If you live in Bryan, Chatham or Effingham counties you are probably paying way too much in property taxes. When we received our tax notice from Effingham County this year I knew we could not sell our home for the $300,000 that the county had it appraised for. We live at 2550 Highway 17 North, and are technically part of Deer Trace subdivision. Our 5.06 acre lot on Highway 17 had increased in tax value from 12,000 in 2004 to 37,000 in 2005 then to 67,000 in 2007.
I started my investigation finding out the land value of the various properties inside the subdivision which have protective covenants to help maintain property value. The lots were all mini farms before the streets in the subdivision were paved by the county. These lots vary in size from 5 acres to 7.91 acres. The county appraised values varied from $4,720 per acre to $15,000 per acre. The three home sites which are on Highway 17 are not protected by the subdivision covenants. These home sites have land values that varied from $8,095.93 per acre to $25,639.84 per acre. Our land was appraised at $13,337.94 per acre.
Then I started investigating the other values of the land that fronts on Highway 17 that my father-in-law had sold after he retired from CSX and farming. The six plots varied in size from one acre to 15 acres. The one acre lot was appraised at $35,000. The 5.0 acre lot to the 15 acre lots varied from $3,969.53 an acre to $15,000 an acre. Again nothing consistent in these land values and four lots had homes on them.
I had our home and land appraised by a licensed appraiser for my tax appeal. His appraisal for our land and home was $270,000 which was $30,000 less than the county’s “appraised” value. $270,000 is the value a bank or any other lending institution would use for loan purposes. For brevity I will compare some of the properties that were used as comparable sales in our property appraisal. They are as follows:
Property County appraised value Sold for price Amount over taxed
Moss Loop-Rincon $347,171 $298,000 $49,171
Chase Drive-Rincon $338,878 $292,500 $46,378
Biltmore Drive-Guyton $290,698 $262,000 $28,698
Royal Oak Drive-Guyton $370,900 $294,000 $76,900
S. Effingham Plantation-Guyton $411,450 $300,000 $111,450
Total for the five $1,759,097 $1,446,500 $312,597
Look how much these property owners were overtaxed. System sounds broke like Wall Street?
All of above values and facts were obtained from public information on the Internet. You may want to contact our local state representative now to request legislation to keep property values current and consistent. Because of what is happening on Wall Street now, your property values will continue to decrease next year more than they already have. As you can see you won’t be taxed at the true value of your property. You will be taxed at the inflated county rates.
Joseph R. Oliver Jr.