It’s that time of year again. In many states, informal property tax appeals are wrapping up and you may be struggling to decide whether you should litigate because you are disappointed in the value achieved. With a new year approaching, this is a good time to take a look at the property tax performance across your entire portfolio and evaluate your property tax vendor(s) to ensure your firm is receiving the highest-quality service and results. During this evaluation, there are several important factors to keep in mind. Below are the Top 7 things to consider during your review:
- Lead Time – Do I know if my vendor reviewed every property in my portfolio? Did they give us ample lead time to provide the information they needed to perform the analysis?
- Appeal Timeliness & Follow Through – Did my vendor file all appeals in a timely manner? Did they give us plenty of time to review their opinion of values? Did they keep us informed on the status of the appeals? Did they provide me with all initial and final values?
- Appeal Results – Am I satisfied with property tax appeal results across my entire portfolio? Did my vendor dispute all assessments or give ample reason why they chose not to? Did they aggressively and proactively try to get my properties settled quickly and at fair numbers? Were they willing to take formal steps if necessary?
- Local Expertise – Are there certain markets that achieved poor results? Am I sure my vendor has consultants with local presence and expertise in that market? Does my current consulting team have a good working relationship with local assessors?
- Communication –Do I have a clear point of contact to reach out to? Were they responsive to inquiries and information requests? Am I satisfied with their level of communication?
- Technology & Access – Do I have online access to up-to-date real property values and appeal progression for each property? Is there a database to store appeal-related documentation? Is there a reporting tool available?
- Client Service – Does my vendor meet with me at least annually to review the engagement? Are they continuously seeking ways to streamline the process for all parties involved? Are they offering other services that would benefit my company? Am I able to get a customized solution based on my current needs?
While there are many things to take into consideration, what it really comes down to is results and ease of service. Your provider should be proactively providing services and communicating status updates, thus reducing your stress and time commitment. They should offer a streamlined process for accurate and timely budgets. While cost is another thing to consider, it is important to make sure you are getting value from your vendor. If your vendor is not doing these simple things, it’s probably time to consider other options.