Friday, January 10, 2014

Tax Assessor Problems

          The first real problem (thankfully, the only real problem so far) we encountered with the land was when we had to go to the Tax Assessor's offices. The county line runs through the back of property, so that complicates things somewhat. The majority of the land is in Edgefield County, with the back part being in Aiken. We headed to the Edgefield County Courthouse first (it was awful, early December, and poor David had been so sick for a week, but was determined to get some things done). Because the land hasn't been owned in a while (besides it being bank owned) we needed to get the county to go appraise it so that we would be paying taxes on what they say it's worth now, not a few years ago. This appraisal is different than a bank appraisal (I had no idea, haha). Thank God that we did-- 1. we found a pretty big issue by doing so and 2. it reduced the amount we will be taxed on by A LOT (we will be taxed on a third of what we would have been taxed on in Edgefield if we didn't do this).
We actually did not find this out in the tax office, but we walked next door to find out what to do to get our address and found out that where we planning to build, we didn't own. UMMM, EXCUSE ME?? If you know me, you know my mood went from bad to awful and I was not happy. It of course wasn't their fault. They pulled up our lot numbers while we were talking to them, just to look basically (can't get the address until building starts because it will depend where we put the house). If you look in the picture below, the two blue areas are the land it was showing we owned. The white area outlined in red is still owned by the neighborhood developers. It is kind of confusing to explain on here, but basically we knew that the side easement and "triangle" weren't ever ours. It was our understanding though, that the easement between the two lots was ours and did not have to stay an easement. PANIC! We were planning to build basically in the middle of the two lots. We had to go back to the tax office to see if their computer was showing the same thing (we had filled out paperwork to get it combined into one lot instead of 2 when we were in there, but it obviously could not be done if we did not own a strip between the two). As we walked back to the other office we said that if we didn't own it or had to "buy" it again for more money that we would possibly just sell the land and start over. When we got back in the tax office we found it was showing that way on their program as well... so we left super frustrated and called the Real Estate Agent. He "assured" David it was just a glitch in paperwork somehow and that the owners did not think they still owned that strip and that everything would work out just fine. He was right, within about a week, after a few phone calls and trip back to the courthouse, we were in the clear and the two lots were combined.
Next came the problem in Aiken County. It wasn't as big of a deal, but basically we had to go through the same thing. This time though, we were told it would get reappraised this summer when it was time to do the billing on it. We found out that we owned less land in Aiken County than we thought and that Edgefield had to readjust their numbers. An extra trip and a little bit more frustration but that was taken care of pretty easily as well.
All in all, it was a pain in the butt (when is doing stuff like that not a pain though?). It was of course worth the pain because we were able to fix the land issue before we got ready to build and it was flagged anyway, and we got our taxes lowered.

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