Archive for the ‘Garry Michael Nettles Jr.’ tag
On Thursday, March 8, 2012, despite my having a bad cold and feeling awful, I had a financially remunerative day.
I attended my assessment appeals hearing for my house. I had applied for a reduction in the assessed value in 2010, but because so many San Francisco property owners are also appealing their assessments, it took until 2012 to get a meeting with a hearing officer.
My property tax in 2010 was just over USD $10,000 if I recall correctly. The current assessment on role above shows a value of just before the hearing of USD $790,000. That value itself is reduced from the original 2010 assessment value. It was reduced at my request via an informal yet written request I made in 2010.
Thanks to declining home prices due to the Great Recession, my 2010 taxes declined to $7,616.70!
My new assessed value as a result of my formal hearing on Thursday is USD $650,000. So I got two meaningful reductions — once in response to an informal request where I didn’t have to appear in person, and the other where I did have to appear in person and present evidence. I presented a full appraisal I paid Christian Koenig of Koenig Appraisal USD $350 for. That was money well spent. Donna Crowder was the hearing officer and Garry Michael Nettles, Jr. was on hand representing the San Francisco Assessor’s office.
I was impressed with how well Nettles had researched the comparable sales my appraiser relied on. In one case the appraisal cited a fixer upper that sold for USD $595,000 but was professionally flipped for $935,000 soon after. I am friendly with the developer that did the flipping, and I saw the result, which was astonishing. My house is not in ready to be flipped condition, so the original comp was more fair than the flipped sales price. I had asked for my appraised value to be reduced to USD $600,000, but got only USD $650,000. Frankly, I think the higher number is right on target, as the comps were for houses not as nice as my house is.
Crowder and Nettles discussed their views in front of me, and they ran calculations on their large plug-in calculators. The hearing took about 15 minutes. I was impressed with how thoughtful and smart both Crowder and Nettles are, and I think they arrived at a number that is neither too high or too low.
I am pleased and relieved.
This happy result is something of a surprise, given how critical I was of the Assessor-Recorder’s office the last time I wrote about it on this blog. In brief, the office is so overwhelmed that they routinely hold customer checks for services for months before cashing them. When I was there paying in 2011 I used cash since the office had held my 2010 check for months before they cashed it. I complained and was told they routinely hold checks. I believed them because I saw checks sitting in the open around their office, including on the counter where I was standing. I could have copied the check numbers and drained the accounts if I were a bad guy. I was appalled and I wrote a critical piece about my findings. I don’t think my piece hurt me at the hearing, which is a relief. I looked in the Assessor-Recorder’s office on Thursday, and I didn’t see any personal checks laying around for the public to view, so maybe my earlier blog post was discovered by those in authority and changes were made. I relayed this story of holding checks to a teller at San Francisco Fire Credit Union, where I hold my checking accounts, and learned that they were familiar with San Francisco holding checks so long that they become impossible to cash due to how old they are. If a random teller knows about this issue, it must be pervasive. I hope my blog post about this was headed. This is an issue of real importance because holding checks causes people to overdraw their accounts, which results in big overdraft fees, which is a drain on society.
My tax rate is 1.1718%.
The Zillow home value website shows my house value as of March 8, 2012 to be USD $756,000. When I got married in 2008, the Zillow value was about USD $1,050,000. When I got divorced in December 2011, the Zillow value was far lower. Even the far lower Zillow value today is far higher than my new assessed value.
Since I plan to stay in this house indefinitely, I am thrilled the value is so low.
I paid USD $740,500 in 2001 or 2002 when I bought the house, which was far higher than the asking price of USD $619,000.
I had to outbid 19 other buyers to win this house, but it’s a great house with a spectacular view and copious free street parking for guests and housemates.
I was told to expect my refund check from San Francisco within six to eight months, but I won’t hold my breath, since one of the homeowners in front of me at Thursday’s public hearing said he had won an assessment reduction for 2009 but still hasn’t received his check, roughly a year after his hearing for that year.