KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Any day now, Jackson County homeowners will see property value assessments in their mailboxes. This year, however, some said they're seeing increases that seem extreme. That includes one man who's lived in his Brookside home for over 30 years, and saw the highest increase he's seen since he moved in.
"When we got it, we kinda looked at it, and we were like, 76% increase," George Medina said. "I’m thinking, 'woah'."
Medina's a real estate agent, himself, and knew what to do: head downtown to fight it.
"Most people that we’ve talked to, several neighbors and some other people that have reached out to us, have had success in getting their property values lowered," Medina said.
He urges people to take these three things: pictures of the inside of their homes, the square footage and the recent sales, provided by their real estate agent.
"Because we have a porch that’s on a slab, and so that’s not a full basement... they took off for that," Medina said. "On our second floor, we have an original bathroom, we took photos of that. So I think they [assessors], really help and they’re wanting to help you, and they know a lot of these are too high, but at the same time, they’re listening to everyone and I think they’re making adjustments."
So, why are so many seeing such high property assessments this year? Medina believes it's part inflation and part COVID-19, with more people moving to the area. The Director of Assessment for Jackson County said something else.
"It’s just the nature of us trying to get everyone on that level playing field," said Gail McCann Beatty. "I got another property in their general area that had been assessed in the 300 range that got a 112% increase. However, they had purchased their property slightly under what we had in 2019. They just had been undervalued for a long time. And our goal is to get everyone at market value, so that everyone is paying their fair share."
The Assessment Department now has a program where homeowners can speak to real estate brokers one-on-one, in person if they want, to go over every facet of their homes.
"Tell us what you’ve done or what you haven’t done to that property, and then we can determine whether or not we’ve missed the mark and we need to make a correction," McCann Beatty said.
Medina said it's worth it to take the time to do it. His experience helped him get his value down close to 50%.
"I think it’s really important to do it now. If they don’t do it now, it could keep going way up in two years," Medina said. "A lot of people that if they look at what their house was assessed at now, they couldn’t sell that, they couldn’t sell their house for this. And that’s why I think they should go down there and dispute it."
Walk-in's are welcome, but appointments are encouraged, especially as more and more people decide to do the same.