Percentage even higher in Florence
Because of Kansas’ rules regarding appraisal for property taxes, less than one-third of sales in the past three years in Peabody could be considered in making appraisals, County Appraiser Cindy Magill told Marion County Commission on Friday.
There were 58 real estate sales reported to the County Register of Deeds in that time, but because of various factors, only 19 were validated for market analysis. The state’s rules aim to limit analysis to sales that are likely close to the market value of a property, so sales to family members, foreclosure sales, auctions that either aren’t well advertised or attended, and sales where a property was never really on the market aren’t included.
Of the 58 sales reported, only three were forced by foreclosure or bankruptcy, Magill said. A much greater number were eliminated because a buyer made an offer that was accepted for a home that was never advertised as for sale.
Similarly, only eight of 37 property sales in Florence during the past three years could be included in market analysis for appraisal.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said Magill has to find a way to validate a higher percentage of sales in Peabody and Florence.
“You can’t tell me that two-thirds of the sales that happen aren’t valid,” he said.
Magill said that her hands are tied by state regulations and that Dallke never brings up properties that, when sold, match or exceed their appraised values, and proceeded to list more than a dozen such sales.
“I feel like my reputation has been attacked,” she said.
Magill asked Dallke whether he had ever taken appraisal training, to which he responded asking whether Magill knew anything about buying and selling homes. Commissioner Dan Holub tried to calm the duo.
Holub said that the appraiser position used to be an elected office. Kansas changed it to an appointed office — closely monitored by the state — in an effort to reduce the favoritism that accompanied the politics of the position.
Holub said county appraisers basically work for the state. While the county pays the appraiser, the state can fire a county appraiser without the permission of the county. However, the county cannot fire an appraiser without review by the state.
Magill said that every year she has been county appraiser, the state has determined that her office is in substantial compliance with appraisal regulations. Before her arrival, the county had at least one mark against it on every annual review, she said.
Magill said very few of the examples Dallke has presented in the past of properties in his district being overvalued in appraisal have appealed their values. Dallke said that is because they are afraid of retaliation by Magill.
Holub reminded Dallke that if someone is unsatisfied with the answer they receive on appeal from the appraiser, they can take their case to the Court of Tax Appeals. He said he couldn’t find any case where the county has fought a decision by the court on appraisals.
Commission Chairman Roger Fleming noted that property owners want different appraisal values depending on whether it’s a county appraiser working on taxable values or a private appraisal for a home sale.
“People want a low value when it comes to taxes and a high value when it comes to selling,” Fleming said.
Dallke requested that Magill research the percent of validated sales in Marion and Hillsboro to compare with Peabody and Florence.