Thousands of Allegheny County owners are appealing their unfair property assessments. Some of those who are still deciding wonder if they should hire a law firm or attorney to assist them with their appeal. The short answer is that you can appeal your property assessment on your own, but you probably should use the services of a professional, experienced real estate attorney to help ensure that you get the best possible outcome. An attorney can help make sure the process goes smoothly and the ultimate assessed value is as low as possible.
Doing it yourself
Forms are available from the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments, and it is possible for homeowners to file their own appeals and represent themselves at the hearing. Just like in other legal proceedings, it is possible for an individual to appear pro se, acting as his or her own attorney. The Allegheny County Assessment website is available for owners to search for comparables and other evidence supporting a lower value. But the county site is not user-friendly, and is unlikely to give you the best evidence.
Benefits of an attorney
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney to represent you through the property assessment appeal process. An experienced real estate attorney will:
- Make sure that the proper paperwork is filed at the right place and by the right deadline to initiate the appeal process
- Use powerful professional-level tools to search for the best available comparables
- Assemble a persuasive stack of evidence supporting a lower assessed value
- Make the right objections and the right arguments at the formal appeal hearing
- Continue the fight to the next level, the Board of Viewers, if necessary
Is it worth it?
Is it worth hiring an attorney?
Many people do not know this, but your assessed value can even go up as a result of your appeal. Just because you file the appeal doesn't mean that the only two outcomes are for the assessed value to stay the same or go down. You can bet that the taxing authority on the other side of the appeal will bring an experienced lawyer to fight for a higher value.
If you can reduce your assessed value by a significant amount, that means hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings to you when your tax bill comes. And the savings add up year after year. With so much at stake, it is pretty safe to say that if your property is worth appealing, it is worth hiring a professional to help. Hiring an attorney usually pays for itself in tax savings.
Deadline for filing an appeal
The deadline for filing an appeal is April 2. Contact the Kisner Law Firm today to appeal your unfair assessment.