Appraisers Key to Property Tax Appeals – Appraisal Institute

Highly qualified appraisers are able to assist homeowners with appeals of property taxes, which can be a homeowner’s largest annual expense, according to the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers.

“Sometimes errors are made in how local governments calculate the amount of tax a homeowner owes,” said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. “It’s possible for assessments to be based on flawed information, such as incorrect square footage or number of bedrooms or bathrooms or even location.”

Assessors can’t look at each property individually every year as an appraiser might for mortgage financing, employee relocation or other single-property appraisal assignments, Murrett said.

He added that homeowners shouldn’t assume that the assessor is out to get them in assessing a property’s value and therefore determining the amount of tax owed. Property tax assessors usually are elected officials; it’s not in their best interest to alienate voters, he noted.

However, Murrett advised, homeowners can consider a property tax appeal and should be prepared with all the necessary information. Many appraisers collaborate with property tax consultants and attorneys who specialize in tax appeal matters, which could provide the best opportunity for a property owner to increase the chances of a successful tax appeal. Qualified appraisers – such as Designated Members of the Appraisal Institute – can help homeowners who choose to appeal their property tax assessments, he said.

“An experienced local appraiser can shed light on the local appeals process. However, this doesn’t mean that appraisers advocate an unreasonably low value for their clients because that would be an ethical violation,” Murrett said.

Different municipalities can have different stages of tax appeals. Homeowners should check with their assessor’s office or a local appraiser who can provide expertise.

“It’s important for homeowners to hire an appraiser who conforms to industry standards. Designated Members of the Appraisal Institute act in an independent, objective and impartial manner and advocate only for their expertly developed value opinions,” Murrett said.

The Appraisal Institute is a global professional association of real estate appraisers, with more than 18,000 professionals in nearly 50 countries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Individuals of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA, SRA, AI-GRS and AI-RRS designations. Learn more at