CINCINNATI – If you live in Ohio, be prepared for the shock of stickers when it comes to your home, if it hasn’t already appeared in your mailbox.
As many homeowners are learning this holiday season, their values ââ- and next year’s tax bills – are rising.
In addition to their Christmas cards, homeowners in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties have received letters from the Grinch in recent days showing an increase in the value of their home.
Christy Combs is among them. She owns a 1,500 square foot home on the East Side of Cincinnati.
âI guess, like most people, ours has grown dramatically,â she told WCPO.
The value of his house goes from $ 304,000 to $ 346,000 for the new year.
That’s $ 40,000 more in property valuation, during a vacation period when many families are struggling.
âDoing a reassessment for a global pandemic, I think, is a little unfair to everyone,â Combs said. “There are a lot of people out of work or not getting their typical salary.”
Why the new valuations in times of pandemic?
While the timing for these letters may not be ideal during the holiday season, this is all due to Ohio state law, which requires county auditors to reassess values ââevery three years.
And this latest assessment comes after a sharp spike in house prices.
Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes says it’s all based on real estate sales.
âRecent arm’s length sales are what we’re using,â Rhodes said. “That’s the only thing we need to use, the sales information from the multiple ad service.”
He says the average home value in Hamilton County, Ohio is up 14 percent over 3 years ago (some areas are much lower, but some neighborhoods are up 20% or more, based on recent home sales).
That’s great news if you’re planning to put your home up for sale anytime soon, but not that great, however, when it comes to your property tax bill.
But Rhodes says taxes should only increase by 3 or 4 percent, much less than the assessment increase, because schools can’t take more tax money without a vote.
âPeople often say we’re just trying to raise money for the county or the schools. We can’t do that. It’s against the law,â Rhodes said.
What you can do
Want to see your new value and taxes?
Go to your county auditor’s website, search for your home, and click on the “taxes” tab.
You can see what you’ve paid in property taxes over the past five years and compare with your new tax bill.
You can also check out your home’s valuation history (sometimes it’s shocking how cheap homes were in the 1980s).
For many homeowners, your tax bill can run up to a few hundred dollars a year, or even less, according to Rhodes.
Do you think your new home value is unfair?
You can challenge the new numbers by filing a challenge with your county review board between January 2 and March 31. (Visit your county auditor’s website for more information on how to file a dispute.)
But Christy Combs believes the valuations and taxes in the Cincinnati area are just too high, period.
âI just think they’re going to price people or tax them out of their current living situation,â she said.
As always, don’t waste your money.
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