Sady Swanson with the Fort Collins Coloradoan just published an article on July 25, 2021, describing the latest results of taxpayers' efforts to have their assessed values lowered. This is timely since I offered neighbors back in May to assist them with their property tax assessments for 2021, and many have been asking how the assessment protest in general went. Interestingly, most folks who approached me for help in pulling comparison sales ended up deciding to file a formal protest, while a few realized that they had gotten lucky and been under-assessed! My wife and I decided, after winning our previous two protests, that the 2021 assessment on our home was pretty accurate and not worthy of taking up more time to protest.
The bulk of those who felt unjustly assessed noted that their homes were outdated, with few if any updates. And that is exactly what the county assessor addressed in the press this time around, something he calls 'effective age calculator'. As a buyer's agent in Fort Collins, it is pretty clear when showing clients a property that an updated kitchen is going to catapult a property's price. And likewise, advising sellers when listing a home as a seller's agent almost always involves the discussion of which upgrades create the biggest increase in value.
Sady's article in full can be found here.
Larimer County adjusts more than half of 2021 protested property values
Larimer County adjusted more than half of protested property values in 2021 — a decline from 2019, which saw record-breaking protests.
Of the 10,589 property valuation protests filed with the county, about 55% resulted in a lowered valuation, county assessor Bob Overbeck said.
The average adjustment this year was 16.4%.
Property owners filed 24,100 protests in 2019, the largest protest volume any Colorado county had recorded in the 21st century. Of the protests, 67% resulted in a reduction of the valuation.
After property valuation cards were mailed in May, property owners had until June 1 to file an appeal with the county. Appeals were reviewed in July and any value changes were sent out to property owners who protested after June 30.
“When someone appeals, that’s helpful feedback,” Overbeck said.
To prepare for the next assessment period in 2023, Overbeck said his office will look at areas where value adjustments were concentrated and work to understand why the model might be off for that area.
“My commitment is to do a better job moving forward,” Overbeck said. “... The feedback is only going to help improve our performance in 2023.”
Overbeck applauded his office for continuing to improve its assessment model and apply the recommendations from an independent consultant’s review after record-breaking protests were filed in 2019.
Overbeck said the assessor’s office's in-person work was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the office was busy doing assessment work and more during the historic Cameron Peak Fire.
"I’m pleased we were able to perform as well as we did given the pandemic and the Cameron Peak Fire,” Overbeck said.
Overbeck said he's focused on increasing transparency with the community about the property assessment process. Even with pandemic-related restrictions, Overbeck said he's tried to reach out to residents and business owners through mailed surveys, Zoom meetings and in-person community meetings.
The assessor's office has also published an interactive property value map so people can more easily see values in their area and around the county. The map can be found at larimer.org/assessor/value-change-maps.
"We're trying to be accessible," Overbeck said.
The truth is, Overbeck said, there are some properties that are unique, which makes it harder to accurately value them in the model. Property owners know their homes best, Overbeck said, and sometimes the assessor's office doesn't have the best data.
Overbeck said he believes adding the effective age calculator to his office's modeling will help correct that.
The effective age calculator accounts for older homes in areas where other homes have been significantly remodeled, raising their values. The calculator prevents older homes that have not been remodeled from getting "sucked in" to the higher values of nearby remodeled homes, Overbeck said.
And the effective age calculator will improve over time as more data is collected by the assessor's office, Overbeck said.
"All we want to do is continue to do a better job moving forward," Overbeck said. "... I’m already planning for 2023.”
Reach out to me to discuss your move into or out of Northern Colorado.
James Sack, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
1109 Oak Park Drive | Fort Collins, CO 80525
C: (970) 217-9705 | O: (970) 223-6500 | E: James.Sack@coloradohomes.com | W: www.JamesSack.com