I think my assessment is out of line with my neighbors’ property, whose property is assessed lower. How do I get my assessment to be as low as theirs?

The first step in comparing properties is to examine the factual components of each property. Many times properties that appear larger are in fact much smaller than people think. Quality characteristics should also be examined when making comparisons. For example, a property with a newer kitchen would sell for more than a property with a much older, unimproved kitchen with all other factors being comparable. Ultimately, the assessors have to determine if the assessment represents market value on the subject property and also if the assessed value on the neighbors' property represents market value. If a neighboring property is too low in relation to surrounding properties, the assessors cannot compound their low assessment by also lowering surrounding properties. The resolution may be that the assessors have to raise the neighboring property's assessed value to make it more in line with the surrounding properties. The most important criterion the assessors examine in an abatement request is the market value of the property of the person filing the abatement and the market value of any property that the person filing the abatement mentions on the application. For example, if there were 5 identical houses on a street and 4 were assessed for $500,000 and one was assessed for $100,000, and there were three sales on the street at $500,000 each, then the assessors could not lower the 4 properties to $100,000. Based upon the sales, the market value would be very close to $500,000. The correct action for the assessors would be to raise the property assessed for $100,000 to $500,000.

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1. What do the assessors look at when determining an assessment?
2. Why did my assessment change a different percentage than the assessment on my neighbor’s house?
3. What does my assessment represent?
4. My tax bill has gone up more than 2.5 percent. Doesn’t Proposition 2 and half limit the tax increase?
5. My assessment increased more than 2.5 percent. Doesn’t Proposition 2 and a half limit the amount my assessment can increase?
6. I am elderly and cannot afford this tax bill. Can’t the assessors lower this assessment because I am elderly?
7. I am a young person who grew up in Leominster and cannot afford this tax bill. Can’t the assessors lower this assessment because I can’t afford to live in Newton?
8. My neighbor told me not to let a representative from the assessors’ office into my house. Do I have to let the assessors into my house?
9. My neighbor does not allow the assessors in and I do. Am I being penalized?
10. Why do the assessors want to see the interior and exterior of my property?
11. Why did my assessed value increase when I did not do anything to the property in 5 years and I am not selling the property?
12. Why could my assessment change every year?
13. The taxes are too high. Soon I will not be able to afford to live in Leominster. Why are you raising my taxes every year?
14. My assessment increased 20 percent. Does that mean my taxes will increase 20 percent?
15. I think my assessment is out of line with my neighbors’ property, whose property is assessed lower. How do I get my assessment to be as low as theirs?
16. Do I have to apply for an abatement every year if I received one in the past?
17. What is the difference between an abatement and an elderly exemption?
18. My neighbors’ house assessment used to be higher than mine, now my assessment is higher than theirs. Why?
19. My neighbors have a two-family property and I have a single-family property. Why is my single-family property assessed higher than their two-family property?
20. A house three times larger than mine sold up the street from me for $250,000. Will that make my assessment go up?
21. What will happen to my assessment if I put an addition on my property?
22. Why is the previous owner’s name still appearing on the tax bill?
23. My assessment went up 25 percent, is that good news or bad news?
24. My next door neighbors have done work on their house, a new kitchen, new bathroom and an addition. How come their assessment has not gone up?
25. I have a new house and recently I received a supplemental tax bill for the same fiscal year. Why did I receive more than one tax bill for the same property for the same fiscal year?