Chatham County Appraising Land and Home Values – Tax Increase Likely for Many

Throughout August 2019 several clients in Siler City and Pittsboro have asked us why a vehicle has pulled into their driveway and photographed their home. The Chatham County NC Tax Appraisal Department is doing this to reappraise property values. In many cases, taxes will be going up as home prices are definitely going up.

Speaker 1:           What’s with the 2019 and 2020 tax bills and the reappraisal process, a lot of people are seeing a Jeep or Prius pull up their driveway and start taking pictures of their house.

Speaker 2:           Yeah, yeah. They’re allowed, they’re allowed to come. They’re allowed to come. They’re required that each municipality county’s required to do it every eight years, but they’re allowed to do it more than that. And usually the standard is every four years. One of the reasons why we skipped doing it every four years is because they have to take the average of those years. And it is possible that it would go, it could go down. And when we had our crash, our real estate depreciation of 2006, 2007, things were going down. Things have certainly bounced back. My phone is ringing off the hook right now. And usually it rings off the hook saying, Eric, I can’t believe how bad this assessment is, will you please help us with the appeal? And I can certainly fire off a letter and argue that the price should be different from what they were assessed.

People do need to know when they open that can of worms and they go to an appeal. You are opening it up for a change and it’s rare, but I’ve had people appeal it, wanting it to go down thinking that well, they can’t go any higher. And they actually did go higher after the appeal process. That’s rare, but you’d need to know that can happen. But my phone’s ringing off the hook right now because people have looked at the cost of some raw land that they had owned or the family had inherited. And they’re just not living in the area anymore. And they’re seeing that tax bill of the land right now. And they just don’t feel as though it’s worth it. I certainly believe that land, in this county, on average is appreciating more than what your tax bill is.

So if your tax bill is $500, chances are your tract of land probably went up $500 in the last year. Things are doing well, but people get frustrated they feel as though it’s time to move on. So I do have quite a few land listings that I’m working on right now. And I’m pretty sure that’s because those bills came out in August. So overall, I feel as though the county does a great job, and I know I’m not going to win any popular contest by saying that, but it is more science than art than it has been in a long time.

The data is just, I mean, the county has great access to data right now. So they know what your neighbor’s house sold for, they know what your 50 neighbors’ house sold, they know what the thousand houses sold for. I mean, they just have so much data right now that overall they’re pretty good. And my favorite thing is when I have a client crying about what their house just kind of appraised at for tax assessment or what their land is and everything I’ll very quickly with a smile say, well, I’ll give you that for that. Like, are you kidding? It’s worth twice that, so, I mean, now there are people that, I’ve heard of people going down to the tax office and slamming their tax bills down on the counter and saying, you give me that amount for my land right now and I’ll be out of here.

Just, that’s not what their job is, that’s not what they do down there or whatever. But there are some people that are very upset about it. There is a process to go through. People are always worried about the values, but the other thing that we should be worried about is the rate and the rate just went up. So it’s not, you shouldn’t be super, super worried about what your value is. If your value went up and now the rate is going up, that’s something of concern. So, we are paying more and if you’re in a municipality like Pittsboro or Siler City or Goldston, at least there’s some kind of value that you’re getting. And then you get value for the rest of the county as well.

Whatever, of course, that’s what pays for our schools and whatnot. But when you live out in the middle of nowhere, you drive to the recycling center yourself. There’s no one coming and picking up your garbage. And a lot of our places don’t have water and sewer. And there’s not, we have a great county Sheriff’s department, but there’s no police department in Bear Creek I can tell you that. So there are things that we don’t have. I have friends that are from New York that are blown away by what we pay in property taxes. And when you look at us, when you look at us compared to the Northeast or California, whatever, we pay significantly less than some of our other states do or whatever. So we’re fortunate that the property tax here isn’t too bad.

Speaker 1:           Do you think the pictures and stuff they’re doing this year will affect 2020s? Are you expecting an increase in 2020?

Speaker 2:           Yeah. Yeah. Expecting an increase. Sure. Yeah. I believe so. I mean when we look at that magic crescent, when we look at Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, and then there’s Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, I mean, we’re all in that path of progress or whatever. I think, and we have with Chatham Park and all the amenities and MOSAIC and all, we might actually have a movie theater here in Pittsboro. We might actually have a hotel in Pittsboro. We might actually be able to buy a pair of shoes or a pair of pants here in Pittsboro. We haven’t been able to do that for a long time. So yeah, I would imagine things are going to go up and you’re going to pay more. Hopefully we’ll be making more and we’ll be happy about it.