An assessment is a number having a direct relationship to the market value of a property. Currently, an assessment should only be about 80% of the value of your property. Erie County is conducting a countywide reassessment to be effective for 2013 at which time everything should be valued at 100% of value.
Market value is the amount of money a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for property offered for sale in an open market over a reasonable amount of time for exposure. In an open market both the buyer and the seller are well informed and neither is under any pressure to act. A more simple definition is how much you could currently get if you sold your property.
Sale price is the actual amount of money paid to a Seller from the Buyer. It is not always the market value since factors like bankruptcy, foreclosures, buy-outs of partnership, etc. do not always sell at actual market value.
An assessment is a value established for a property for tax purposes. The method is the same that is used for an appraisal of a particular property but is applied to literally thousands of properties. For instance, in Erie County there are nearly 123,000 tax parcels. Large numbers of sales are analyzed to determine values for large groups of similar properties. This is known as “mass appraising.”
A residential property value is determined by collecting the characteristics of each property and comparing these characteristics to similar properties in comparable locations that have recently sold. Adjustments for differences in properties are then made to arrive at a market value for the property. This method is called the Sales Comparison Approach to value. The Sales Comparison Approach is primarily used for residential property.
For commercial and industrial property, rental income and expenses are also considered in the valuation process. This is called the Income Approach. The Cost Approach may also be used if insufficient sales or income information is available as in the case of churches, power plants, schools and other single-use properties.
Reassessment is the systematic review of the assessed value of all properties for the purpose of bringing all values to a uniform percentage of market value. The county has a legal obligation to have all properties "assessed" in a uniform manner.
For residences, information such as location, lot size, topography, zoning, square footage, style, grade of construction, condition, number of bathrooms, garage size and type, number of rooms, basement type, year built, effective age, porches, decks, pools, other improvements and view. Commercial and industrial properties also consider building height, type of constructions, loading docks, sprinkling systems, etc.
The short answer is “Absolutely, yes.” The impact it will have on an individual property, though, cannot be estimated until all parcels have been valued and all taxing jurisdiction budgets determined. For your municipal and county tax, it will be January 1, 2013. For your school tax, it will be July 1, 2013.
Erie County has been working on a mass appraisal for nearly five (5) years which is nearly completed. The next step is to send each property owner a preliminary value described in an Impact Statement during the first quarter of 2012 and ultimately the official assessment during mid-year.
When Impact Statements are mailed, property owners will have an opportunity to request an informal review with a local assessor. When the official assessment notice is sent, you have the right to file a formal appeal. In both cases, it is important to determine that the County’s data on your property is accurate. You also need to be prepared to refute their sale data, income projections or cost estimates that were used to value your property. Basically, you need hard evidence why your property is over-assessed.