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Posted: Jun 12, 2009  12:15

Property Assessments 101

       Selkirk Mountain Real Estate
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It's that time of the year where, if you are a property owner, you have received a notice of valuation on your property. The real estate market statistics from the Selkirk Association of Realtors indicates that Boundary County residential property sales prices dropped 10.25% overall from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008. This is the time frame the assessor used for the 2009 assessments. Boundary County had 113 residential sales during this time period; there were 149 residential sales during the same time period the year before. This drop in the overall sales prices does not necessarily mean your own valuation has gone up or down, but because this 10.25% decrease is so substantial, it is an indication of what has happened in our local real estate market, and might give you cause to question your valuation. What is important to know is that your property valuation will determine the amount of property taxes you will pay when you get your actual property tax billing in November. Ultimately, the amount we pay in property taxes is determined by the budget that is set by our county commissioners. The Board of Equalization (which consists of our three county commissioners) by law can only consider the current year assessed property valuation, not the taxes.

What should you do if you disagree with the value arrived at by the Assessor's Office?

  1. Discuss the valuation with an appraiser in the Assessor's Office.

  2. If you are not satisfied, get a copy of all parcel numbers you wish to appeal, and make an appointment with the County Board of Equalization before the fourth Monday in June. An appeal form must be completed and submitted by the fourth Monday in June. The Board meets from the fourth Monday in June through the second Monday in July. Be prepared with supporting documentation for the BOE to determine the market value of your property. Provide sales of comparable properties, copies of contracts/closing statements, and/or an appraisal by a licensed appraiser. Unique characteristics of your property or other information pertaining to the market value of your property should be presented. The best way to obtain comparable market sales is to contact an active real estate agent and request their help for your BOE hearing. If you don't have someone you can contact, feel free to contact me at or call me at 267-7900. I will discuss your situation with you and assist you any way that I can at no charge.

  3. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the County Board of Equalization, make an appointment with the State Board of Tax Appeals. A form is mailed with the decision of the County Board of Equalization. Instructions for appeal are provided on the form.

  4. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the State Board of Tax Appeals the property owner can file suit in District Court.

Note: Steps 1-3 are done at the local level at no cost to the property owner.

After the close of the County Board of Equalization the valuations are set for the year and cannot be changed until the following assessment year.


June 12, 2009

Recently, a contributor has expressed opinions in, the Herald, and on a local radio broadcast stating there had been a 10.25 percent decrease in residential property sale prices. The author suggests that this should have caused a corresponding decrease in assessed values thereby yielding lower tax bills. Well, her conclusions are incorrect. Lowering everyone's valuation is unlikely to effectively change anyone's tax bill. It just causes the rates to go up. Regardless, the problem is that the data she cited represents an invalid comparison and does not relate, in any way, as to how our assessed values actually compare to those sale prices. That is the critical thing and the fact remains that the majority of the properties that actually are selling, are still selling for more than we have them valued at.

This same author has also complained that I am unwilling to use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales data. That is true because I consider it unethical. Currently, under Idaho law, disclosure of any real estate sale price is voluntary. We already ask for it on every property ownership transfer. If someone chooses not to respond, it means they wish to keep it private and I respect that. If I obtain it from MLS and use it anyway, their "private" information now becomes public and I simply won't do that.

Please do review your notices closely, and as always, feel free to call or come visit me if you have questions, concerns, or just want to know more about how the process works. We can't control the market, but we do work hard to accurately report it and hopefully, help you better understand it.


David Ryals
Boundary County Assessor


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