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					                      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.

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       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
              cash payment.

       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.

                                       FINAL ORDER

      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