Many in Greene County see property values increase in 2020, still time to request revision

Greene County residents have until the end of today to question or request an informal review on their new property appraisal.

About 40,000 residents saw the value of their homes increase by double digit percentage points after a countywide reappraisal, according to data. As of Monday, Greene County Auditor David Graham’s office had more than 1,000 requests for an informal review of those appraisals, he said. There are about 70,000 residential parcels in Greene County, according to the auditor’s data.

Graham said three appraisers are calling these people to discuss their values.

“What people are experiencing right now is sticker shock,” Graham said. “People aren’t used to seeing these double digit percent increases.”

Ohio counties are required every six years to go through a reappraisal process in which the value of property in the county is determined for tax purposes. In between those formal reappraisals, the county does a statistical update every three years. Graham said he doesn’t have data for how many requests for informal review his office got during the last three-year update or during the last reappraisal.

The reason homeowners might be seeing a double digit percent increase in their value is because this process hasn’t been done since 2014 and 2008, he said. After the recession, property owners saw their values decrease. Since the last reappraisal in 2014, property values and sales have been trending higher as the economy recovered, Graham said.

“It didn’t go up 19% in one year, if you look at the trend over the six years it’s going up,” he said.

The county saw a total property value increase from 2019 to 2020 of about $1.3 billion or about 11%, according to the auditor’s data. Residential property value increased about 15% from last year to this year. This data is based on appraisals.

There are nearly 2,000 residential properties that saw a 50% or more increase from last year to this year. This is new construction Graham said.

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Taxes won’t be calculated until January, Graham said. The deadline for submitting information for an informal review is the end of the day on Oct. 23.

“Even if we don’t get back with you right away, as long as we have you in our system, we’ll get to it,” Graham said.

Graham must submit data on property values to the Ohio Department of Taxation by Oct. 31. He will likely request a one of two week extension because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve had people call and ask how I could raise values during a pandemic,” Graham said. “I didn’t have an option.”

Graham said three counties, including nearby Butler County, requested an extension until 2021 to complete their valuation updates and the Ohio Department of Taxation denied all requests.

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The informal review process doesn’t guarantee a change, so if a Greene County resident is still unhappy with their results after the informal review process, they still have the right to file a formal complaint next year from Jan. 1 to March 31, Graham said.

“Property sales are used as measuring stick for how accurate our reappraisal is,” Graham said. “Sale is a statement of value, an appraisal is an opinion of value.”

The three-year update looks a sales in the neighborhood and adjusts the appraisal with those, Graham said.

“Using a statistical model to value properties can have some results that you can’t explain, some inaccurate results,” Graham said. “That’s why we have this review process, where people can say, ‘This just doesn’t seem right.'”

On the Greene County Auditor’s site, residents can request a review online and look at what their estimated tax bill will be. Homeowners can also look at sales in their area and how comparable their value is to their neighbors' on the site. According to the auditor’s site, the average sales price in Xenia is currently $113,000.

Residents can also call the auditor’s office at (937) 562-5065 to get their questions answered.

In Montgomery County, which also did a reappraisal this year, the preliminary results showed 70% of residential properties gained taxable value. More than 150,000 property owners will see values go up – about 81,000 by double digits, according to county data. Nearly 40% of Montgomery County’s $1.8 billion increase in property values over the past three years were in Kettering, Dayton and Washington Twp., according to a reappraisal by the Montgomery County auditor.

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A robust housing market is responsible for most of the gains and the overall increase in values signals a strong financial base for the community, said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said.

Graham said he is gets a lot of questions about how this valuation will impact taxes.

“Just because your value went up, it does not mean your taxes will go up that much,” Graham said. “The increase in value does not equate to an equal increase in your taxes, but taxes are going to go up some because of this reappraisal.”

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Graham said the auditor’s office does not go into houses when doing this reappraisal, so if a resident has a house that is not “standard condition” for the neighborhood, like they’ve made a lot of renovations inside or haven’t updated it when others around have, this should be brought to the appraiser’s attention to get a correct value on a home.

Graham said his department’s goal is not to raise taxes, but to reappraise properties every six years and do an update every three years in between.

“I understand that people are upset about this, I don’t blame them. But ultimately, I have to look at it objectively and say, ‘Does the value we have on your property reasonably estimate what you would be able to sell it for today based on sales in your area?’ I’m confident 99% of cases are accurate, but again we don’t look at the inside of people’s homes," Graham said. “If I don’t think our value is correct, I will do everything I can to get the information so that we can get a correct value.”

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