Albemarle County Assessments – 2018 – Like a Zestimate by the Locality

More to come soon, as the Albemarle County assessments have yet to be mailed, but for now, bone up on what assessments mean.

  1. Read this story from last year about Albemarle County assessments.
  2. Read the Albemarle County real estate assessments – Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)


Which is more accurate, the county assessment or the zestimate?


It depends on what actual market value is.

  1. An assessment is a backwards-looking valuation.
  2. A zestimate is an algorithmically-derived guesstimate. 
    1. The Zestimate is created by an automated software process, designed by statisticians, and there is no ability for humans to manually alter the Zestimate for a specific property.
  3. Market value is what a ready, willing, and able buyer is willing to pay, with a ready, willing, able, non-distressed, arms-length seller is willing to accept … and
    1. What an appraisal paid for by the buyer, but ordered by the bank making the loan, supports

The Albemarle County press release


Albemarle County is mailing 2018 Change of Assessment notices to taxpayers today, January 26, 2018, reflecting changes in property values resulting from the County’s recently completed annual reassessment.  The notices contain the new 2018 assessed values alongside the 2017 and 2016 values.  They also provide the estimated new tax levy and compare that new tax levy to the two previous years. We calculated the proposed tax levy by using the 2018 assessed value and the 2017 tax rate.  The Board of Supervisors will set the 2018 tax rate at a later date; therefore the actual tax levy for 2018 may differ from this notice.  Please direct any questions regarding the new assessment notice to the Office of the County Assessor.

The 2018 assessment changes are generally due to increases in the real estate market; however individual value changes can vary greatly from the average change for the County even within the same property type and neighborhood.  The Assessor’s office completed detailed reviews of thousands of properties and many required updating of information in their assessment records and resulted, in some cases, in large increases to assessments.  Furthermore, a reorganization of properties in the rural areas has improved the ability of the Assessor’s Office to value rural properties and supported an increase in land assessmentsfor some portions of the rural areas.  The change in the County’s total “Taxable Value” tax base has increased by 2.2% over the 2017 year-end base.  Overall taxable assessment changes by property type are:

  • Urban Residential (County Water & Sewer): +2.50%
  • Residential up to 20 acres: +3.20%
  • Rural (20 to 99.99 acres): +0.20%
  • Rural (100 acres and over): 0.00%
  • Commercial Properties: +1.40%
  • Multi-Family: +0.80%

The above results by property class are average overall increases, but individual properties within each class may vary greatly from those amounts. The reassessment figures reflect the values of existing properties and do not include the value of new construction.  New construction is estimated to be valued at $250,000,000 for the assessment period and includes new parcels created through a subdivision.

Virginia by Statute requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, based on an objective analysis of the property’s fair market value, independent of any influence on the part of the County or the County Board of Supervisors.

The average annual reassessment changes for each magisterial district are as follows:

  • Rio: +1.00%
  • Jack Jouett: +2.50%
  • Rivanna: +2.90%
  • Samuel Miller: +2.50%
  • Scottsville: +2.50%
  • Town of Scottsville: -2.30%
  • White Hall: +2.10%

The first half real estate tax bills, based on the new assessments, will be mailed in late April 2018. County officials recommend that anyone who would like more information, or who wishes a review of their assessment, contact the Office of the County Assessor at (434) 296-5856.  You can find real estate assessment information on the County’s Website,, under Online Services, GIS-Web.  Information includes property descriptions, maps, and sales information. The Assessor’s Office provides computers that can be used by the public during normal business hours.

There is a process in place to appeal disputed assessments. As a first step, taxpayers are encouraged to contact the Assessor’s Office to ensure the correctness of County records and to receive an explanation of the basis of their property’s valuation. If visiting the Assessor’s Office, we highly recommend that citizens make an appointment to ensure that the appropriate staff member, who can best explain the valuation of their specific property, is available.  If a taxpayer desires to request an official internal review, they can submit a 2018 Administrative Review form, located on the County website, on the County Assessor page. This form can also be mailed, emailed or faxed upon request. The deadline to return this form to request an internal review by the Assessor’s office is February 28, 2018. If a property owner does not receive satisfaction with this step, they can request an appeal by the Board of Equalization (BOE) whose members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The BOE is made up of Albemarle County citizens who have completed training by the Virginia Department of Taxation.  All appeals to the Board of Equalization must be filed by March 30, 2018, or within 30 days of the date of the response letter for a previously requested 2018 Administrative Review.

The Assessor’s Office will accept applications for qualifying properties to enter the Land Use Tax Deferral Program, with the $15 (minimum) application fee, through March 2, 2018. A new application for each parcel is required to enroll in the program.  Documentation of a five-year history of the qualifying use must be provided to qualify.  A new application is not needed if a property is currently under the land use assessment program.

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