Hillsdale residents who do not allow inspectors into their homes may find the appraised values of their homes go up after a revaluation is finished in the borough, according to home inspector Andrew Duda.
Duda and his brother, Mark Duda, explained the revaluation Realty Appraisal Company is performing in Hillsdale to residents during a borough council meeting Tuesday.
"If someone refuses to participate, we have to make certain assumptions," Andrew Duda said, implying the home is probably very nice inside.
Of the aproximately 1,700 properties inspected in Hillsdale so far, only 14 home owners have turned inspectors away, Duda said.
When inspectors come to homes, they will have two forms of identification: one signed by borough tax assessor Patrick Wilkins and one from the company, Realty Appraisal Company. A list of their inspectors with photos and descriptions of their cars is available online here.
When the inspectors visit, they look at factors like the number of rooms, the quality of kitchens and bathrooms, the type of heating system and whether or not the home includes other items like a fireplace, deck or patio. Furniture, belongings and other personal items play no role in the appraisals, Mark Duda said.
"There's truly no accounting for taste," Duda said.
The appraisers will also consider factors like the size of the property and the surrounding neighborhood when making their decision.
While the appraisals are related to the property taxes each owner will pay, a higher appraisal or lower appraisal does not necessarily mean that taxes will follow, according to Duda.
Andrew Duda said the appraisals may be finished in six to eight weeks, at which point property owners will be able to set up informal meetings to discuss their homes.
"We're certainly willing to listen to what you have to say," Mark Duda said.
Councilman Douglas Frank said the revaluation had been prompted by tax appeals which cost the borough hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years. Many of the appeals came from large commercial properties, he said.