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How to Protest an Assessment for the Real Estate License Exam

For Real Estate License Exam purposes, remember that tax assessments are about fairness, not necessarily objective reality. If your community assesses everyone at 100 percent of their property value, then you need to be on the lookout for your property being valued at a higher value than it actually is.

You can argue that your property is being over assessed, because it isn’t really worth what the assessor says it is. (This situation is one of the few in which you ever try to make that argument.)

The other way assessments can be unfair is when properties in the same community are assessed at different percentages of their market value. For instance, if most of the properties in town are being assessed at 50 percent of market value and yours is being assessed at 70 percent of market value, you may have a case.

All states have some method or process in place for protesting the assessment on your property. Each state may have a slightly different process. Typically, each community has some sort of review board before which you can protest your assessment, usually during a designated time of the year. If you’re still unsatisfied with the review board decision, court action usually is necessary.

You may be asked a question about this process on the exam, so you may want to find out just how your state handles tax assessment reviews. At the very least, you need to find out what the local tax assessment review board, if one exists, is called in your state, county, or municipality.

Before you take your first official step toward protesting your assessment, you first need to check whatever records your local tax assessor has on your property, making sure that the description of the property upon which the assessment is based is accurate. Assessors are reasonable people, and you may find that you’re being assessed for the back porch that the last owner tore down but never reported.

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