Shelby County homeowners surprised to see large increases in property reappraisals

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Joe Lane said he’s loved living in Germantown for the past year and a half.

“The neighborhood, the kids -- it’s a great friendly atmosphere," he said. "As far down the road, everybody gets along with each other. It’s great.”

But a notice showing the county’s reappraisal for his house took him by surprise this week. It says his property value went up $31,000.

“I was like, ‘That’s a very significant change,’” said Lane.

He found out several of his neighbors were seeing similar jumps, some up $60,000, making them worried property taxes and mortgage payments will rise.

Others looking to sell their homes are happy to see the values go up.

“It varies from region to region," said Shelby County Assessor Cheyenne Johnson. "We have some areas where, no, it didn’t go up.”

Assessor Johnson said state law requires them to review all properties and property characteristics in Shelby County along with all sales.

The reappraisals are done every four years -- a timeline she said can explain some large increases.

“I think most people would have to agree the real estate market has changed," said Johnson. "We’ve come out of a recovery period and we’re only reflecting that.”

She said people can go to the assessor website to see what the values are of other homes in your neighborhood to see how yours compares.

“We’ve got a section called neighborhood search.”

Shelby County’s broken into six regions and the reappraisal notices are sent out at different times.

The first two are out, while property owners in the other four regions will get them later this month.

The assessor did say it isn’t a perfect science and homeowners know their properties best, so it’s important to utilize all the tools on their website if you feel unsure.

If property owners don't agree with the assessor's value, they can request an informal review. And if you aren't happy with those results, you can appeal your property value to the Shelby County Board of Equalization.

The board starts accepting appeals on May 1st.

It's hard to say whether or not property taxes will go up because state law requires an automatic adjustment to tax rates so government doesn't get a windfall, but that doesn't mean city and county government leaders couldn't push it back up.