If you own real estate in Mecklenburg County, brace yourselves because the county is finally getting around to reassessing properties. According to North Carolina Law, properties throughout the state are to be re-appraised at least once every eight years. That’s right: if you’re a home buyer and you’ve been wondering why most properties such a low tax value; it’s because the value is eight years old.
The last county-wide property valuation occurred back in 2011 and it’s safe to say that just about every property owner in the county walked away angry. Back in 2011, the region was in the grips of the recession and about 1/3 of all real estate sales in the county were distressed. However, the reval process did not take that into account so many tax values were higher (at the time) than the actual fair market value.
During the county-wide real estate revaluation process, appraisers will tour just about every neighborhood throughout the area to try to determine how much, on average, the properties have increased in value. They will be using real estate sales data along with permit reports to help identify which properties have undergone significant improvements. From this data, they will assign a percentage value to your neighborhood and that will be how your tax value amount is derived. For example, if the homes in your neighborhood increased in value 79% since 2011, your new tax value could be 79% higher than it currently is.
The appraisers will not be touring individual homes in your neighborhood therefore it is up to the homeowner to ensure that the value they assign to your property is accurate. This will be crucial in neighborhoods where some of the properties are knocked down or heavily renovated and selling for much more than others. If you’re a homeowner in one of the “others”, your value could be substantially higher than it should be.
Next, every Realtor in the Charlotte area will tell you that a lot of real estate tax data is incorrect, especially heated square footage. Take a moment and visit Modria – Mecklenburg County’s new tax card system to verify that the information they have listed is accurate. Specifically, look for Heated Living Area as well as Bedroom and Bathroom count. There are two ways to go about ensuring that the heated square footage of your home is accurate: 1) refer to a recent appraisal of your home completed as a result of a purchase or refinance (a square footage drawing is usually towards the back) or 2) measure your property using the guidelines of the Residential Square Footage Guidelines pamphlet from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. It’s not hard to do but can be tricky and will require a little bit of math. However, this step could save you hundreds off your annual property tax bill.
Inside Modria, you can also submit recent comparable sales to send to the tax assessors office for consideration of your value. It is important to submit comps of similar nearby homes in roughly the same condition. This is a straight forward process in most subdivisions however trickier in neighborhoods like Elizabeth, NoDa, and Myers Park where condition can vary house by house. Our monthly real estate snapshot reports are a great resource for this data as well as a Realtor familiar with your neighborhood and property. Like before, selecting only the homes that are distressed sales may not work in your favor as the Equalization Board will likely not take those comps into consideration.
Will Property Taxes Go Up?
Almost certainly yes, your tax value will increase to what is closer to fair market value. However, in years past, both the county and the city have reduced the property taxes rates to balance out the increase of value. In 2019, I would expect them to do the same.
Want help finding comps for your property? Send us a request via email with your name, email, property address, bedrooms, bathrooms and we would be happy send you a list of properties that may be comparable in your neighborhood.
And if you’re thinking of moving to South Carolina, their system of assigning value to real estate is much more simple and complicated all at the same time. Real Estate values in South Carolina are tied to the closing sales price unless the property is not sold via an arms-length transaction. Therefore, if you purchased a home in the Springfield neighborhood of Fort Mill for $650,000, your new tax value is $650,000. That’s the simple part. The complicated portion is determining which millage rate you will pay based on your type of ownership.