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 What is a Revaluation?

A Revaluation is the process of conducting the Data Collection and Market Analysis necessary to equalize the values of all properties within a Municipality for the purpose of a fair distribution of the tax burden.

 What happens during a Revaluation?

A physical inspection of both the interior and exterior of each property is conducted, where building dimensions and characteristics are noted.  This is the Data Collection phase of the project.  Each Data Collector carries an identification badge as well as a letter of introduction on City or Town letterhead. Each data collector’s car is also registered with the Police Department and Assessors Office.

 

While the Data Collection phase is going on, Appraisers are studying the real estate transactions that have occurred over the past two years in order to gain a complete understanding of property value in the Municipality. When this process is complete, the Appraisers can then utilize this market data to help determine the market value of every property in the Municipality.

 

Once values (otherwise known as assessments) have been determined, each property owner receives an individual notice of the new assessment.  Property owners also have the opportunity to review the entire file of assessed values so that they can make comparisons to their own property.  If the Municipality chooses, this data can be published on the Internet, otherwise the data will be made available at one or more locations. All property owners are given the opportunity to discuss their values with the Appraisal Staff at an appointed time which will be publicly announced towards the end of the Revaluation.  At this meeting, a property owner can voice concerns or discuss inaccuracies or discrepancies with a qualified Appraiser who will review the data and explain the assessment process. 

 Why is a Valuation Update needed?

Over time, property values change. However not all types of properties change at the same rate. Since the assessed value is the basis of the property tax, a Valuation Update must be undertaken in order to make sure that each parcel of real estate is assessed according to current market value. This ensures that everyone pays their fair share.

 Will a Valuation Update increase my taxes?

A Valuation Updates may result in an increase or decrease of individual assessments; it does not mean that all tax burdens will increase. You may be saying “SURE!”, but remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the tax burden.  The tax burden is the amount that the Municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc.  If the same amount of money is to be raised after the Valuation Update as the previous year and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.

 How will I know if my assessment is equitable?

There are two very good methods of determining this.  First, compare your property to similar properties that sold in the previous year.  Your value should be in line with these sale prices. After looking at the comparable sales, ask yourself if you could sell your house for that amount.  Second, if no recent sales are available, compare your assessment to other similar properties in your area using the Street Listing of Values available in the Assessor’s Office.  Your value should be in line with these similar properties.  Remember, very few properties are exactly alike.  Your value should be comparable, but it seldom will be exactly the same as what seems to be a similar property.

 If I disagree with my assessment after a hearing, what are my options?

any property owner believes the assessment on their property is in excess of its fair market value, they should first notify the Assessor’s Office.  They may then appeal before the Municipality’s Board of Assessment Appeals.  The Board of Assessment Appeals will review the case and make a determination as to the disposition of the appeal.  Should the property owner still feel the assessment is incorrect, they may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the Municipality is located.

 What is a Valuation Update?

A Valuation Update is the process of performing all of the necessary Market Analysis and Valuation steps to determine accurate and equitable market values for all properties within a municipality.  The equalization of the values within a City or Town creates a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a Valuation Update is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load.

 What is an Informal Hearing?

Towards the end of the Revaluation, every homeowner receives a notice of their proposed valuation based on the analysis performed.  These values are not final until the Hearings are complete.  When a homeowner has a question or concern about the proposed valuation, they are asked to call the firm to schedule a date and time to discuss the valuation process and get answers to any questions the homeowner may have.  An informal hearing is not a forum to discuss taxes; it is strictly meant to answer questions on the property valuations.

 

Homeowners are asked to come prepared with questions and should have already compared their property to other similar sale properties in their neighborhood. Once the meeting is finished, a Hearing Officer will determine if a review of the property is necessary. Appraisal personnel will review the hearing notes to determine whether a change should be made to the property. All changes to value that occur due to a hearing will be reflected in the change notice that is sent after the hearings are completed.

 Why did the change in my land value differ from the change in my building value?

Since the last Revaluation, Real Estate Values have changed significantly.  Over the same period, building construction costs have increased but have done so at a slower rate than the overall value increase.  Since building costs have not increased as much as total values, the bulk of the total increase, if any, is attributable to land.  This makes perfect economic sense as it is buildable land that is in limited supply.

 Will a Revaluation increase taxes?

Although a Revaluation may result in an adjustment to nearly each individual assessment; it does not mean that property taxes will increase. Please remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the individual tax burden of each and every taxable property.  The overall operating budget, which is the amount that the Municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc is what truly affects individual property taxes. For example, if the overall operating budget is the same both before and after revaluation and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.

 What is market value and who determines my property value?

Market value is the value that your home should be able to sell for as of a specific date. The value is determined by the activity in the real estate market and the general economy.  The value of your property is based on an analysis of the entire municipal real estate market for the full two calendar years before the completion of the Valuation Update Project. 

 Will someone be coming to inspect my house?

No. This process does not involve individual visits to each property in Town.