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KC-area appraiser shares advice for homeowners on how to appeal their property assessments in Jackson County

Jackson County Assessments
Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 03, 2023

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — A property appraiser has advice for Jackson County homeowners on how to appeal their assessments before the July 10 deadline.

While the county offers free appeal help, people are looking for help outside what the county provides.

Local appraiser Chris Wolfenbarger, managing partner at Todd Appraisal, said the high assessments are impacting families across Jackson County.

“It’d be like adding a $600 car payment to everybody’s budget, but you don’t get the car and you don’t get to use it,” Wolfenbarger said. “[The] Problem with high assessments isn’t that the high values are accurate, they didn’t adjust the mill rate or tax levy rate down."

Gail McCann Beatty, director of assessment for Jackson County, said in a meeting Monday the county has free service that can help with those appeals.

“If they are getting support documentation, we have real estate brokers there that can assist with that," McCann Beatty said. "That is something that we added this year as an added benefit to our property owners. That is no cost to the property owner. You don’t have to go and spend money on an appraisal. In fact, I encourage you not to do so.”

Appraisers like Wolfenbarger say getting a third-party opinion is a costly, but good option.

“I wouldn’t let the person I’m appealing generate the data that they are going to use to judge my appeal,” Wolfenbarger said.

KSHB 41 News did reach out to the Jackson County Assessors office with questions about he appeals process. Here are the answer we received.

Does the county suggest that homeowners frustrated with high assessments hire an outside appraiser? If not, what is the reasoning ? 

Property owners always have the option to hire an appraiser. However, this is often an unnecessary expense. The Jackson County Assessor's office recommends that if property owner does not believe they can sell their property for the assessed value, to file an appeal by July 10, 2023. When they file an appeal, they will have the option to schedule a Value Review. This is an expedited review prior to an appeal that often results in the resolution of property owner's concerns. If the property owner is not satisfied with the outcome of the Value Review, they may continue through the appeals process. The Jackson County Assessor's office is making licensed real estate brokers available to property owners free of charge. The brokers will help property owners determine the market and comparable sales for their property. Property owners are encouraged to bring documents such as a recent sales agreement, photos of the property (interior/exterior), repair estimates, or other evidence that establishes the property's condition.

What advice would the county give to those who would like a second opinion? 

If a property owner is concerned about their assessed property value, the Jackson County Assessor recommends the property owner speak with a licensed real estate broker. If the property owner doesn't have a broker they can rely on, they may utilize the no-charge, licensed real-estate brokers provided by Jackson County at 1300 Washington Street. (in Kansas City, Missouri)

Why should homeowners stick with free county appraisers ? 

It is up to the property owner's discretion if they'd like to take advantage of the service.

With just one week from the deadline to appeal, Wolfenbarger advises if you don’t have all of your documentation in order be sure to bring current pictures of your home to help your case.

“I would get license contractor bids for the work that needs to be done, take photographs down" Wolfenbarger said. "This is my foundation, this is my foundation crack, this is my roof and take those things in and show them what the interior of the property is, because they cant see it from the outside”