Producing Evidence At Your Hearing

Producing Evidence At Your Hearing

This information is provided to aid you in understanding how I will prepare evidence on your behalf for the typical appeal hearing.

The standard by which all asset is judged is called “fair market value”. Tennessee law states, “the value of all asset shall be ascertained from the evidence of its sound, intrinsic and immediate value, for purposes for sale between a willing seller and a willing buyer without consideration of speculative values…” More simply, this would be the most probable sales price which you would have received for your asset on the assessment date (January 1 of the tax year) if it had been placed on the market for a reasonable amount of time.

In trying to determine the most probable sales price of your asset, the price paid by you or another for your asset may be a good indicator if the purchase occurred on or about the assessment date and was an arms-length transaction. This means that the sales price and terms are those that would be most often found between total strangers. In addition, the seller and buyer must not be under any undue pressure which would result in a “non-typical” sales price.

Fair market value can also be found by the sales price of comparable assets. A comparable asset is one that is similar to yours in size, condition, age and location. For example, if your asset has been valued by the assessor at $465,000 and houses in your neighborhood of almost identical size and general construction sold on or about the assessment date for $300,000, this would be the best possible evidence you could bring to the hearing to prove a lower value. A much larger or much smaller asset would not qualify as a comparable asset.

The final way that I can help you show that your asset is valued too high is to show special problems which would make your asset worth less than others in your neighborhood. A potential buyer would discount the value of your home during a sale for these usually serious conditions. Examples of this would be major structural damage, frequent flooding or severe termite damage. Generally, a lack of normal maintenance is not a factor unless it is a very extreme case. These negative factors must be expressed in terms of money, such as the amount it would cost to cure the situation.

Remember, my objective at your hearing is to state the value that you feel should be placed upon your asset and provide evidence supporting that value.

Appeal Procedures

The following is my appeal procedure in Tennessee:

In presenting your appeal:

1. I will need a recent photograph of your asset if we feel that this would help demonstrate our point regarding value.

2. I will bring all the relevant information I can find about sales of comparable assets in your neighborhood, if they occurred on or about the assessment date.

3. It is a good idea to check the assessor’s records for errors. Please make sure information such as house dimensions and lot size is correct. This should be done when you contact me about representing you in connection with the challenge to your asset appraisal, and you should inform me of any discrepancies.

4. Small variations in asset features, such as living area or lot size, may not affect the value a buyer would pay for two otherwise comparable assets. I will need to look for differences that can be shown to affect the market. These differences must be accounted for in any comparison of assets that have sold.

5. You should know that inconsistent results in the assessor’s computer value system are not usually enough to prove the value on your asset is wrong.

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