KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The deadline for Jackson County homeowners to file an appeal regarding property assessments remains July 29, but Thursday the Board of Equalization started hearing cases.
It's a process that, if you're not familiar, can be tricky.
Chuck Etem has lived in the Waldo Homes neighborhood for 30 years. He knows a few things keep the value of his house from skyrocketing, including being located next to a parking lot.
"It's just like it might if you had an open creek next your house," Etem said.
The other is the commercial space he sees anytime he steps into the backyard, so the sudden hike in this year's assessment came as a surprise for Etem just as it did to the tens of thousands of Jackson County homeowners who have joined him in appealing.
"That is the right of the public to appeal this process," Etem said, "and I'll continue to appeal until they get it right."
Etem, a Realtor by trade, has access to the multiple listing service, or MLS, which he used to print a list of similar homes and their values along with a copy of an appraisal he had done.
He brought his paperwork to the Jackson County Courthouse downtown.
"The houses in our neighborhood sell between $75,000 and $155,000," Etem told the Board of Equalization said. "We live in a very old neighborhood."
His appeal was among the 23 pages on docket Thursday for the Board of Equalization, which also heard Chris Brines' case.
Brines originally faced a more than 200% increase on his assessment. His appeals paperwork included an excel spreadsheet "showing the year-over-year increase that it would for me to get to the 234% increase," he said.
Brines was given a lower assessment value, but only after the county admitted they had mistaken the size of his house due to a typo.
Etem's best advice when filing an appeal is to reach out to a Realtor who has access to the MLS versus relying on a database you can download on an app or find on the internet.
"I want to let you know that the (appeals) system does work," Etem said. "You have to be prepared. You have to go in there prepared, but it will work for you."