The Swartz Report: Good News (EO) and Bad News (COVID-19)

Don Swartz

By Donald Swartz, President and Principal of Swartz + Associates, Inc.

Good News: Entrepreneurs’ Organization

I recently was accepted and joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Kansas City Chapter. This organization states, “as the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs, EO helps transform the lives of those who transform the world”. While my personal goal is not to help transform the world, per se, I was very much attracted to the idea of sharing ideas, stories, concerns and successes with a network of similarly minded business owners.

My group, or Forum, had our introductory training session and initial meeting last week. It was fascinating to be with a small group of business owners who tackle similar issues, both personal and business, in an open and non-judgmental environment. I am anticipating a close bond will quickly be formed as we meet on a monthly basis and truly get to know about each other’s lives.

EO currently has 196-chapter locations in 92 countries, with over 13,500 members. Many of my business contacts have familiarity (either as a member, former member or friends of a member) with EO and the initial comments have been overwhelmingly positive. I look forward to building this next step in my professional world and am excited about the opportunities EO will provide for my companies.

Bad News: Coronavirus

COVID-19Like most of us, I have been watching the sweeping changes occurring in our lives over the past 10 days. What started as a potential nuisance has developed into a complete crisis. Whether you believe we, as a nation, have over-reacted or have not yet done enough to do our part, this is a generational event which demands calm and patience. We must listen to, and adhere to our governmental officials, both at the local and national levels.

My family plans for spring break were not unique as we were headed to the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament in St. Louis. How many thousands were planning the same trips in their respective regions of the country? How many of us with college age children now face the reality of having them home for an extended period of time (at least the balance of the semester) while we watch their college tuition savings be significantly reduced by a turbulent and unpredictable market? While painful for everyone, we must trust the process and understand these steps are necessary (in my opinion) to create an environment of a “greater good”.

COVID-19 has had an impact on the property tax world as well.

Locally, counties have eliminated the “in person” hearings if a taxpayer has disputed his/her valuation on their property. Hearings will now be conducted via telephone only, and realistically, I see this remaining in place for several months. It will be very interesting to see how these initial rounds of appeals are treated and what the next level of appeal (State Tax Commission, Board of Tax Appeals, District Court or other State assessment boards) will look like in terms of scheduled hearing dates and the anticipated backlog of appeals.

As always, we will try to keep you posted on the latest property tax events and would be pleased to serve your interests. Please stay calm and look out for one another!

The Swartz Report: Repurposing Retail Box Stores and Commercial Property Tax Values Issued in JoCo

Last week, there was an article I read (as well as several others) concerning the repurposing of empty retail box stores. In particular, the conversation turned to the aspect of shopping center owners such as Simon Properties, General Growth and Macerich acquiring some of these vacant stores. The reasoning behind these acquisitions is to create an alternative use in order to keep foot traffic at the mall, thereby supporting the other in-line retail stores. The repurposing of the stores is varied, but it appears the recent trend is to design shared office space.

Re-Purposing Big Box Retail

This article also mentions an estimated 200 million square feet of retail space that has closed or anticipates closing since the beginning of 2017. Some of these retail stores have been closed for up to 4 years. It will be extremely interesting to see what happens to the 150+ planned Macy’s store closings based on last week’s announcements.

Potential Impact

This may have a significant impact in the property tax world as assessors and appraisers struggle to determine the fair market value of these types of properties.

Do appraisers look at the sales of vacant retail properties to determine the value? Or should they look at the current use of the property? This argument has been building in several states over the past few years. In Kansas, it is likely this argument will be decided by the Kansas Supreme Court, possibly in the 2020 calendar year.

Mall owners are finding they must continue to come up with ways to support their malls as they cannot afford to have anchor tenants sitting vacant. It’s worth the potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements and reconfigurations in order to maintain mall traffic.

How does this affect the value of a property?  That’s the $64,000 question (or more likely the $300,000 question!)

Johnson County Commercial Values Issued

Speaking of Kansas, Johnson County issued their commercial values to taxpayers last week with an appeal deadline of March 11th. Residential notices will be issued before March 1st and taxpayers will have until the end of March to file appeals if they are unhappy with the valuation placed upon their residence.

As I’ve included in previous years, the deadlines in the surrounding states which occur in the upcoming months are listed below:

Kansas – Personal Property: March 15 | Real Estate: March 11 – (commercial) Johnson County
March 31 – remaining KS Counties

Missouri – Personal Property: March 1 | Real Estate: 3rd Monday in June

Oklahoma – Personal Property: March 15 | Real Estate: Generally in June

Iowa – Personal Property: Not applicable – Exempt | Real Estate: April 30

Colorado – Personal Property: April 15 – Real Estate: May 31

Nebraska – Personal Property: May 1 | Real Estate: June 30

Arkansas – Personal Property: May 1 | Real Estate: Varies

Even though this is an “off year” in Missouri, Colorado and Iowa, appeals can still be filed based upon a valuation date of January 1, 2019. For those taxpayers in Jackson County who did not file appeals on the property, but were hit with the significant valuation increases, the opportunity exists to attempt relief for the 2020 tax year. (I will discuss Jackson County more in the April and May blogs.)

As always, if you have any questions surrounding your property valuations, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the staff at Swartz + Associates. Now entering our 34th year in property tax valuation reviews (personal property, residential and commercial), we have the knowledge and relationships to professionally handle your needs anywhere in the country.

Please visit our website www.swartzandassociates.com to learn more about our experience and results.

The Swartz Report: Success only comes before Work in the Dictionary

Happy New Decade to everyone and I hope the start of the New Year leads to many successes throughout.

Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs KingdomFirst and foremost, the success of the Kansas City Chiefs are on the minds of most Kansas Citians (and well beyond based upon the season ticket base encompassing over 40 states). I’ve been a season ticket holder for 32 years and I have never, NEVER experienced anything quite like what we witnessed in our comeback win against the Houston Texans. Now, we play host to our second consecutive AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead on January 19th and maybe the passing of the AFC torch from the Patriots to the Chiefs 😊

Time for a little payback to the Titans – my wife and I celebrated our anniversary in Nashville last November, only to see the Chiefs snatch defeat from victory in stunning fashion; a disappointing finish to a great weekend.

Family

At the end of 2019 and the beginning 2020, we say good bye to the teenage years, as our youngest is now 20. Now there is a success story of how we, as parents, somehow made it to this point. We have great role models and have watched many a friend reach this milestone, so we simply followed previous examples and maybe added a pinch of Don and Karen to the mix.

Business Development

Chiefs KingdomThe start of this decade will also hopefully jump start business development plan implementation for each of our employees at both Swartz + Associates, Inc. and Indurante. Our focus has been placed squarely on taking care of our clients and it is important we also pay attention to our personal growth and professional development within the organizations. Planning meetings last fall and recent discussions led by my wife (thank you, Karen!) will provide us with responsible direction and great enthusiasm as well as growth for the companies.

Finally, this decade will provide opportunities I cannot begin to imagine. If I had written this blog in 2010, how could I have possibly predicted I would purchase my practice back from my place of employment for almost 20 years and acquire another company within 5 years of starting Swartz + Associates? I promise to keep my eyes open and looking forward. You never know when the next opportunity is around the corner.

As my mother always says, “Success only comes before Work in the Dictionary”  Let’s get to work, shall we?

The Swartz Report: Goals for 2020

Goals for 2020As we bid good-bye to 2019, I wanted to identify a few of the major events of the year and goals for the 2020 year.

Jackson County, MO Reassessment

This year, taxpayers saw valuations on their residential and commercial real estate values increase between 20% and 400%. Truly amazing as the county received over 25,000 protests to their increased valuations. Currently, we have only heard a handful of appeals (mostly residential) and have hundreds of commercial appeals awaiting hearings before the Board of Equalization.

It is estimated the hearings will take place sometime between January and June of 2020. Taxpayers who are granted any reductions in value achieved after December 31, 2019 will receive a refund of their taxes based upon the reduced amount. Additionally, if you missed the opportunity to appeal your valuation in 2019, you may appeal the 2020 valuation in the spring of 2020.  We will keep everyone updated as hearings progress.

Sale – Leaseback transactions

Many of the properties we review for commercial real estate are situations where we represent the lessee of a property where they are the sole tenant. We have found the counties are extremely interested in the long term leases in place without regard to the credit worthiness of the tenant. Outside investors are interested in the “name” of the tenant fulfilling the lease and the rate of return an investor receives varies based upon the tenant in place.

Most states assess real estate as “fee simple” (market rates) and not “leased fee” or the lease currently in place. This creates the potential for properties being over stated by the counties as the lease reviewed is more than a value of the real estate but reflects a valuation associated with the business currently leasing the property.  This continues to be a major point of contention in several states and we have many appeals outstanding where this is an issue.

Valuation of Corporate Headquarters

We continue to represent properties which are owner occupied and are considered to be corporate headquarters for companies. In many situations, the taxpayer has either constructed new headquarters or remodeled/refurbished existing property for the benefit of their employees. The increase in open space; a movement away from “traditional” office space, where individual offices and doors are no longer necessary; shared space among employees and art designs within a building are creating potential issues of functional obsolescence in older buildings and higher replacement cost calculations which do not necessarily equate to higher market values.

Additionally, we have clients that have relocated corporate headquarters to a new jurisdiction, leaving the former HQ vacant (or having minimal employees are the old location) and difficulty selling the property or leasing the space to another business due to issues described above. We are awaiting decisions from State Court in multiple states on these issues and anticipate the appeals will not be resolved until 2020 or 2021.

And most importantly – THANK YOU!

As I continue recover from the accident earlier this summer, I cannot thank you enough for the continued love and support received from family, friends, clients and especially, my staff.

This has been the most challenging year of my professional life and in many ways, the most successful. Success is truly not measured only by monetary gain. The ability to keep both companies running throughout the second half of the year is a complete credit to the staff that make things happen. This is how I choose to measure success and will continue to guide me as we move forward in 2020. I thank you for your patience and understanding. Physically, I am almost back to the level of pre-accident activity and mentally, I am prepared for all challenges in front of us.

Happy Holidays to all and I look forward to being there for you next year and beyond!

The Swartz Report: We appreciate stable and predictable, but change is constant.

Change is ConstantAs we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I went back and reviewed my previous blogs and naturally, they focused on things I’ve been thankful for over the past year. If you’re a regular reader of my monthly blog, I feel I wrote my “thanksgiving” blog back in July following my unfortunate accident. While it’s never redundant to continue to express my thanks to so many, I thought I would change the tone of this November’s thoughts.

WHILE WE APPRECIATE STABLE AND PREDICTABLE, CHANGE IS CONSTANT.

I am approaching my 34th year in the review of property tax valuations, so I would like to believe I’m predictable and stable. However, within this career, change has been a constant theme. Working for a national firm; then going out on my own; then merging my practice with a regional accounting firm which was ultimately bought out by a publicly held entity and finally, buying my practice back from the firm. Employees hired and employees retired; economic recessions and economic booms – change is constant.

Throughout the years, my clients have stayed with me and followed the not so straight path. In my July blog, I thanked my family, friends, employees and community. Now it’s my turn to thank my clients. Some have been clients for 20+ years, others recently coming on board. My goal is to treat all of you with respect and it’s my hope and intent we put forth our best effort in representing your interests.

MY YOUNGEST IS NO LONGER A TEENAGER!

Again, if you’re a follower of my blog through the years, I spend a significant amount of time discussing my family. Whether vacations, sporting events or road trips to college, they are special to me and I opened our family to your welcoming arms.

Well, now my youngest has turned 20 and this has had a bigger impact than I anticipated. Turning 40, 45, 50 and now 55 were not issues for me, but having my youngest turn 20, yikes!!! It is fine for me to get older, but my kids? No way! Of course the flip side is seeing them growing up and maturing into adults which brings immense joy and pride.

TWO COMPANIES? – NO PROBLEM.

With the acquisition of Indurante + Associates a little over a year ago, I was confident we could achieve success, but a little worried about such different entities and geographic differences. Thanks to today’s world (computing, smart phones, travel capabilities and other nuances) the ability to grow both entities is succeeding. Taking advantage of the technology afforded us would be a footnote without staff motivated to share in the success. I’ve seen our staff grow and take on added responsibilities, while continuing to forge relationships with clients as we approach the next decade. This effort will only make us stronger as a whole and I eagerly await the 2020 year!

Happy Thanksgiving to all – I’m thankful I have the opportunity to continue to share my thoughts with you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Swartz Report: Technology, Branding and Collaboration

Don Swartz

Don Swartz

Over the past two weeks I have implemented planning meetings for both companies; Indurante & Associates and Swartz + Associates. Each meeting was a full day and, in both situations, we went “off campus”, leaving the usual work place for a different environment. Away from the company phones, away from the usual distractions and an opportunity to clear the mind.

I believe both meetings were very successful as the dialogue from all employees was pointed, thoughtful and most importantly, respectful.

Technology and Branding were the major take aways from both meetings.

Swartz + Associates

As we are well into our 5th year at Swartz + Associates, questions circled around the fact that although successful, are we now content? Where do we want to go from here? We have been very focused on maintaining our client base from the purchase 5 years ago, but now it is time to spread our wings and show other companies of our success. Success not only monetarily, but success in the types of appeals we are securing.

It is time to promote our successes to others and let taxpayers know we are able to handle their property tax valuation review, regardless of the type of property.

Indurante & Associates

On the Indurante side, we are already recognized as the leader in railcar industry in the preparation, review and filing of property tax statements to the respective jurisdictions. The question of this group centered around the use of technology.

How can we take advantage of technology to assist not only us, but our clients? Website, Indurante owned software and database development are extremely important to our future and we are investing significant time and resources to ensure this occurs during the 2020 tax season and beyond. Once in place, these powerful tools will allow us to have even more interaction with our clients and ease the transfer of information.

The opportunity for the two companies to work together is very exciting.

PartnershipsWhile the companies focus on different areas of the property tax arena, they are very complimentary. Companies who own railcars, undoubtedly have ownership interests in commercial/industrial real estate as well as machinery and equipment. The key is to now educate Indurante employees about Swartz products and how Swartz reviews assessments. Likewise, Swartz employees are learning what it looks like to handle several thousand property tax annual filings and the payment of thousands of annual tax bills on behalf of Indurante’s clients.

It is truly an exciting time for both companies, and I’m looking forward to sharing our results with everyone.

As always, if you need answers regarding your property tax assessments, please reach out and contact me with any questions.  If railcars are your thing, we can help out there as well!

The Swartz Report: 2019 Valuation and Tax Appeal Updates

Tax AppealI recently returned from a trip to Des Moines to visit a client, look at a property in booming Ankeny, IA and met with a fee appraiser hired to review a property. This trip allowed for several hours of windshield time to process the various events currently happening in the property tax world. I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring you up to date in jurisdictions where we represent many of our clients.

Jackson County, MO (Kansas City, MO)

After receiving several thousand appeals for both residential and commercial properties, the county has closed the opportunity to appeal the current 2019 valuation (taxpayers were given the opportunity to appeal the valuation until September 3rd).

Hearings are now being scheduled with the Board of Equalization and should last into the 2020 tax year. This could create issues for taxpayers who will not have a chance to have the case heard before the end of the year as taxpayers must pay their taxes under protest (property taxes are due by December 31, 2019). We will be offering suggestions and working with our clients on how to go through the process of paying taxes under protest, and the importance of doing so.

Not only will the taxes be paid under protest, but the taxpayer must indicate the value they believe is the correct value and the corresponding tax amount. The Jackson County Treasurer must escrow the difference between the taxes owed on the tax bill and the opinion of taxes owed determined by the taxpayer. The county treasurer may not release those funds until the appeal has been resolved.

We will work closely with our clients who currently have pending appeals in Jackson County as well as those who have questions. The tax bills will be issued in November, so it is important to note the taxes must be paid under protest as an appeal may be dismissed without proper documentation showing the tax amount being challenged.

Johnson County, KS

We have recently received decisions from the Small Claims Division of the Board of Tax Appeals (values under $3,000,000 and all residential values).

Early indications show Johnson County is a tough place to win an appeal at the initial levels of appeal. Many of our appeals will proceed to the Regular Division of the Board of Tax Appeals but will incur legal and 3rd party professional fees (appraisals) that make an appeal to the Regular Division challenging for many taxpayers. These additional fees may dissuade taxpayers from continuing with an appeal. We will work closely with our clients to determine the potential tax savings versus the cost to continue an appeal, as we pursue appeals beyond the Small Claims Division.

Colorado, Iowa and Missouri (excluding Jackson County)

The informal and local level of appeals has concluded with many local boards closing their respective review sessions in June and July.

These states reassess valuations every odd year, so the values currently in place will remain until the next reassessment date of January 1, 2021, unless there are physical changes to the property (demolition or new construction).

We represent client’s interests in most states across the country. If you have questions about the appeals process in where you own property, please reach out to me directly as I would be happy to update you with the local rules and timing for appeals.

As always, I thank you the opportunity to represent your interests. Please email me with any questions or concerns you may have – dswartz@swartzaai.com

The Swartz Report: Back in the Office and Celebrating Work Anniversaries

Don Swartz

Don Swartz

Well, it’s been just over 6 weeks since the accident and I thought I would provide an update of what has transpired since my last commentary. After I returned from Las Vegas, a CT scan was performed to determine the extent of the fluid build-up around my left lung. The scan was performed on a Friday afternoon in advance of my Monday appointment with the pulmonologist. I received a call on Saturday morning from the doctor requesting I meet him at the emergency room.

The doctor determined the large mass compressing my left lung had to be reduced. Over two liters of blood had surrounded my left lung and needed to be drained immediately. A chest tube was inserted and the fluid was quickly removed. However, I spent the next ten days (Sept. 27 – Aug 5th) in the hospital while the doctors monitored the large amounts fluid being continuously produced around the lung area.

Back in the Office

Over the past two weeks, I have started returning to the office for a few hours each day, spending the balance of the time working remotely from my home office. I continue to thank my clients, employees and friends for their patience and understanding as well as their encouragement. It certainly makes “work” seem like pleasure as opposed to being on my back all day. Next week I will meet with my shoulder specialist and my spine specialist. If everything looks in order, the back brace and arm sling will be a thing of the past by Labor Day weekend. I look forward to seeing the new “normal”.

Speaking of work, it is amazing the number of things you do in a day to keep a business running that seem so ordinary and second nature. However, when you are out of the day to day activity for several weeks, it feels like a mountain to climb.

Emails to respond to, telephone messages to return, payables to cover and receivables to collect (and invoices to issue 😊). While I truly appreciate my staff at both Swartz + Associates and Indurante & Associates, there are tasks as a small business owner I have always had the sole responsibility to manage and complete. The accident has taught me an important lesson – no matter how much you believe you delegate, there is always room to improve.

In many respects it is like watching your children grow and take on more responsibility. They will make mistakes but as long as they learn from them and handle the outcomes (good or bad), as a parent, that is everything you can ask for. I believe the same principles apply to an organization and I must allow my employees the opportunities to grow personally and professionally within the business.

As a nice segue to discuss opportunities, David Sukenik recently celebrated his third anniversary with the company.

David Sukenik

David Sukenik

How are we celebrating this work anniversary? David and I have decided he will be moving to Las Vegas and joining my team there. He will continue to work with his existing clients and review property tax assessments. Additionally, we are in the process of a major software system upgrade that will create greater efficiencies for our railcar clientele. This was one of my major goals after acquiring Indurante & Associates last September and having David agree to be a part of this upgrade is a great step for him as well as for the companies.

Did I mention he is from southern California? Being closer to his family does not hurt the cause, either. I know he will continue to thrive in this new capacity and look forward to seeing what the future holds. If you have commercial property in the Southwest, we may be in a position to better suit your needs than we have in previous years.

As always, I appreciate your business and continued support. If you are in need of property tax support, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation. Or, if you need a few ideas on how to pass the time recovering from injuries, I have a few thoughts on that as well 😊

The Swartz Report: Waking up in the Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital.

Well, well, well… I had all these great ideas about this month’s blog; all the uncertainly surrounding the new valuations in Jackson County, MO; Nebraska appeals for June 30th; CO appeals as part of the bi-annual reassessment; 10th months into the new acquisition of Indurante & Associates, Inc. etc, etc…

Instead, life threw a curve ball at me while I was out visiting my office in Las Vegas.

I was there to visit my office and also connect with my longtime close friend, Joel Glass. Joel is a senior executive with the Orlando Magic and was with the team as part of the NBA Summer League. My goal was to work in the morning and spend the afternoons and evenings watching players attempt to make themselves worthy of an NBA roster spot. Monday went according to plan and we had a great day. Up close and personal with Bill Self, seeing Roy Williams and a variety of other college coaches as well as a quick look at future impact players in the League.

Tuesday morning, July 9th changed my life course.

Waking up in the hospitalI hired an Uber from my hotel to take me to my office. Along the way, we were hit by a car that chose to ignore a red light. Our car was significantly damaged and I remember nothing of the incident. The next thing I remember is waking up at some point on Thursday, July 11th in the Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital.

Karen (who had flown in late Tuesday night) and Joel were in the room. I suffered some fairly serious injuries and two plus weeks later, I am finally back in Kansas City… several broken ribs, a broken right clavicle, separated shoulder, a fracture in my spine and a partially collapsed lung.

But that’s not the best part of the story….

People say I’m lucky, and you know what? I am lucky. I’m lucky to be a part of a wonderful community. A community that cares about others and is willing to do anything, ANYTHING, to help me and my family.

Waking up in the hospitalI’m lucky to have grade school friends check in from all across the country to see how I am doing. Texts, phone calls, emails – they were coming in fast and furious.

But that’s just getting started –  the number of friends we have met over the years; the Pembroke Community, the Jewish Community, the Oakwood Community, the Greater Kansas City community and all across the county (thru business connections and friendships), offers of support have flooded in.  It is truly unbelievable and actually overwhelming.

Hillary Clinton indicated, “It takes a Village” and she’s absolutely right. But it is more than taking a village to raise a child, it takes a village to learn what’s important in life. The presence of family and friends drives this point home and I will never take any of you for granted.

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

My goal is to reach out to everyone over the next several months and offer a personal thank you, but let me start by recognizing my “first responders”.

To my employees at Swartz + Associates, Inc. and Indurante & Associates, Inc. thank you for keeping things together and making the work seamless while checking on my well-being. I will continue to lean on you and have all the confidence now that we will continue to be successful.

To all of you who have reached out to offer your small part, thank you for the kind gestures. Whether providing meals, a car ride, a book to read or a place to stay, believe me when I say it is not unnoticed and greatly appreciated.

To all of our friends who have reached out with calls of support, messages, encouragement or just to listen – thank you so much. My heart is filled with joy (even if it is protected by broken ribs!)

And of course, my family.

My family, immediate and extended (including Joel) has been awesome. Daily calls to see how I am doing; securing travel plans back to Kansas City and just the overall love and support you have provided, truly unbelievable.

My kids, (who I promised I will be okay) have been great throughout the process, offering their encouragement in ways only children can and of course…

My wife, Karen. The love of my life. I can’t imagine any of this without her by my side. Taking the requisite notes, asking the questions of the doctors, making appointments, talking to the insurance companies, making sure I take the appropriate deep breaths and am constantly positioned correctly. 🙂

Mix that in with the world of law, and it’s just another day! HA!!!

I am fortunate to have each and every one of you in my life and I’m better for it. If ever you believe you don’t make a difference, you are 100% wrong. Everyone makes a difference and I am happy to convince you of that fact. My road to recovery is getting started and I want you to be sure to know you are a big part of the process.

Until next time… and yes, I appreciate the fact that there will be a next time.

The Swartz Report: What’s Your Elevator Speech?

Last month, I attended the Small Business Member Stand Up session with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. As I’ve previously mentioned, I try to participate in as many Chamber events as possible. This allows me to network with other business owners, learning about their business while I can educate others about my business.

I considered this past meeting to be the ultimate test of perfecting the “elevator speech”.

Elevator SpeechI believe most everyone is familiar with the term, but for those who are not, the elevator speech is a very brief overview of your business. If you were to hop on an elevator and someone asked you what you do for a living, your response is limited to the time you share on the ride, hence your “elevator speech”.

During the Stand Up session, each company was allowed one minute to talk about their business, services, etc. Due to the configuration of the room and the way the microphones were being passed, I was the lucky one to go… LAST (I promise, I did not sit in the corner seat of the last row!)

The obvious disadvantage of this situation? 40+ people had already talked before me and we were pushing the clock in terms of people needing to leave to start their day. Additionally, the others were becoming tuned out due to the sheer number of people in attendance. What to do, what to do…

Of course, one advantage was being able to refine my speech in my mind while listening to others.

Should I try to sprinkle in a little humor or does that detract from the time I have to talk about my company? Bullet points or sentences? Specifics or generalities? Can I talk about Kansas, Missouri or can I make time for both?

Ultimately, I went with straight talk; what I thought to be complete sentences and just sticking to general overview. “My name is Don Swartz, and my company assists owners of commercial real estate and business personal property to minimize their annual property tax liabilities. We work nationwide, but have particular emphasis in Kansas, Missouri and other states in the Midwest.”

Surprisingly, several people did not rush out when the session was over. People were actively seeking others who had said something that sparked an interest. I had two or three individuals approach me to discuss my business in further detail, and I sought out a particular company where I thought I could be of benefit to them on a specific issue. Overall, I believe the event was a success and I’m glad I was able to participate.

When was the last time you worked on your Elevator Speech?

Do your employees have one as well… and is it consistent with the message you are trying to deliver? You never know when opportunity knocks.

Speaking of Opportunity

Reassessment is upon us in Iowa, Missouri and Colorado. Values have not changed in these states since 1.1.17 and in this economy, you can bet values are on the rise.

Deadlines to appeal real estate:

Missouri – formal appeals to the county Board of Equalization is June 17, 2019

Colorado – formal online appeals need to be submitted online by June 3, 2019 or in the mail by June 1, 2019

Iowa- deadline has passed unless you have properties in Dallas and Polk Counties where they have extended the deadline to June 5th as a result of flooding earlier this spring.

Nebraska – deadline to appeal is June 30, 2019

Please contact me if you wish to discuss this or any other property tax matters.  As always thank you for your readership and interest.

Next month, we will be celebrating 5 years of Swartz + Associates, Inc. Unbelievable how fast the time has flown.