Home prices in Atlanta are rising. The anecdotal evidence homeowners may be observing in their neighborhoods has been confirmed by the most recent Case-Shiller Index. This index calculates the value of homes in the top 20 cities nationwide. The study is conducted monthly and is based upon the repeat sales of single family homes. According to the index, home values in Atlanta increased 3.8% between March and April of 2013. Year over year, values increased 20%.
Homeowners are benefiting from these increases, but, of course, an increase in home prices leads to an increase in the taxes homeowners must pay. However, if the property value is appealed, then the homeowner has the ability to maintain the property value for three years.
To begin the process of locking in the property value, one must first appeal the current property tax assessment. If at any time during the appeal process the county board of tax assessors and the taxpayer agree in writing on a new fair market value, the board of tax assessors or board of equalization shall be prohibited from changing the value for a period of three years, inclusive of the year in which the appeal was filed. Once the valuation has been set, the homeowner should not contest the valuation to the board of equalization, as such a challenge could trigger an increase in the property’s valuation. The statute governing the property value lock procedure can be found here.
Though the process of obtaining a Georgia property assessment lock seems straightforward, an attorney adept in the field of real estate law can prove helpful in establishing a three year property value lock. A consultation with one of our attorneys will provide a detailed legal opinion that can help lock in your property value for three years.