Monday, February 13, 2017

Broker’s View space in Business Monday of the Miami Herald by Barry Sharpe

Barry Sharpe of Property Tax Appeal Group, pTag, had the opportunity to write a story for today's Business Monday.  
Barry Sharpe

The story tells home owners how they can help themselves in obtaining thousands of dollars in property tax refunds.   

If you are considering selling your property, consulting with a Realtor would be a great idea.  They would be able to help you determine the market value of your home.  You would better know what buyers would be looking for and what could scare them away.  

Please read the full story on the Miami Herald website.

If you are looking for assistance with a property tax appeal, please contact us at  

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Loophole allowing some retailers to pay property tax as if vacant.

The dark store tax argument.  The underlying argument is millions of dollars have been spent to build a large box for a particular store.  County property appraisers will then value the property based on the purchase price of the land plus the cost of construction, less depreciation.  The property owner will then argue that the property should be valued based on comparable sales of similar properties, the way a house is valued for tax purposes.

Over the past four years, many stores such as Lowe's and Target, have fought this fight. In most cases the stores have prevailed, saving millions of dollars in property taxes, according to the National Association of Counties.  
The store has a duty to their investors to watch their bottom line and pay their fair share.  They are arguing that they are being over assessed and winning.  

In Marquette, MI, the local Lowe's which built a store two years ago for $10 million argued that it really should be valued at $3.5 million.  They argued that the resale value of other shuttered big-box stores throughout the state should determine the value, not the cost of construction.  This resulted in a cut by two-thirds and Marquette had to return about $450,000 back to Lowe's.  Their current tax bill was also lowered by more than $150,000 a year.  

Where lies the correct number?  Construction, value-in-use, as vacant, or a blending of all of the above?  

While we at Property Tax Appeal Group have made this argument, it is difficult for the county to change how they value a particular type of construction or use after so many years of consistent valuations.  

For more information on this subject you may check out

Monday, December 12, 2016

Supreme Court will not hear the appeal from a married couple where each have a Homestead exemption in different states.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dec. 9, 2016 – The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal of a case that involved a married couple having homestead exemptions in two states. Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for turning down the appeal filed by Broward County resident Venice Endsley, who was married to her late husband, Robert, for more than 60 years.
In the 1980s, Venice Endsley signed over her rights to a home in Huntington, Ind., to her husband. In turn, Robert Endsley signed over his rights to a home in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to his wife. Venice Endsley had a homestead exemption on the Florida home, while her husband received a similar exemption on the Indiana home.
The Broward County property appraiser learned of the arrangement in 2006 and said Venice Endsley was not entitled to a Florida homestead exemption, which resulted in a legal dispute as the court waded into questions about whether state law only barred multiple homestead exemptions in Florida or whether the prohibition also addresses properties in other states.
In its ruling the 4th District Court of Appeal in March sided with the property appraiser, ruling that the Florida Constitution only allowed one homestead exemption to be claimed. A three-judge panel, pointing to a provision in the Florida Constitution, upheld a decision by a Broward County circuit judge, who found that the Endsleys were a "single family unit and could not claim separate homestead exemptions," according to the ruling in March 2016.
"The trial court found that the plain language of the provision meant that only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of location. We agree," said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Alan Forst and joined by judges Melanie May and Rosemarie Scher. "The meaning of the Constitution's command that 'not more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit' appears clear on the face of the document."
Attorneys for Venice Endsley then asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case. In turning down the request for an appeal, the Supreme Court effectively allows the ruling by the earlier Appeals Court to stand.
Source: News Service of Florida

For Property Tax assistance:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Appraisal-free mortgages - they are coming.

Freddie Mac is planning to dispense with traditional appraisals on some loan applications for home purchases.  They are looking to replace the appraiser with an alternative valuation system that would be free of charge to both lenders and borrowers.  Are you ready to put your trust in a computer?

The mortgage provider is looking to begin offering the computerized appraisals as early as next spring.  Freddie Mac claims that they plan to tap in to a vast trove of data it has assembled on millions of existing houses nationwide.

The benefits of this would be a savings of about $350 to $600 and avoidance of time delays.  While that sounds great for both the buyer and seller, is it?  Yes you can acquire the home at a slightly lower cost but the risks involved could be great.  Appraisers look at a variety of items in order to determine value.

Would an automated appraisal catch things like roof leaks, illegal wiring, foundation issues, or missing structural walls.  There are a variety of factors that a computer would not catch that a trained appraiser would.  

Is this a view into what the future will hold or a bad test.  We will see but inevitably appraisers will still be needed.  There are many transactions that are not typical and would call for a more through review.  

More information available at:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Another condo development is cutting back: Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach.

The luxury market is definately slowing down, the only question is will it remain a slow down or come to a halt?  The Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach has decided to cut back and focus on one tower vs. the two originally planned.

“Sales have been slower than we anticipated over the last six months, particularly the fall-off in the Brazilian, Russian and Canadian markets,” he said.
The developer has redesigned the project so that those who bought units in the delayed north tower will be accommodated in the still-ongoing south tower. Condos on the higher floors of the 51-story south tower have been enlarged with bigger balconies and additional rooms.
The South tower, which is still being built, is schedualed for compleation in 2020. Asking prices start at $3.9 million.
Developers have reacted to a drop-off in foreign buyers by pumping the brakes on condo projects across South Florida, including in Miami Beachdowntown Miami and the Upper East Side.

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Hurricane just left, what do I do next?

Having clear, actionable plans in place before a hurricane strikes can help your organization minimize damage to people and property and recover as quickly as possible.  Stay safe and protect your property as much as you can.

For Hurricane information visit the National Hurricane Center to stay up to date. Keep your business, your employees, and your families safe.

10/05/2016 @ 2:30 PM

Once the wind and rain have passed, you have checked on your loved one, then you look around.  Please remember to document your damage.  It may help with your property tax appeal and especially you potential insurance claim.  

Things you should take photos of if present include: flooding, broken windows, damaged items (especially if in water) for insurance, roof damage, exterior shots from front and back of the house.

Please remember to document the damage as much as possible and most important, STAY SAFE.  We have not had a significant storm in this area for over a decade.  do not take this storm for granted.  It is better to be over prepared.

Real Estate Taxes Are The American Dream for Donald Trump

Along with the joy of making money with rental properties, regardless of inflation, tax laws permit a building to be considered a depreciating deductible expense on your federal income taxes.

The more your property is worth, the higher your net worth and the more taxes will be charged.  Fortunately, together with other real estate expenses, they are deductible.  

Then with a proper presentation before the Value Adjustment Board, the local taxing authority may even write you a tax refund check, once you explain that your property assessment is too high.

Take advantage of what the law allows.  Filing a property tax appeal is a right afforded to every taxpayer.

The truth is, odds are in your favor in obtaining least a partial victory.

This is truly a win-win situation.

For more information on the topic you can read the story in the Real Deal story: 

How to (not) pay taxes like a developer.  Which we were referenced in.