Property Reassessment - FAQ
|Prince Edward County Board of Equalization|
|Prince Edward County Courthouse|
|111 South Street, Third Floor|
|P. O. Box 381|
|Farmville, VA 23901|
|Phone: (434) 392-8837|
What is a reassessment?
Why reassess now?
Who is doing the reassessment?
Why do we have an outside firm performing the reassessment?
What are basic data collection procedures?
What is the difference between sales price, appraisal, and assessments?
How is assessment value derived?
What is the Highest and Best Use Concept?
Why am I asked for income and expense information in relation to my commercial real estate?
Why are smaller tracts of land valued at a higher rate per acre?
How are manufactured "mobile" homes assessed?
How can a property be assessed for more than its purchase price?
Is there a law that prevents assessments from changing more than a certain amount?
Will my assessment go up or down during this reassessment?
Will my taxes go up or down during/after this reassessment?
How do I find out what my new reassessed value is?
How do I correct information that appears wrong?
How do I appeal my reassessment value?
A reassessment is the process by which the assessed value of real estate property is revised to keep the value consistent with what the property is worth on the open market, and to assess properties fairly in comparison to each other.
It is required by Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3252:
There shall be a general reassessment of real estate every four years. Any county which, however, has a total population of 50,000 or less may elect by majority vote of its board of supervisors to conduct its general reassessments at either five-year or six-year intervals. Nothing in this section shall affect the power of any county to use the annual or biennial assessment method as authorized by law.
Property's assessments are intended to reflect market values at the time of reassessment. Between reassessment periods market values change. The value changes may happen for a variety of reasons: appreciation and value declines (i.e., equalization changes); structural changes (additions, remodeling), re-zonings, and land divisions (i.e., growth). A combination of these factors can apply to the same property. Reassessments are intended to restore equity within the county so that values are at a uniform percentage of market value.
The Code of Virginia requires Prince Edward County to reassess a minimum of every six years. The last reassessment went into effect on January 1, 2009. The results of the current reassessment will take effect January 1, 2015.
After a bidding process, Prince Edward County awarded the mass appraisal firm, Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group LTD of Daleville, Virginia, the contract to perform the 2015 Reassessment. A representative of Wampler-Eanes will visit and examine each property, then update the assessed values in keeping with the fair market value.
The Board of Equalization (BOE), appointed by the Prince Edward County Circuit Court, conducts formal hearings and takes sworn testimony after values are established. The BOE has the power to increase, decrease, or keep the same assessment upon its review.
NOTE: THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN COMPLETED.
The reassessment process is very labor and time intensive. The entire process takes 18 months to perform and requires that an assessor physically visit and assess every parcel in the County. To perform this task internally would require additional full-time staff and resources.
The assessor will arrive at your property in a vehicle clearly marked as "County Reassessment." Upon arrival, the assessor will approach your house for an introduction. All assessors have an identification badge issued by Wampler-Eanes. They will briefly explain their purpose for being at your property and how they would like to conduct the inspection. Assessors will not come into your house.
The assessor may conduct a brief interview with you asking questions such as:
How many bedrooms and baths are there in the house?
What type of flooring do you have?
How old is the house?
Have any additions been built?
Has there been any remodeling done?
Have you recently purchased the property?
(If the property has been recently purchased, the assessor may ask sales related questions.)
After speaking with you, the assessor will measure and inspect the exterior property, and document any changes that have been made since the last property assessment. The assessor may also take pictures of your residence, and any additional structures on the property. Pictures serve as proof that the assessor inspected your property and as visual aids if you have a hearing.
If no one is at home, the assessor will proceed with the inspection of your property. At the end of the inspection, they will leave a door hanger stating that they have been to your property, and whether they need further information about the property. Contact information is provided on the hanger.
Actual amount paid by a buyer for a property or group of properties.
Detailed private sector single-property valuation obtained anytime throughout the year. It can be used for a wide range of purposes such as a mortgage, plan to sell, home equity loan, or estate valuation. An internal inspection and a complete individual market analysis of the subject property and comparable sold properties are generally required. Equity within a neighborhood is not considered.
Mass appraisal of property for tax purposes in which properties are valued by analyzing the property sales within defined like areas and by applying those values to homes similar to the ones that sold. In Prince Edward County, approximately 15,000 parcels will be reviewed and assessed during an 18-month period. Equity is a primary consideration.
Mass appraisal techniques are used to value similar groups of commercial, industrial, residential, agricultural, or other properties. When grouping similar properties, the assessors take into consideration such things as comparable sales, rental income/expense information, location, condition, and economic factors. Sales information is gathered from recorded deeds, buyers, sellers, real estate professionals, and the selling prices are compared to the assessed values to determine an assessment/sales ratio. Property values are adjusted to match current market and cost data in an equitable manner.
This is where the assessed value is based on the reasonably probable use that produces the highest property value. Highest and best use assumes only those uses which are legally, physically, and financially feasible for the property - and may or may not be the current use of the property. For example, if a residence is located in a commercially zoned area and the value as a commercial property in that area exceeds the value of a residential property in that same area, then the overall highest and best use of the property would be as a commercial property.
Unlike most single family residential property, commercial property is often rented out by the owners and operated as an investment. For this reason, commercial and multifamily real estate is often marketed as investment property. Investors will weigh the income potential, vacancy rates, risk levels and expenses to operate the property as a rental to determine what they should pay for the property and still earn a rate of return that is competitive with other types of investments in the current market.
While the appraisal of residential real estate relies most heavily on cost and the market approaches to determine value, the appraisal of commercial real estate relies on cost, market, and income approaches with the income approach often given the most weight. The income approach considers the ability of the property to earn income through rents, taking into account the operating expenses and allowing for vacancy and collection losses. The resulting net operating income is then capitalized into value with an appropriate rate to achieve a fair market value estimate. Collecting this information from a broad range of commercial properties enables the Reassessment Office to have a more accurate picture of the rental market, including typical expense and vacancy rates, for each type of commercial property.
Pursuant to authorization derived from Section 58.1-3294 of the Code of Virginia, the Prince Edward County Reassessment Office requests that owners of income-producing real estate to furnish statements of the income and expenses attributable to the real estate. Owners not furnishing requested income and expense information cannot use income as a basis of appeal of the assessment until the next general reassessment.
In accordance with Title 58.1-3 of the Code of Virginia, income and expense information obtained for assessment purposes is considered proprietary and held in strict confidentiality. This data is not shared with anyone from the general public other than the submitting property owner and their authorized representatives.
This is basically a matter of volume. As acreage increases, the cost per acreage decreases. Conversely as acreage decreases the value of the land generally increases. Home site values represent fixed costs and as such increase the per acre of smaller tracts exponentially.
Anyone who owns their own land and places a manufactured home on it will receive a real estate bill for the assessed value of the land and any improvements i.e. porches, decks, paved driveways, fences, etc. The manufactured home will be billed separately as personal property and is taxed at the real estate rate.
Real estate may be assessed for more or less than the purchase price because the assessment reflects "fair market value." Values change and the property value may have gone up or down since the purchase. This is especially true if a piece of real estate was purchased several years ago, or if a person happened to get a good buy because of a distress sale condition.
In addition, it should be noted the Prince Edward County reassesses every six years. This means that if a property is purchased between assessments, the assessed value is the value determined at the time of the last reassessment, not at the time of the sale. In addition, if there is new construction done between assessments, the assessment of the new construction is based on the values determined in the last reassessment, not current values. This keeps assessments equitable throughout the County since everyone is assessed based on the same assessment year.
The Constitution of Virginia requires real estate assessments to represent fair market value. There is no provision to limit the amount of change from one reassessment cycle to the next.
A reassessment does not necessarily result in increased or decreased assessments for all properties as properties do not appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. In a given cycle, there will be assessments that rise, fall, or stay the same, based on internal and external factors that influence property values such as location; appreciation; depreciation; new construction; remodeling; or rezoning.
Real estate property taxes are determined by applying the tax rates against each $100 of assessed property value. To know if taxes will go up or down, both the assessed property value and the tax rate must be known.
The Reassessment Office determines the real estate value which goes into effect January 1, 2015.
Real estate taxes are not determined until the Board of Supervisors sets the annual tax rate usually near the end of April.
Tax rates in Prince Edward County are expressed in dollars per one hundred dollars of assessed value. For example, if the total real estate tax rate was $0.420 cents per $100.00, this would result in a real estate tax of $420 on a property assessed at $100,000.
|Tax Rate||x Assessment||= Tax|
|$0.42 / $100||$100,000||$420|
Note: In the years between reassessments, the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue maintains the assessment data. Unless there is a change such as boundary adjustment, division of property, change in zoning, court orders, or new construction, these assessed values remain in effect for six years. To maintain equity, changes occurring between reassessments are assessed using values determined by the last reassessment.
After all field work has been completed and the data has been verified, Reassessment Notices detailing the new property values are mailed to the last known address of the land owner. No rumor or other casual information should be considered prior to the mailing of the official notices. It is anticipated the 2015 Reassessment Notices will be sent out in late fall of 2014. Owners are encouraged to review their reassessment notice upon receipt.
NOTE: THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN COMPLETED.
The opportunity to file an appeal before the assessor has now passed. If you believe you have found erroneous information pertaining to your property, contact the Prince Edward County Administrator's Office to file an appeal with the Board of Equalization.
All appeals/hearings before the Board of Equalization (BOE) are by appointment only. The BOE hearing request period and the schedule of hearing dates will be posted publically and on the Reassessment site prior to the beginning of hearings.
1. After receipt of a Reassessment notice, a citizen can schedule an informal review with the Assessors. (The time for this process has now passed.)
2. Ater the completion of the Reassessment, a citizen can schedule a Board of Equalization (BOE) hearing/appeal to review the real property value; or
3. After the completion of the BOE term, a citizen can appeal the real property value to the Circuit Court of Prince Edward County.
Appeals/hearings must be supported by evidence showing that assessed value is incorrectly represented; the value does not reflect market value; or the value is not uniform with other comparable properties. Evidence should consist of
--sales of comparable properties in the area which took place during the reassessment period;
--comparisons of other similar properties in the area which are assessed differently; and/or
--information on conditions of the property not previously known to the assessor
--copy of listing agreement showing property being marketed at or below assessed value for six months or longer.
If the appeal is based on conditions of which the assessor was unaware, adequate documentation is required to support the claim.
In general, comparables of properties for sale, but not yet sold; and individual appraisals are not sufficient evidence on their own.