They also assumed the low assessment reflected the plummeting real estate market, as well as demolition they did to the back of one of the houses to make way for an addition.
Todtz says he has no objection to a higher assessment going forward. But he and his wife hope an appeal will succeed in rolling back the unexpected increases from past years.
De Vries and Todtz say they love their home, with its exposed brick walls, walk-in closet, expansive kitchen and 20-foot ceiling in the family room, where their 41/2- year-old son Jacob plays. The house is about 28 feet wide, with a large back patio.
The couple says the house is a testament to their desire to stay and invest in the city, rather than move to the suburbs like many young families. But the assessment shock has soured their mood.
"We're having second thoughts now," Todtz said.
About this series
"Taxing Baltimore" is a series of occasional articles examining Baltimore's property tax rate, the highest in the state. To see archived articles from this series as well as a searchable database and a photo gallery of the properties with the highest tax bills, go to baltimoresun.com.