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Homeowner blames Jackson County assessment process after buyer makes last-minute decision to stop sale

Independence, Mo
Posted at 10:25 PM, Jul 25, 2023

INDEPENDENCE, Mo — Kim Clark and her family spent 12 years together building lives and memories inside their Independence home.

But now Clark is not sure what will happen to her home.

"It's difficult not to get emotional," Clark said.

The home was under contract to be sold just days ago.

But then the buyer found out Jackson County's property assessment on Clark's home is $666,000.

"Jackson County has torpedoed that contract by assessing my home way more than it was listed," Clark said. "They were excited to be the new owners of this house. Then they asked the question, "What had Jackson Co assessed the house at?"

It's a question Clark didn’t know the answer to because she said she never received her assessment in the mail.

An email from the broker working with the buyer explained why the deal fell through.

"The failure of this transaction had nothing to do with the seller and everything to do with how freaked out the buyer was with the outrageous valuation that the Jackson County Tax Assessor placed on the home," the email said.

The potential buyer also offered their take on the failed sale.

"I have absolutely no trust in Jackson County. I would never live in that county."

Closing the deal was a step toward financial freedom for Clark, a recently divorced single mom working to provide for her family.

"We need this to survive," Clark said.

Jackson County’s parcel viewer reveals homes surrounding Kim Clark's haven’t reached a property value assessment of even $500,000 over the past several years.

Clark's went up 37.5%.

"I don’t think we need to look at the math and sales to think that’s crazy to evaluate a property at almost $200,000 more than someone is willing to pay for a home," said Amy Hunter, a ReeceNichols realtor working with Clark.

Hunter said this is a first for her and she was just as shocked at the assessment and the reaction from the potential buyer.

"A bank appraiser would never value this home with a number that has a six in front of it," she said.

Hunter said whether or not they sold the home for less than what the county determined, a homeowner pays taxes on the assessed value, not the contract price.

"To get to the end and I'm ready to sign with a date to close on the loan and then in a moment it’s stripped away," Clark said.

Clark is hoping to join homeowners in a class action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in relief for not getting a timely notice on their assessed property value going up.

She’s also taking her fight to the Board of Equalization.

"These questions are all unanswered," Clark said.

The Jackson Co. Assessor's Office responded to Clark's claims of not receiving a notice in the mail:

We have no way of verifying that an owner received a notice. They are mailed via standard mail, without delivery confirmation or signature required. I can share that notices were mailed. Once mailed, it is always possible that mail delivery failed or the recipient accidentally discarded the notice. Property owners may also view their assessed value online. I'm glad she was able to file an appeal. She will receive a notice of her hearing date/time.

Next Monday, July 31, is the deadline to start the process of appealing a property value assessment.