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Old 07-10-2019, 06:44 AM   #1
codeman671
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Default Tax abatements

Has anyone had recent experience obtaining a tax abatement in the lakes region, particularly in Gilford? We are looking at a property that is selling well below assessed value with plenty of comps to back up our claim.

Just curious how responsive the towns are to this, or should I plan on hunkering down for battle should we go this route?
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by codeman671 View Post
Has anyone had recent experience obtaining a tax abatement in the lakes region, particularly in Gilford? We are looking at a property that is selling well below assessed value with plenty of comps to back up our claim.

Just curious how responsive the towns are to this, or should I plan on hunkering down for battle should we go this route?
Not sure about Gilford but Laconia reassess the property after closing and takes into account the sale price and comps to either raise or lower the assessed value.


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Old 07-10-2019, 07:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by codeman671 View Post
Has anyone had recent experience obtaining a tax abatement in the lakes region, particularly in Gilford? We are looking at a property that is selling well below assessed value with plenty of comps to back up our claim.

Just curious how responsive the towns are to this, or should I plan on hunkering down for battle should we go this route?
Personally I would be prepared for a battle. The downside of NH is that property Tax is very important to the Budgets of the State and Towns. They hit the lakes region pretty hard. I to am in a situation where I could try and go for a tax abatement. I did the math to see how much could be saved. In the end the savings, just seem to be justified considering the hassle..... The argument most times (and in my case) is really over the worth of the land, very hard to show that the lands value isn't what the town wants it to be. If the issue was with the value of the structure you might have a case.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Land value

I agree. It's hard to fight over land value. There are a handful of companies that do most of the assessing in NH and other NE states, so the procedures are pretty standard. If you file for an abatement and don't like the results you can appeal to the state bureau of land tax appeals. Again, pretty standard. Presumably, your due diligence and real estate professional found suitable comps that help form the basis of any negotiations. You can see the values of other properties on the town's database. http://gilford.univers-clt.com/ Surrounding properties should have similar land values for similar size parcels. If it's shorefront, front footage is a big factor, not just total size.

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Old 07-10-2019, 12:20 PM   #5
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I don't know so much about that, land can vary quite a bit in desirability. Certain features are given to create disparity such as size, but you can't possibly argue that say a standard 1 acre lot with 150 feet of frontage should be similarly assessed. Things such as the quality of that frontage, characteristics of the land (rocky, sloping, swampy, ease of access, proximity to town) all make a difference in actual "value". I see no difference in having widely varying land values as much as building values. Granted if there are two lots being compared side by side that have nearly identical characteristics then they should be assessed as such with a similar price tag.

I also believe that certain improvements can be reflected in the land value too.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:30 PM   #6
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I see no difference in having widely varying land values as much as building values. Granted if there are two lots being compared side by side that have nearly identical characteristics then they should be assessed as such with a similar price tag.

I also believe that certain improvements can be reflected in the land value too.
Here is what I can tell you from personal experience.... when it comes to assessing the value of land on the water, there is really on one thing the towns look at, and that is the number of feet bordering on the water. If you take a look at long Isnland, if you are on the Broads side of the island you are asset one amount based on that view...The amount assed on the other sides of Long Island is different (and less) based upon those views.... When I investigate this some odd years ago, the math was simple.....

Landvalue = $per foot on water based on view X ft of water front....

Now of a few people I know that tried to get abatement, only 1 person I know of got relief, and that was because his lot was deemed not build able without substantial improvements to the lot.... However the next year after that work was done, the lot value went right back to where it had been....

Shorefront landowners get screwed, there is no way around it.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:35 PM   #7
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Default Assessed values and the bureaucracy

As a long-time visitor and one-time shoreline property owner (Alton), I learned MANY things about how the world works. My assessed value was much higher than what I paid and continued to go up every year. My wife finally took matters in hand and hired a professional appraiser (the same one the town used) and got a realistic value. While the town couldn't dispute what the appraiser found, they did throw out all the comparables that weren't in Alton (most of them). In the end, they agreed to knock the valuation down a few thousand. The next year, the valuation went right back up.

My neighbor owns a pie-shaped lot. When she found that she was being charged for a rectangular lot (overlapping mine --we both were paying). She got no refund because it was her responsibility not to have paid it.

When we had a modern septic system installed, the installers carefully checked the schedule to determine who the town inspector would be. They explained that the leach field pipes could be installed parallel to the road or perpendicular to the property line (the lot corner is not 90 degrees). Each inspector insisted on a different interpretation. Fortunately, they guessed right and didn't have to redo the installation.

I asked a visiting state inspector about procedures for removing a shoreline tree, other than the standard "do it at night" approach or "just pay the fine". He said that any proper attempt had little chance of success. However, he observed that due to its proximity to our cottage, it looked like a "hazard tree" to him. If I reported it to the appropriate agency to establish their liability should it damage the house, I would get an immediate waiver.

Other advice: Don't fill-in an ancient, unused, non-potable, dug well. If you ever want to drill a well, it's MUCH easier to get a permit to replace a failing well than to drill a new one. Never remove an old run-down shed, outhouse, or deck. If you ever decide to replace your dwelling, all of the square-footage counts toward your "footprint".
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
As a long-time visitor and one-time shoreline property owner (Alton), I learned MANY things about how the world works. My assessed value was much higher than what I paid and continued to go up every year. My wife finally took matters in hand and hired a professional appraiser (the same one the town used) and got a realistic value. While the town couldn't dispute what the appraiser found, they did throw out all the comparables that weren't in Alton (most of them). In the end, they agreed to knock the valuation down a few thousand. The next year, the valuation went right back up.

My neighbor owns a pie-shaped lot. When she found that she was being charged for a rectangular lot (overlapping mine --we both were paying). She got no refund because it was her responsibility not to have paid it.

When we had a modern septic system installed, the installers carefully checked the schedule to determine who the town inspector would be. They explained that the leach field pipes could be installed parallel to the road or perpendicular to the property line (the lot corner is not 90 degrees). Each inspector insisted on a different interpretation. Fortunately, they guessed right and didn't have to redo the installation.

I asked a visiting state inspector about procedures for removing a shoreline tree, other than the standard "do it at night" approach or "just pay the fine". He said that any proper attempt had little chance of success. However, he observed that due to its proximity to our cottage, it looked like a "hazard tree" to him. If I reported it to the appropriate agency to establish their liability should it damage the house, I would get an immediate waiver.

Other advice: Don't fill-in an ancient, unused, non-potable, dug well. If you ever want to drill a well, it's MUCH easier to get a permit to replace a failing well than to drill a new one. Never remove an old run-down shed, outhouse, or deck. If you ever decide to replace your dwelling, all of the square-footage counts toward your "footprint".
We had a camp in Sanbornton that had a dug well that use to run dry every August.
We had a new well drilled and they drilled right in the dug well.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:18 PM   #9
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My neighbor owns a pie-shaped lot. When she found that she was being charged for a rectangular lot (overlapping mine --we both were paying). She got no refund because it was her responsibility not to have paid it.
So the moral of the story is the town can screw up and there is zero culpability. If you screw up you're not only held responsible but if there is money involved pay up sometimes with interest.

I love how the town has zero culpability here... and as a side note it should be noted that the tax map boundaries are not considered accurate for the purposes of doing any kind of building, well or septic site location, yet they are for the purposes of taxation?

In the case of the aforementioned (improvements of any kind) an accurate survey by a licensed individual of your lot is required based on the language in the deed. This infers that the tax maps are inaccurate and derived from what?
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:25 PM   #10
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I just did a Laconia abatement (sent in January, did not do it until June). I received very little relief although I sent in 10 plus comparables that even included land values. They came back and used other comparables that did not compare to our property. I always find it funny that a 800sqft building deemed seasonal on shared land (taxes for land paid by the association) is valued higher than a 1500sqft year round home with a detached garage in the same neighborhood with the same lake access, and assessed 50k cheaper. I found multiple others in the same value range. I am still thinking about going further on it.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:26 PM   #11
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I use Attorney Phil Broulliard out of Laconia for my tax abatements. He does all the work and his fee is 1/2 of the first year of any tax savings that the abatement brings. It's really a no-brainer. No savings, no fee and no money up front.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:29 PM   #12
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I did my own abatement in Gilford about 10 years ago. The town reduced the assessed value of the land by about $100,000. However, when they came to inspect the property they did find a dock (legal) that was not listed on the tax card so that took the value up slightly.

My comps. all came from my street. I showed them 4 lots that had similar Sq. Feet but more level and much more buildable land area.

My lot is 50 feet at the street and 100 feet at the water. With Gilford's 25 foot sideline setback requirement, starting at the street, a substantial amount of my land is not buildable. The lot also has a significant slope and they deducted value for that too.

It was a good experience and I was treated fairly by the town.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:58 PM   #13
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Just went through this with Alton. I had just bought house for less than assessment after it had been on market for months, had comps done by lender to back it up. Assessor refused to lower assessment unless I let him in the house.


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Old 07-10-2019, 09:34 PM   #14
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Just went through this with Alton. I had just bought house for less than assessment after it had been on market for months, had comps done by lender to back it up. Assessor refused to lower assessment unless I let him in the house.
Yup, they are not going through an adjustment unless they know exactly what you have.

I successfully went through one in Moultonborough. There were a couple incorrect physical descriptions of my house and the comp properties supported my claim of lesser value.

IMO, the recent sales of local properties are the key piece. If you are unfortunate enough to live near where houses have sold for inflated value, it is not likely you will get a decreased value. It is all about the market in your area and that can be fickle.

What initiated my effort was a divorce that caused me to get a couple assessments that were well below my town assessed value.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:10 AM   #15
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Default I did as well

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Just went through this with Alton. I had just bought house for less than assessment after it had been on market for months, had comps done by lender to back it up. Assessor refused to lower assessment unless I let him in the house.


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2 or 3 years ago, the value of my land increased by $17,000 (1.6 acres). To the left of my house is our septic, which is right up to the setback, and to the right is our garage, also right up to the setback. Immediately behind the house is a stream, and on the far side, most of the area is continually wet (not classified as wetlands though). What is dry isn't buildable because the stream bisects our property, with no access to the street. Assessor came out, and after viewing the lot, revised the increase to a more reasonable $3k.
I did provide him with pictures of my lot in asking for the abatement review. Of course, this was an existing property, not one recently purchased.

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Old 07-11-2019, 07:26 AM   #16
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Don't tax abatements need to be filed by March 1st? My understanding is that if you miss this deadline you must wait until the next tax statement comes out.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by I.C.Isles View Post
Just went through this with Alton. I had just bought house for less than assessment after it had been on market for months, had comps done by lender to back it up. Assessor refused to lower assessment unless I let him in the house.


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I'd appeal that to the state. Assessed value according the definition given by the state of NH is it's fair market value. A fresh sale of the subject property re-defines "fair market value" and what is inside or out is irrelevant. Do they insist on seeing the inside when they decide to jack the value. Heck no.

Some of these town "officials" are real pieces of work.

I did the same thing after I purchased my place, which sold for well under assessed value in Meredith. I contacted the assessor's office shortly thereafter and after providing them with a copy of the P&S along with the appraisal that was done prior to the sale, the assessment was brought in line with the sale price albeit slightly higher which I did not question as I thought the number they arrived at was reasonable.
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