Right price comparisons key in successfully challenging N.J. property tax assessments

What you include in an appeal can make the difference in successfully challenging property tax assessments in New Jersey.

The sales prices of similar homes in a neighborhood are a key in determining whether an assessment is changed.

David Wolfe, a property tax lawyer in Livingston, said it’s better not to include foreclosed and short-sale properties in those comparisons.

“If homeowners use those distressed sales as their evidence, it is likely that a county board or the tax court would reject them,” Wolfe said. “The homeowners would be better using sales where you have a typically motivated buyer and a typically motivated seller with a property that was exposed to the market.”

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Wolfe says most appeals at the local level are decided by August, but some cases that go to state tax court can drag on for years.

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