County vs. Bank: Both win, citizens lose

The County of Santa Clara says I will owe more in property taxes this year, because the value of my home has increased.

Chase Bank, where I have a home equity line of credit, tells me my home value has decreased, and they are thus forced to regretfully (yada yada yada) close said line of credit.

Since I am not going to sell my house, and since nobody has sent by an appraiser, it’s impossible for either organization to really know the value of my house. I’m sure I don’t know its value either — but I know that it cannot both have increased and decreased in value simultaneously.

There are four possibilities of what the County and the bank can think:

Chase thinks my home value went DOWN: Chase thinks my home value went UP:
County thinks my home value went DOWN: (What I expected)
Pay less taxes
No HELOC
BEST WORLD:
Pay less taxes
HELOC limit increased
County thinks my home value went UP: WORST WORLD:
Pay more taxes
No HELOC
(True in a few years?)
Pay more taxes
HELOC limit increased

Finding myself in the most unfortunate of the four boxes, I must appeal. I neglectfully missed the deadline to appeal to the county; that deadline was yesterday.

Chase’s appeal process is ridiculously unfriendly: Call them, they’ll put you in touch with a third party appraisal agency, which you have to pay for. And as they say, “Any reinstatement of the credit line will be at our discretion and may be subject to other conditions that prevent reinstatement.” They don’t, by the way, accept the County’s assessment as evidence. Nor do they seem to have any method for me to point out to them that I used money from the HELOC to pay for work that improved the value of my home.

All evidence I can see based on property values from nearby home sales is that my house probably did increase in value (but not by nearly as much as the County seems to think). Yet Chase does not offer any details behind why they believe my home lost value.

Last year, under Bush, Chase received $35 billion in bailout funds. There has not, so far that I could find, been any accounting of how that money was used. I doubt it was used to make more money available to consumers or small businesses.

Is it any wonder that banks have a P.R. problem?

One Response to “County vs. Bank: Both win, citizens lose”

  1. Dario Says:

    Stephen I really feel for you. Chase was the Bank that under appraised the condo I was trying to buy. Hope you don’t run into that same issue here. (Though, technically you already have.)

    Good luck on the appeal.

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