Tax Assessment Appeals

A reassessment is the systematic review of the assessed value of all properties for the purpose of bringing all values to a uniform percentage of market value. The county has a legal obligation to have all properties "assessed" in a uniform manner. The ultimate goal of any reassessment is to determine the current market value of your property.

It is the goal of the Erie County Assessment Office to complete a county wide reassessment every 5 years from this point forward. The Erie County Assessment office has 23 employees, including 11 Assessors. The aerial photos of 123,000 parcels in Erie County (taken in 2003) are being compared to 2009 aerial photos. 30,000 parcels show changes.

The county appraisals might indeed be accurate, but county assessments are performed in mass considering the value of properties in a large area. These "mass appraisals" by their very nature cannot take into account the uniqueness of individual properties. They evaluate an entire subdivisions and neighborhood based on common criteria. However, these mass assessments often don’t take into consideration that even though houses of the same size in a neighborhood could be worth more or less based on a variety of factors. Letting the county assessment of your home's worth be the final word may cost you money. The same methodology is used to value commercial, multi-family and industrial properties. The specific characteristics of a particular property may not be considered resulting in an inappropriate assessment.

If you suspect the county appraisal of your property is inaccurate, you can appeal it. An appeal is a process that by working with the right company can be streamlined and frequently quite effective. Getting a professional appraisal is key to an appeal.

You may think the only professional assistance needed is someone in the real estate business who can tell you the value of your property unfortunately it is not that easy.

An appraisal will determine if your appeal is substantiated by an objective analysis, and will arm you with the documentation you need. One of the most reliable methods used to evaluate the value of properties is to analyze the selling prices of similar properties sold in the same area within the recent past. Some of the criteria used to identify properties that are similar to yours are building area, type of construction, location, quality of the construction and even styles. These are all factors that a Certified Residential Appraiser is trained to evaluate and compare accurately.

The only person legally able to give an opinion of "market value" in Pennsylvania is a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser. Since there are two classifications of real estate appraisers and not all appraisers are qualified to give an opinion of value for all types of property. A person who is a licensed real estate salesperson or broker cannot express an opinion of the "Market Value" of your property. It's simply not legal.

Assessment Evaluation, Inc. is a company with over thirty years of experience in tax assessment related work. Our appraisal experts are actively involved at every step of the appraisal process. From researching the appropriate market areas to assembling the analysis of information pertinent to your property, AEI has the knowledge, experience and professional judgment as a leader in tax consulting and real estate appraisal.

Fee Structure

Initial Assessed Value Review

For a flat fee of $100 Assessment Evaluation, Inc. will review the "Impact Statement " of the mass appraisal company for a single family home. After review, we will report to you the accuracy and methodology of the preliminary assessment from the county.

This level of service will require that you provide us with some basic information about your property similar to the information compiled by the data collectors. For homes this would include such things as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, fireplaces, and garages; if you have a basement; is any part of the basement finished, etc.

For apartments, townhouses, commercial buildings and industrial properties similar data needs to be compiled. Contact our offices directly for a fee proposal for non-residential properties.

Informal Review

If the review of the "Impact Statement" warrants further action, the next step is an informal review with the mass appraisal company. Assessment Evaluation, Inc. will provide an appraisal for a flat fee and attend the "Informal Review" with you. Property owners will have a very short time period after receipt of the Erie County Property Reassessment Notice to request an "Informal Review." Being prepared in advance is a key to success.

Formal Appeal

If you are not satisfied with the results of the "Informal Review" conducted by the mass appraisal, you will be entitled to file for a "Formal Appeal" before the Erie County Board of Appeals. Assessment Evaluation, Inc. will attend the "Formal Review" at no additional cost. "Formal Appeals" must be filed within 40 days of receiving the County Property Assessment Change Notice.