State Tax Commission of Missouri
JOSEPH E. & JEANETTE A. BIRK,)
v.)Appeal Number 07-11554
PHILIP MUEHLHEAUSLER, ASSESSOR,)
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
UPON APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
By Decision and Order (Decision) issued July 25, 2008, Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor set aside the assessment by the St. Louis County Board of Equalization and reduced the true value in money for the Complainants’ property to $455,000, assessed residential value of $86,450.
Complainants timely filed their Application for Review of the Decision.Respondent timely filed (9/26/08 –Postmarked) his Response.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard Upon Review
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled.The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide.
The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert or non-expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as he may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances.The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts or lay witnesses who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part.The Commission will not lightly interfere with the Hearing Officer’s Decision and substitute its judgment on the credibility of witnesses and weight to be given the evidence for that of the Hearing Officer as the trier of fact.
A review of the record in the present appeal provides support for the determinations made by the Hearing Officer.There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Hearing Officer.A reasonable mind could have conscientiously reached the same result based on a review of the entire record. The Commission finds no basis to support a determination that the Hearing Officer acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner or abused his discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal.
Complainants’ summary and history of proceedings regarding the Assessor’s original valuation and proceedings before the Board are irrelevant, as the appeal to the Commission is a de novo appeal.The Hearing Officer determined that Complainants failed to meet their burden of proof.The record provides a sound foundation for the finding of the Hearing Officer.
The Application for Review focuses on the appraisal report received into evidence on behalf of the Respondent. Complainants make various assertions regarding the Respondent’s Appraisal (Exhibit 1 – Sarah Curran Appraisal).The Commission finds the arguments against Ms. Curran’s appraisal to be not well taken.The Hearing Officer received the exhibit into evidence over the objection of Mr. Birk that the comparables utilized were not truly comparable to the subject.The Commission finds no error on the part of the Hearing Officer on this point.The Hearing Officer made a detailed and proper analysis of the Curran Appraisal in concluding to reduce the value of Complainants’ property based on the exhibit.The reasoning of the Hearing Officer well supports the determinations in support of the value based upon Exhibit 1.
Complainants assert that their opinion of value was supported by substantial evidence.The Hearing Officer’s detailed review of Complainants’ evidence and their failure to establish a value based on proper elements and a proper foundation provides more than sufficient explanation of the lack of substantial and persuasive evidence on behalf of Complainants.The Hearing Officer properly concluded that the methodology presented by Mr. Birk to arrive at his opinion of value was not an approach to value that sanctioned by the Commission or the Courts.The Application for Review presented nothing to refute the finding of the Hearing Officer on this point.
Complainants raised no argument regarding the Hearing Officer’s conclusion with regard to the claim of discrimination.Therefore, that claim has been abandoned.The Commission finds the Hearing Officer properly applied the relevant law to the facts in this appeal on the claim of discrimination.
The Commission upon review of the record and Decision in this appeal, finds no grounds upon which the Decision of the Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified.Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed.
Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the date of the mailing of this Order.
If judicial review of this decision is made, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the courts unless disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
If no judicial review is made within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.
SO ORDERED October 15, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner
Charles Nordwald, Commissioner
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Hearing Officer finds presumption of correct assessment rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $455,000, residential assessed value of $86,450.
Complainant, Joseph E. Birk, appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Paula J. Lemerman, Associate County Counselor.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine (1) the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007 and (2) whether there was an intentional plan by the assessing officials to assess the property under appeal at a ratio greater than 19% of true value in money, or at a ratio greater than the average 2007 residential assessment ratio for St. Louis County.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $502,300, assessed value of $95,440, as residential property.The Board reduced the value to $459,800, assessed value of $87,360. Complainants proposed a value of $340,000, assessed value of $64,600.A hearing was conducted on July 1, 2008, at theSt. LouisCountyGovernmentCenter,Clayton,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant, Joseph E. Birk, testified and presented evidence on behalf of Complainants.Mr. Birk stated his opinion of the fair market value of his property to be $340,000 as of January 1, 2007.His opinion was based on the home being in its original condition and the cost of improvements to bring the property up to a value of $502,300.The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Complainants.
Photographs of Subject and comparable properties
Assessor’s Computer Cost/Sales Analysis for Subject
Plat of Subject Subdivision
Bid for Siding Replacement
Bid on Improvements and Updates to Subject
Bid on Heating and Air Conditioning
Real Estate Tax History for Subject
2007 Assessments onWebsterForestSubdivision
Respondent placed into evidence the testimony of Ms. Sarah Curran Missouri State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser for St. LouisCounty.The appraiser testified as to her appraisal of the subject property.The Appraisal Report (Exhibit 1) of Ms. Curran was received into evidence.Ms. Curran arrived at an opinion of value for the subject property of $455,000 based upon a sales comparison approach to value.In performing her sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales of five properties deemed comparable to the subject property.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at1336 Webster Forest Court,Webster Groves,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 24L240755.The property consists of a 16,117 square foot lot improved by a two-story brick and masonite sided single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 1981 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has a total ofeight rooms, which includes three bedrooms,two full and one half bath, and contains 2,359 square feet of living area.There is a full unfinished basement and an attached two-car garage.
3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.
4.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2007, to be $340,000, as proposed.
5.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The five properties were located within less than .15 of a mile of the subject, all in the subject subdivision.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2007.The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.
6.The appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable.All adjustments were appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.Significant adjustments were made to account for differences in the quality of construction and the superior condition of the comparable properties.The negative adjustments to comparables 4 and 5 for the difference in living area were also significant to account for the smaller size of the subject.The net adjustments as a percentage of the comparables sale prices ranged from -10.5% to -26.3%.
7.The adjusted sales prices for the comparables calculated to $508,100, $390,900, $425,087, $475,700 and $475,600, respectively.The appraiser concluded on a $455,000 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $192.88 compared with the unadjusted sales prices per square foot of living area for the comparables of $215.12, $182.55, $227.49, $184.33 and $177.20, with a median of $184.33 and an average of $197.34.
8.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2007, to be $455,000.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.The hearing officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958).The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).In the present appeal, Complainants failed to present an opinion of value based upon market date to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.Respondent did present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and to establish fair market value.
Standard for Valuation
Section 137.115, RSMo, requires that property be assessed based upon its true value in money which is defined as the price a property would bring when offered for sale by one willing or desirous to sell and bought by one who is willing or desirous to purchase but who is not compelled to do so.St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.Hermel, supra.
Market value is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.
Implicit in this definition are the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:
1.Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
2.Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
3.A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
4.Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
5.Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
6.The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction.
Real Estate Appraisal Terminology, Society of Real Estate Appraisers, Revised Edition, 1984; See also, Real Estate Valuation in Litigation, J. D. Eaton, M.A.I., American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, 1982, pp. 4-5; Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration, International Association of Assessing Officers, 1990, pp. 79-80; Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, Glossary; Exhibit 1.
Methods of Valuation
Proper methods of valuation and assessment of property are delegated to the Commission.It is within the purview of the Hearing Officer to determine the method of valuation to be adopted in a given case.See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).Missouri courts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (App. E.D. 1993); Aspenhof Corp. v. STC, 789 S.W.2d 867, 869 (App. E.D. 1990); Quincy Soybean Company, Inc., v. Lowe, 773 S.W.2d 503, 504 (App. E.D. 1989), citing Del-Mar Redevelopment Corp v. Associated Garages, Inc., 726 S.W.2d 866, 869 (App. E.D. 1987); and State ex rel. State Highway Comm’n v. Southern Dev. Co., 509 S.W.2d 18, 27 (Mo. Div. 2 1974). The valuation methodology presented by Respondent is a recognized and well accepted approach to finding value.The sales comparison approach to value generally represents the most persuasive method for valuing owner occupied homes.Sales of three or more properties sufficiently similar to the property under appeal will provide a sound basis with appropriate adjustments to arrive at a conclusion of value.Complainants presented no methodology accepted by the Commission and the Courts to support their opinion of fair market value.
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainants must present an opinion of market value and substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on January 1, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897. There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a Commission appeal still bears the burden of proof.The taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief.Therefore, the Complainant bears the burden of proving the vital elements of the case, i.e., the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” See, Westwood Partnership v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Daly v. P. D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Reeves v. Snider, 115 S.W.3d 375 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003).Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 804 S.W.2d 387, 392 (Mo. App. 1991).
Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).Persuasive evidence is that evidence which has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.The persuasiveness of evidence does not depend on the quantity or amount thereof but on its effect in inducing belief.Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.Cohen v. Bushmeyer, — S.W.3d —-, 2008 WL 820938 (Mo.App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).Mr. Birk gave his opinion of value to be $340,000.However, no evidence was presented from market data to support that opinion of value.A review of Complainants’ exhibits fails to provide any basis which will support the opinion of value which was tendered.
Exhibit A – Photographs
The photographs of the subject, three of the sale properties used by Respondent’s appraiser, the siding on the subject house and cracks in the garage floor are informative, but do not establish fair market value.It is clear the siding and the garage floor would be similar to other homes of the age of Complainants’ house.Worn siding and cracks in concrete are not unusual for twenty-six year old homes.Respondent’s appraiser made appropriate adjustments to account for the masonite siding and the overall condition of the subject, which would include a 26 year old concrete floor in the garage.
Exhibit B – Computer Sales Analysis
The Computer Sales Analysis finding a cost value of $459,800 and a sales comparison value of $502,300 fails to establish fair market value of $340,000.Mr. Birk’s deduction of estimated cost for improvements of $162,000 from the value of $502,300 is not a recognized appraisal methodology.Since it is not based upon proper elements and a proper foundation of being an accepted approach to appraising the property it has no probative value.
Exhibit C – Plat Map
The Plat Map is helpful to get an idea of the subject subdivision.However, it has no probative value to establish a value of $340,000.
Exhibits D, E & F – Repair & Renovation Bids
Bids for repairs and renovation provide some basis for an adjustment for overall condition in an appraisal.However, a dollar for dollar deduction for costs of repairs and updates is not generally accepted by appraisers.The market will seldom, if ever, return dollar for dollar for repairs and improvements.Furthermore, as has been noted above, making such deductions from a value set by a computer assisted valuation program does not represent a methodology that is acknowledged in appeals before the Commission or the Courts.
Exhibit G – Tax History
The tax history on any given property has no relevance when seeking to establish fair market value for a given tax date.The fact that the tax history shows increases in the amount of taxes or a certain percentage of increase in taxes from one year to the next does nothing to establish what a willing buyer and seller would pay for any given property.There is no appraisal methodology that arrives at an indicated fair market value, based upon the tax history of the property.It is clearly understood that the bottom line in ad valorem tax appeals is the amount of taxes to be paid.However, the issue before the Commission is the true value in money of the property, not the amount of taxes or the percentage of change from one assessment cycle to the next.
Exhibit H – Assessment Data on Webster Forest Subdivision
The Assessment Data, like the tax history, doesn’t establish the true value in money of the subject property.As will be addressed below in detail, neither does it establish discrimination in assessment.Comparison of increases in assessed or appraised values or other various calculations that can be made from such assessment data does not constitute an appraisal of the subject property.Comparisons to the averages that can be calculated from such data is not an appropriate methodology for determining true value in money for any given property.Therefore, this Exhibit provides no proper foundation to arrive at fair market value.The assessment data has no recognized basis to prove the proposed value of $340,000.
Conclusion on Overvaluation Claim
Complainants’ evidence did not have the proper elements and a proper foundation to establish the fair market value of the subject property.No probative weight can be given to the opinion of value of $340,000.Complainants failed to meet their burden of proof.
Complainants Fail to Prove Discrimination
In order to obtain a reduction in assessed value based upon discrimination, the Complainants must (1) prove the true value in money of their property on January 1, 2007.Koplar v. State Tax Commission, 321 S.W.2d 686, 690 (Mo. 1959); and (2) show an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials resulting in an assessment of that property at a greater percentage of value than other property, generally, within the same class within the same taxing jurisdiction.Koplar, supra, at 695.Evidence of value and assessments of a few properties does not prove discrimination.Substantial evidence must show that all other property in the same class, generally, is actually undervalued.State ex rel. Plantz v. State Tax Commission, 384 S.W.2d 565, 568 (Mo. 1964).The difference in the assessment ratio of the subject property the average assessment ratio in the subject county must be shown to be grossly excessive.Savage v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 722 S.W.2d 72, 79 (Mo. banc 1986).No other methodology is sufficient to establish discrimination.Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696 (Mo. 1958).
Complainants must prove the average level of assessment for residential property in St. LouisCountyfor 2007.This is done by (a) independently determining the market value of a representative sample of residential properties in St. Louis County; (b) determining the assessed value placed on the property by the assessor’s office for the relevant year; (c) dividing the assessed value by the market value to determine the level of assessment for each property in the sample; and (d) determining the mean and median of the results.The difference between the actual assessment level of the subject property and the average level of assessment for all residential property, taken from a sufficient representative sample in St. LouisCountymust demonstrate a disparity that is grossly excessive.Savage v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 722 S.W.2d 72, 79 (Mo. banc 1986).
Once the level of assessment for residential property inSt. LouisCountyis established, Complainants had the burden to prove the level of assessment for the subject property in 2007.This is done by independently determining the market value of the subject property and dividing the market value into the assessed value of the property as determined by the assessor’s office.
Complainants’ discrimination claim fails on two counts.The evidence presented to support the claim of discrimination was not sufficient to establish that the residential assessment ratio for 2007 inSt. LouisCountywas not 19% of true value in money. Complainants failed to demonstrate that a statistically significant number of other residential properties withinSt. LouisCountyare being assessed at a lower ratio of market value than their property.
Furthermore, they failed to establish the market value of their property.Without establishing their market value, they cannot establish their assessment ratio.Without establishing their ratio, they cannot establish that they are being assessed at a higher percentage of market value that any other property.
The Birks’ discrimination claim rests upon Exhibit H – Assessment Data on Webster Forest Subdivision.To begin with, this is not a representative sample ofSt. Louisresidential properties.However, no evidence was presented to establish the true value in money of any of the properties on January 1, 2007.The assessed value for each of the properties is 19% of the Assessor’s appraised value.Mr. Birk’s real claim on the issue of discrimination is that the average percentage of increase from the 2005 to the 2007 assessment was 37.28% and the subject property increased 51.76%.This was the second largest percentage increase in the subdivision.However, Complainant provided no statutory or case law basis that a claim of discrimination can be founded upon the comparison between the percentage of increase on one property versus the percentage of change on any other property or properties.That simply is not the basis to establish discrimination or inequality in assessment.
In point of fact the value set by the Board ($459,800, assessed value $87,360) falls below the 2007 average appraised and assessed values for the subject subdivision.The Board’s per square foot appraised value ($194.92) was only 3% above the average per square foot appraised value, assuming the figures in Exhibit H are correct.The per square foot value arrived at by Respondent’s appraiser for the Birk property is only 1.6% above the subdivision average.Therefore, if Complainants want to look at the average, then the valuation both by the Board and by Ms. Curran place the property under appeal very close to the average.
Conclusion on Discrimination Claim
Complainants failed to prove by substantial and persuasive evidence the average assessment ratio forSt. LouisCountyresidential property for the 2007 assessment cycle.They failed to establish the true value in money of their property to establish that it was being assessed at a ratio “grossly excessive” in comparison the average residential assessment ratio.The claim of discrimination fails.
Respondent Proves Value
The Respondent is not required to present evidence, either to sustain the Board’s value or to establish a value different from the Board.In any given case, Respondent may simply rest upon the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.However, Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra.Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2007, to be $455,000 for the subject property.This evidence rebutted the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.Respondent’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approach for the valuation of real property, the sales comparison or market approach.
In a subdivision, such as WebsterForest, no two homes are going to be exactly alike.In this particular appraisal problem, the subject home is one of the smaller homes in living area in the subdivision.Given that an appraiser must work with sales that have occurred at a time relevant to the tax date (1/1/07), the market will dictate the universe of sale properties from which comparables can be selected.
In Ms. Curran’s appraisal, she was able to utilize three sales (Comps 1, 2 &3) which were within +565, +243 and -271 square feet of living area of the subject.This is a sound range of living areas and the adjustment at $60 per square foot, represented approximately a 30% of per square foot sale price for these three properties.An adjustment of 25 – 30% is generally recognized in the appraisal field to be appropriate for the living area adjustment.
Comparables 4 and 5 were 1,086 and 1,281 square feet in living area larger than the subject.While this is a greater variance in living area than one generally would like to see in an appraisal, it does not render these properties as non-comparable.Nor does it render the conclusion of value as invalid.The adjustment for difference in living area for these two comparables was also $60 per square foot, or approximately 34% of the average sale price for these two comparables.Given that homes with larger living area will generally sell for a smaller per square foot value than small homes, the adjustment is not out of line.
Ms. Curran properly recognized the general condition of the subject is only average for the age of the home without it having updates.The sale properties were rated as being in good condition.This constituted a generally superior condition for the comparables.Here again, a difference in condition such as this does not disqualify a sale property from being used as a comparable.The difference in condition has to be properly accounted for by the appraiser adjusting for this difference.The condition factor was appropriately accounted for in the negative adjustment made to each of the sale properties.
The adjustments made by Ms. Curran were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type.The amount of adjustments as a percentage of sale price was somewhat higher than the Hearing Officer generally likes to see.However, this was due to the appraiser having to adjust for condition and living area.The adjustments properly accounted for the various differences between the subject and each comparable.The appraiser gave equal weight to all five of the comparable properties, which was appropriate for this appraisal problem.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization forSt. LouisCountyfor the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $86,450.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Said application must be in writing addressed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO65102-0146, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person at the address listed below in the certificate of service.
Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.
The Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of 139.031.8 RSMo.
Any Finding of Fact which is a Conclusion of Law or Decision shall be so deemed.Any Decision which is a Finding of Fact or Conclusion of Law shall be so deemed.
SO ORDERED July 25, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
 St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
 St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992); Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981).
 Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Lowe v. Lombardi, 957 S.W.2d 808 (Mo. App. W.D. 1997); Forms World, Inc. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Com’n, 935 S.W.2d 680 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996); Evangelical Retirement Homes v. STC, 669 S.W.2d 548 (Mo. 1984); Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Commission, 596 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. 1980); St. Louis County v. STC, 562 S.W.2d 334 (Mo. 1978); St. Louis County v. STC, 406 S.W.2d 644 (Mo. 1966).
 Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. 1978); Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Holt v. Clarke, 965 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998); Smith v. Morton, 890 S.W.2d403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995); Phelps v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 598 S.W.2d 163 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).