I am writing in the hope that in reading my experiences with Hoboken's current re-evaluation, others who have come across similar ineptitude will make themselves heard. After a five minute visit of a representative of Appraisal Systems, Inc. (the private company Hoboken is using for the reval), I received in December 2013 a single page letter with the absurd property value of $819,200 for my two bedroom Washington Street condo, no explanation given. As it happened, at the same time Appraisal Systems was doing its value assessments, I was going through a refinance. The assessor for that refinance stayed for an hour, photographed everything, and produced a 25 page report assessing my property value at $520,000 with a list of six sales of comparable properties to back up his figure. I appealed the $819,200 figure with Appraisal Systems Inc., and was informed that they would conduct an internal review in the light of the other assessor's report. I received on March 7th (2 months later than promised) another single page letter which, without any explanation, now lowered my property value to $697,000. Though this is a step in the right direction, the figure is still wildly above all actual comparable sales, and its arbitrariness and lack of justification is disturbing.
The only remaining step, I was informed, is to lodge an appeal with the Hudson County Board of Taxation, which I will do before the deadline of May 1st. It seems to me that Appraisal Systems Inc and Hoboken are operating a scam. First, Appraisal Systems will wildly inflate estimates of property values, without any need to justify their absurdities, and allowing Hoboken, already among the highest taxed cities in the nation, to tax those values. The politicians of Hoboken will then proclaim a slight lowering of tax rates, perhaps a few tenths of a point. While the citizens of Hoboken will be paying more money in taxes than ever before, politicians will pose as champions of lowered tax rate, and the scam will be complete, with property owners left to foot the bill. Appraisal Systems Inc's property value evaluations are scandalously overinflated, arbitrary and disconnected from reality. This private company has been granted free rein to proclaim values without justification and then to self-review when challenged. This is a scam that will result in a tax hike disguised as a tax decrease. Now is the time to speak up if you have experienced the same.