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Holy Crap! I Just Got My Property Notice Of Valuation From The Assessors Office

Mar 03

filed under: Buying A Home, Real Estate, Yada Yada

Holy CrapWell if you have not gotten you 2012 Property Valuation Notice from the Maricopa County Assessors office, it should be on its way. Before you open it take the following precautions, find a place to sit down, remove all dangerous objects in the immediate vicinity, i.e. knives, guns, etc. and grab something like an old dish towel that will muffle the sound of  your very loud voice when you scream out holy crap!

My 2012 property valuation notice came in at $83,000. Last August I refinanced my home and the appraisal, even in this market, came in a $347,000. Well what is up with that!  Is this what I would identify as a “holy crap” moment. It would be if I did not know that the “Full Cash Value” FCV that the assessors office uses is not the same as the “true market value” of a property. This is something that you need to know as well so that you don’t get all crazy when you see the Full Cash Value on your property valuation notice.

Full Cash Value (FCV) is defined by the assessor’s office as “a reflection of the market value of your property and consists of land and improvements. The FCV is used to compute secondary taxes, which may consist of bonds, budget overrides, and special districts such as fire, flood control, and other limited purpose districts”. Bottom line they need to have this figure to determine what your future taxes are going to be. So in my mind the $83,000 is looking pretty good to me, although in reality it doesn’t mean they have to or would lower my taxes.

The Full Cash Value that the assessor sets a property at is based on market sales of similar types of property and equalization guidelines established by the Department of revenue. The main components used for FCV are location, lot size, livable area, construction year and any other building improvements on the lot such as detached garages, pools and guesthouses. The assessor sets values for future years by using historical sales data that can be in some cases a couple of year old.

The “true market value” for resale purposes would be determined by a free market analysis of the property done by a licensed real estate agent, such as yours truly or and independent fee appraiser. Taken into consideration to determine the “true market value” would be the condition of the property, upgrades, views, age, square footage, location, lot size, pools, guesthouses, garages etc. as well as recent sales in your area.

Now lets not kid ourselves, property values have gone down big time, 40%-60% depending on where you live in Arizona. We all know that only too well. However, if you think the assessor’s office has really missed the boat on his assessment of your property you can appeal the valuation. The deadline for doing so is April 26, 2011.

So although its not pleasant for any of us to see our properties reflecting a lower Full Cash Value by the assessors office, it does reflect the Arizona real estate market.   That said though, you now know that the Full Cash Value is not the same as the “true market value”. So rest easy, it’s no where near as bad as it looks, your home is definitely worth more that what is on than little piece of paper. Really!

Written by Howard Harris