Real Estate Appraisal
It is the duty of the Auditor to see that every parcel of land and the building thereon are fairly and uniformly appraised and assessed for tax purposes. A uniform approach produces a fair estimate of what the property would sell for on the open market. There are many variables that influence the market value of a property other than comparable sales. These variables include amongst others, interest rates, cost of land acquisition, construction and material costs. Changes in value occur for various reasons including new improvements, the economy and demolition of buildings. In order to assess the value of a property, a general reappraisal is mandated by law every six years with an update at the three year midpoint. On the third year update, between the six-year reappraisal cycle, the values are established based on a comparable sales evaluation. It is also the duty of the Auditor to place a value on any property in which a building permit was issued, an appeal filed or any property involving a land split or boundary survey.
Parcel Data Collection
The county contracts with a mass appraisal real estate firm to collect information regarding every parcel in the county, which includes agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial parcels. Each parcel in the county is physically visited. The field appraisers are seeking to update and verify the accuracy of information such as land size/type, building size, age, type, quality of construction, condition, room counts and other relevant information. If an appraiser is not able to speak to a property owner, the appraiser leaves an Appraisal Collection Card in an attempt to acquire the most up to date information about a property.
Understanding the Tax Card
The tax card is a comprehensive sheet that contains all relevant information regarding a parcel. When the appraiser visits your property, the appraiser is verifying the information on the tax card is true and accurate. Due to the numerous variations in properties, codes are used to describe specific information on the Tax Card.
The most common codes used on the Tax Cards are:
Neighborhood boundaries are established. Historic trends and property sales from the past three years are analyzed within those neighborhood boundaries. The appraisers review properties to verify grades, classes, depreciations, values and any other influential factors. The estimated fair market value of properties is determined from this thorough analysis.
The Auditor’s Office notifies homeowners that property values have been established. If homeowners have questions or concerns about their property valuation, they have the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with a representative from the Auditor’s Office regarding the valuation. Homeowners are requested to submit documentation for any requested change. Informal hearing are held in various places within the community.
After the informal hearings, the valuations are sent to the state for review and validation. This is part of the process to ensure that valuations are fair and accurate across each county. The state has the authority to request that the county modifies valuations.
When the County Auditor announces the completion of the property valuations, all records are made available to the public.
Please note that the County Auditor does not and cannot raise and lower values at her discretion. There is an appraisal method that is followed as well as the state review process to ensure the fairness and accuracy of the valuations.
Also, please be aware that it is the property owner’s responsibility to report any changes or discrepancies regarding his/her property to the Auditor.
Board of Revision
If you believe your property valuation is incorrect, you have the right to file a complaint against valuation. The form must be filed between January 1 and March 31. The Board of Revision will then review the valuation. Please visit the Board of Revision page for more information.