Assessment Protest

Nice House

This is what you think your house looks like…

Ugly House

This is what your banker thinks your house looks like…

White House

This is what your assessor thinks your house looks like…

The Need of Fair Taxes in Michigan Couldn’t Be Greater

The Michigan assessment system is in need of oversight. The very property tax reform act that Michigan residents passed in 1994 is now becoming a beast that will possibly prevent you from selling your property or buying the property of your dreams! Also, Township budgets are being stressed yearly as the State reduces revenue sharing to Townships. Is your assessment correct? Does the assessor in your Township have the time to make sure your assessment is cared for accurately?

Ken Carlson knows from past experience as Gerrish Township Supervisor and a licensed Realtor ® that a clerical error of a few feet can make a huge difference.

On Higgins Lake the Gerrish Township assessor gave one person 5 feet more lakefront feet than she really owned. Multiply 5 feet x $5,000.00 a front foot, and you get a $25,000.00 over assessment! Now let’s do the math. $25,000 is the true cash value, so, the assessment should be 50% of true cash value which equals $12,500. In Gerrish Township your number of yearly mills would be approximately 42, so multiply 12.5 x 42=$525.00. (Keep in mind that you need to devide your assessment by $1000 before you multiply your assessment by your yearly mileage.) You can see how a clerical error can amount to a lot money.

An offer of $1.2 million was made on a lakefront property. Just before the buyer was signing the offer, he said, “By the way, what will the taxes be on this property when the taxable value cap is removed and the SEV becomes my new taxable value?” (The Michigan Department of Treasury offers a Tax Estimator on their web site:

Real Estate Tax Estimator

The tax for one year in Gerrish Township would be $24,132 for non-homestead ($13,332 homestead). This buyer was going to be a non-homestead home buyer, so he said, “his wife would strongly object if he bought a property which would take the equivalent of a second mortgage to just to pay the taxes.” The man said he could afford to pay the tax, but he also said the reason he can pay cash for a lakefront property was because he does not pay more taxes than he absolutely has to!

An offer of $600,000 was made on another lakefront property. Just before the buyer was to sign the offer, he said, “By the way, what will the taxes be on this property when the taxable value cap is removed and the SEV becomes my new taxable value?” With this example the SEV listed on the real estate MLS was used, and it was a worst case scenario $380,000 (SEV). The buyer quickly made the observation that the listing price and the assessors value were different. So the buyer said, “If the seller accepts my $600,000 offer, I will have to pay taxes on a value based on $760,000!” The tax estimator website was used again and the tax for one year in Gerrish Township would be $15,284 for non-homestead ($8,444 homestead). The buyer l said ” I am not going to buy government the equivalent of a new car each year.”

When was the last time the assessor visited your property? Keep in mind, all you want as a tax payer is a fair assessment; no more, no less.


  1. Are the measurements of your property calculated accurately by the assessor?
  2. How many buildings does the assessor have on the assessment roll?
  3. Are the buildings sizes calculated with the proper square footage?
  4. Are you assessed for any improvements you DON’T have?
  5. Does your property have or is the assessor assessing you for items your property DOESN’T have,
    such as: Garages, fireplaces, basement, decks, central air conditioning, security systems, number
    of bedrooms, and bathrooms?
  6. Are the improvements assessed at the right value per square foot
  7. Are you a homestead or non-homestead? Have you reviewed your notice the assessor sent you?
  8. Do you understand the notice?
  9. What is the age of the structures? This should determine the depreciation that is applied.
  10. How long has it been since you had your property surveyed? Have you ever had your property
    surveyed? Are you being assessed on the right property and it’s overall land area?

Why use Ken Carlson to Protest your Assessment?

Township assessors need to recognize that values have made a correction at Higgins Lake. Properties are on the market longer than ever before, and the properties that are selling are taking longer to sell. Some are at lower prices than the assessor has them assessed at. Even if you are not interested in selling your property, the SEV increase could eventually hinder your freedom to sell to a buyer that is willing to pay the current property tax rates when you do sell. If your family inherits your property will your heirs be hindered by the inflated assessment? All these questions need to be addressed.

Why not consider appointing Ken Carlson to protest your assessment?

  1. Are you here in March when the Board of Review meets?
  2. Are you willing to take the day off work and drive on winter roads to appeal your property
  3. Do you have the knowledge to protest?
  4. Will you have the supporting documentation to make your case?

Consider appointing Ken to protest your assessment. Ken Carlson has the experience in local government operations to get the job done for you.

  • Gerrish Township Supervisor and chairman of Board of Review (1988-2000)
  • Associate Broker Ken Carlson Realty PC
  • President Paul Bunyan Board of Realtors ® (2006)
  • Michigan Association of Realtors ®
  • National Association of Realtors ®

Property tax season is nearing and it is time to save money on taxes!Call Ken Carlson today at (989) 240-0970!

More Information and News on Property Taxes

Long term capital gains for tax years 2008-2010 will be 0% for taxpayers in the 10% and 15% tax rates. If you are married filing jointly and your taxable income is less than $65,100 OR less than $32,500 for taxpayers that are filing as singles.

If you are thinking of selling that investment property or second home you may want to sell in the 2008-2010 time frame and save a bundle of money. Talk to your tax professional to see if you qualify, then call Ken Carlson at (989) 240-0970 to have an experienced real estate broker guide you through the marketing of your property.

Widows or widowers that have their home to sell may benefit from a law congress enacted in 2007. The new law will give them more time to sell their homestead for married couples filing jointly. Here is the important change……A surviving spouse that doesn’t remarry, may be eligible to claim a $500,000 exclusion from the gain on the sale of their principal residence that the couple owned together. The sale must occur within two years of the spouses death. There may be more details to consider, so check with your tax preparer to see how this could affect you. Under the previous law, a surviving spouse would have had to sell their home and file the joint tax return in the same year as the spouse died.

Since your tax professional may not be familiar with this yet, here’s the official citation: The bill is H.R.3648. The capital gains change is in Section 7.

Higgins Lake assessments are gaining lots of attention these days. Did you know that approximately 40% of the lakefront properties that sold in 2007 sold for less they were assessed for?  In 2008 60% of the lakefront properties sold for less than they were assessed for.  Ken Carlson will be monitoring these statistics to see if taxes follow the trend. As a lakefront tax payer you may want to consider being proactive and protesting your 2013 assessment before the assessor gives the Board of Review the assessment roll. Call Ken Carlson at 989-240-0970 for complete details.

The State Tax Commission will now allow local assessors to use sales studies from foreclosures to reduce assessments. If you or someone you know of has purchased a foreclosed property you may be able to have your assessment reduced. Before you go to speak with your local assessor you will need the information I can provide to you. Click here for Bulletin # 6.


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