As Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill ordering a sweeping reevaluation of Mecklenburg property values for tax purposes, both he and the state senator who sponsored the bill credited one local taxpayer who fought inflated values and high taxes: Bob Deaton of Cornelius.
Deaton fought long and hard to convince tax appraisers to drop the value of his waterfront home on Lake Norman from $914,000 to $662,300. And he won.
Not only did Deaton hold the line on his own property taxes, he convinced state lawmakers and the governor to reevaluate thousands of other Mecklenburg properties, saying that they too were artificially inflated by bad appraisals.
Now months later Deaton has listed his Cornelius home for sale. The asking price? A million, five. $1.5 million. Or about two-and-a-half times its appraised value for tax purposes.
“I think it’s atrocious - absolutely atrocious,” said Jim Barnett, who served on the Board of Equalization Review that first turned down Deaton’s request for a lower value. “To me they’re trying to meet the expectations of the homeowner and they’re trying to get to a number.”
To get to the lower value for Deaton, appraisers dropped the value of Deaton’s house from $179,700 to $12,200. At the same time Deaton’s appraised land value for tax purposes dropped by only $70,000 from $700,000 to $630,000. “You’ve got a home built back in the 60s that hasn’t been updated much,” said Pearson. “It may add very little value to that property. “ But Burnett points out that the county valued outbuildings and a dock at $20,100 – more than the home itself.
I left voice mail today and yesterday on Deaton’s phone but received no response, and knocked on the door Wednesday, but no one answered.
Barnett says last year he randomly picked 73 properties on or near Lake Norman and compared the sales price or listed price from the Multiple Listing Service to the assessed value on the Mecklenburg property tax rolls. He says more than 93 percent listed or sold over their tax value.
“It tells me there’s a lot to be looked at and this house should be reviewed,” said Barnett.
But Fred Pearson, operator of Pearson’s Appraisal Services that now consults with Mecklenburg County and dropped Deaton’s home value, says it’s not fair to draw sweeping conclusions from one listing. “You can ask whatever you like for your home,” Pearson said. Besides, he points out that the appraised value was based on 2011 home values.
“The market has turned around,” he said.
Turning around is one thing. But two-and-a-half times appraised value?
“I’m paying my fair share. You’re paying your fair share,” said Barnett. “They need to go back and review the whole thing again.”