ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two.
“A lot of people get this letter in the mail. It comes from me and at the top it says in big bold letters, ‘This is not a bill,’” Zimmerman said.
“People are busy. You’ve got a job; you’ve got to pick up the kids. You throw it out, right? Please don’t throw out that letter! Because right underneath where it says ‘This is not a bill,’ that’s where it tells you what I think your home is worth.”
It’s real estate reassessment time in St. Louis County. Missouri law requires reassessment every two years in odd numbered years and at least once every six years.
“I am not the tax man. I don’t set your tax rates. The school district does that and the fire department does that,” Zimmerman said. “What I’m in charge of is figuring out what your house could have sold for on January 1 of this year.”
Here’s how it works: appraisers physically visit every property the county believes may increase in value by 15% or more. To date, the county says it’s conducted approximately 146,000 property inspections.
Judy Calhoun answered the door when the county appraiser visited her University City home.
“I was home, and he said he just wanted to let me know it was going up by 15%. He gave me a card to indicate as much,” she said.
“Our goal is to find the thing that actually sold and then to see if that thing looks close to your house. If your house looks like your neighbor’s house, and your neighbor’s house sold for $200,000, then maybe your house is worth around $200,000. But if the house that sold is way down the street or if the neighbor’s house looks totally different from yours, then it’s a different story,” Zimmerman said.
“If we’re wrong about your house, if we think you have two bathrooms, and you really only have one; if we think you have a finished basement, and you don’t; then you’ll have an inaccurate value, and the time to fix that is now. If you wait until that tax bill comes in December, it’s too late.”
The deadline to appeal the assessed value of your property is July 10.
“It seems high. I would think about doing something about it. Maybe filing an appeal. I’ve filed an appeal before.” Calhoun said.
“Everything is going up. I look at the bright side. If it’s in my favor, I’m glad,” north St. Louis County resident Dorothy Jones said.
Zimmerman said the most important thing any of us can do is check that piece of paper.
“If it looks like we think your home is a palace and it’s actually kind of a pigsty, then you want to think about filing an appeal,” he said.