OLATHE, Kan. — Homeowners in Johnson County are getting a surprise in the mail this month that could result in much more money than they’re used to paying in property taxes.

The average percent increase in Johnson County property appraisals was in the double digits. Working for you, FOX4 found out why.

One neighbor said they saw a nearly 20% increase in their property tax appraisal.

“It was a shock for sure,” Susie Norton said.

Norton raised her eyebrows at her home valuation. It went up more than 16% from last year.

Neighbor Phyllis Pickernell said they’re looking at a 12.4% increase.

“I opened that up, and I’m going like, ‘Holy mackerel,'” Pickernell said. “Our house isn’t really worth that, and I told Jim and he goes, ‘What?'”

They’re not alone.

According to Johnson County appraiser Beau Boisvert, the average home appraisal value is up by about 12% compared to last year. He said the increase is due to a pandemic boom in the housing market.

“Those sale prices went up, and they were between 3.5% and 20-25%,” Boisvert said. “And so in order to make the proper adjustments to a house that sold, we adjust the value of those components and then apply those to all properties.”

He also said inflation causing higher costs to build new homes played a role. 

His office sent out 200,000 appraisals last week, letting homeowners know how much more their house is worth, and 90% of homeowners saw an increase in their home value.

Pickerell said that would be nice if she thought they could sell it for how much it was appraised for.

“Never have we had a house go up that much, that much to sell it you probably wouldn’t get it, but we’re not selling,” Pickernell said. 

Residents in Olathe, Prairie Village and Leawood saw the highest increases.

Norton said she hasn’t made any improvements on her home in Lenexa and doesn’t understand the big jump. 

“Why? What are their reasons? How? Do they throw a dart at the board?” Norton said. “I mean, that’s kind of what it feels like. You know, they don’t come knock on the door to see what the house is like.”

But Boisvert said that’s not how it works.

“The fact that they didn’t do anything to their property doesn’t change what the people are willing to pay for their house,” Boisvert said.

Boisvert said there is an appeal process. But you have to do the research and give the county evidence as to why your home is overvalued. Boisvert said Johnson County residents have until about the end of March to appeal. Find more information on the appeals process here.