Sharp spike: Sedgwick County residents share issues about the rise in their home’s annual valuation

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Monday, homeowners in Sedgwick County received their annual valuation notice from the county appraiser, and 79% of homeowners saw the value of their home go up. 

“You do have these low-interest rates which increase demand, so demand is outstripping supply and also the reason why there is this shortage of homes is because there is such a high cost to building new homes,” said Mark Clark, Sedgwick County appraiser.

Some homeowners saw it jump up over 20% of what they paid for the home.

“I pulled the tax appraiser’s notice, and it had gone up 35% in the last two years, 23% just this year alone,” said Summer Winn, a homeowner in Wichita.

Those who see a discrepancy and believe the county was incorrect in their valuation, have choices.

“We are eager to get that information and get it to the appraisers to schedule appeal meetings so that we can talk to these people on the telephone and help them understand what has occurred to their property value,” Clark said.

However, Haysville resident and homeowner William Andrews says he did that last year.

“In November of 2019, I refinanced the house, and I had an appraisal done,” he said.

But soon after Andrews received a valuation from the county at a much higher amount, which he eventually appealed. 

“Luckily, I had that appraisal at that time so I sent it in, and I got it lowered based on that previous appraisal,” Andrews said.

After winning last year’s appeal, Andrews saw the price of his home once again rise this year, making him ask if it’s even worth appealing again.

“It’s a lot of leg work, it’s difficult to go through this process, and when you’re working full time that is not easy to do,” he said. “And to be honest, for some of it it’s hard to even know where to start,” Andrews added.

County appraiser Clark explains what people caught in Andrews predicament can do.

“I would encourage them to call the office and get a copy of the sales and values in their neighborhood — the neighborhood is listed on the valuation notice,” Clark explained.

For Winn and her home in south Wichita, she did her research and noticed her house was the only one to jump up as high as it did.

“Considering that they didn’t go up, he went up just a little bit, they didn’t go up, and here I’m sitting with this big chunk, if I had gone up just a little bit I would’ve been cool,” Winn said elaborating on other homes in her area.

While Winn and her family can afford the hike in property taxes that comes with an elevated valuation, many families can not.

“You know, people who are out of work because of COVID, who have the same situation happen to them, they can’t afford this,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Wichita homeowner Robb Morrison says while he doesn’t like paying more taxes than the next guy, his valuation didn’t seem wrong.

“I fully expected the value to go up, I believe the valuation that Sedgwick County put on my house, which is a 7-8% increase from last year, is still lower than what I could sell that house by another 7-10%,” Morrison said.

However, Morrison does feel for the people who saw their valuation rise drastically.

“I feel their pain, I don’t want to pay that extra tax — I guess all I’m saying is I don’t think that I have an argument to contest it,” he said.

For more information on Sedgwick County Appraiser’s office, click here.

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