Thursday, January 11, 2018

BC Assessments - Don't Panic Yet - Values are Up

Last week I received my 2018 Property Assessment Notice from the BC Assessment and read with interest that my property value had increased 14% percent since 2017.  

For some people an increased property value can mean an unwanted increased tax burden, for others it is simply a nice reassurance that their single largest investment remains a good one. Whatever camp you find yourself, don't panic, there are ways to appeal your property assessment value and this article will provide you with important tools to begin that process.

Deadline For Filing A Notice of Complaint (Appeal) is
January 31, 2018

Garbage In, Garbage Out - Taxes Up

Why is it important to make sure that the Assessment Authority has up to date information on your property? 

Several years ago I listed a farm for sale and discovered that the empty house assessed at $100,000 or more was totally uninhabitable.  To make matters worse the elderly lady owner was "land rich" but "cash poor" so paying more taxes than was needed posed an economic hardship. The house had open holes in the roof and several floors were rotten. For the safety of my client and prospective buyers, no access to the house was allowed.  Fortunately, assessment people were very understanding and within a week had made the necessary adjustments to prevent a nasty tax bill. The house has since been removed but sadly this lady can never recover the excess taxes she paid through the years.

Does the assessment authority have the right information on your property?  The way to check that is to go to and type in your address. It is that simple. Then compare the details of the residence with your own knowledge.

I checked our home a few years back and found significant errors. We had 5 bedrooms and not 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and not 3, plus the square footage of the main floor of the house was 124 square feet larger than it should be. I decided to call the Assessment Authority. Eventually, they sent an assessor to measure the house and the size of our house was amended, the number of bathrooms reduced to 3, but the number of bedrooms remains at 5.

How do your assessments compare to my neighbours? 

I have great respect and confidence in the BC Assessment Authority but they do have 2,044,482 properties across British Columbia to value. Errors can be made.

If you are concerned that your property assessment value is wrong check out what neighbouring properties have been selling for.

This can be done at the BC Assessment site. Type in your address and scroll down to the map and right above it is a menu entitled “Sample Sold Properties” give it a click. Comparable sales in your neighbourhood will populate the screen. Click “view details” to get the pictures. 

This will give you a better idea as to how well your property is valued in comparison to others and whether you should appeal.

The What To Do

If you are unhappy with the assessment information what should you do?  First call BC Assessment Authority at 1-877-356-2108, you need to make a filing before January 31, 2018 but many times things can be sorted out before that is needed.

If you cannot come to an agreement you need to ask yourself “Is this worth all the time and trouble I would have to go through in an appeal”?  If yes, it will be time to talk to a professional or collect enough information about comparable sale properties to make your own case. 

Here is a warning - be well prepared - the professionals at the BC Assessment Authority will be.

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

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