Albemarle County Assessments are on the Horizon

Get ready for the hullabaloo … Albemarle County – and other localities’ – real estate assessments will be released in about 10 days. Will they go up? What happens if they do? Will they (like property values seem to have done) go down?

As I said last year:

1) Appraisal done by the bank to determine their risk level and what they are willing to lend. Appraisals are also looking, to a greater degree, at the (immediate) past.

2) Assessment that is, by code, supposed to be 100% of market value – this is, and has been, with regards to true market value, irrelevant, as it is not a up-to-date as a market analysis reflecting currentmarket value, as they are done once yearly. Up until last year, they were done, in Albemarle, every two years. Nelson does them every five, I believe.

3) Market value – as determined by a ready, willing and able buyer and seller having a “meeting of the minds.”

I see there as being three different valuations –

Government’s assessment is a take on fair market value, but is less accurate, in my opinion, as it is subjected to less critical analysis and not subject to the open market.

Albemarle County’s assessments are done once a year; there is a bill in the General Assembly now that would allow Augusta County to do their reassessments every five or six years.

Assessments create an annual debate. There was a good clarification last year:

Please note that I did take a little bit of an issue with the statement that, “[g]overnments don’t budget the way the rest of us do – they determine how much they want and budget for that.” This statement, within the context of land/structure values, might leave some readers with the mistaken impression that local governments determine how much money they want, and then determine assessments in a way that the delivers the desired amount. That interpretation, of course, would be wrong since, legally, assessments have to be based on the market value of real property, not the revenue wishes of the local government. Tax rates, on the other hand, can be changed according to a local government’s needs and wishes but, ultimately, it is the prerogative of the local elected body – the Board of Supervisors, in the case of Albemarle County – to decide at what level to set the tax rate. I realize that you’re aware of these points, but I fear that some of your readers might not have a clear understanding of the situation, and might draw an erroneous conclusion.

More: 2008, 2008, 2007

If you’re interested, go the RealCentralVA.com archives and search the page for “assessments” – they’ve been covered once or twice. 🙂

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