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Decrease in property value a concern

November 8, 2019
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Mr. Feichthaler:

I received my tax bill this week and I am very concerned! I live in a house in NE Cape Coral, which I paid $180,000 for about six years ago. The assessed value has been going up every year, however this year it says my assessed value went down $20,000! There is no way my property has gone down in value at all in the past year. Should I call the property appraiser?

-Karen F.

Dear Karen:

The Lee County Property Appraiser is tasked with valuing, for property tax purposes, over a half million real estate parcels every year! This daunting task is met every year by looking at similar sales in the prior year in your area. In a rising real estate market, as we have had the past 7 years, you can expect the assessed value to increase generally. Thankfully, the "Save Our Homes" cap keeps the actual taxable value from increasing for your homestead more than 3% a year.

Occasionally, there may be only a few sales in a given area, and some of those sales may have been distressed in some way. Although the property appraiser attempts to take all this into account, assessed values can vary somewhat due to many factors. This can result in assessed values for your property declining, even though the actual value of your property is stable or even increasing.

The important thing to know is the assessed value and taxable value does not necessarily mean this is the correct current market value of the property. The only result in having the assessed or taxable value lower is that it could result in you paying LOWER taxes. So, to answer your question, I would not contact the property appraiser regarding your recent tax bill. Hopefully it has resulted in a smaller tax burden on you this year than you would have paid at the higher assessed valuation. It is likely the property will be re-assessed next year at a higher valuation, based on the sales happening today.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 30 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 18 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.



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