BEFORE THE IDAHO BOARD OF TAX APPEALS
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPEAL OF BRENDA ) APPEAL NO. 08-A-2528
COOPER from the decision of the Board of )
Equalization of Bonner County for tax year 2008. ) FINAL DECISION
) AND ORDER
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY APPEAL
THIS MATTER came on for hearing October 14, 2008 in Sandpoint, Idaho before Board
Member Linda Pike. The full Board participated in this decision. Appellant Brenda and husband
Terry Cooper appeared at hearing. Assessor Jerry Clemons and Appraiser Supervisor Jeri
Peterson appeared for Respondent Bonner County. This appeal is taken from a decision of the
Bonner County Board of Equalization denying the protest of valuation for taxing purposes of
property described as Parcel No. RP0029C0030120A.
The issue on appeal is the market value of a residential property.
The decision of the Bonner County Board of Equalization is modified.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The assessed value is $486,486. Appellant requests the value be reduced to $395,395.
The subject property is a condominium unit built in 1984 and located in the Schweitzer Ski
Resort area. The parties disagreed on subject’s finished living area with Appellant reporting
1,860 square feet and the County indicating 1,638 square feet. Subject is located in a four-unit
building with views of the nearby lake.
Appellant noted subject’s garage was converted to living space some years ago. While
the conversion added to subject’s living area, it eliminated private space for parking, forcing
Appellant to park on the street. Appellant also explained the conversion was done poorly
resulting in leaks in the lower level of the residence. Appellant further reported issues with
carpenter ants in subject’s exterior walls.
Appeal No. 08-A-2528
Appellant purchased subject in 2003 for $214,000. In 2005 Appellant commissioned a fee
appraisal of the property. The fee appraiser examined two (2) sales from 2004 and one (1) that
transpired in 2005. After adjusting the sale properties for differences compared to subject, the
indicated value of subject was $286,000. Appellant stated a likely selling price for subject in the
current market would be below subject’s current assessed value.
Appellant submitted numerous sales from 2006 and 2007. Sale prices were between
$287,880 and $745,000. Particular attention was paid to five (5) sales that occurred in 2007 with
sale prices between $350,000 and $425,000. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data sheets were
provided for the sales, as well as for the sales offered by the County.
Respondent explained some of the units in subject’s area were utilized as part-time rental
properties. As such, the income approach to value was considered but ultimately not relied upon
because of the limited rental information available. Instead, Respondent focused on the cost and
sales comparison value approaches.
Respondent noted there were forty-three (43) condominium sales in the Schweitzer Ski
Resort area during 2007. Respondent presented four (4) such sales in subject’s immediate area.
Sale prices were between $445,000 and $585,000 or from $280.93 to $357.14 per square foot.
The units ranged in size from 1,400 to 1,926 square feet, with two (2) built in 1984 and two (2)
constructed in 1994. Respondent also referenced two (2) sales that occurred during 2006 with
sale prices of $450,000 and $483,000. Appellant argued the sales used by the County were
superior to subject in terms of age and quality and thus should not be relied upon. In
Respondent’s view, age had little effect on sale prices in subject’s particular market.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
This Board's goal in its hearings is the acquisition of sufficient, accurate evidence to
Appeal No. 08-A-2528
support a determination of fair market value or exempt status. This Board, giving full opportunity
for all arguments and having considered all testimony and documentary evidence submitted by
the parties in support of their respective positions, hereby enters the following.
The parties disagreed on subject’s size. Appellant reported 1,860 square feet and the
County indicated the property has 1,638 square feet. The County stated subject’s square
footage was derived from the building plans when the property was first built. The source of
Appellant’s size claim is unknown. County records are presumed correct and the burden is on
Appellant to prove error by a preponderance of the evidence. Idaho Code § 63-511. On this
issue, the Board finds the burden necessary to overturn the County’s position was not met. As
such, the Board will evaluate subject as a 1,638 square foot residence.
Idaho requires property be assessed at market value for purposes of taxation as defined
in Idaho Code § 63-201:
“Market value” means the amount of United States dollars or
equivalent for which, in all probability, a property would exchange
hands between a willing sell, under no compulsion to sell, and an
informed, capable buyer, with a reasonable time allowed to
consummate the sale, substantiated by a reasonable down or full
The Assessor is charged with determining market value on January 1 of the applicable
tax year; January 1, 2008 in the current appeal. Idaho Code § 63-205. Sales occurring near the
lien date are generally the best indicators of market value. As such, the Board needs not
consider the 2006 sales presented by both parties. A sufficient number of 2007 sales exist in
the record for the Board to weigh.
Appellant noted subject’s garage was converted into living space sometime prior to its
2003 purchase. According to Appellant, the construction was of poor quality, resulting in annual
Appeal No. 08-A-2528
spring flooding in the lower level of the residence.
Appellant presented numerous sales but focused on five (5) for comparison to subject.
The properties sold between $350,000 and $420,000 or between roughly $195 and $292 per
square foot. All were newer than subject and ranged in size from 1,400 to 1,918 square feet.
Proximity of the properties to subject was not shared.
Respondent relied on four (4) sales in subject’s immediate area that transpired during
2007. Sale prices were between $445,000 and $585,000. Two (2) were built in 1994 and two
(2) were built in 1987, with sizes between 1,400 and 1,926 square feet. Appellant argued the
properties were superior to subject.
Upon closer examination of the parties’ sales, the Board is left with questions of
comparability concerning many of the properties. The location of Appellant’s sales is unknown,
which in the Board’s experience greatly influences value. Two (2) of Respondent’s sale
properties sold for $585,000, which is more than $100,000 in excess of subject’s assessed value.
It is unknown in the record which factors contributed to the high sale prices, but it is difficult to
accept the properties are proper comparable sales for subject. Further, according to the MLS
sheets furnished by Appellant, all of Respondent’s sale properties include garages, which does
not appear to be factored into the County’s analysis.
The Board does find two (2) of Respondent’s sales similar to subject, which were located
in Crystal Springs Subdivision. Both were built in 1994 and sold for $500,000 and $445,000. We
also found one (1) of Appellant’s sales to be similarly comparable. It too was located in Crystal
Springs and sold in October 2007 for $475,000. The 1,400 square foot unit was also built in
1994. All three (3) of the above sale properties include two-car garages, which must be factored
into the analysis. Consideration also must be given for the apparent poor quality of subject’s
Appeal No. 08-A-2528
garage conversion, which Appellant testified floods every year.
After adjusting for the above factors, the Board will modify the decision of the Bonner
County Board of Equalization downward to reflect a value of $450,000 for subject.
In accordance with the foregoing Final Decision, IT IS ORDERED that the decision of the
Bonner County Board of Equalization concerning the subject parcel be, and the same hereby is,
MODIFIED to reflect a decrease in total value to $450,000.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any taxes which have been paid in excess of those
determined to have been due be refunded or applied against other ad valorem taxes due from
DATED MARCH 27, 2009