Real Estate Assessment Information for Property Owners
Answers to Your Real Estate Assessment Questions
Why am I receiving an Assessment Notice?
The County of Prince George assesses properly annually. The County Assessor's Office has completed an extensive review of property sales during the last year and compared those sales to the properties' current assessed values. State law (VA Code 58.1-3201) requires jurisdictions to assess property at 100 percent of its fair market value. Our goal is to have accurate and equitable assessments that reflect true fair market value. Fair Market Value has been defined by the courts of Virginia to mean "the price which it will bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires but is not obligated to sell it, and is bought by one who is under no necessity of having it."
Why didn't my property value decrease in this sluggish real estate market?
The Assessor's Office does not set value. The citizens of the county determine value by creating the real estate market. Meticulous study and effort was made by the Assessor's Office to deliver an accurate and equitable assessment. Staff thoroughly reviewed every sale, both valid and invalid, from across the county. Current Realtor® listings were analyzed as well as foreclosures, bank owned (REO) sales, short sales, and forced sales. Valuation models were developed from this data to calculate assessed values in an equitable manner.
While the news of the national real estate market is disturbing for all of us, Prince George County has not had the same dramatic negative impacts seen in other localities. The market value of real estate changes every year, regardless of whether a particular property is sold during the year. Assessed values can increase if specific improvements have been made to your property. If homes or land in your neighborhood are selling for more or less now than they did last year, then the assessed value may increase, decrease, or remain the same. Assessed values are compared to sales prices to determine the Assessment Ratio.
The Assessment Ratio measures the accuracy of the overall assessment. Prince George County's 2013 assessment ratio, which is audited by the Virginia Department of Taxation, was approximately 99%. That means that the typical home sold in 2012 had an assessed value approximately 1% lower than the sales price. The State Code only allows the Assessor to use valid arm's length transactions in developing the assessment ratio. Therefore, while foreclosures, bank owned (REO) sales, short sales, and forced sales are reviewed, they must be excluded from the assessment ratio.
Even though sales prices may have declined in your neighborhood, the assessed values may not change because the assessment ratio may be less than state mandated target of 100% of fair market value. Inversely, when the Assessment Ratio rises above 100%, assessed values are decreased in that specific neighborhood.
What if I have questions about my assessment, or believe it is incorrect?
Please contact the Real Estate Assessor's Office by calling (804) 722-8629, e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or coming by Suite 204 in the County Administration Building (6602 Courts Drive) no later than March 7, 2014. The office is open between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The staff will be happy to answer any questions we can over the phone and send you a copy of your property record for your review. A copy of your property record card can also be found by visiting the Online Assessments page which can be used to review surrounding properties.
If you find any discrepancies or have additional questions, please contact us. By bringing to the office's attention any errors that exist in the records regarding your property, the assessment process will be more accurate and equitable.
What if I want to appeal my assessment?
If you review your property record and feel that the assessment is inaccurate, exceeds market value, or is not equitable with similar properties, then fill out an appeal form. Appeal forms can be picked up in the Assessor's office, mailed or faxed to you, or downloaded. Reviews may result in an increased assessment, a decreased assessment, or no change. Administrative appeals must be filed by March 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm.
If you are dissatisfied with the Assessor's Office's decision, you may file an appeal to the Board of Equalization. Information on how to make that appeal will be sent to you with your written notification. The next step above the Board of Equalization is an appeal to the Circuit Court, if you should so choose.
Will my real estate taxes go up or down if my assessment changes?
The Board of Supervisors determines the real estate tax rate. Depending on the new tax rate, the amount of tax owed on your property may increase, remain the same, or decrease.
The Real Estate Tax Rate for the Fiscal Year 2014 Land Book, which will be used to calculate the December 5, 2014 and June 5, 2015 Real Estate Tax Bills, will be determined and adopted at a public hearing and vote by the Board of Supervisors scheduled to be held on March 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm.
How are real estate taxes calculated?
Real Estate tax rates are expressed in dollars per one hundred dollars of assessed value. The FY2014 tax rate was $0.82 per $100 of assessed value. Taxes are calculated as follows:
Tax Rate x Assessment = Tax
|| x Assessment
|| = Tax|
What is an appraisal neighborhood?
The County is divided into 8 appraisal areas that are geographically similar. These areas correspond to the County's voting districts. District 1 includes areas 5, 6, 7, and 8; District 2 includes areas 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each appraisal are is then divided into appraisal neighborhoods. Appraisal neighborhoods can include subdivisions or geographic areas with similar influences. Your appraisal neighborhood can be found on your real estate assessment notice.