Small assessment increase rant

Apparently for our block the assessor decided to tack on $60K to the previous year’s assessment. I talked to B&I and M&K and $60K range was what was tacked on to their assessment as well.
Dude, I have no AC, no legal basement, no fireplaces and the city knows this so why is my assessment the same as houses with AC, fireplaces, and legal basements?
Before some wiseacre tells me how great a larger assessment is let me just say that a higher assessment does not give me free money. Doesn’t do me any good until I sell the house. I was happy with the $100K in equity I got several years ago, because that’s as much as I can borrow with my salary (maybe). Anything above that does me no good as I can’t use it, unless another income comes in, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

11 thoughts on “Small assessment increase rant”

  1. Dear FU,
    The purpose of a tax assesment is to levy a fair and resonable tax burden based on real assets.
    When a city fails in that task, they really don’t deserve the money to increase their coffers. and with a huge surplus from last year to boot!

    And what tax paid city worker cleans your neighborhood?
    we’ve got garbage men and street sweeper trucks. you got someone walking buy and picking up?

    mm. i hear you. an across the board tax raise is absurd. mine is the same 60k.

  2. FU,

    yes. of course. but the point was that they dont walk around cleaning the neighborhood. they dont pick up litter on the sidewalks or in the alley (if its not in the supercan)

    so… a higher tax base isn’t helping that problem. there’s already money to pay the trash and sweeper guys

    the neighborhoods that are very clean, dupont, penn quarter, etc, have neighborhood business associations that clean them up, not city employees.
    if youre paying higher taxes, you have less cash for this type of option.

  3. I understand the purpose of taxes, but when I saw sometime back in the Post about a DC govt budget surplus that mainly came from Real Estate I screamed “B!cth where’s my money?” My income is taxed at a higher rate than Maryland (comparing the jump I exprienced when moving from MD) and the schools still suck and we have to be thankful services work, as opposed to the bad old days when you expected city services not to work.
    I would probably feel better if the tax money was used to improve the road and school infrastructure. [I can buy the arguement that it is hard to find good teachers but I can’t buy crappy school buildings] Maybe I expect too much from my local government.

  4. Did your and your neighbors’ assessments all go up BY the same amount, or did the all go up TO the same amount. If it’s the former, then it might actually make sense, especially if the increase was mostly in the land assessment rather than the improvement assessment–basically, the assessor is saying that buyers are now willing to pay a premium for the location that they weren’t willing to pay before, and that the premium is basically the same regardless of what the condition of the property is.

    The higher taxes still suck, though. Feel free to challenge the assessment, and don’t let people try to tell you that higher assessments mean more money when you do eventually cash out–appraisers and real estate agents both know that the assessment is just an arbitrary number that the gov’t uses as an index for taxes, which is why what they base all of their numbers on is actual market comps–what other properties sell for, rather than what the appraisal is. (That’s even more true in DC than in the burbs, where appraisals are vaguely correlatable to sales prices.)

  5. Increases
    My house- $62K
    Neighbors w/ basement- $61K
    Same block nice no basement- $67K
    Same block no basement- $38K
    Same block full basement- $70K

  6. From what I understand, assessments are based upon an outside inspection of your property and home. Thus, the lack of A/C, finished basement (or maybe even complete lack of) would not be normally considered. Though you would *think* they would notice a chimney, but perhaps the ‘value’ of having a fireplace is offset by higher cleaning fees and insurance liability? Be happy you own, even with increasing taxes. The true value of most homes is much higher and for people still renting, we’ve given up on owning anywhere near the District.

  7. We only got a $35K increase this year – but last year they increased the value of our place a full 50%. I agree with Sweth that this makes more sense if it’s on the land (not hte improvements) since the neighborhood value has increased. But it wasn’t on the land. It was a 50% increase in the value of the house – which has had no improvements internal or external in 4 years. Unless I put on an addition or a below ground pool, 50% increase on the house doesn’t seem fair and balanced. They only give about a month to appeal and we weren’t up on our appeal how-tos, so we live with it.

    On the services side, we did get a repaved alley, which was a nice surprise. I wonder if we’ll get new recycling any year soon?

  8. Mine went up $150k and I live in Petworth! Not exactly the hottest area. I’m afraid to find out what this will mean for us.


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