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What does your 2014 Property Assessment mean?

Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation | January 17th, 2014

What does your 2014 Property Assessment mean?

This year, property assessments seem to be all over the map.  Even in the same area and same type of property, some are up and some are down. For example, my waterfront property is down several hundred thousand dollars whereas one of my clients' waterfront homes has gone up quite a bit; neither home has been renovated since last year.  In all price ranges, it seems some are up and some are down.  I have received a lot of questions on how the assessed value affects the sale price of properties. The assessed value affects what you will pay in property taxes; however it is not an accurate reflection of what your home is really worth to buyers. Some assessments higher and some lower than market value.

There are two main reasons that property value does not equal market value: timing and information used to arrive at the value.

Timing: Property assessments are based on government estimates of the value of the home in the previous year as of July 1st. By the time you receive your property assessment it is already six months out of date. A REALTOR®'S market assessment is usually current within a few days and should therefore be a more accurate reflection of what someone will pay for your home.

Information used: Assessors value approximately 2 million properties every year. We sell more homes than most REALTORS®* do but we still value fewer than 100 homes per year. We therefore have time to look at a house carefully; the assessor cannot look at 2 million houses, renovations, street appeal, etc. They look at fundamentals like lot size and house age but are not able to factor in other important elements which may add (or detract) from the property's value. They use a mass appraisal system where a good REALTOR® will look at each home individually and will have been in not only the home they are valuing but also the other homes which they are comparing it to in order to determine likely market value.

If you have questions about your assessment, your home's market value, or if you have questions about appealing your assessment, please contact me. Assessments must be appealed by Friday, January 31st, 2014.