Temperatures are Rising and Assessors are Revaluing Property in New Hampshire
As the summer starts to heat up, assessors and appraisal companies are conducting revaluations across New Hampshire. Some of the communities that are conducting revaluations include Portsmouth, Claremont, Dover, Bow, Newmarket, Rochester and Somersworth. Property owners may receive requests to inspect your property from assessors or appraisal companies hired by municipalities to conduct revaluations. Revaluations are required by the New Hampshire Constitution at least as often as every five years, although some municipalities conduct them on annual basis such as Concord and Portsmouth.
There are five stages during most revaluations: 1) Data Collection; 2) Market Analysis; 3) Valuation; 4) Informal Hearings; 5) and Field Review.
During the data collection stage staff from the assessing office or contracted appraisal company go to properties and physically inspect the interior and measure the exterior of each building. The staff note the buildings’ location, size, age, quality of construction, improvements, topography, utilities, zoning restrictions, if any, and numerous other characteristics both inside and out. During the inspection, a property owner should accompany an inspector and point out any aspects of the property that would tend to reduce its value. For example, an inefficient heating system or leaks in the ceiling may be pointed out to the inspector by the property owner.
During the market analysis phase staff collect data from the real estate market to determine factors that influenced value and derive a land value.
During the valuation phase data is used from the data collection and market analysis phases to derive a land and building value for each property. The result is an estimate for the value for each property.
Once an estimate for value is determined for each property the best practices in assessing recommend conducting informal hearings. Notices are sent out of the revised value to each property owner, and appointments can be scheduled to meet with assessing staff to discuss the value and how it was derived. This is an opportunity to meet with assessing staff before the final value is set if a property owner disagrees with the value determined during the revaluation.
Property owners should prepare for informal hearings by reviewing the property tax card for any errors, gather information about the property, and be familiar with assessed values on similar properties in the municipality.
After the informal hearing the assessor will issue a revised notice of change assessment to reflect any changes as the result of the informal hearing. The only remedy at this point if the assessed value is not acceptable is to file an application for abatement after the tax bill is issued and before March 1.
Although most communities conduct informal hearings, some municipalities will forego the informal hearing stage leaving property owners with an appeal of the assessment as the only remedy. This year Rochester is not conducting informal hearings.
Finally, the property owner should consider consulting with professionals during the revaluation process. The experienced tax representatives at Allobar Strategies will be able to assist with the complex issues in property tax valuation of commercial properties during the revaluation process in order to obtain a reduced assessment.
For assistance during a revaluation or more information on property tax abatement appeals, please call (603) 333-2211 or visit Allobar Strategies.
For more information on property tax abatement appeals in New Hampshire, please download the New Hampshire Real Estate Tax Primer – Everything you need to know to see if you are due a tax refund.
By: John F. Hayes, Esq., General Counsel/Senior Tax Representative to Allobar Strategies