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Opinion Editorials

Elevated Assessments and Egos at the tax assessor’s office

Here’s a HUGE dilemma I am seeing more and more often in South Florida and because of the proposed property tax amendment that goes to vote on January 29th, a lot of people are not focusing on the day to day issues that need to be addressed. I am sure Florida is not the only one suffering from this disease…… tell me.

Turning a new Real Estate Leaf

Plenty of properties are assessed higher than their real current value. And it’s not bad enough that buyers have the liberty to get picky and negotiate to death, but when they see a tax bill that doesn’t make sense, they not only start questioning the process but they also question Realtors and their ethics.

Because many agents failed to disclose to their customers what their property taxes would increase to when the market was HOT, there’s doubt in the air and the consumer feels like the truth is still not being told and they are afraid they are being taken for a ride (with every right, I might add).

We have a listing right now that is assessed at over 1/2 million dollars – the property was inherited by a gentleman that hired us to sell it. It is owned free and clear and the owner would love to sell it quickly (wouldn’t we all). When we suggested a price lower than the assessed value, he thought we were a bit crazy but trusted us. The issue is that the house needs a LOT of work and is now priced $180,000 under the assessed value and we are having difficulty selling it! There has been a lot of interest but when prospective buyers see the assessed value and the $12,000 tax bill, they run away scared without even looking back.

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You will love this one… definitely takes the cake. One interested buyer contacted the tax appraiser’s office to inquire about appealing the current assessment and the tax appraiser’s office had the nerve to tell the customer that it would be impossible to decrease the assessment, that the idea of an appeal by his Realtor was absurd and that ultimately, if he could not afford the $12,000 tax bill, he should not buy the house.

Oh how I wish I had the name of that individual at the tax assessor’s office!!!!

But instead, I’m choosing to focus my energy in helping our real estate customers that fall into similar traps and give them step by step instructions on how to start appealing those taxes before sales fall through because of plain ineptitude. It’s never boring is it?

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Written By

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. Tony -

    January 23, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Incredible and very sad story. Since localities do their fiscal planning around property tax estimates, it doesnt seem to be in their interest to adjust the estimates downward.


  2. Jim Duncan

    January 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I mentioned in a recent post about how I’d be willing to counsel people in my area who are thinking about challenging their assessments. Assessments seem to have dropped anywhere from 5 to 10 percent in my immediate area, and the gov’t is likely to simply bump the mil rate to recapture the “lost revenue”

    If I were you, I’d seek out that gov’t employee in the assessor’s office.

  3. ines

    January 23, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Tony – nice to see you here! The whole tax assessment issue is so random here in Miami that I just shake my head in disbelief.

    Jim – you know I want to seek the man out – but no names were exchanged and I don’t think I can do anything.

    As for estates – the problem becomes even bigger. For some unknown reason there is a mysterious equation for calculating reassessments when someone inherits a property in Miami. We have seen estates assessed at 150% of their market value even when the market was HOT.

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