We got our 2009 Real Estate Assessment from City Hall Friday.
Last year, I didn’t understand property assessments, but now I think I do, kinda sorta, so I’m actually able to make some sense of this notice.
Last year, our assessed value was $720 (land) + $1000 (structure) for a total of $1720 — the entirety of which was exempt, being under the $7500 Homestead Exemption. We still paid a smidgen of property tax because we live in Orleans Parish and our firefighter tax is figured without regard to the Homestead Exemption, if I’m recalling correctly. Did I get that right?
This year, our assessed value is $1840 (land) + $15160 (structure) for a total of $17000. That means we now qualify for the full $7500 Homestead Exemption. The taxable total is the remainder, $15280. If we can assume a millage rate of .12920, that means we’d owe $1974 in taxes. Add another $160 for police and fire, and that gets us to $2134.
What confused me about this business in the past is the fact that assessments are 10% of fair market value. So these numbers imply that we’ve gone from an estimated fair market value of only $17,200 to $170,000. Now that I understand how this works, it’s clear that our 2008 assessment was low, way low. I don’t know if that was a Katrina thing or if it’s one of those houses that have been under-assessed for years. Our 2009 assessment is much closer to what I imagine the value of our house might be.
But actually I think it’s a bit high. We only paid $107K for the house. Our renovations have mostly just gotten it back to where it was before the Federal Flood, though the lead remediation was a substantial improvement. I’d love to think we could get $170K for the house. But I’m inclined to think it’s less, probably a few tens of thousands less.
Then again, I’m no expert on real estate. My feelings about the value of the house are pretty subjective. If this really is a fair assessment, we’ll pay it with no more grumbling than most taxpayers. If it’s high I’d like to get it adjusted. But how do I know the difference?
I’m wondering if I should make a trip down to the assessor’s office. I’ve got until August 15th.