Agent Sniffs Out Tax Error for Home Owners

March 17, 2014

An Arizona real estate professional with HomeSmart in the Phoenix area uncovered inaccuracies in the square footage listed on 35 homes, learning that those home owners had been overpaying on their property taxes for years.

Brett Barry was checking comparably-sized properties for a home he was selling when he realized there were three homes for sale that showed square footage at 2,527 square feet. Barry was very familiar with the floor plans of the homes in the neighborhood, after selling houses in the area for 17 years. He knew those properties—formerly model homes—actually had a square footage of just 2,188.

Barry did more digging and discovered that the Maricopa Assessor’s office had the wrong square footage listed for some 35 homes, which meant home owners were paying taxes on 350 square feet they did not actually have. Barry then sent out letters to each of the 35 home owners to notify them about the inaccuracies.

Robert Pizono with the Maricopa County Assessor's office told ABC15 News that an error occurred when the assessor’s office changed software. He says affected home owners will get overpayment refunds for the last three years.

Barry says the error was much more extensive than home owners overpaying on property taxes, however.

"It's created kind of a domino effect because some of these homes have been sold with the incorrect footage going back three, four years ago,” Barry told ABC15 News. “They were sold with that higher square footage. Some of those home owners may not know they bought it with less square footage than they thought.”

Source: “Valley Homeowners Overpay Property Taxes Because of Government Error,” ABC15 Arizona (March 14, 2014)

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