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‘It’s a perfect storm;’ What homeowners can do about higher property taxes

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Home values in Oklahoma County are going up and so are property taxes.

A low-cost of living, a relatively good job market and the seventh fastest growing metropolitan area in the country are to blame.

Randy Schafer says his family added on a room to their house in northwest Oklahoma City.

While it adds value to their home, it also means they’ll have to pay more in taxes.

Randy just found out his home’s market value just went up more than $20,000, meaning his property taxes are about to go up as well.

“Couldn’t come at a worse time for us. We’ve got a son going off to college next year,” Schafer said. “It’s a perfect storm when it comes to tightening the belt.”

Leonard Sullivan, the Oklahoma County Assessor, said he doesn’t feel like the bearer of bad news this time of year.

“We have no motivation at all to appraise a property at too much. We get no benefit from it,” Sullivan said. “In fact, to get re-elected, the lower is better for me.”

Sullivan said anyone can come down to the Assessor’s office, or call, to protest their new property value.

The major factor they use is what similar houses in the neighborhood are selling for at the time.

Randy’s neighbor’s house also went up $20,000 in market value in just one year, but that is because nearby homeowners are getting top dollar for their properties.

Sullivan said one man complained his office didn’t account for 1,000 square feet he added to his home.

He said, “So we added it on, changed the price of their house and I drove by about a week later and they had a ‘for sale’ sign out front.”

Realtor Joe Pryor, with Virtual Real Estate Team, says if you want to protest your new property taxes, be armed with information.

“The bad news is you have to pay more taxes. The good news is that you now are worth $20,000 more on paper,” Pryor said. “Take a market analysis and possibly an appraiser’s opinion, then you can possibly challenge your taxes.”

Sullivan said homeowners have 10 days to protest their property taxes with his office.

Of the nearly 350,000 properties they assess, he said about 180,000 had a change in value.

Nearly half of those went up in value and the other half went down.