Spring is a busy time every two years for Arapahoe County Assessor Corbin Sakdol. His office recently mailed detailed notices of property valuation …
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Spring is a busy time every two years for Arapahoe County
Assessor Corbin Sakdol. His office recently mailed detailed notices
of property valuation to more than 200,000 people who own property
in the county.
The culmination of mass mailings came almost a year after
Sakdol’s staff began sorting through sales records and other
documents to determine what every piece of property in the county
The notices, which should have been received by now, include the
county’s assessment for property-tax collection purposes.
Residential valuation notices also include photos and information
about five recently sold nearby and similar properties.
By state statute, property in Colorado is appraised by the
county assessor during odd-numbered years. Values were assigned
based on the sale of similar properties during an 18-month period,
Jan. 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.
That may make the valuations seem out of date since the housing
market has changed considerably during the last year. Some property
owners will notice an increase in their official values, even
though the overall market has declined.
Those who wish to appeal the findings of their valuations must
do so by June 1.
Colorado Community Newspapers recently spoke with Sakdol about
CCN: Tell us a little about what goes into creating these
Sakdol: We do commercial, residential and agricultural, being
that Arapahoe County goes halfway to Kansas. It’s a two-year
process. Of course, it’s important that everybody understands that
we have to live by the law that says we use market data from 2007
through the first half of 2008. So any current market activity, the
law does not allow us to consider.
CCN: That’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? Given the nature of the
economy and the real estate market, it would make sense that you’d
use the most current data to establish someone’s property tax
Sakdol: It would, but being that assessors have to deal with
such a large amount of properties — I think we mailed out 208,000
notices of valuation — if our appraisal date was very close to May
1, 2009, there would be no possible way to crunch that data. So
there has to be some time after that appraisal date to crunch the
CCN: Isn’t the effect inaccurate information to a certain
Sakdol: It’s not inaccurate information. It’s old information.
The information is still accurate, but it’s accurate as of a
certain appraisal date.
CCN: Can a property owner’s appeal be based on the fact that the
appraisal is effectively out of date?
Sakdol: The law is very specific and it does not allow us to
CCN: You run into a few upset people, I’d imagine.
Sakdol: Now remember, when we went through many years of the
values going up, it was the opposite effect. We had a cycle where a
Realtor didn’t even have time to put a “For Sale” sign in the yard
because the property would sell. And so again, that lag was still
there. By the time we sent out our notices of valuation, our value
was probably too low.
We would like to be as current as possible because it is
frustrating to the taxpayers and it is confusing to the taxpayers.
We are administrators of the law. We don’t set the law. The
Legislature tells us that we have to do it this way.
CCN: Because we’re talking about property taxes, this is the one
time when property owners actually want to see their property
values go down.
Sakdol: (laughs) Yes, but we have had people in the past who
have come in and said, “I would like it to be higher.” It doesn’t
happen often, but I’ve done this for 19 years and it does happen,
and it is kind of surprising. If they appeal their value, we’re
going to relook at their value, regardless of if they want it to go
up or go down.
What I encourage people to do is if they’re selling their house,
hire a professional real estate broker that will look at the
current market and list their home for a price that is a current
market, not an old market.
CCN: What are examples of situations in which someone has
successfully appealed their property values?
Sakdol: Typically, it’s condition. Being that there’s no
possible way nor are we invited to look inside every single
property, there may be issues where maybe it’s been built in 1960
and they’ve never changed anything and it’s in poor condition. We
can send out an appraiser and do an inspection of the property.
CCN: How many appeals do you expect to get this year?
Sakdol: In 2007, we had 4.9 percent of our properties appeal. I
think it’s going to be less than that this year. That’s less than
the average among metro counties. Arapahoe County in 2007 had the
CCN: How many of the appeals are successful?
Sakdol: Probably about 50 percent. Typically, we’re not hearing
from the people where the value is right and fair.
CCN: Is it ever awkward when your staff is determining the value
of your home?
Sakdol: Well, I’ll tell you. My house went up in value.
CCN: Are you going to appeal?
Sakdol: No, it’s fair. I looked at the five comps on the back of
mine too and I went “wow” (laughs).
Sakdol’s office offers property owners a variety of methods to
appeal their valuations. Appeals can be filed by mail, fax or in
person at two locations:
Arapahoe County Administration Building, 5334 S. Prince St. in
CentrePoint Plaza, 14980 E. Alameda Drive, Suite 110 in
Appeals by mail or fax will be accepted at the Littleton or
Aurora locations and must be postmarked or received by fax no later
than June 1, 2009. The same deadline applies to in-person
Residential property owners have the option of appealing online
by completing the Residential Appeal Form found on the county’s Web
The Web site can also be used to obtain information, file
residential property appeals and schedule residential
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