Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About…..Triennial & Sexennial Revaluations and How They Affect Your Property Taxes

Every County Auditor is required by Ohio Law to value all properties in their respective County, at fair market value, twice during a six-year cycle. The review of “fair“ market value will directly impact the property taxes for each property owner in the county. The cycle begins with a reappraisal and revaluation of all properties. In this article we will explore what & when triennial & sexennial valuations occur, how market value is determined, what causes changes in valuation, how does it impact your property taxes and what to do if you disagree with your new property valuation.

2020 is the year for Triennial Updates in Franklin, Delaware, Morrow, Licking and Pickaway counties. Below is the planned schedule by County Auditors, the one cited below is for Franklin County ( call or email for other county schedules):

AUGUST 2020

  • Tentative Value Mailer goes out to residents

SEPTEMBER 2020

  • FCAO (Franklin County Auditor Office) holds “Informal Value Review Sessions”

OCTOBER 2020

  • FCAO prepares final abstract of values

NOVEMBER 2020

  • FCAO submits final abstract of values to Ohio Department of Taxation

DECEMBER 2020

  • Final values approved by State. Tax bills issued & FCAO sends final value mailer to residents

Why is this important for Property Owners to Know?

Short answer is that it will affect the value of your property for real estate tax purposes and a possible increase in you bi annual property taxes you pay.

What is a Triennial Update ?

A Triennial update is a review of valid sales over the period of 3 years, since the last appraisal. The sales data is looked at for trends in the market and values are equalized based on sales factors specific to each neighborhood. Therefore, changes in value will vary between neighborhoods. Neighborhood areas for valuing purposes are defined by like housing, type, age and size. As the name indicates, this is designed to update market values and therefore update assessed values of properties to tax purposes. Triennials occur 3 years after the last Sexennial.

What is a Sexennial Re Appraisal?

Under Ohio law, County Auditors are required to do a full, general countywide reappraisal once every 6 years. The Auditor or his/her qualified appraisers are required to view and appraise every property in the county for this purpose. The process takes between 2 -3 years to complete. Reappraisals can be in the form of an actual appraiser visiting the property, however it also includes “drive bys” of properties as well.

What is Market Value?

Ohio’s constitution, laws and courts have determined that the measure to be used determining the value by which property is subject to taxation is the “estimated fair market value”. Market value is defined as the price your property, would likely sell for in the market.

What Causes Changes in Valuation?

A primary objection of a revaluation is to adjust and equalize property values to reflect changes in the marketplace since the last valuation (Sexennial) . Since property values do not change uniformly, some values will go up, some stay the same and some will have gone down since the last valuation. Other facts, beyond variations in market value may cause a change in valuation. These could be alterations or change in the property, such as new construction not previously reported, new siding, buildings added or removed, interior finish added to basement or garage, new pole buildings constructed etc. A change in property use might also dictate a change in valuation, for example, a property use change from residential to commercial.

How does the county determine the value for a property?

For the Triennial, they appraise properties utilizing mass appraisal methods using a hired contractor that specializes in mass appraisals. The contractor will complete a reappraisal of all properties by gathering data on every property in the county and building tables that will determine the value. The accuracy of these tables is tested by looking at sales that actually occur to determine if the tables need adjusted.

If I disagree with my property valuation what can I do?

In September 2020, Franklin County Auditor (for other surrounding counties contact us for the schedules by counties) will hold Informal Review Sessions. In light of COVID-19, they will be setting up infrastructure for remote informals and will be encouraging residents to participate remotely. They do intend to have a least one in-person location for folks who cannot do their Informal Review Session remotely. For the first time Franklin County is asking all residents who wish to utilize the Informal Review Process to schedule an appointment in advance.

What type of Information do I need to support my opinion of value? Here is where we can help!

You may believe your value is incorrect, you have to be able to provide evidence to support your opinion of value. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Correcting data the auditor has on your property
  • A recent sale of your property.
  • A recent independent fee appraisal of your property.
  • If your property is listed for sale, a listing for the property.
  • Sales of comparable properties in your neighborhoods. You must provide the specific properties you used as comps.
  • Condition of your property (photos are always good to support this position).
  • Improvements or injuries to your property.
  • Any other information you think is relevant to support your claim to value.

How do I secure this information to support my claim?

The Columbus Team is here to help and can help walk you through the process, provide data to support your claim and just be there to talk you through the whole process. Sue Lusk-Gleich, Mary Allen, Patrick Florence, Erin Ogden Oxender, Terri Zellar, Heather Gott and Jeanne O’Keefe are committed to being your advocate in all things real estate, always delivering exceptional client services before, during and after the sale. Call us at 614-888-6100 or email us at homes@thecolumbusteam.com.

11 Ways to Squeeze a Little Extra Cash out of your Heating System this Winter

squeeze a little extra cash out of your heating system

The holidays are over, and you’re settling in for the, hopefully not, long winter.  Your pond and irrigation system are winterized, but after the expense of the holiday season, you may not be looking forward to the upcoming heating bills as the thermometer drops. Take a moment to read our previous post about all the simple ways you can save money on heating your home in the cold months.

Here are an additional 11 ways to squeeze a little extra cash out of your heating system this winter: 

  1. Layer Up! Put on a sweater and lower the thermostat! Our parents knew this was a great way to save money, and it still applies today. Even a 4-degree reduction in your thermostat will save you some dollars this winter. According to energy.gov, a 10-degree (brrr!) reduction can save you as much as 10% on your heating bills.
  2. Maintain the system: Take good care of your HVAC system, and it will take care of you. Be sure it’s tuned up and ready to purr through the chill. Remember to replace your filter too!
  3. Keep your garage door closed: The garage door serves as a block to the cold air buffeting the shared interior wall. Keeping it closed will provide a buffer between your heat and the frigid winter air.
  4. Take control:  There are many helpful tech gadgets available that can assist with keeping your costs low, such as a smart thermostat. Program it to lower the temperature when you are at work and asleep.
  5. Let the sunshine in!  On sunny days, open the curtains to drain the heat from the sun.  Clean your south-facing windows to allow as much heat as possible into your home.  Then close the curtains as soon as the sun sets to keep the heat inside.
  6. Post-Santa repairs: If Santa made a stop at your house, now is the time to check the chimney and ensure everything is in working condition.  Close the damper when it’s not in use to stop the heat from escaping here.  Check the seal on the flue damper to ensure it’s as tight as possible.  If you’re using your fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system so the warm air can be blown into the room.  Lower the thermostat and enjoy the heat from the fireplace.
  7. Wrap it up:  Adding clear plastic sheeting to your windows can reduce drafts and the loss of warm air.  They can be purchased at any hardware store and are easily applied with heat, such as from a hairdryer.
  8. Vent!  Clear any obstructions away from the vents so your furnace can do its job and blow the warm are into your rooms.  Clear vents also help your HVAC system work more proficiently.
  9. Throwdown a rug. Lifting rugs and putting down wood or manufactured flooring has been the preferred decorating technique for some time now.  Unfortunately, the ease of sweeping the floor has been traded in for a loss of heat.  Carpeting insulates your floors, so use throw rugs through the winter months.
  10. Insulate.  From doors to attics, more insulation will help keep your heat where you want it.  Inside your home!
  11. Close off the unused. If there are rooms you don’t frequent, close the air vents and doors. Avoid wasteful heating of square footage such as garages, crawlspaces, and attics if you’re not using them regularly.

If you’re looking for a reliable HVAC contractor anywhere in Columbus or central Ohio, reach out and we will share our list with you.   Just call or email us!  We hope these tips were helpful. 

Spring Clean and Downsize With a Heart

Spring Clean and Downsize With a Heart

Spring is in the air! Are you in the midst of a spring clean or move? Are you overwhelmed? We get it. That’s why we’re proud to sponsor Downsize With a Heart. They know that moving can be challenging, particularly for older adults who have a home full of wonderful memories.

Downsize With a Heart supports you through the packing and moving process. They start with a FREE personalized, in-home consultation to understand your transition needs. They offer a variety of fee-based services that can be tailored to your needs and budget. And their staff will assist you with every aspect of your move.

Give them a call to schedule your consultation and let them know we sent you! (614) 545-3844

How to Go Green at Home

How to go green at home - what environmental changes to make

Many of us are concerned about the environment, but feel overwhelmed at the amount of advice out there about what we should do as homeowners. There are dozens of suggestions on how to go green at home. We’ve put together a list for you, ordered by the size of investment required…not just financial investment, but the time and effort it takes to accomplish and maintain these changes that lower your home’s impact on the planet.

You might be surprised at how much money you can save while you’re saving the earth!

Simple Environmental Changes

These are easy, fairly inexpensive changes, that are simple to do and take a small change in habit to maintain.

  • Light bulbs. Switch out your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent (curly) or LED bulbs. LEDs are more expensive than the CF bulbs, but they last many times longer, so you might want to purchase LEDs for lights in hard-to-reach places such as high ceilings or outdoor lights, and use CF bulbs in reading lamps.
  • Recycling. Thanks to the Columbus recycling program, it’s easy to use the big blue bins to recycle many household items. Then, simply roll out your bin on recycling day.
  • Conservation calendar. Use your calendar to help you conserve energy. Place reminders in your calendar to vacuum your refrigerator coils twice a year, to replace furnace filters and car air filters every 3 months, check tire pressure monthly, and to change the settings on your programmable thermostat when the seasons change. When yor learn about other seasonal or periodic changes you can make to save energy, add them to the calendar!
  • Turn it off. From computers or monitors, to household lights, consider flipping the switch when not in use. You can see the energy savings and the financial savings on your energy bill from the very first month.
  • Subscription switch. Consider changing from paper subscriptions to magazines and newspapers to online subscriptions. It adds convenience and saves paper.
  • Use e-tickets. If you can order tickets online, from plane tickets to movie tickets, use the electronic version where possible.
  • Cups. Use your own travel mug at the coffee shop or drive-through. Most places are happy to accommodate you, and some even offer a discount!
  • Bags. Use washable bags from home at the grocery store. Plastic bags create a large portion of the waste stream these days, and often escape to litter the environment. If carrying raw meat in reusable bags makes you uncomfortable, use the washable ones for everything else and ask the cashier for plastic for the meat. Consider switching to compostable versions of pet waste bags, too.
  • Turn the tap. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, drying that dish, or while moving that pot. Instead of letting it run, take a second to turn it off. You can save over $100 a year on your water bill if your whole family does the same.
  • Cozy. Wrap your water heater in a special insulating blanket to conserve heat.
  • Filters. Use a pitcher or faucet-mounted water filter and use washable, reusable containers for your water instead of buying bottled water. Even reducing your bottled water use in half can save money and plastic.

Moderate Environmental Changes

These changes require a moderate investment of money or time, but can produce bigger savings of energy and money over the long run. Some of these items may be a small initial investment or time or money, but take consistent follow-up to maintain.

  • Rechargeable batteries. The initial purchase of the charger and enough batteries to power your devices (AND have a few charged ones waiting) can be done a little at a time. Purchasing a charger that can handle multiple sizes of battery is smart, then purchase a few new rechargeable batteries every time you need to put new batteries in a device. Eventually, keeping a few replacements charged and ready becomes second nature and you’re no longer having to buy replacements of any kind for years at a time.
  • Programmable thermostat. This gadget can help you save on your energy bills in comfort. Set your thermostat to keep your home comfortable while you are home, and to save energy while you are at work. Many now can be adjusted or programmed from your smart phone!
  • Power strips. While inexpensive, it can take some thought and a consistent effort to use power strips to save energy. Plug items you rarely use into power strips, then simply turn the switch off when these items are unneeded. The tv, clock, and docking station in your guest room may use a trickle of electricity year-round, and only be used for a few days at a time. Switching these items off at the source until needed can save money on your electric bill, but you have to be willing to re-set the clock and even move furniture around to place the devices together on the power strip.
  • Timers. Simple kitchen timers in the bathroom to remind the kids to limit their showers, to timer switches on fans and lights that your family just can’t remember to turn off. Timers and timer switches are simple to use/install and cheap fixes to energy drains that can add up over time.
  • Consider carpooling. It’s a major pain to coordinate schedules with a co-worker, and to manage time based on two commuters, but the financial, mileage, and fuel savings are significant, and you might find that sharing the drive is more enjoyable than the usual solo commute.
  • Composting. It’s a big commitment of time and effort to make composting a habit, but if you have a vegetable or flower garden, the compost itself is valuable as plant-food, and the impact on local landfills is significant.
  • Paper to cloth. From cleaning to napkins, switching from paper to cloth can save water, money, and trees.
  • Plastic to fiber. Whether it’s a dog leash, a belt, or clothing, consider replacing plastic/nylon/polyester items with natural fibers. No need to discard useful items, but as they wear out, make the commitment to buying green replacements.
  • Sun dry. Consider using a clothes line or drying rack when the weather permits. While inexpensive, it IS more human labor. Clothes, sheets, and towels will smell fresh and last longer, too.

Advanced Environmental Changes

These are expensive changes, in terms of time or money, that require a real commitment from homeowners. Consider these when you have to make a big choice or change, such as replacing an old roof or doing a construction project. It’s easier to make green choices when it’s part of an existing project.

  • Solar. Whether you are interested in installing solar panels, or look into solar roofing or driveway materials, there are a ton of new options being offered, and more in development. When you make a change to your home’s exterior, consider generating renewable energy, too!
  • Insulation. When you have remodelling or other work done on your home, consider having your contractor evaluate your insulation and improving your home’s energy efficiency while you add value to your home. The energy and financial savings can be significant.
  • Home automation. Sometimes seen as a convenience, home automation systems can also be energy savers, as they let you turn out lights, adjust the thermostat, and close garage doors from your smart phone. They can be pricey, and take time to learn to use their features, but they offer a great deal of convenience and the potential for significant energy savings over time.
  • Energy star appliances. When you replace a large appliance, pay attention to the energy rating. It may be worth spending more or searching a little longer for the right appliance to save you energy over the life of the gadget. Some of our neighbors report lowering their electric bill by $10/month or more after replacing an older refrigerator! And AEP often offers a rebate for recycling your old refrigerator.
  • Fuel efficient cars. Consider choosing a car with good mileage to save fuel and money over the life of the car. Even if you dislike hybrids, there are more efficient versions of every type of car on the market.

We hope this list has given you an opportunity to lessen the environmental advice overwhelm and maybe even motivate you to create a plan to go green at home!

10 New Year’s Resolutions Your Home Might Make

10 New Year’s Resolutions Your Home Might Make

Is it time to improve your fitness?  Eat only healthy foods?  Perhaps you need to work less and play more?  The New Year is a time we evaluate ourselves and work towards greeting the next New Year as a better version of ourselves.   

We at The Columbus Team know houses, so here are the 10 most common New Year’s resolutions your home might make…

  1. Get organized. I need to declutter and organize so that I can be the home I was meant to be.
  2. Update my look. Paint colors have changed since the last time I checked an interior design magazine, maybe it’s time to get my colors done?
  3. Exfoliate regularly. Cleanliness is SO important to my beauty routine!
  4. Schedule spa days. Trimming the bushes, plucking weeds, sweeping the porch…curb appeal is important, even at my age.
  5. Breathe deeply. Get the furnace checked, vacuum the ducts, and clean the chimney for health and safety.
  6. Look into my eyes. Maybe it’s time to get my windows replaced to keep me looking young and vibrant.
  7. Plan for the future. What updates can I make that will increase my value AND make living with me more enjoyable?
  8. Stay fit! It’s more than time to get my energy use down and improve my living conditions by checking my insulation, caulking gaps, switching to LED bulbs, and perhaps even a water heater blanket.
  9. Enjoy nature more. Freshen up my deck or patio to get the best use of my outdoor space.
  10. Get out there and mingle! Enjoy all the changes and updates I’ve made by inviting people over and being more open to new people and ideas!