Chal­leng­ing the au­di­tor

The Columbus Dispatch - - Not To Be Missed - As­sis­tant City Ed­i­tor Doug Caruso helped an­a­lyze data for this story.

Home­own­ers can chal­lenge the pro­posed value of their homes dur­ing spe­cial ses­sions this month hosted by the Franklin County au­di­tor’s of­fice.

The nine re­main­ing ses­sions will be held from Mon­day through Sept. 28. For a list of ses­sion lo­ca­tions and times, click on “In­for­mal Value Re­views” at franklin­countyau­di­tor.com.

Home­own­ers also can chal­lenge their val­ues on­line by click­ing on “Doc­u­ment Sub­mit­tal” on the ten­ta­tive value re­port found for each prop­erty.

Whether chal­leng­ing on­line or in per­son, prop­erty own­ers should pro­vide doc­u­men­ta­tion that their prop­erty is in­cor­rectly val­ued. Such doc­u­men­ta­tion could in­clude: a re­cent sale or ap­praisal of the prop­erty; val­ues of sim­i­lar prop­er­ties in the same neigh­bor­hood; or ev­i­dence that the au­di­tor’s in­for­ma­tion on the home is in­cor­rect. closer to 10 to 20 per­cent.

Heather and Christian Snediker-Morscheck were alarmed to dis­cover that the value of their 1,800-square­foot home built in 1963 had risen from $243,200 to $515,300.

“I laughed at it,” said Mr. Snediker-Morscheck. “I said, ‘What’s go­ing on here?’”

The cou­ple’s home is on a 0.42-acre cor­ner lot, slightly larger than most neigh­bor­ing lots. Next door, a sim­i­lar home on a 0.27acre lot rose 18.6 per­cent in value.

Nearby, the value of David and Nancy Johnston’s 1,820-square-foot home had jumped 121 per­cent, from $219,800 to $485,100.

“We were to­tally shocked,” Mrs. Johnston said. “It’s ut­terly ridicu­lous.”

The cou­ple’s’ home is on 0.63 acre that could not be split to ac­com­mo­date another home. A sim­i­lar home next door on a quar­ter-acre lot is val­ued at $281,700, more than $200,000 less.

O’Neil said the way the ap­prais­ing model has val­ued land “may need to be looked at.”

As of Fri­day, prop­erty own­ers had chal­lenged the val­ues of 7,165 parcels dur­ing a se­ries of re­view ses­sions the county is host­ing. Many of the chal­lenges are on land-only parcels.

“I can con­fi­dently say from the folks we have talked to that the land val­ues have been their No. 1 con­cern,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil noted that only a tiny por­tion of the county’s pro­posed val­ues have been found to be in er­ror so far.

“When you’re deal­ing with more than 435,000 prop­er­ties in the county, there are go­ing to be a few er­rors,” he said.

O’Neil also cau­tioned that the val­ues, which the county ad­justs ev­ery three years for tax­ing pur­poses, are pre­lim­i­nary. Fi­nal val­ues will be set in Novem­ber, af­ter prop­erty own­ers have a chance to chal­lenge their new ap­praisals.

“Our ap­prais­ers have been re­view­ing this type of stuff,” O’Neil said. “Any er­rors will be cor­rected be­fore val­ues are fi­nal­ized.”

[JONATHAN QUILTER/DIS­PATCH]

Franklin County has val­ued 6796 Bow­er­man St. E. in Wor­thing­ton, left, at $ 251,000. But next, door, at 6786, the val­u­a­tion is $471,000.

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