Friday, December 11, 2009

Hanover County Sets Stage for 2010 Real Estate Assessments

On Dec 10th an article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch with the headline Hanover real estate loses nearly $200 million in value.

Here is a excerpt from the Article:

Hanover County real estate has lost nearly $200 million in value since last year, supervisors learned yesterday from the county's chief assessor, John W. Nelms Jr.

The overall decrease of 1.5 percent in value represents a nearly $195 million decline in residential real estate and a $2.8 million decline in commercial real estate, Nelms said. Assessments were calculated based on sales through the end of October, he said. Values changed on about 10,500 parcels, most of them in the central to eastern part of the county between Ashland and Mechanicsville.

sold in the county also is down, from $347,400 in 2008 to $271,200 in the most recent report, he said. That figure doesn't necessarily indicate a decline in the value of any specific property, however.

The following letter was submitted to The Mechanicsville Local by long time Hanover resident BJ Ostergren. Mrs. Ostergren is also the owner of The Virginia Watchdog website


According to an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 12/10/09 about house sales in Hanover it was reported that "the average price of homes sold is down from $347,400 in 2008 to $271,200" in 2009. That equals a 22% drop in value.

Also in that article the County Assessor, John Nelms, Jr. stated that it was the "less expensive" property that was selling.

While the "less expensive" property may be selling, it has also taken a hit in this distressed market.

For example, in my subdivision, a house sold this past June for $170,000 which was almost 18% less than its 2009 assessed value of $206,800.

But get this....In 2008 that same property's assessed value was $178,200 which was still higher than what it sold for this year; however, in January 2009, the County Assessor (who lives in Richmond) raised the value on that property to $206,800 even while knowing that we were in a depressed market. The house was not worth the 2008 assessed value much less the assessment increase put on it this year by the county. The owner got a bum deal because he had to pay higher taxes this year based on an inflated assessed value.

Remember this example (I could give you more) and ask yourself if you could sell your house in this day and time for what the County Assessor thinks it's worth. Obviously my neighbors couldn't, but I'm also sure there are exceptions.

Around the first of January we are all going to get notices telling us what the County Assessor thinks our property is worth. Even if your property assessment stays the same - or goes up - in that notice, you should seriously think about "appealing" your reassessment. You have that right and it's free.

Also, look online on the "Assessor's" page on the County's web site at the parcels that he is going to lower for 2010. Compare your house's assessed value to others of like value and see if you think you're getting the shaft from the county. What your house is assessed for has a direct bearing on how deep you will have to reach down into your pockets to pay real estate taxes next year.

There are over 44,000 parcels in Hanover and only 10,500 (about 23%) are even changing. Some will be going up in value and some will be going down, but 34,000 values will be staying the same.

How can this be?

BJ Ostergren

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