Tax assessment implications of major work on our house

We are considering some major work on our house and would like to understand the impact it will have on our property tax bill. The tax assessor's office has not been helpful. Can anyone recommend an attorney or other advisor who could help with this question? We live in Alameda County. Thanks is advance! 

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Hi there!  Not a attorney but maybe our experience will help.  

We did a whole house remodel and foundation repair / retrofit a year ago.  It was a big project.  Everything was permitted.  We added one more bathroom during the remodel. We were expecting our property taxes to go up significantly due to the whole house remodel and foundation work but in the end it only went up a total $20k in the assessed value and that was because the extra bathroom we added during the remodel.

We thought it was a mistake and called to double check with the county assessor’s office and they confirmed that their assessment was correct, they only increased the assessment for the extra bathroom not for the other work.

They also said they haven’t been adding foundation and seismic work to assessments recently, to encourage homeowners to do the needed seismic safety work for their houses.  If you do get assessed for that type of work, there is a form online that you can fill out to exclude the seismic / structural / foundation work from assessment. 

I'm sorry the assessor's office wasn't helpful! It's a fairly straightforward process, at least in our experience--once the work is complete and your permit is final, your city will notify the County that you have made changes that may affect your value. The County then sends you paperwork to complete documenting what was added to the home; they may also do a site visit depending on the scale of the changes. They then determine the additional value added to the home by looking at comparable sales. (For instance, if you have a 2BR and add a bedroom, they'll compare the market value of a 2BR and a 3BR in your neighborhood, and add the difference to your base year value.) As part of that process, they also adjust the County records to accurately reflect your home size or room counts. I would guess the County can't tell you in advance what the increase in value would be for your project, but a local realtor could give you some guidance on what the current comps look like so you know what to expect. The messiness comes in if you disagree with the comps the County has chosen to use for their analysis--but for the projects we worked on that triggered this review, we actually found that they were pretty conservative in their assessment, so I'd wait to see if it's a concern before worrying about that. The real estate market could look quite different a year or two from now, too, so it's hard to predict. Good luck with your project!