So what did Singer and I do? (Mostly me, since Singer's not so good with typing.) We fought the man! I took information from the assessor's own website and compiled a spreadsheet of comparable dwellings in my neighborhood. I provided information including number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, dwelling type, and additional structures. And lo and behold, the market value of comparable homes started to look a lot more like my home!
I requested an informal appeal hearing and brought my data. Guess what? I was told that my "neighborhood" wasn't the neighborhood that I had taken comps from. Apparently, the street that begins a mere 60 feet from my property line isn't my neighborhood at all. What is my neighborhood? Oh, that private lane 5 blocks away with the houses set so far back you can't tell if it's an empty lot or a mega mansion. Undeterred by my appeal officer's assessment, I plowed ahead with my data, and letting her know how dissimilar those 'neighborhoods' really were. And then I left. And waited, and waited, and waited.
Over a month later, I finally received my appeals decision. My "market value" had been reduced to within $11k of my purchase price. Victory! However, this still means that my tax bill will be about $400 a year higher than it could be, if the assigned market value were truly accurate. $400 buys a lot of dog walks and treats. It will also help to launch Singer's Kitchen!
But do I keep challenging?