Editor, The Spotlight:
On March 24, 2014, I anxiously checked our new assessments on the Town’s OARS system. What I discovered was a $30,000 increase on both of our properties. After I got up off the floor, I checked a few comparable properties assuming everyone was in the same boat. Much to my dismay, the new assessments appear as inequitable as before.
We own two different properties in the Town; a small duplex, which was our first home, and a new home, built in 2011. Our new home is modest, about 1,700 sf. By building a modest home, we hoped to avoid the crushing taxes levied on larger homes in this Town.
I am not a Real Estate professional, but I have always kept a close watch on real estate in this Town, so I knew exactly where to find comparable homes. Upon searching, I quickly discovered that the assessment on our new home was out of whack with many comparable homes; in fact it was $30,000 higher than one very similar home a few miles away.
At this point, I scheduled an informal review. I asked the GAR Associates’ representative if this could be accurate; could our house on lower Kenwood Avenue really be worth $30,000 more than a comparable new home built in a subdivision near the High School? As you can imagine, I got the standard talking points; there are 13,000 properties in this Town, they all can’t be assessed “perfectly.” OK, I thought, but I have other comparables; how can a home built in 2010, four blocks away from us, be assessed the same value when it is 300 square feet larger and includes another bedroom? It was at this point the GAR representative tried to push me along and said he would carefully review our assessment and make a recommendation to the Town.