Archive for Saturday, February 6, 2010

Property values buck national trend

February 6, 2010


Be forewarned, Douglas County homeowners: The national news about a tanking real estate market won’t exactly match up with the news you are about to receive from the county appraiser’s office.

Nearly seven out of 10 homeowners in Lawrence and Douglas County have had their property values hold steady or increase over the last year, according to the appraiser’s annual study of the real estate market.

“Compared to the national news, Lawrence is just unique,” said County Appraiser Steve Miles. “It always has been to a degree.”

The values — which are Miles’ estimate of how much a home would sell for on the market as of Jan. 1 — are a double-edged sword. Steady or rising values mean the real estate wealth of thousands of Douglas County residents is in better shape than once thought. But, the higher than expected values also may mean many residents will pay higher property tax bills than expected. The values are used to figure property taxes that will be due in late 2010.

Here’s a look at the details of the report:

l 40.6 percent of homes experienced no change in value from 2009;

l 32 percent of homes decreased in value, with most posting declines of less than 4 percent.

l 26.2 percent of homes increased in value, with the majority of those increases less than 3 percent.

Miles said a significant improvement in the local real estate market in the last half of last year buoyed values. Miles said federal tax credits for homebuyers, plus a general increase in confidence, likely were behind the second-half uptick.

Steve LaRue — an agent with McGrew Real Estate and president of the Lawrence Board of Realtors — said he’s in agreement with Miles’ report.

“The bottom line is that as long as you are price sharp, we can still sell your house,” LaRue said. “The time of overinflating the price and waiting for an offer to come along is pretty much gone.”

Property owners should receive their change of value notices from the county by early March. Property owners will have until March 30 to appeal the values.


kansasmutt 8 years, 2 months ago

Everyone needs to look close at this. Douglas County home prices have dropped off over 15% and are still dropping. This is false story, not news at all. I don’t know ANYONE who has sold a home for what it was valued at 2 years ago , nor will you come close to getting what it is valued by Douglas County at this time. The $8,000.00 credit by the feds is being used to inflate prices , so the buyers think they got a deal. Realtors are showing buyers peak price homes in the area and are not showing buyers the real average price at this time. Most homes valued at $175,000.00 back in 2007 are only bringing $130,000.00 to $140,000.00 now and that is dropping still. I would love to see values go back up , but it is not happening. I have a home to sell, and you can’t get an offer close to 2007 prices, not within 20% now. This is a step to get more tax revenue and if we don’t fight it, we all will suffer. Take the time to fight your appraisal if it is wrong. If you don’t, you will pay for allot of blue sky. Most (county) appraisals have only dropped off 3 to 5% since 2007 and homes have lost close to 5 times that or more. The county is trying to make up money for the shortfall and waste. We as tax payers should NOT pay the price for their failures.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Last year I sold a property for $15000 less than appraisal. The true value of anything is what someone is willing to pay for it at that moment in time. Lawrence is not some magical kingdom where property values actually rise while the rest of country decreases.

Everyone should make the county validate their appraisal.

Tex 8 years, 2 months ago

I live in an older neighborhood where houses use to sell before going on the market; now there have been, and are, houses with a realtor's sign in the yard that sit...and sit....and sit... I find the information in this story hard to believe. A realtor told us a few months ago, "I think the market here has finally bottomed out." When I mentioned that remark to a friend who invests in commercial real estate, he exclaimed, "Ha!"

BigPrune 8 years, 2 months ago

Let's see....there's 308,624,000 people in the United States. There were 374,000 new home sales for all of 2009. To be conservative, let's say there were 374,000 older home sales. So 374,000 + 374,000 = 748,000 homes sold for 2009 nationwide. 748,000 / 308,624,000 = .24% of 1 percent. So, .24% of 1 percent of the US population bought a home last year.

Lawrence has lost about 4,000 residents and a house in Lawrence can be purchased for $50,000 to $60,000 less today than last year.

Yep, I call bogus on this public relations B.S. article.

NEVER trust the government.

George Lippencott 8 years, 2 months ago

I sure wish I could obtain the price the County says my home is worth. It always fascinates me that commercial appraisals routinely value my home $20,000 to $40,000 less than the county does.

There is something wrong here! I sure would like to compare county data to sales data. I am not sure the county data is actually related to sales data! I am beginning to think they just make it up. I know that the process they use is faulty and does not meet normal appraisal standards.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Inflated property values have been a tool in Lawrence for about 18 years.

Inflated property values represent a tax increase.

Don't forget the tax increases that Baur Farms retail shops and Wal-Mart bring your way.

thelonious 8 years, 2 months ago

Rather than whine about the county over-appraising our properties, we should overwhelm them with mass appeals of our appraisals. I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment here - the county is full of BS saying that values have been basically flat. I sold a house in Lawrence in the fall of 2008 for 16k less than county appraisal. My suggestion is that EVERYONE should appeal their appraisal - the county could not deal with that, and it MIGHT trigger a mass re-appraisal downward to calm the masses (probably wishful thinking, but we'll never know if we don't try).

Come on, let's do it - it's easy to appeal the notice, and the appeal meeting does not take long - I did this in 2006 for my home in Lawrence and won (just think how much more over-appraised I would have been if I hadn't). The work is gathering data to support your appeal, but there should be enough comparable sale data to do this. Let's do it!

Everyone, appeal your appraisal!

ksarmychick 8 years, 2 months ago

I appealed my appraisal last year. The county had my house vauled at over $32K higher what I paid for it. The appraiser only appraised the value at $120K but even with the paperwork from the appraisal the county refused to lower value to close to what it really was worth. The lowest they would go was $130K even after appealing it twice and showing them the apprasil with it vauled at $120K. We paid $109K for the house. Other houses on our street of the same model house sold for $102K and $107K within a few weeks of ours. Tried to get the county to listen but they just don't care. There is no way that we could sell our house today for $130K. The apprasil system is a joke and so is appealing it.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

swan - definitely like your suggestion.

"What can I do if I do not believe the value of my property is correct? Use one of two ways to challenge the value of your property: you may appeal the "notice of value" of your property by contacting the county appraiser's office by phone or in writing by March 30th for real property and May 15th for personal property, or you may fill out a "payment under protest" form with the county treasurer at the time you pay your taxes. If you paid all your taxes prior to December 20th then the protest can be made no later than December 20th (unless an escrow or tax service agent pays your property taxes, then no later than January 31st).

You cannot appeal using both methods for the same property in the same tax year. So, if you start to appeal your "notice of value," be sure that you follow through with the appeal. You will not be allowed to "pay under protest" later.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your appeal at the county level, you may take your case to either the small claims division or the regular division of the Kansas Board of Tax appeals. For more information on appeals, please contact your local county appraiser's office."

Though I could not find info on the county website, I do believe that if you win your appeal, the value stays the same for two years. The county "inadvertently" boosted the value on one of my appealed properties the following year and had to adjust it.

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

My guess is the home that declined in value are the ones over $250,000. The ones that stayed the same are between $150k and $200K. The increases came for those below $150K. Why? The $8000 tax credit for first time homebuyers. These people have been overpaying for their first homes.

del888 8 years, 2 months ago

there will be instructions on the appraisal about how you can appeal the amount. Everyone just needs to call in and schedule and appeal. After a few thousand of us call in, maybe they (the gov) will figure out that they made a mistake.

Sigmund 8 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sherlock 8 years, 2 months ago

does the Douglas county tax appraiser reside in this county or Leavenwoth county?

KsTwister 8 years, 2 months ago

SPIN at its finest. Overvalued for years and people moving out in the last 3 as quick as they could fly because of it. Please, research.

BigPrune 8 years, 2 months ago

Sigmund, I wasn't blaming Chad Lawhorn at all. After I read what I posted I was hoping it didn't sound that way. His first two words summed up the article nicely, "Be forewarned"

steveguy 8 years, 2 months ago

My county appraisal on our house has never gone down, even when everyone else has. They want the tax dollar so they say we are bucking the national trend. Who are they trying to kid.

Fishman 8 years, 2 months ago

I still have friends in Lawrence so I get on here from time to time to see what is up back home. Articles like this make me glad I moved out of Lawrence after 17 years! The town is NOT even close to the same it once was. It's really too bad, but it is what it is. They aren't getting my money for overestimated property values anymore. I was lucky to get $15,000 less than what the county said our property was worth last year. This year it's worth less!

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