the property is located may file a counter-complaint alleging a different fair market value.

4. Prepare for Hearing: The taxpayer gathers information about the property’s fair market value (sale price of the subject property, an appraisal, rent rates for comparable property, etc.).

5. Attend BOR Hearing: At the Board of Revision hearing, the owner, his or her attorney, and expert witnesses regarding the fair market value appear to request a reduction in the taxable value of the property.

Why Appeal?

When weighing the benefit of an appeal, taxpayers must realize that a favorable decision will impact more than merely the current year taxes. Potentially, a successful appeal could reduce real estate taxes for several years, depending on the cycle of revaluation for the particular county in Ohio.

For more information on tax appeals, click here.

Source: SALT BUZZ (Feb. 4, 2016), Zaino Hall & Farrin LLC 

Tags: Appraisal, Commercial, news

Ohio Division of Real Estate seeking comments on proposed changes to appraiser rules

ohio flag insetThe Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, as mandated by law, is conducting a review of Ohio’s appraiser rules. Changes are proposed in four areas:

Examination requirements for licensing and certification applicants

Reciprocity agreements


Temporary practice registration

The Division is looking for any comments on its proposed draft changes by Feb. 18. Final review, which is required every five years, will be completed by June 30, 2015. Email comments to: Edward.Woodruff@com.state.oh.us


Tags: Appraisal

Ohio Market Watch: Low appraisals continue to impact contract completions

(EDIT 8/19/2014:  A number of appraisers have expressed concerns with the way the survey findings have been presented. To clarify, this survey reflects REALTOR respondents that said they encountered problems with a contract due to low appraisals. 44 percent of REALTOR respondents said they have not encountered problems so far this year. This chart does not represent total purchase contracts written. For example, REALTOR “A” might have written 20 contracts and only expressed problems due to low appraisals with one. The post has been modified to more accurately reflect the findings. We apologize for any confusion.)


By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Consistent with findings over the past few years, 44 percent of Ohio REALTORS surveyed have not encountered contract problems attributable to low appraisals.

REALTORS say the issues arising from lower-than-anticipated appraisals include renegotiated contracts (40 percent), delays in the closing process (25 percent) and contract cancellations (23 percent). Respondents saying contracts have been cancelled or delayed due to appraisal issues are down from previous surveys. However, the percent claiming that contracts are being reworked has ticked upward from the level a year ago.

Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys.

Tags: Appraisal, Ohio Market Watch, research

Ohio Division of Real Estate clarifies new appraiser requirements

By Anne M. Petit, Superintendent, Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing

All Ohio licensed or certified real estate appraisers or registered real estate appraiser assistants who plan to UPGRADE their credential prior to the new requirements effective Jan. 1, 2015 MUST submit a complete application with all required education, a complete experience log with samples submitted for review, have state and federal background check results received by the Ohio Division of Real Estate and take and pass the exam before the Jan. 1 deadline.

The Division is aware that some licensed residential appraisers are under the mistaken belief that if they do not upgrade by the Jan. 1, 2015 deadline that they will lose their license. This is not the case and the Division encouraged any credential holder with questions regarding the 2015 criteria to call our office at (614) 466-4100 or via email: WebReal@com.state.oh.us.

Changes to College Level Education Requirements

Residential Appraiser Assistant
Current Requirements:
1/1/2015 Requirements:

Licensed Residential Appraiser
Current Requirements:
1/1/2015 Requirements:
30 semester hours of college level education from an accredited college, junior college, community college, or university OR an Associate’s degree or higher (in any field).

Certified Residential Appraiser
Current Requirements:
21 semester credit hours in specific collegiate subject matter courses from an accredited college or university OR an Associate’s degree or higher (in any field).
1/1/2015 Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any field) from an accredited college or university.

Certified General Appraiser
Current Requirements:
30 semester credit hours in specific collegiate subject matter courses from an accredited college or university OR a Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any field).
1/1/2015 Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any field) from an accredited college or university.


The Division’s website includes more information on the requirements.

Tags: Appraisal

Anatomy of an appraisal

Reprinted from the Summer/Fall 2014 Ohio REALTOR magazine

By Melanie McLane, ABR, CRB, ePro, Green, GRI, RAA, RSPS, SRES, SRS

If you were going to dissect an appraisal, where should you start? What would you look for? How do you tell if an appraisal is “good” or “bad?” Why do appraisers look at the sales contract, anyway?

These are the questions I get from students whenever I teach and they discover I’m bi-lingual—I speak both appraiser and agent. And, because I still both sell and appraise real estate, I understand the frustration both sides have with the process. Many well intentioned regulations have had a negative effect on the entire appraisal process, resulting in the “traveling appraiser” (also known as the geographically incompetent appraiser) and the untrained underwriter with bizarre requests and questions. None of this is positive for the real estate industry. Agents need to know how to look at an appraisal and determine if it has been competently prepared, and meets the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) requirement that it be “credible,” which is defined as USPAP as being “worthy of belief.”

There are several things an agent can look at when reviewing an appraisal. But, having just used the word “review,” let’s talk about some of the language associated with appraisers and appraising. The first word is client. The appraiser’s client is the person or entity who orders the appraisal. In the case of an appraisal being done for a lender, the client is the lender. They are also the intended user. In fact, when you look at a Fannie Mae appraisal report, this is printed on the form and cannot be changed by the appraiser. So, the audience the report is being prepared for is the lender not the borrower, and certainly not the agent. Borrowers get copies of appraisals because a federal law requires this. That fact still does not make the borrower an intended user. If an appraisal is confusing, or thought to be faulty, or just as part of the quality control process, an appraisal may be reviewed. But, a review appraisal is performed by another appraisal. So, you are “reviewing” the appraisal (as an agent) but the appraiser not only will not discuss the report with you, he or she may not discuss it with you unless permission is obtained from their client (the lender). However, after you review the appraisal, you may be urging the lender to get a formal review, done by a review appraiser.

The first thing you should look at is page one. This describes the property, including age, style, condition, site, and amenities; the neighborhood, the ranges of value for the neighborhood, and the overall marketing conditions in the neighborhood. Start with the facts by checking the following items for accuracy: address, parcel number, legal description, census tract number, flood plain map number, name of neighborhood, type of house, description of the house and the site. Many times, when reviewing an appraisal, I first discover numerous errors in these areas which leads me to a fuller review — and a lot more problems in the appraisal report. (more…)

Tags: Appraisal

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