Looking into selling your home? Maybe you are looking into buying a new home? Whenever you are dealing with buying or selling a home you will need to have an appraisal done to determine what the current market value of your home is.
If you have recently had an appraisal done and noticed some inconsistencies as far as your property taxes go you might have some questions.
Like, “Why am I paying a higher property tax rate then what the appraisal determined my home was worth?” or “Why did my appraisal come in lower than what my property tax assessment determined my home’s value was?”
You must really be wondering what the difference between assessment vs appraisal really is.
We can help you answer these questions. But first, in order to help answer these questions we must explain exactly what an appraisal and what an assessment is individually.
What Is an Appraisal?
Basically, an appraisal is the value of your home determined by an appraiser. An appraiser is a professional who has been certified in your state to evaluate properties and determine their value depending on the current real estate market.
So what is an appraisal used for? When do you need one?
An appraisal is used when buying and selling homes. Your mortgage lender will require an appraisal be done on the property before they will agree to your mortgage loan. This is because your mortgage lender needs to make sure they are only lending up to what the home is actually worth.
So how does an appraiser determine the home’s value?
An appraiser will inspect the property by looking around inside and outside of the home to get a better idea of what condition the home is in inside and out. They use their extensive knowledge to help them determine what condition and the value of the property.
But how do they decide what that dollar amount actually is?
Comps. There are many factors that help to determine what the property is going to be worth. However, the biggest factor is comps aka comparables. These are other homes that have recently sold in the same area.
The appraiser will look for comps that are very similar with similar features (hence the term “comparable”) and will look at what those homes sold for. This is what helps appraisers determine what the current real estate market values these homes at.
There are some other factors that will be looked at such as neighborhood, school districts, recent remodels, unique features, etc.
What Is an Assessment?
An assessment is what is used by municipalities and local governments. An assessment is really only for tax purposes determined by a government tax assessor. An assessment is what determines your property tax.
Any homeowner is required to pay property taxes on their home every year. It is just part of being a homeowner. That is what an assessment is used for. In fact, an assessment is better known as a “Tax Assessment”.
How do they determine what your property is worth when being assessed?
Assessments are done by government assessors. These are the people who determine your property tax amount. They can use a variety of different methods when trying to assess what they believe your property to be worth.
More often than not they use the same method that an appraiser would. They take a look at your neighborhood and evaluate other comparable properties in the area that have recently sold.
The Difference Between Assessment vs Appraisal
Obvioiusly an appraisal and an assessment are very similar. So similar in fact it can be difficult to understand what the real difference is.
What is the biggest difference between an assessment and an appraisal?
Accuracy. An appraiser and a property assessor both look at the home in the same kind of way. What kind of condition is the home in? How big is the property? What are some of the special features such as waterfront access, etc?
Then they will look at what other homes in the area have recently sold that are similar and how much those homes sold for. Using this information they will determine what they believe the home or property is worth.
So if an appraiser and assessor use the same methods to determine your home’s market value, what is the real difference between an assessment vs an appraisal and why does it matter?
When comparing homes an appraiser is very diligent in looking at the most accurate comps in the area.
Assessors, however, can have very skewed or inaccurate valuations when it comes to a property. This is because they use a lot less information and will often plug simplified or generic information into a computer program that will do the assessment automatically.
The problem with this is that there are special factors that often need to be taken into consideration. Things that the computer programs won’t be able to account for.
For this reason assessments are often not as accurate as an appraisal which is why mortgage lenders won’t accept your property tax assessment as an accurate estimated value of your property when you are purchasing a home.
If you would like to know more about the difference between appraisals vs tax assessments, or just had some questions, feel free to give us a call at (941) 743-3700.
Here at R.E. Appraisal Associates we can help you with any questions,or concerns you might have as far as your appraisal goes. We can even help you to schedule an appraisal appointment if you need one.