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Hopewell Borough property owners this week are receiving letters from Certified Valuations, Inc., the contract appraiser chosen to conduct a full revaluation of all of the properties in town for tax purposes. 

Inside a rather unassuming envelope, the notice contains important information on the contractor’s process for viewing properties and updating information so that the 2015 tax assessment is as accurate as possible.

Representatives from the assessment/appraisal company will be conducting inspections during the next two weeks and will have special identification indicating their task and relationship to the town. Unfortunately, the contractor’s website has not yet been updated with information specific to the Hopewell revaluation but does have the names and photos of the company’s key personnel and shows photos of the inspectors used in prior revaluations in other towns. MercerMe will update this post as the information improves.

As a property owner, you are not required to permit entry of the inspectors for the revaluation inspection however, an accurate value of your property requires an understanding of the interior features.  Without the inspection, the appraisers won’t have a complete picture and may make some assumptions about our house that may adversely affect your new assessment.  Don’t be offended when they try multiple times … NJAC 18:12-4.8, the regulation governing revaluation firms, requires that the appraisers make at least three attempts to inspect your property… so expect some persistence!

The revaluation should be complete in time for the 2015 property assessment. While some values may go up, and some go down after the process, the revaluation will peg each property at its actual true market value – whereas currently the Borough assesses at 106% of true value.  This 100% is a contrast to other municipalities and other assessment years for Hopewell, where the assessment an equalization ratio needs to be applied.

While the author of this article is an attorney (and a tax appeals attorney to boot) the views expressed in this article are solely intended for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. For legal advice or representation in connection with real estate tax appeals, consult with an attorney.

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